Old stove not maintaining proper chimney temps.

KCxSteve

New Member
Dec 3, 2019
12
Kansas City
Let me preface by stating I am very new at this. My old cinderblock house came with an old (non cat) Earth Stove 101, and after looking at it for almost two years, we decided to try and heat the house with it. Everyone we knew, including the chimney sweep/ inspector, stated it should run us out of the house. So far, I've only succeeded in making one room kinda warm and have become afraid of creosote buildup. My stove only has one temperature control on it, a knob with H M L that controls a small damper to the main air inlet. There are also two metal pipes that come into the back of the box at a 45 degree angle with the opening facing the chimney. the main air inlet is a single, 2in by 6 in hole in the back of the firebox between the two metal pipes.
I can have a raging fire, with a great bed of cherry red coals and 3 logs all burning away with the knob on H. The magnetic, outside the chimney thermometer, will read between 400 and 500 F and I can hear the fire roaring with the door closed. So I barely touch the knob to turn down the heat and can hear the fire quite down. next thing I know, the temp drops to below safe temps and I get smoke out the top of the chimney. I will then have to turn the knob back to H and now i'm burning through wood like crazy and not heating my house. All the wood is reading at the correct moisture level and its all oak. Its really difficult trying to maintain a proper heat and general use of this stove since it does not have a glass door.
Time for the rapid fire questions.
1.) When looking at other post's referencing a long sustained burn, it says to move the coals to the front, by the door, then place logs behind it, is that referencing stoves with the air inlet below the door. In other words, do I want the coals between my logs and the air inlet or behind them.
2.) Should I be trying to burn more logs then just kinda three at a time?
3.) How do I/know I achieve(d) a secondary burn without a glass door to see the fire, im assuming the 45 degree pipes are intedended for a secondary burn, but can't figure out how to achieve it or even how will I know I Am achieving it?
4.) A lot of posts state that once the fire is going, you should move the air flow to control the heat until you are at a comfortable in home temperature. if I move my air control knob to anything other then H it seems like my fire dies and it just smolders, the logs will be white on the bottom, then black all around. When I open the door to peak, the coals with not be red and will slowly light up, then flames will come out of the log again within seconds of the door being opened.



Any advice at this point would be appreciated!
 

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
987
Iowa
Welcome to Hearth.
How exactly are you determining M/C ? Might want to include a few pics here of your overall setup. When you say you are burning "logs" does that mean un split rounds? Unless your 3 pieces of wood are enormous you aren't putting a load in the stove as well. Fill everybody in with some details. Sure to get some help.
I have a buddy burning that same stove in his shop. It makes heat like crazy.
 
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coaly

Fisher Moderator
Staff member
Dec 22, 2007
3,578
NE PA
Do you have this stove connected to a huge chimney? What size is the stove outlet compared to the chimney flue?
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
19,479
central pa
I've attached pics to help answer y'all's questions, in terms of flue size, I don't know. The chimney sweep replaced it and I didn't think to ask.
I see what looks like some pretty serious clearance problems
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
19,479
central pa
Stove looks too close to the wall unless that brick has no combustibles behind it. The pipe looks too close to that wood mantle
 

KCxSteve

New Member
Dec 3, 2019
12
Kansas City
Stove looks to close to the wall unless that brick has no combustibles behind it. The pipe looks to close to that wood mantle
Gotcha, according to the manual, it needs to be atleast 18-22" off the wall from the chimney and the brick is up against cinder block. The picture doesn't show, but it is. I agree the mantle is kinda sketchy being as close as it is, the wood is a little warm but not bad at all.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
19,479
central pa
Gotcha, according to the manual, it needs to be atleast 18-22" off the wall from the chimney and the brick is up against cinder block. The picture doesn't show, but it is. I agree the mantle is kinda sketchy being as close as it is, the wood is a little warm but not bad at all.
Ok if that brick is against block that makes things much better. But be sure it is against the block many times even in a basement it is not. How close is the pipe?
 

wncmtns70

New Member
Dec 3, 2019
10
Western North Carolina
Welcome to Hearth.
How exactly are you determining M/C ? Might want to include a few pics here of your overall setup. When you say you are burning "logs" does that mean un split rounds? Unless your 3 pieces of wood are enormous you aren't putting a load in the stove as well. Fill everybody in with some details. Sure to get some help.
I have a buddy burning that same stove in his shop. It makes heat like crazy.
While I'm sure this isnt what you want to hear, that unit isnt capable of a secondary combustion process due to its age and level of technology at the time of the manufacturing. You would be much happier with a newer, non-catalytic wood stove.

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
 

wncmtns70

New Member
Dec 3, 2019
10
Western North Carolina
Let me preface by stating I am very new at this. My old cinderblock house came with an old (non cat) Earth Stove 101, and after looking at it for almost two years, we decided to try and heat the house with it. Everyone we knew, including the chimney sweep/ inspector, stated it should run us out of the house. So far, I've only succeeded in making one room kinda warm and have become afraid of creosote buildup. My stove only has one temperature control on it, a knob with H M L that controls a small damper to the main air inlet. There are also two metal pipes that come into the back of the box at a 45 degree angle with the opening facing the chimney. the main air inlet is a single, 2in by 6 in hole in the back of the firebox between the two metal pipes.
I can have a raging fire, with a great bed of cherry red coals and 3 logs all burning away with the knob on H. The magnetic, outside the chimney thermometer, will read between 400 and 500 F and I can hear the fire roaring with the door closed. So I barely touch the knob to turn down the heat and can hear the fire quite down. next thing I know, the temp drops to below safe temps and I get smoke out the top of the chimney. I will then have to turn the knob back to H and now i'm burning through wood like crazy and not heating my house. All the wood is reading at the correct moisture level and its all oak. Its really difficult trying to maintain a proper heat and general use of this stove since it does not have a glass door.
Time for the rapid fire questions.
1.) When looking at other post's referencing a long sustained burn, it says to move the coals to the front, by the door, then place logs behind it, is that referencing stoves with the air inlet below the door. In other words, do I want the coals between my logs and the air inlet or behind them.
2.) Should I be trying to burn more logs then just kinda three at a time?
3.) How do I/know I achieve(d) a secondary burn without a glass door to see the fire, im assuming the 45 degree pipes are intedended for a secondary burn, but can't figure out how to achieve it or even how will I know I Am achieving it?
4.) A lot of posts state that once the fire is going, you should move the air flow to control the heat until you are at a comfortable in home temperature. if I move my air control knob to anything other then H it seems like my fire dies and it just smolders, the logs will be white on the bottom, then black all around. When I open the door to peak, the coals with not be red and will slowly light up, then flames will come out of the log again within seconds of the door being opened.



Any advice at this point would be appreciated!
I think I responded to you inder someone else's post by accident. While I'm sure this isnt what you want to hear, that unit isnt capable of a secondary combustion process due to its age and level of technology at the time of the manufacturing. You would be much happier with a newer, non-catalytic wood stove

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
 
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coaly

Fisher Moderator
Staff member
Dec 22, 2007
3,578
NE PA
Also, am I wanting to keep the fire in the white zone the whole time? If so I'm having one hell of a time doing so without the knob set to full.
The object of using a thermometer on the pipe is to keep flue gases above 250° all the way to the top of chimney flue. Below that temperature water vapor from combustion will condense on the chimney flue walls allowing smoke particles to stick. This is creosote. The thermometer will show approximately 1/2 of the actual flue gas temperature on the surface of the pipe. Depending on the chimney if it is interior or exterior masonry or insulated it will lose varying amounts of heat before the top. So it becomes a guess as to the temperature near the top without an IR thermometer. Flue temperature is only critical when smoke is present.

When a chimney flue increases in size expect the temperature to drop drastically. From 6 inch to 8 inch it almost drops by 1/2. So if you have a large existing chimney flue connected to that stove, the stove will work hard to keep the chimney hot and not be able to heat the area of the home. What size is the stove outlet and what size is the chimney flue?
You need to know that, since it could be the reason you can’t maintain temperature. The chimney size is like the engine size in a motor vehicle. The chimney is the engine that drives the stove. The hot rising gasses in the chimney creates a low pressure area in the connector pipe and stove. The low pressure area in the stove allows the higher atmospheric pressure to push into the stove. That is the basis of what makes it work. So knowing the basics you can usually figure out what you may be doing wrong or what the problem is that oxygen is not getting into the firebox at the lower settings. The lower settings simply give the intake area a smaller square inch area for the atmospheric air pressure to push in, decreasing the oxygen to the fire.
 
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KCxSteve

New Member
Dec 3, 2019
12
Kansas City
The object of using a thermometer on the pipe is to keep flue gases above 250° all the way to the top of chimney flue. Below that temperature water vapor from combustion will condense on the chimney flue walls allowing smoke particles to stick. This is creosote. The thermometer will show approximately 1/2 of the actual flue gas temperature on the surface of the pipe. Depending on the chimney if it is interior or exterior masonry or insulated it will lose varying amounts of heat before the top. So it becomes a guess as to the temperature near the top without an IR thermometer. Flue temperature is only critical when smoke is present.

When a chimney flue increases in size expect the temperature to drop drastically. From 6 inch to 8 inch it almost drops by 1/2. So if you have a large existing chimney flue connected to that stove, the stove will work hard to keep the chimney hot and not be able to heat the area of the home. What size is the stove outlet and what size is the chimney flue?
You need to know that, since it could be the reason you can’t maintain temperature. The chimney size is like the engine size in a motor vehicle. The chimney is the engine that drives the stove. The hot rising gasses in the chimney creates a low pressure area in the connector pipe and stove. The low pressure area in the stove allows the higher atmospheric pressure to push into the stove. That is the basis of what makes it work. So knowing the basics you can usually figure out what you may be doing wrong or what the problem is that oxygen is not getting into the firebox at the lower settings. The lower settings simply give the intake area a smaller square inch area for the atmospheric air pressure to push in, decreasing the oxygen to the fire.

Well damn, that makes a ton of sense.
Last night I went ahead and made a really hot fire and loaded her up with wood once it got going. The thermostatic air inlet control knob began to work and cut down the air, keeping the chimney temp at 250 for about 5 hours without me having to touch a single thing. I added a few more logs as the temp died down and the inlet opened back up. After 30 mins the logs were going Good and the inlet began to control itself again for another 5 hours.
Zero smoke all night and heated the house comfortably.
 
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KCxSteve

New Member
Dec 3, 2019
12
Kansas City
I think I responded to you inder someone else's post by accident. While I'm sure this isnt what you want to hear, that unit isnt capable of a secondary combustion process due to its age and level of technology at the time of the manufacturing. You would be much happier with a newer, non-catalytic wood stove

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk

That's honestly not surprising.
 

coaly

Fisher Moderator
Staff member
Dec 22, 2007
3,578
NE PA
Well damn, that makes a ton of sense.
Last night I went ahead and made a really hot fire and loaded her up with wood once it got going. The thermostatic air inlet control knob began to work and cut down the air, keeping the chimney temp at 250 for about 5 hours without me having to touch a single thing. I added a few more logs as the temp died down and the inlet opened back up. After 30 mins the logs were going Good and the inlet began to control itself again for another 5 hours.
Zero smoke all night and heated the house comfortably.
Yeah, once you understand the principals of what makes it work, you can usually figure it out.

The color sections on the thermometer are a general indication of where 250* f. goes into normal operating range, is approx. 500* internal, which drops back to possibly 250 at the top. The taller the chimney, the cooler it gets at the top, and the larger the diameter, the more expansion and cooling of flue gasses you get. This is where an insulated flue liner the same size as the stove outlet stays hotter inside without wasting heat up the chimney to keep it clean. The better the chimney, the more efficient the stove becomes allowing you to run it at a lower temp for the heat output required for your heated space.

When you have too much draft (a measurement of rising gasses in chimney) you control the over-drafting chimney with a flue pipe damper. That adds resistance to flow, slowing the draft, decreasing what comes into the stove. So a flue damper controls the chimney, which affects the stove.
When you think you have it figured out, atmospheric conditions change as well as outside temperatures which force you to make control changes on the stove. Your thermostat controls the intake air for you. Just set to desired temp inside, or cut it back to lower output and conserve wood.
 
Last edited:

KCxSteve

New Member
Dec 3, 2019
12
Kansas City
Yeah, once you understand the principals of what makes it work, you can usually figure it out.

The color sections on the thermometer are a general indication of where 250* f. goes into normal operating range, is approx. 500* internal, which drops back to possibly 250 at the top. The taller the chimney, then cooler it gets at the top, and the larger the diameter, the more expansion and cooling of flue gasses you get. This is where an insulated flue liner the same size as the stove outlet stays hotter inside without wasting heat up the chimney to keep it clean. The better the chimney, the more efficient the stove becomes allowing you to run it at a lower temp for the heat output required for your heated space.

When you have too much draft (a measurement of rising gasses in chimney) you control the over-drafting chimney with a flue pipe damper. That adds resistance to flow, slowing the draft, decreasing what comes into the stove. So a flue damper controls the chimney, which affects the stove.
When you think you have it figured out, atmospheric conditions change as well as outside temperatures which force you to make control changes on the stove. Your thermostat controls the intake air for you. Just set to desired temp inside, or cut it back to lower output and conserve wood.
Fortunately, in terms of ease of use, the thermostatic control automatically closes the only air control I have. As long as my wife and I don't rely on the thermostat to always control it for us, I think we might be kind of set. I'll have to see how it gets once it truly gets frigid out her in KC. Hopefully we can get away without installing an additional damper.