Osburn 1600 insert not pumping out much heat

Status
Not open for further replies.

Heat_Challenged

New Member
Aug 12, 2013
22
Nova Scotia, Canada
Hello stove gurus,


I have read hundreds of posts on this site and can’t figure out the problem I’ve been facing.

I hope you can solve the mystery of why my Osburn 1600 wood stove insert barely heats a 12 foot by 12 foot room.

All photos are at bottom.

We’re desperate for a solution. Whomever solves the problem will be the recipient of an Interac payment of $50 for my gratitude and a photo of my happy family cuddled around a roaring woodstove.

OSBURN 1600

· Model Number: OB01601

· 65,000 BTU/h.

· Dimensions: 24.12''W x 21.5''H x 22''D

· Heating capacity: 500 to 1,800 sq.ft.

· Firebox volume: 1,85 pi.cu.

· Maximum log length: 17"

· 130 CFM blower (works fine)


HISTORY of PROBLEM

The Osburn 1600 (see photo #1) came with the house (built 1978, 2,000 sqf, split entry) I bought in 2009. It is installed in the fireplace (an exterior chimney – see photo #2) in our basement family room. The stainless steel liner is not insulated. It runs in a clay liner. From the top of the stove to the liner cap (see photo #3), the length is about 25 feet.

The basement family room is fully finished. I took the walls down to the studs and had a red seal drywaller redo the insulation, including vapor barrier. He even used the formed plastic membrane around the electrical plug in boxes.

He re-insulated most of the walls in my house. Also, I had all new windows (very high ratings) put in. So, overall, the house is very well insulated now.

Weather: In winter, the temperature averages 20F. All in all, the winters here are pretty nice here in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Winter 2009: The room was often too hot to be in. It heated much of the house. The room’s thermostat usually showed 90F.

Winter 2010: Same as Winter 2009

Summer 2011: I had a chimney cleaner come in. He swept the chimney and then came in to clean out the stove. When he removed the baffles and unscrewed the insert’s exhaust collar, he could feel that the exhaust collar was not connected to the liner. We removed the insert and saw that the collar had rusted away. See photos #4 and #5. Talk about a fire/gas hazard. No wonder I was getting such awesome heat; most of the heat was coming straight back into the room rather than going up the liner to the outside.

We installed a stainless steel elbow. We then pushed the insert back in and connected the collar to the elbow.

Some of the firebricks were cracked, so I replaced them all with similar size ones from Home Dept (I shaped them with my grinder). I also used the firebricks for the baffles. Not a perfect fit, but pretty good.

Winter 2011: I ordered cords from 2 different suppliers. I even burned cut-up wood pallets that were very dry. Nothing helped.

The room was somewhat comfortable to be in. However, the Osburn heated only that 12’x12’room, averaging only 66F--even with 2 eco fans spinning away. I have a fully furnished (and newly insulated) office that is 6 feet away from the Osburn. I keep the door open. Even with the insert running full tilt all day, when in the office, I still have to either put a blanket over my lap or turn on a space heater.

When I have the woodstove fully roaring, the most the room will ever get up to is 77 degrees—that’s when it’s not very cold out and the stove has been roaring for e.g. 12 hours with multiple loads. The rest of the house is still too cold so we have to turn up the oil furnace and wear sweaters and wool socks.

Summer 2012: Thinking it must have been bad wood every time, I bought 2 full cords off of the most famous/reputable firewood distributor. The company has an A+ rating with The Better Business Bureau. It cost a premium and I could tell the wood was far superior to what I had been using previously.

Winter 2012: Same as Winter 2011. The expensive wood didn’t help at all. I even burned left over wood from the previous year. That didn’t increase the heat either. I had the insert inspected by a WETT certified inspector. He said everything looks fine. He agreed the firewood distributor I bought off of is the best. I even burned new, dry, clean lumber to test it. He could not figure out why the insert was not blasting out heat, heating most of the house.

I stuffed a lot of insulation behind and around the insert and as far up as I could reach. I only got an extra 1F in temperature.

NOTES

· The house is not airtight, so the insert should be drawing.

· The blower is functional. It has a high and low setting.

· I don't have a block-off plate

· I don't have an insulated SS liner (but I have stuffed as much insulation as I can around the insert and SS elbow)

· I do not have a thermometer to test the temperature.

· I do not have a hydrometer to test the moisture of wood.

· I put in a new gasket

· The stove did not come with the Baffle Insulation Weight. I only discovered this summer (2013) that it is a part that came with it originally. Does it make a difference? If so, I will order it.

· I don’t have a layer of insulation resting on the baffles.

· Even though I formed the fire bricks with my grinder, there are a couple gaps of maybe 1 square inch. Would that be enough to cause low heat?

· I leave a couple inches of ash

· Often I don’t see any smoke, which should mean it’s burning well, right?

· Once I get a roaring fire going, I wait several minutes and then leave the insert’s door open about 3 inches. If I don’t, it will become a weak fire, even with the air supply full open, ½ open, or almost closed.

· The room gets a few degrees warmer when I leave the insert door totally open. Not ideal, obviously.

· I’ve put the wood NS, EW, tipi, log cabin, huddled. They all seem to be the same result

· I use paper and bark to start the fire with small split wood. It can be challenging to get it lit.

· Once it’s burning fast, I put on larger splits.

· I rarely ever see secondary combustion


SUMMARY

When the stove collar was not connected to the liner because the elbow had rusted through, I had fantastic heat. It was also dangerous. I can’t afford to buy a few cords this winter but still have to use a heck of a lot of oil to make up for the low heat the Osburn is putting out. I am so frustrated that I’m tempted to poke some holes in the bottom of the elbow.

If anyone could provide suggestions/diagnosis, I would be extremely grateful.

Whomever solves the problem will be the recipient of an Interac payment of $50 for my gratitude and a photo of my happy family cuddled around a roaring woodstove.


Cheers and thanks!

1.JPG 2.JPG 3.JPG 4.jpg 5.jpg
 

Bster13

Minister of Fire
Feb 24, 2012
810
CT
NM, attachments are inline now. All good.
 

Bster13

Minister of Fire
Feb 24, 2012
810
CT
Are those eco fans the only thing moving hot air? Is that a blower at the base of the insert? Is it functional?
 

jeff_t

Minister of Fire
Sep 14, 2008
4,202
SE MI
Get a sealed and insulated block off plate in place above the insert. You're losing lots of heat up the chimney.

Low heat output and no secondary combustion are prime indications of not so dry wood.
 

Swedishchef

Minister of Fire
Jan 17, 2010
3,275
Inuvik, Northwest Territories
Hello fellow Maritimer (I am originally from Fredericton NB)!

First: nobody will want $. This forum is simply about people helping others. Save your $ and buy some wood. However, pics are always nice :)

Burning wood requires a couple of things: proper fuel (seasoned wood), enough air (draft) and ignition....

1- Do you have an insulated blockoff plate? Did the chimney sweep remove it and perhaps not put it back?
2- Expensive wood does not mean seasoned/dry wood. Invest in a moisture meter, it is a great tool. You say "I use paper and bark to start the fire with small split wood. It can be challenging to get it lit". I think your wood is a big source of the problem.
3- What kind of wood are you burning (may bring us back to #2).
4- Does your room fill with smoke on light up? The fact that you say you need to keep the door open 3 inches concerns me. Perhaps your draft is weak. I certainly think an insulated SS liner could help.
5- Insulation on your baffles will help with the secondary combustion. Get it there ASAP.

I think the fact that you don't see secondary combustion often, that you have a hard time getting the fire going, that once it is going the door must remain open, etc etc points to wet wood.....

Others will pitch in (the pros) and will provide great input.

WHere in NS do you live?

Andrew
 

Ram 1500 with an axe...

Minister of Fire
Mar 26, 2013
2,327
New Jersey
I say time or a new insert and liner...
 

BrotherBart

Modestorator
Staff member
Yeah that massive brick chimney is eating a lot of the heat. I am guessing the blower for the insert isn't working since you have the Ecofans on top of it. A block off plate and using the blower will make a world of difference.

What stove top temps are you running?

PS: Never mind on the blower. We were typing at the same time.
 

Heat_Challenged

New Member
Aug 12, 2013
22
Nova Scotia, Canada
Yeah that massive brick chimney is eating a lot of the heat. I am guessing the blower for the insert isn't working since you have the Ecofans on top of it. A block off plate and using the blower will make a world of difference.

What stove top temps are you running?

PS: Never mind on the blower. We were typing at the same time.
Hi,

Thanks for your reply.

The blower works. I got the eco fans as soon as I moved in. The were blowing tons of hot air. It was great---until we found out the elbow had rusted off and the hot air coming in was not just from the blower ;)

Now the eco fans make only a slight difference. When I put my hand in front of them, I can only feel them push the heat a few feet.

thx
 

Heat_Challenged

New Member
Aug 12, 2013
22
Nova Scotia, Canada
Yeah that massive brick chimney is eating a lot of the heat. I am guessing the blower for the insert isn't working since you have the Ecofans on top of it. A block off plate and using the blower will make a world of difference.

What stove top temps are you running?

PS: Never mind on the blower. We were typing at the same time.
I don't know what stove temps I'm running as I don't have a thermometer. Based on the first photo, if I buy a thermometer, where should I put it?

thanks
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
83,703
South Puget Sound, WA
I would first replace the firebrick baffling with a factory baffle board and insulation blanket, weighted down correctly. Get the stove back to factory specs.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Swedishchef

BrotherBart

Modestorator
Staff member
Center of the stovetop as close to the surround as you can get. That thing should be able to kick 600+ stove top temp. If it is the stove is doing the job.

If not then the wood and heat loss to that stack of bricks is suspect.
 

Heat_Challenged

New Member
Aug 12, 2013
22
Nova Scotia, Canada
Hello fellow Maritimer (I am originally from Fredericton NB)!

First: nobody will want $. This forum is simply about people helping others. Save your $ and buy some wood. However, pics are always nice :)

Burning wood requires a couple of things: proper fuel (seasoned wood), enough air (draft) and ignition....

1- Do you have an insulated blockoff plate? Did the chimney sweep remove it and perhaps not put it back?
2- Expensive wood does not mean seasoned/dry wood. Invest in a moisture meter, it is a great tool. You say "I use paper and bark to start the fire with small split wood. It can be challenging to get it lit". I think your wood is a big source of the problem.
3- What kind of wood are you burning (may bring us back to #2).
4- Does your room fill with smoke on light up? The fact that you say you need to keep the door open 3 inches concerns me. Perhaps your draft is weak. I certainly think an insulated SS liner could help.
5- Insulation on your baffles will help with the secondary combustion. Get it there ASAP.

I think the fact that you don't see secondary combustion often, that you have a hard time getting the fire going, that once it is going the door must remain open, etc etc points to wet wood.....

Others will pitch in (the pros) and will provide great input.

WHere in NS do you live?

Andrew
Hi,

My answers to your questions:

1. no I don't have a block-off plate--never did.
2. When I wrote "it can be challenging getting it lit," it is because I probably close the door too quickly and am not getting enough draft. The bark I use is extremely dry.
3. Sorry, I don't know what kind I've been burning over the last few years. I've ordered from 3 different companies and also burned cut up factory pallets for a couple months. Same results.
4. the room doesn't fill up when I light it. The only time I get smoke coming out is when I open the door too quickly.
5. For the baffles, should I buy the baffle weight and then put the insulation on top of it? What type of insulation and how thick?

I live in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. I'm originally from Edmonton, though. We love the Maritimes and are never leaving--beautiful nature here and the people are incredibly nice.

cheers,
Gene
 

Heat_Challenged

New Member
Aug 12, 2013
22
Nova Scotia, Canada
Center of the stovetop as close to the surround as you can get. That thing should be able to kick 600+ stove top temp. If it is the stove is doing the job.

If not then the wood and heat loss to that stack of bricks is suspect.
Hi,

You wrote "heat loss to that stack of bricks is suspect."

Probably a noob question:

I take it you mean the chimney? Not the firebricks I shaped with my grinder, right?

thanks
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
83,703
South Puget Sound, WA
I'm not sure what the baffle board material should be, maybe c-cast? My guess is that the original is thinner than the replaced firebrick baffle. That can mess with the designed flue gas flow.

Start a conversation with FyreBug. He is an Osburn sales rep and should be able to help you get the stove back to its original config.
 

Swedishchef

Minister of Fire
Jan 17, 2010
3,275
Inuvik, Northwest Territories
Hey Gene!

It's not often someone from AB moves to NS! Are you working on the offshore platforms? I have friends in Porter's Lake and downtown Halifax...small world!

Get a block off plate, insulate with Roxul on top of it. Then get the proper wool on top of baffles (as everyone else mentioned) and bring the stove back up to factory specs. This stove should be able to heat!
 

BrotherBart

Modestorator
Staff member
Hi,

You wrote "heat loss to that stack of bricks is suspect."

Probably a noob question:

I take it you mean the chimney? Not the firebricks I shaped with my grinder, right?

thanks

Yeah. That chimney is gonna soak up any heat it can get. Think big heat sink.
 

BrotherBart

Modestorator
Staff member
Insulation would just solve it if it is a draft issue. Which it may be. The block off plate would keep the heat from going up in to the chimney.

Also I would take a look at how that liner/top plate is sealed off at the top of the chimney. If there isn't a huge gap/opening up there you would all be dead long ago with that elbow not being connected to the liner. That stuff was getting out of that chimney somehow. And heat would be going out the top the same way now.
 

Heat_Challenged

New Member
Aug 12, 2013
22
Nova Scotia, Canada
Insulation would just solve it if it is a draft issue. Which it may be. The block off plate would keep the heat from going up in to the chimney.

Also I would take a look at how that liner/top plate is sealed off at the top of the chimney. If there isn't a huge gap/opening up there you would all be dead long ago with that elbow not being connected to the liner. That stuff was getting out of that chimney somehow. And heat would be going out the top the same way now.
I can make a block-off plate out of sheet metal. How thick/what gauge should it be?

cheers
 

BrotherBart

Modestorator
Staff member
Pretty much any gauge works fine. 24 is stiff enough to make a tight fit then use silicone caulk around the edges. But get that top plate sealed too.

https://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/articles/making_a_block_off_plate/

If you don't get the top sealed then the liner will run too cool and wreck the draft and crap up the chimney with creosote. It holds heat in the chimney around the liner somewhat like insulation does.
 

Heat_Challenged

New Member
Aug 12, 2013
22
Nova Scotia, Canada
Pretty much any gauge works fine. 24 is stiff enough to make a tight fit then use silicone caulk around the edges. But get that top plate sealed too.

https://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/articles/making_a_block_off_plate/

If you don't get the top sealed then the liner will run too cool and wreck the draft and crap up the chimney with creosote. It holds heat in the chimney around the liner somewhat like insulation does.
I read a post by FyreBug I which he said he used cement board in his block-off plate. Have you ever heard of that? That plus the insulation on top of it would be pretty heavy. I imagine you'd have to put in a whole bunch of screws into the bricks to support it.

cheers
 

BrotherBart

Modestorator
Staff member
Just use the sheet metal. You are just blocking air. Not incoming rockets.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Woody Stover

Dave A.

Minister of Fire
Mar 17, 2013
614
SE PA
· Once I get a roaring fire going, I wait several minutes and then leave the insert’s door open about 3 inches. If I don’t, it will become a weak fire, even with the air supply full open, ½ open, or almost closed.
Just to clarify this point about leaving the door open 3", am assuming you AREN'T leaving the door open after the fire is started. I mean if that were the case, you couldn't get very high stove temps and you would likely be cooling the house in the process. If you are having a problem getting air into the stove, it might be possible that your air ports and channels into the stove are blocked, and/or as others have mentioned your new baffle mod is blocking air flow.

Might be a good idea to get ahold of a laser point and shoot thermom to take stove temps at various points on the stove to find the highest temps you're getting and get an idea what's going on.

Not that it necessarily has anything to do with the problem, but from the pictures, it looks like there was quite a bit of water damage to the inside of the fireplace in that right side corner and rusted the connector, Wondering what that was all about, if you know, and just want to verify if the cause of the leak has been corrected. Am suspecting from what BB said that the top plate on the basement fireplace flue was not (or is not) properly sealed.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.