Overfiring Quadrafire Isle Royale (or how to find an air leak)

sophistical Posted By sophistical, Dec 7, 2017 at 5:36 PM

  1. sophistical

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    I purchased a home with a 2004 model Quardrafire Isle Royale about 3 years back. I learned from this forum and purchased a stove-top thermometer and have been using the stove successfully for the last couple years. I let it heat up to 650, shut off the air and make sure the door is shut tight and it would sit there at 650 until there wasn't enough wood to maintain that temp and it would slowly fall. Sometime .. either over summer or maybe last spring it started to overfire and with all the air controls shut down would creep up over 700. I have a the optional so I turn that on to keep it from going any higher.

    I figured it was gaskets so I've replaced all of them this fall (ash door, around glass in doors, door gaskets, and top loader gasket but there was no change. They seem ok to me (tried the dollar bill trick and it seems tight enough). I've been getting around it by only putting in maybe 3 or 4 splits (usually 4x4 or 4x6 sized) of dry 9-10% moisture wood. I have put too much wood in and then it will really over heat but with 3 or so pieces it will often hover closer to 650 without using the blower. I'/m sure it's getting too much air, even with the air controls shut down the amount of visible flame is definitely more than I used to see when you start a good fine and then shut down the air so I assume there is a leak somewhere.

    So, I'm looking for hints on how to find the assumed leak or maybe if there is something I can clean or check on my Quadrafire that might be keeping the air control units open more than they should be when shut etc.Thanks in advance for any advice you can provide .. I'd love to have a fire that I don't have to watch so closely.
     
  2. DAKSY

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    Cigarette. Cigar. Incense stick. Smoke stick. Any of them will do what you want. Fire up your Quad & once it's burning, hold one of the items above near the stove. Move it all around, over, under & on top. If there's an air leak, the smoke will be drawn into your Quad.
     
  3. sophistical

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    Excellent idea! I'll have to pick something up and try that!
     
  4. begreen

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    Is the start up air control closed? If you find no leaks, watch the fire at the coal stage. Is it particularly bright at the rear center? If so, it could be that the start up air seals are leaking and need to be replaced.
     
  5. webby3650

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    Sounds like a quad to me... try shutting the air down sooner. That’s extremely dry wood!
     
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  6. sophistical

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    Start up air is definitely closed and there is a difference when it's open. Any instructions on how to check/replace the seals though, that seems like the kind of thing a 13 yr old stove could need to have serviced.

    I'm going to go buy a cigar (been a busy weekend, haven't tried DAKSY's smoke idea yet) but I'll try to shut it down around 450 or 500 to see if that makes a difference. Just brought another face cord in .. this stuff is drier yet (between 5 and 8%)
     
  7. begreen

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    I swear we had a past thread on this topic that had some pictures but now I can't find it. If others can, please chime in. @webby3650 is there a tech bulletin from Quadrafire on replacing the start up air seals? @Beech did you replace the startup air seals and if yes, did you take any pics?
     
  8. sophistical

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    I just did a custom google site search for "royale start air seals" and found this! https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/material-in-the-back-of-an-isle-royale.66330/

    I think that should work!
     
  9. begreen

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    Bingo! That's the thread. I added startup air seal to the title to make it easier to find in the future.
     
  10. webby3650

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    Looks like you found the answer.
    We actually aren’t a quad dealer, not sure of any bulletins.
     
  11. webby3650

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    You’ll need to start shutting it down even sooner. These non-cats can really get carried away if you wait too long to shut it down, especially with super dry wood.
    That moisture reading was taken on a freshly split piece at room temp? I mean like split just before the reading? Unless you live in the desert, getting under 10% is pretty difficult, almost impossible.
     
  12. Jags

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    Where is the temp gauge located on the top of the stove? I ask because the griddle top and stove body are often at different temp during different stages of the burn.

    I keep my thermo on the top left of the griddle top (for reference). Slam that sucker down when the temp hits 450-500F. Typical for my operation will be a constant 550-650F run after that. 700 didn’t hurt that stove. These are easy breathing stoves so air management is crucial to steady operation.

    Edit for clarification...By air management, I didn’t mean you need to fiddle with the air controls. I have two settings. Wide open and 5% open (primary air). Wide open at startup, 5% open during the typical run stage and if I am so inclined I will open it back up at the tail end of the coaling stage (usually this is just to liven the coals up for a reload).
     
  13. begreen

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    Very similar to the way I run the T6 with a full load. It's another easy breathing stove.
     
  14. webby3650

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    Controllability is what’s going to be harder to find with the new epa regs.. it’s bad enough already with non-cat stoves. I can’t imagine my primary heater having so little control! 600-700 is a “normal” temperature? It’s a pretty stove and a pretty fire, but not practical for me. Too much temperature swing.
    I can fire up the Blaze King and within 20 minutes have it dialed in for an all day burn, with consistent temperatures. That’s where it’s at!
     
  15. Jags

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    If in fact the OP’s firewood is in the 9-10% mc range - yep, I would guess 600-700 is where that stove is gonna want to run. For this stove and my config, I find 18-20% mc to be the sweet spot.

    If you are asking if “normal” for me to run my stove at 550 - 650? Yep. When winter temps hit , this 120+ Year old farmhouse needs some btu’s. Anything less than a 450 stovetop will result in house temp dropping. One of the very reasons a cat stove is not on the hearth. Shoulder season would be the only time a cat would really shine in my situation...but I digress. Let’s see if we can get the OP dialed in to his/her desired stove temp.
     
  16. webby3650

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    Understood. My BK will run 900 if I need it to.

    I think the issue here is that the wood is apparently too dry and the stove is not being shut down soon enough. Although, I’m very skeptical about that moisture reading...
     
  17. Jags

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    I Agree and am also skeptical of the internal MC being that low. I live close enough to WI that I am an honorary cheese head:p. The only firewood I ever had that got even close to those numbers was well seasoned stuff that went into a chicken coop (hot but well ventilated) for years. It was a bugger to control.
     
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