smoke getting into my room

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velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,132
Sand Lake, NY
How about getting yourself an infrared gun and measure temperatures here and there? Maybe they're low, or something. It comes in handy once in awhile anyway. :)
 

john81

New Member
Oct 30, 2021
50
Netherlands
Hi,

@velvetfoot: thanks for your suggestion

I got a reply from the flue shop. They don't reply my questions about 2x45 corner vs 90 degree tee, and about the horizontal 45 cm single walled pipe :(

But they suggest trying vermiculite as insulator in my masonry chimney, in order to prevent gasses cooling down too much and improving draft. Personally I don't like that idea as I have to put lots of stuff in my chimney.

After a lot of reading online, I can come up with three solutions:

1. shorten the 45 cm (almost) horizontal part: this is no practical solution as the mantlepiece contains flammable parts, so I tried to let it slope upwards to the tee piece a little. (I guess this will be a few millimeters for 45 cm length)
2. extend outer chimney length: this should be an insulated flue due to risk of gasses cooling down too much I would think; but esthetically it doesn't sound good. Technically, I would think it could be a good option as the current chimney is on an outer wall and its top is at the same height as the top of the roof. Current chimney length is about 5.5 meters
3. replacing the 90 degree bend (tee part) with a 2x45 bend

Any other suggestions? Personally I would like to try option 3 first, not sure if this option makes sense and sounds like a good chance to improve draft?

I have to mention we have a very big, tall tree close to our house, and on the other side of the house there are two more tall trees. I will post a picture soon of the situation.
 

jsmith_TCF

New Member
Mar 31, 2021
11
TN
I'm no expert but sounds like your chimney doesn't meet current code. It should be a minimum of 2ft above the peak of the roof and 3ft above the penetration and 10 ft away from the roof at the top. See below.

Chimney_Clearance_Spec020-DFs.jpg
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
91,299
South Puget Sound, WA
Isn’t vermiculite insulation asbestos?
No. Years back there was asbestos contamination of some vermiculite that came from a particular mine. That mine was shut down after considerable lawsuits.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
91,299
South Puget Sound, WA
So if a older house has vermiculite you just assume it’s asbestos then? I didn’t realize it was a contamination thing.
Without testing, there is no way to know, but if it is from before 1990 it is likely to have some contamination. Vermiculite is a popular product still. It is used for insulation, insulation board, and also in nursery soil sometimes.
 

john81

New Member
Oct 30, 2021
50
Netherlands
@jsmith_TCF: thanks for your suggestion. The top of the flue outlet is about the same level / height as the roof. But I think it will look ugly to have another piece of flue pipe extending 60 cm on top of the masonry pipe:

Schermafbeelding 2021-11-03 om 20.00.49.png

And would this modification guarantee a greatly improved draft? Tonight I lighted my stove and the first 30 min there was a strong and hot fire. I waited, as told by the lady of the stove shop, until all flames disappeared, to prevent smoke from leaking in my room. But the problem is that temperature has dropped by then to 250 F. I then put a log on the coals but it had difficulty catching fire. After a while I had to open the door to keep the flames going. Then the fire died. It feels like I have to time and prepare everything to a very strict schedule and practice in order to get not too much bad air in my room.

I contacted the Dutch Morsoe importer and they tell me the stove shop is correct - the chimney is not ok or my indoor ventilation is not ok. I will call him soon to talk about this issue. It has also to do with the "modern" "clean" technology of this stove.

To be honest, I'm losing confidence in this stove. It seems like a complicated thing to get a constant good draft in my situation.

The only thing I can come up with is putting a 82 cm piece of flexible double walled stainless steel liner on top of the current chimney just to temporarily test the effect of extending the current chimney and have it's top about 80 cm about the highest point of the roof.
 
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PaulOinMA

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2018
1,127
MA
Can you have the installer measure draft? Page 5 of the "Instructions for Installation and Use:"

"1.9 Draft conditions If smoke spillage occurs when the fire door is opened, it is probably due to poor chimney draft. This type of stove requires at least 12 pa of chimney draft to achieve satisfactory combustion and smoke spillage prevention. However, in cases where the stove door is opened too vigorously you could expect that slight smoke spillage may occur. The smoke gas temperature at the rated output is 294˚ C relative to 20˚ C. The smoke gas flow is 5.43 gr/sec. If you have any doubts, you may want to have your installer measure the draft in the chimney."

 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,706
SE North Carolina
@jsmith_TCF: thanks for your suggestion. The top of the flue outlet is about the same level / height as the roof. But I think it will look ugly to have another piece of flue pipe extending 60 cm on top of the masonry pipe:

View attachment 284670

And would this modification guarantee a greatly improved draft? Tonight I lighted my stove and the first 30 min there was a strong and hot fire. I waited, as told by the lady of the stove shop, until all flames disappeared, to prevent smoke from leaking in my room. But the problem is that temperature has dropped by then to 250 F. I then put a log on the coals but it had difficulty catching fire. After a while I had to open the door to keep the flames going. Then the fire died. It feels like I have to time and prepare everything to a very strict schedule and practice in order to get not too much bad air in my room.

I contacted the Dutch Morsoe importer and they tell me the stove shop is correct - the chimney is not ok or my indoor ventilation is not ok. I will call him soon to talk about this issue. It has also to do with the "modern" "clean" technology of this stove.

To be honest, I'm losing confidence in this stove. It seems like a complicated thing to get a constant good draft in my situation.

The only thing I can come up with is putting a 82 cm piece of flexible double walled stainless steel liner on top of the current chimney just to temporarily test the effect of extending the current chimney and have it's top about 80 cm about the highest point of the roof.
So you had a good hot fire for a bit that’s good. How full was the firebox? New stoves burn best if loaded clear full and allowed to burn all the way down. I use lots of small kindling to get the fire started top down from a cold start and on the bottom of reloading almost all the time.

So looking through the manual it refers to a “smoke tray” and “smoke hood”. I can’t tell exactly if this piece is to be removed for a rear vent. It says to remove on boats because the flue is usually short. Look into that There maybe a split there

Evan
 

MR. GLO

Member
Jan 26, 2021
235
Massachusetts
Is the wood 2 to 3 years old? covered? Are you reloading when its in mid burn...do you pause for 5 seconds after cracking door slowly...

My new stove did let more smoke in the room in comparison to my older stoves. Seems like each stove is different on how much comes in. ive had 6 stoves of the years. The piping is probably contributing to the problem... more rise angle... but if I open the door when its mid cycle or not near the end cycle i will get a small amount of smoke.
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,132
Sand Lake, NY
The liner inside the chimney is already (expensive no doubt) double walled stainless pipe. I can't see vermiculite adding much, except a mess later on.

You have to make sure you have enough space, geometrically speaking, for the two 45's. I guess you could have a extension from the stove parallel to the ground if it doesn't fit. You'd be cutting expensive double wall pipe, and you could mess up. You wouldn't want to mess up your chimney liner either, trying to make the T fit higher up.

I see you have a thermometer. What kind of temperatures are you seeing? Is that a single piece of steel between the fire and the thermometer?
 

john81

New Member
Oct 30, 2021
50
Netherlands
Hi, thanks again for your replies.

@PaulOinMA: yes I can, but I prefer to do it myself and invest in such a device. Any advice on what type is recommended? Do things like permanent, liner built-in draft meters exist? Or is this overkill? If would think it could be a nice feature to be able to instantly read draft in order to decide to use the wood stove, or in my case, fall back on my wall heating.

@EbS-P: the stove wasn't fully loaded. I will try that as that seems to be what is advised in several instruction videos as well.

@velvetfoot: I always keep it in the "best operation" area, that is 260-460 F. I guess there is 1 top plate between the thermometer and the flames.

@MR. GLO: I bought the wood as (naturally) "dried". I don't know how long it dried. Should I invest in a moisture meter? (I try to restrict myself from buying too much electronic devices). The wood is stored outside in a 100% dry, venting wood shed. I reload at the end of the burn: I wait until all flames are gone. This is what the stove seller told me to do, and also several videos about how to properly use a EPA stove. Is this true? I get the idea that there is less (maybe almost none) smoke leaking into my room when loading on coals (and no flames). But yesterday I put a medium sized, cleaved log on the coals, not that big, about 10 cm thick I guess. It took several minutes to catch fire and then I observed smoke smell in my room. (both vents were 100% opened, door closed) Then I opened the door just a bit, but it didn't burn well. The problem is when waiting for all flames to be gone, temperature has dropped to 260 F. I think I had to put smaller pieces of wood on the coals.
 
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bigealta

Feeling the Heat
May 22, 2010
325
Utah, NJ
perhaps you can make a short video of your stove burning. Post it on youtube and add the link here.
 

ctyankee

Member
Oct 25, 2019
110
connecticut
Just replace the mantle with slate (that's what I'd use, here in the U.S. antique Victorian slate mantles can be found that would probably fit well, or maybe find a slate dealer for ex.) , then you can put the stove where it will function well. It's starved for air. It's pretty simple.
 

ctyankee

Member
Oct 25, 2019
110
connecticut
Or better yet, use maybe slate across the top for a shelf --- and for the surround both sides Delft tiles.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,706
SE North Carolina
Hi, thanks again for your replies.

@PaulOinMA: yes I can, but I prefer to do it myself and invest in such a device. Any advice on what type is recommended? Do things like permanent, liner built-in draft meters exist? Or is this overkill? If would think it could be a nice feature to be able to instantly read draft in order to decide to use the wood stove, or in my case, fall back on my wall heating.

@EbS-P: the stove wasn't fully loaded. I will try that as that seems to be what is advised in several instruction videos as well.

@velvetfoot: I always keep it in the "best operation" area, that is 260-460 F. I guess there is 1 top plate between the thermometer and the flames.

@MR. GLO: I bought the wood as (naturally) "dried". I don't know how long it dried. Should I invest in a moisture meter? (I try to restrict myself from buying too much electronic devices). The wood is stored outside in a 100% dry, venting wood shed. I reload at the end of the burn: I wait until all flames are gone. This is what the stove seller told me to do, and also several videos about how to properly use a EPA stove. Is this true? I get the idea that there is less (maybe almost none) smoke leaking into my room when loading on coals (and no flames). But yesterday I put a medium sized, cleaved log on the coals, not that big, about 10 cm thick I guess. It took several minutes to catch fire and then I observed smoke smell in my room. (both vents were 100% opened, door closed) Then I opened the door just a bit, but it didn't burn well. The problem is when waiting for all flames to be gone, temperature has dropped to 260 F. I think I had to put smaller pieces of wood on the coals.
Yes you want a moisture meter. Start a full load top down with lots of dry kindling. If you wood is 20% or less and you still have issues then it’s time to look into other things like chimney height, smoke tray/hood and re doing the connection. One thing at a time.

Make sure wood is dry. It’s easy to do.
Figure out if you have the smoke tray/hood installed. Should it be there? Can you remove it?

Evan
 

john81

New Member
Oct 30, 2021
50
Netherlands
Hi, thanks for your new replies, I will respond on them soon.

@bigealta: good idea. I made a series of videos tonight. Here they are, in chronological order:

1. starting the fire, Swiss method, first time that I managed to start a fire this way, without newspapers. If I'm correct this is better as it produces less smoke than the other way around which I used until now (bigger pieces on top of smaller twigs and newspaper). Both air vents fully open, door slightly open as well:


2. After about 5 mins: I used small pieces of splitted pine wood, stacked on top of bigger (but still not so big) birch wood (2 pieces). On top of the pile I put twigs and also in betweek each layer. Both air vents still fully open, door closed (?).


3. After about 30 minutes: all wood except the biggest birch log has burnt down:


4. Just before the first refill: temperature dropped to 260 F before all flames disappeared. No visible smoke leaking to room, but smell in room (not smoke-smell, but coal smell?)


5. After first refill:

https://studio.youtube.com/video/oVNXVsStwwY/edit

6. Just before second refill: coals are looking very nice?! Red glowing


7. Between first and second refill:


Summary:

because I waited for the first refill for the flames to disappear, temperature dropped to 260F, which is 'creosote' area according to my thermometer. No visible smoke leaking into room, but after refill there is a clear smell, not smokey, but 'coal smell'. First cycle took around 1:15 hours, almost no temperature raise in room.

Second refill: more coals, more red / intense color, higher temp, still smell leaking in room, but not visible smoke leaking while refilling. Second cycle took less time, between 30-60 mins, much more heat in room, getting pleasant now

Third refill: lots of coals, (almost) no smell in room after refill. No visible smoke while refilling.

I can hear a clear sucking sound (draft), even at 3 meters distance from stove, when I concentrate and listen. Any idea after wachting the videos if things look ok or not? How about draft?
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,706
SE North Carolina
Hi, thanks for your new replies, I will respond on them soon.

@bigealta: good idea. I made a series of videos tonight. Here they are, in chronological order:

1. starting the fire, Swiss method, first time that I managed to start a fire this way, without newspapers. If I'm correct this is better as it produces less smoke than the other way around which I used until now (bigger pieces on top of smaller twigs and newspaper). Both air vents fully open, door slightly open as well:


2. After about 5 mins: I used small pieces of splitted pine wood, stacked on top of bigger (but still not so big) birch wood (2 pieces). On top of the pile I put twigs and also in betweek each layer. Both air vents still fully open, door closed (?).


3. After about 30 minutes: all wood except the biggest birch log has burnt down:


4. Just before the first refill: temperature dropped to 260 F before all flames disappeared. No visible smoke leaking to room, but smell in room (not smoke-smell, but coal smell?)


5. After first refill:

https://studio.youtube.com/video/oVNXVsStwwY/edit

6. Just before second refill: coals are looking very nice?! Red glowing


7. Between first and second refill:


Summary:

because I waited for the first refill for the flames to disappear, temperature dropped to 260F, which is 'creosote' area according to my thermometer. No visible smoke leaking into room, but after refill there is a clear smell, not smokey, but 'coal smell'. First cycle took around 1:15 hours, almost no temperature raise in room.

Second refill: more coals, more red / intense color, higher temp, still smell leaking in room, but not visible smoke leaking while refilling. Second cycle took less time, between 30-60 mins, much more heat in room, getting pleasant now

Third refill: lots of coals, (almost) no smell in room after refill. No visible smoke while refilling.

I can hear a clear sucking sound (draft), even at 3 meters distance from stove, when I concentrate and listen. Any idea after wachting the videos if things look ok or not? How about draft?
Videos look ok But it’s hard to tell. Flames look lively. I was expecting to see more secondary combustion. but I have no real experience with this stove. How does your burning compare to this video. Amount of wood and flame pattern.? This one loks pretty reasonable.

evan
 

bigealta

Feeling the Heat
May 22, 2010
325
Utah, NJ
Not sure about the smoke spilling issues, but in general the goal is to load the firebox Full with large splits on bottom, middle size in the middle, and small kindling on top. This would make 1 full burn cycle without opening the door again until you fully reload on hot coals. With minimum door openings you should reduce smoke spillage. That's happened to me. My old jotul 3 never spilled smoke into the house. The new jotul f400 does spill some with door openings, with the exact same install set up. So set up for long burns with full loads is the best way to run, your and most woodstoves. That said it is frustrating even getting any smoke in the house. Dry wood also is Key to reducing smoke and making Hot fires.
 

john81

New Member
Oct 30, 2021
50
Netherlands
@EbS-P: it seems like the stove in your linked video shows quicker secondary combustion. I used smaller pieces of wood on top, this guy uses larger pieces without having trouble of dying fire. So it seems his configuration is a bit easier.

@bigealta: that's what I tried yesterday, but I will try to improve on this by using medium sized pieces in the middle, so there is a bit more wood mass in the stove. I hope to have a bit more coals this way, and higher temperatures, to make reloading easier.
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,132
Sand Lake, NY
If I had to think about the various sizes of wood I'm loading into my stove 2 or 3 times a day, it would drive me crazy. Way too much fussing.

I load it up to the brim, let it get hot, and turn it down. If the coals aren't strong enough when reloading, I use a fire starter square.
Fire-starters-groupweb.png
 
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bigealta

Feeling the Heat
May 22, 2010
325
Utah, NJ
Just to be clear, The Top Down Loading is just for starting the fire. My point was trying to say fully load up your top down start load including a good amount of large splits....... Reload depends on your coals, and if they have burned down a bit too much, add some middle size pieces onto the coals (to help refire, and add air space) and then a Full load of mostly large splits on top.

Your coals on the 2nd reload looked better (more and hotter). I would reload on the good hot plentiful red coals rather than letting them burn down too much.

Also coals won't give "smoke" smell if your stove is leaking with door openings. The smoke is almost gone by this point, but not the CO, so not smelling smoke on reloads doesn't mean the stove isn't still leaking. That "Coal" smell is exactly that. Coal fumes.
 
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john81

New Member
Oct 30, 2021
50
Netherlands
Hi all,

thanks again for your suggestions. I learnt a lot of things here already. It seems it takes just a lot of practice to get good at wood burning, in my opinion. But although I suspect draft still being too low / an issue / sub-optimal, I want to try and learn to get the best / cleanest burning now. I will call the Morsoe importer soon, hopefully he has some good advice.

I found another interesting picture which suggests I should extend my chimney at least 60 cm's as my current chimney is within 10 feet (3 meters) of the (flat) roof top and not extending above that roof which can lead to downdrafts:

(source: https://inspectapedia.com/chimneys/Chimney-Height-vs-Wind-Beckett.jpg)

Chimney-Height-vs-Wind-Beckett.jpeg