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Author Topic: Help with a wood stove  (Read 15901 times)

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Offline peter nap

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Help with a wood stove
« on: December 19, 2007, 08:42:49 AM »
I bought this stove from Northern for my son:
http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_200325829_200325829

The chimney Draws fine without the stove and in fact, I installed a liner when we couldn't get the stove to work...so I assume there is no problem from that end.

The stove simply won't burn! With the draft open full, it just fills the stove with smoke and you get a trickle of smoke from the chimney outlet .

I pulled the center baffle brick out of the top and it burns beautifully...it just won't heat. I'll be honest, I can't figure out where it is supposed to draw the smoke from. The fan is heat actuated and has a manual speed adjustment. When I do get a fire going with all the bricks in (The only way to do this is leave the door open) and close the door, the fan blows the fire out. Why is it blowing inside the stove?

Any help is greatly appreciated. I can't get Drolet to respond.

Offline RSteiner

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Re: Help with a wood stove
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2007, 01:17:27 PM »
There is usually only one reason why a stove will not burn and that is not enough air or draft.  This can be caused by a chimney that is not right, however it sounds like the chimney has a decent draw when the stove is not connected to it.  I also assume that this is a fireplace insert type of installation by the looks of the picture on the website.  Some chimneys are a little tempermental and need to be heated to get them to draw, I use a few sheets of news paper to get a cold chimney pulling the right direction. 

As far as the stove goes it needs a place to pull in air to support combustion and a place for the smoke to exit the stove.  Is there a baffle that blocks the chimney exit that you have to open when first starting a fire?  If there is try opening the baffle and let the stove get warmed up before closing it.  Most new stoves have to have a sescondary combustion device whether a catalitic or a secondary combustion chamber.  In both caases the stove needs to be at a certian operating temperature before the volitaltes can combust and exit the chimney.  Without this working properly a stove will not operate very well to begin with but eventually will get going.

One other thing I have seen if the house is very air tight the stove will not burn properly as it can not draw in enough air to support combustion.  Try opening a window a little bit in that room and see if that makes a difference.  Some stoves today can be set up with an outside air draft input so that you don't take heated air frominsdie the house to feed the wood stove with.

The part about taking the brick out may be a clue, what does the brick uncover when it is removed?  The fan blowing air inside the firebox would make me think this is a forced draft and should make the stove burn like a blast furnace when it is going.  That doesn't sound right.  I would think the blower would be used to blow air across the heated outside surface of the stove into the space you are trying to heat.

Good luck
Randy
Randy

Offline peter nap

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Re: Help with a wood stove
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2007, 01:46:58 PM »
Thanks Randy. What you said is exactly what I thought also but even though I've heated with wood for 30 years, this is my first experience with newer stoves. I like my old one.

The manual is here:
http://www.drolet.ca/product.aspx?CategoId=7&Id=428&Page=spec

The brick we removed is on top. I may be making some progress though. I looked at this site and the non cat stove is pretty much what I got.
http://www.woodheat.org/technology/woodstoves.htm

It appears that the blower blows air through the tubes and into the fire. That's what is happening but it blows the fire out.

The diagram shows the smoke flowing out of the left side of the stove, That may be my problem. The bricks were down on the left side and I replaced them as shown in the manual.....however, that left a gap. I closed the gap at the rear of the stove and I think that's where the smoke is supposed to go. Since there is no damper, it has to go somewhere. :-\

Offline Stump Jumper

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Re: Help with a wood stove
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2007, 02:32:50 PM »
i would think that a heat actuated fan should the warm air into the room
Jeff
May God Bless.
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Offline Nate Surveyor

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Re: Help with a wood stove
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2007, 05:57:40 PM »
I heard about a guy that bought a nice new wood stove, spent alot of $, and suffered with it for a long time. Turns out that 2 things were wrong. Some of the packing was STILL in the stove, and had held one of the firebricks in the wrong place. When the packing turned to charcoal looking stuff, (still could see remains of it, as it did never get very hot) it held the brick in covering the hole that would allow it to burn right.

Long shot, but maybe? :)

N
I know less than I used to.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Help with a wood stove
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2007, 06:25:15 PM »
I'm no expert here, but I never heard of a blower fan being directed into the fire. Dad had an old 'Big Box' stove with a blower fan on the flu pipe. I've got that old stove in the shop, but no blower fan. Too hot as it is. :D There was a thermometer on the blower of course. But the air was not blown from the inside of the flu, it was the radiant heat coming off the flu. Any air flow into the fire should be from the draft being sucked in and pulled by the flu. Sounds like everything is too air tight to get a good draft. Don't have to worry about air in this old farm house, unless it's to let some cold air in before I turn into a grease spot. :D

Also, you get a better draft in cold weather than in damp weather.
Move'n on.

Offline Furby

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Re: Help with a wood stove
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2007, 07:08:36 PM »
The manual clearly says the stove may not operate properly if all bricks are not in their proper place.
I'd go through and measure the bricks and make sure they are all where they should be.

Offline RSteiner

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Re: Help with a wood stove
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2007, 07:28:35 AM »
I looked through the manual.  The only thing that appears to prevent the smoke from exiting the stove is the palcement of the firebrick.  Could it be that one of them is blocking the flue opening? 

Being that the fan is temperature controlled it would seem that it is for blowing warmed air back into the living space not the firebox.  The instructions are not clear to where the vents are located for the blower exhaust only the intake.  There may be something wrong with the stove if the blower is putting out the fire, I would certianly check that out before building too big a fire.

Just wondering what type of chimney connection you used.  Fireplace chimneys are usually large openings that allow alot of air to move up and out a woodstove doesn't use that volume of air as it burns so the size of the chimney is less.  Too lagre a chimney opening for a woodstove application can cause the stove not to draw properly. 

This is our 34 season of heating our home solely with wood.  I hope you find out soon just what the culprit is.

Randy
Randy

Offline peter nap

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Re: Help with a wood stove
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2007, 07:47:59 AM »
Thanks Randy! I agree with everything you said. It's really puzzling me. When it didn't work. my first thought was the chimney so I put in a full length liner. No change.

When looking at the fire in it, it is clearly blocked and has to be the brick arrangement . By reading everything on the net I can find, I have decided the tubes that the air is coming from inside, are for blowing preheated air on the fire. I think blowing the fire out is a result of the fire being choked in the first place.

Since it's at my sons house, I need to wait until he's home to work on it but I'm now certain rearranging the bricks will cure it. What a pain!

I really do appreciate all the help everyone.

I sure don't think I'll be trading in my old stove for one of these modern wonders.

Offline RSteiner

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Re: Help with a wood stove
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2007, 07:55:40 AM »
I had to purchase a new stove this year.  I am very pleased with the Jotul Oslo we got, it can be used in a fire place application by taking the legs off if the fireplace opening is too low.  They are not inexpensive but the stove cost us no more than what the average homeowner is expected to pay this year for fuel oil, we hope to have this stove heat our home for many years to come.

Randy
Randy

Offline peter nap

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Re: Help with a wood stove
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2007, 08:14:11 AM »
Funny you mentioned the Jotul. We are building a weekend and eventually retirment place on our farm, that's 100% off grid. I've already installed the Solar and wind generator (I still need to build a larger wind ginny, but later) We're operating the camper off of them now.

Anyway.... I have narrowed the stove down to either the Jotul or Dutch West. Both seem to make very good stoves. They are a little pricey but I don't plan on buying another one in my lifetime.

Offline RSteiner

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Re: Help with a wood stove
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2007, 11:04:57 AM »
The Jotul I bought is replacing a DutchWest stove we used for 20 or so years.  The DutchWest had a catalytic combustor to make it pass emission regulations back then.  The cat. lasted two years and I did not replace it because of the cost and poor service life.  The stove worked well until the hinge pin froze over the warmer months when I went to remove the broken pin the thin casting on the door hinge piece broke.  Not the stoves fault but mine.

I looked at the Jotul and the Lopi brand of stoves, both looked good.  I went with the Jotul because the castings were made in Denmark, Lopi casting came from China.  Lopi is probably a very good stove but the China thing turned me off. 

Randy
Randy

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Help with a wood stove
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2007, 12:05:57 PM »
I'm not saying this to pick on anyone and it's not directed to anyone in particular, but China has good steal regardless of what people have been lead to believe. Most all my shop power tools are made in Taiwan which is as much an extension of China as Hong Kong is. Only thing is Taiwan is a separate nation but still pro-democracy. My grandfather was down in Rhode Island a few years ago visiting relatives and picked up an ax, made in Canada stamped on it. My uncle used it one winter to split kitchen stove wood and it was bitter cold out. After about the 4th block of firewood he had the steel on the blade all broke to bits. Brittle as peanut brittle.  :o

I have had a number of knives made in China and they have been top notch steel. I've never even sharpened the planer knives in 15 years I've owned my planer and jointer. Sure you can buy junk steel, but it's not necessarily a China conspiracy. A lot of junk steel comes from Korea.
Move'n on.

Offline RSteiner

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Re: Help with a wood stove
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2007, 12:58:56 PM »
I have a Total Shop 15" thickness planer that was made in Tiawan.  I've had it for over 20 years.  When I worked at a place that had a surface grinder I sharpened the blades once myself and just a year ago bought a new set so I could send the others out for sharpening.  It has been a good tool. 

I'm not saying that all China stuff is junk some of it is very well made.  The quality of the Lopi stove looked top notch.  It is just the whole China thing, I would rather see my money go to other places.  China turns alot of its profits into building a bigger military force and other things non human friendly.

Randy
Randy

Offline peter nap

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Re: Help with a wood stove
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2007, 06:05:06 PM »
Found the problem. Whoever assembled the stove had wadded up the high temp insulation and it was blocking the flu.

The most irritating thing was the people who make the *DanG thing (Canadian) refused to even acknowledge 3 emails. So did northern tool Note:Please read the Forestry Forum's postion on this company. They just went on my Sh!% list with Tractor Supply.

Pretty soon I'll have to import everything myself because I won't deal with any of the big box stores anymore :-\

Thanks again!

Offline Nate Surveyor

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Re: Help with a wood stove
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2007, 07:05:49 PM »
Glad you found it! :)

Now, let us all know how you like it!

N
I know less than I used to.

Offline Mooseherder

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Re: Help with a wood stove
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2007, 07:35:39 PM »
northern tool Note:Please read the Forestry Forum's postion on this company was already on alot of folks d list. ;)
Lane Circle Mill

Offline bitternut

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Re: Help with a wood stove
« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2007, 10:56:08 AM »
RSteiner where did you get the info that Lopi is made in China? Sure hope you are wrong. I assumed that Lopi's were made on the west coast. I did not buy a free standing Lopi wood stove, I bought a fireplace insert. The model I bought sticks out on the hearth and has a cook top. It works very well but if its made in China I most certainly would have made another choice. The Jotul is at the top of the quality list and would have been what I would buy if I was purchasing a free standing stove. In my book China stuff is OK for throw away merchandise but if I want quality and long service I will look elsewhere.

SD most of the steel that I buy has made in Canada embossed on it. Probably because I am only about 30 miles east of the Queenston Bridge.

Offline RSteiner

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Re: Help with a wood stove
« Reply #18 on: December 24, 2007, 09:23:49 AM »
RSteiner where did you get the info that Lopi is made in China? Sure hope you are wrong. I assumed that Lopi's were made on the west coast. I did not buy a free standing Lopi wood stove, I bought a fireplace insert. The model I bought sticks out on the hearth and has a cook top. It works very well but if its made in China I most certainly would have made another choice. The Jotul is at the top of the quality list and would have been what I would buy if I was purchasing a free standing stove. In my book China stuff is OK for throw away merchandise but if I want quality and long service I will look elsewhere.

SD most of the steel that I buy has made in Canada embossed on it. Probably because I am only about 30 miles east of the Queenston Bridge.

The only Lopi stove that is made in China is the new cast iron model.  The castings come from China then are inspected and assembled in this country.  That information came from the dealer, I also talked to someone in customer service at Lopi.  The steel stoves Lopi makes are made  in this country and to me looked like a very well made unit.  I wanted a cast iron stove.  They have a little more style and charm than the steel stoves do.  Lopi is a good stove with the best warrantee on the market.  You made a very good choice.

Randy
Randy

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Help with a wood stove
« Reply #19 on: December 24, 2007, 10:26:55 AM »
I have an old cast iron heater in the shop, 34 Big Box it's called. It says Columbus Iron Works, Columbus, Georgia on the draft plate.
Move'n on.

Offline peter nap

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Re: Help with a wood stove
« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2008, 08:40:51 AM »
I just wanted to give an update on the stove.

Since I removed the wad of insulation, it draws fine. I never did get a reply from the manufacturer or Northern so if anyone considers customer service a factor....don't buy this stove. This was after a number of emails to both, the last few somewhat colorful. >:(

The stove heats well although not as well as my old fashioned stove. It does hold the fire overnight better than anything I've ever seen.

The blower is weak.

On a scale of one to ten....it gets a very generous six and a half.

Thanks again for all the help. :)


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