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Thread: More heating issues

  1. #1
    New member reuben_j_cogburn's Avatar
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    Default More heating issues

    Hi gang,
    You guys will remember that I posted a question concerning lack of heat with my former landlords woodstove. Much help was offered but I moved out due to continuing disputes before anything was resolved concerning heating the cabin.
    This time I have my own issues. I moved into another cabin that has wood heat only (not including my little propane heater).
    Since I had no wood supply built up I went out and cut the (best) I could find.. some too old some too green....
    The barrelstove did draw but rather weakly. There did not seem to be any blockage or creasote buildup. The stove smoked horribly until the fire was going good. I didn't over heat the stove or stack. Every time I would open the door (except went it was little more than glowing embers) it would spill smoke out the door. After a few days I let the fire die and thought I would clean it out. It was then that I noticed creosote had been dripping out the back of the stove where the stack joins the stove. taking a look outside it was clear that creosote had been forming outside the smokestack.

    I will post pics this weekend.

    I know that about 1/2 my wood was greener than prefered but I had thought I was keeping my chimney hot enough to prevent some of this evcessive buildup. I do not have a chimney thermometer however.
    I will obviously replace the upper section of my chimney but I'd like more advice after I get pics posted.
    I seems odd that just the few days I used the stove would cause this. There must have been some buildup before. I need to find a better supply of wood, but the snow is still pretty deep and much of it is still buried. The rest has been saturated with water by the melting snow (I'm thinking).Tomorrow I'll get it apart and look.
    Then I'd like some input if'n you don't mind!
    Thanks all.....


    ciao..

    reuben..

  2. #2
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    Default Give it more air after its clean

    Well Hello again, Reuben!

    First off-- your plan to take some sections of flue pipe apart and inventigate this weekend is a good one. Another smart move would be to simply resign and commit yourself to brush out the flue.

    That done, here's some advise from a 30yr barrel-stove user:
    Hopefully you have the typical barrel stove kit with the hinged air-intake door w/ slide-band air hole adjustments mounted on the front door.

    Best way to start a fire in one is to get a stick ( metal rod is better ) long enough to prop open the complete hinged air intake door above parallel on the front door.

    Light a fire in the barrel stove. Once you get the fire started, close the main front door, take the stick ( or rod ) and prop open the hinged door ( they usually hinge up ) above parallel so the fire can get the maximum air volume thru the air intake with the main door being closed. Leave it like this 'till it reaches what can sometimes be referred to as a Zen description: "steady state". Then maybe add a little more wood, remove your stick or rod prop-up tool, hinge the intake door down, and adjust the airflow slide-door in slow increments until you get it burnin' just right. This of course, in conjuction with your cast-iron-damper in the smoke pipe just above the stove.

    Now- as for your wood. No matter how hot a fire you burn, green wood will produce creosote, with greater amounts accumulating at lower stack temperatures. This is why we season wood. But-- green wood beats no wood at all. So be it.

    The problem for you is that I'd recommend you inspect your flue almost once a week for awhile so as to safely guage how the creosote accumulates and then rebrush as necessary.

    Dryer wood would reduce this step immensely.

    Oh ya- and almost all barrel stoves will puff some smoke back when you open the main door when a fire is burning. That doesn't necessarily point to a problem.

    This one you should be able to solve and control in short order.

    Good luck!
    Bill

  3. #3

    Default

    Is there a stovepipe damper in the stovepipe? If so, it should be turned so the flue is as open as possible when opening the door, then turn it to reduce the flow in the flue once the door is closed and the chimney is drawing well. If it doesn't draw well at all I'd leave it in the wide open position...

    Also, if you can, find some standing dead wood, it should be relatively dry compared to the green wood.

  4. #4
    New member reuben_j_cogburn's Avatar
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    Default Thanks gang.

    We burned a lot of wood when I was a kid, but haven't in 30 years or so. Back then our house had just the woodstove in the basement and we used it 24/7 during cold months.
    I know my wood wasn't the best, and it was a compromise as I needed some in a hurry. The trees I cut where all down. Some had been down a bit to long and the large birch was suprisingly green.....
    Yes the woodstove is a barrel stove. I have been keeping the stack damper pretty much open and the air intake slots where kept about half closed as smoke would escape through it. It would even leak smokeout the tiny gap between the door and the barrel. I inspected that after it cooled and it looks like the opening for the door was chiseled out rather than cut.
    While the stove would draw smoke it just seemed a bit weak. Burning the green wood must have simply overloaded it's ability to draw as the smoke was excessive... I had trouble seeing!!
    But I'll get it torn apart and see. I doubt I will use those sections as the amount of creosote dripping doen the outside really took me by suprise.
    Back when I was a kid I had a sterp father who believed that you should go out and cut wood at the very last minute. Obviously there is just so much seasoned wood out there so we burned a lot of green wood. Having experienced more than one chimney fire I am also a bit paranoid about it.
    I'll put all your advice into action this weekend.

    ciao gang...

    gotta fire up the sled and head up river!!


    reuben....


  5. #5

    Default

    How tall is your chimney? I installed a stove in the fall and I was having similar problems. I contacted the manufacture and they recommended I add another length of pipe to the chimney. I did and It solve the issue.
    Last edited by makalutoo; 03-15-2008 at 17:17. Reason: i cat splell

  6. #6
    New member reuben_j_cogburn's Avatar
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    Default pics of crud......

    I don't know about the specs on the chimney and I will only be here for 30-45 days. I am going to clean the stack though. As for the outside which has a creosote buildup..... I was thinking that I would just disassemble the whole thing as there isn't that much. Locate it in a place away from other building as ignite the creosote with my weed burner and clean it that way...
    I have located some good seasoned wood. It should be enough to get me by until I move..

    See pics....





  7. #7
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    Default Replace the pipe if you can afford it

    Reuben, it looks like that's single-wall pipe going thru the wall, which I would thus also guess is single wall all the rest of the way up ,as well. Not good. With proper clearances for safety, single wall pipe is adequate at best, and is usually chosen primarily to keep the cost down.
    In cold climates like ours here in Alaska, the performance of a single-wall chimney vent is usually an issue, and performance will vary by the outdoor air temps. Single wall pipe should really only be used as a "vent connector" between the appliance ( barrel stove ) and main chimney flue ( such as an insulated all-fuel chimney such as Metalbestos SS, etc.).

    The ceosote and soot shown in your pictures lining the pipe should really just convince you to abandon the pipe altogether and replace it. I'm not sure brushing will remove enough. You need to get back to the full diameter of the pipe.

    I wouldn't recommend you clean the chimney pipe by assembling it somewhere else and lighting it off---creosote fires will burn in excess of 2100 deg. F. They can easily get away from you, and It'll scare the crap out of you in no time. And by the time it's burned itself out, your galvanized pipe ( even if 24 guage ) will be ready to fall apart and return to dust, if it doesn't do so in the chimney fire, itself.

    The clearance to combustibles around the barrell stove looks to be too skinny, as well. Typically you'll want to maintain a minimum 18" clearance.
    The wall board installed as a sort of fire-barrier looks to be installed wrong, too.

    Mounting the non-combustible board directly to the wall does almost nothing from a safety standpoint. The proper way is to create, buy, manufacture some 1" standoff spacers and create a minimum 1" airspace behind the "wallboard" and the main wall-- with air being able to freely circulate and move from bottom to top around the wallboard and the wall.
    The sides can be framed to the wall for asthetic reasons, but the top and bottom must allow air to flow freely between the finished wall and the wallboard.

    Sorry for having nothing but bad news, and more work to recommend.

  8. #8

    Default

    What Mr. Bill said. Only he said it better.

    The problem though is that this isn't your house. I would definetely show this to the landlord, including Mr Bills post. It's unsafe like this. If this is your only source of heat you have a problem.

    When I was a kid we lost our house to a chimney fire caused by this very same problem. Creosote burns VERY hot when it finally gets going.
    Wasilla Real Estate News
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  9. #9

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    The stove, also, is way too close to the walls. The cement board isn't going to stop the place from catching fire eventually.

  10. #10
    Member Magnum Man's Avatar
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    Arrow lack of chimney draft.

    A stove that big might need a taller chimney to in order to create a more effective draft to get the exhaust up and out. Also the you need to get a metalbestos thru wall adapter for the pipe so you dont burn the place down. Another section or two of stovepipe going more verticle would probably solve the problem.

  11. #11
    New member reuben_j_cogburn's Avatar
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    Default better now

    Thanks gang... I agree that this isn't the best situation, and as usual my hands are a bit tied.
    A did replace much of the pipe as I was just to lazy to clean it. I already knew it wasn't going to clean well anyway, as I have swept a few myself.
    I don't know why they enclosed the stove in an enclave, but at least they did put Durock around it.
    Anywhoo... when I tear the chimney apart I found that the chimney cap was almost totally plugged.. (see pic)....
    I cleaned it out.. (hammer)... and reassembled the new pieces. I lit a match in the door and obseved the draw.. much better.

    Yes by the way the wall around the stack is single was... in fact it is just tin. The surround is made of sheetrock, and the outside of the building itself is sheathed in metal.
    I can't really put any money into it as I will be moving in a few weeks (back into the camper)...
    My interim plan is to build my fire, during the day. Let it burn out before bed. Between the weather and the heat holding abilities of the bunkhouse (which are impressive) I stay warm all night, and sometimes don't even start a fire until after noon.
    I never leave the bunkhouse with a real fire going. I keep a close eye on things and have sacrificed my GOOD WOOD, for the cause.....
    As I get my first building up on my property I will post pics and text on the why's and wherefor's.......

    Note the clogged vent holes in the pic.... at least 75% blocked.... After I cleaned and replaced everything my fires have started and burned exactly as they should.....


    I much appreciate all the help and rest assured... my place will be done RIGHT.....

    ciao for now gang......

    reuben..

  12. #12

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    That's quite the photo. That should be kept as a good illustration of what creosote can do.
    Wasilla Real Estate News
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    Default What, me Worry?

    Ya, I agree, Marty.

    If you don't mind, Reuben, I'd like to add that photo to my " hall of shame" .

    Can't wait to see what you've got planned for your property. Cabins are best enjoyed when they're finished...

    Bill

  14. #14
    New member reuben_j_cogburn's Avatar
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    Default advice

    I'm counting on help here to get things going. Right now I'm exploring a more "year round" route. The rivers are turning to liquid very rapidly and I doubt I'll get anything really constructive done without a more stable route.
    I can use boats but I'd rather do as much of it on my own as I can.
    Fortunately the heating won't be much of a problem now so I can hold off on things like insulation.
    I'll be putting together a web page just for the heck of it...

    ciao y'all...


    reuben...

  15. #15
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Hard to believe

    I find the photos hard to believe. You certainly have a problem. I burn every day. I just cleaned the pipes last night and have no where the build up as you have in the pictures.

    A couple of things:

    I clean every two months - just because it is so much fun to do.

    I burn a hot fire two to three times a week to burn things out.

    Most of the wood I am currently burning is 18-24 month old dried spruce and cotton wood.

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
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  16. #16

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    Rueben, can I have permission to use these photos on my website. I will credit you, or not credit you...whichever you like. You probably won't want me to say anything about where the photo came from. I would just like to use it as an illustration of why stovepipes need to be checked.
    Wasilla Real Estate News
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  17. #17
    New member reuben_j_cogburn's Avatar
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    Default copyright

    Quote Originally Posted by martyv View Post
    Rueben, can I have permission to use these photos on my website. I will credit you, or not credit you...whichever you like. You probably won't want me to say anything about where the photo came from. I would just like to use it as an illustration of why stovepipes need to be checked.
    You do have permission to use these snapshots..... these aren't exactly works of art.
    Don't worry about credits as these are already public domain. I DO watermark or copyright all my important photo's....

    As an update I have been burning very good wood lately and have had a bit of buildup. I can't blame the wood as it is good seasoned spruce. I did start having a bit of smoke inside again so I checked the chimney cap.. there was some blockage so I just removed the cap all together. Maybe my fires are to small? This time of year it doesn't take much to get it too hot inside....

    ciao...

    reuben..

  18. #18
    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    Default bends in the pipe

    Heres a thought. I have used a barrel stove for years, and the one thing that I've found out is that the less bends you have in your pipe, the better it draws. Just a thought. E.S.

  19. #19
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Damper

    When I installed my Drolet wood stove, the directions said not to install a damper. Well, being a man, I did this weekend anyways. Surprisingly, the heat now lasts all night till morning (still have coals), it heats more even, and no roaring fires.

    Go figure, little changes seem to mean a lot sometimes and directions are not always correct.

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
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  20. #20
    New member reuben_j_cogburn's Avatar
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    Default lots o heat

    Other than the buildup.. which I have since fixed! everything seems fine. Fires start easily, there is plenty of draft and no smoke!
    I am curious though as to why even burning good wood it would start building up again so quickly. It didn't seem to take much to make a real difference in the draw and the amount of smoke in the cabin.
    There are two 90 degree turns in the stack...
    I went out and found some good standing dead spruce today and I'll continue burning that until I move....
    Thanks ya'll..


    reuben..

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