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Old 02-27-12, 04:04 PM   #26
abogart
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plantman View Post
Mostly smoke going up the chimney
That's usually a sign that the fire is burning too hot with not enough air, OR that too much air is being fed to a cool fire. You said that it had a combustion air fan, correct? Is there a damper or speed control so that you can control the amount of fresh air that is let in? If so, try playing around with it, making small adjustments and waiting a few minutes for the fire to adjust, to see if you can get it burning better. If the fire is burning hot with too little air, you'll see slow rolling reddish flames, and some black smoke coming from the chimney that smells like carbon/soot (an acquired smell). That's your cue to hold off on adding any wood for a while and give it more air. If there are short yellow flames in only parts of the wood, that is usually a sign that air is being forced into the stove faster than the fire can maintain the flames, basically blowing it out. You'll see a lot of grey smoke in this case, which should smell like whatever kind of wood (or fuel) you put in, and creosote (also an acquired smell) which is what you DON'T want in your flue. Back off on the air and maybe add more wood if there isn't a whole lot in it.

Is there a flue pipe on it or is the fireplace built right into the chimney? One thing that I feel is absolutely necessary for a wood stove/fireplace is a flue thermometer. I used one from an old Coleman grill/smoker on mine. It doesn't give any temperatures except warm, ideal, and hot; but after using it over a few burns I have a good idea of about where the needle should be. It is also a good indication of whether the fire is getting hotter or colder. I do plan to get a real one sometime though (with actual numbers on it ). They are about $15.

Also, most wood stoves use draft fans instead of combustion fans. They have a better tendency to create a strong draft instead of forcing cold air into a fire the may not be hot enough to create a strong enough draft to handle all that air. Adding one if possible might definitely help out if you have draft issues.

I have come to realize that firing a stove is more of an art than anything, kind of an old-world technique that not many take the time or have the opportunity to learn these days.

Hopefully this helps. Let us know what you find out, more details (flame color, size, how much fuel, what kind of fuel, damper settings, etc.) would definitely help us help you out as well.
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