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weird retro wood stove problems-ideas?  RSS feed

 
                      
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So this is my first post here; I've been lurking and reading for quite a while, and love the info on here!

Here's my problem: I've been fixing up an old family farm for a while now, and when we had that wild cold snap in December, I decided it was time to fire up the old stove/fireplace. The last family member to live here was my great Grandmother, she installed this fireplace (probably more for the aesthetics than the functionality), and no one in my family could remember the last time it was used.

The house has functioned as a hunting cabin for my brother and grand father for the past few years. A couple years ago, when we showed up for deer season, the living room had LOTS of wasps in it (well over 100). Luckily the house was about 50f, so they were sluggish and easy to swat, but it's a real concern as my brother is allergic to stings.

OK, so when I fired up the stove in December, a small plague of wasps started streaming through the holes in the stove (see pic #1). I grabbed a vacuum, and started giving them the business, but it dawned on me that this was where some of the flies, Asian lady beetles, and of course wasps were coming from.

I covered the holes with a piece of screening, which caused me to discover that the holes were pulling a constant draft when the flu was open (dust collected on the screen in pic #2).

What should I do? When I fire the stove, it pulls most of the hot air from around it right out the chimney. I guess the holes were designed to grab any errant smoke that escapes from the firebox? I haven't seen a flu like this before, what do you guys think?

It would be nice to use this stove more often: it holds BIG logs, it has a decent amount of mass from the firebricks and concrete so it holds heat for quite a while, and I have a HUGE supply of dry wood for fuel on the property (lots of timber).

Anyone have any ideas?





 
                            
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The holes are because it is a double wall flue and to keep the outer layer cooler it indeed will draft through the holes and you should NOT block them off at all, significant house fire danger may arise if you do.

As far as the stove wasting a lot of heat, well it is going to unless you can glass in the front, that is a high fire only type of unit, meaning it can get all the air it wants right through the front.

If you want to tweak it a little, yo have to close off the front and regulate the air allowed in with a damper system of some sorts. it may have a damper built into the flue and adjusting that will help, but with an output damper you are some what limited before you get smoke back, the best control is to have input and output dampers where you can balance the firing rate as it suits you.

Since your grandmother put it into place and it is sort of a decoration, you may or may not want to make those changes, your call. By design that stove is to have a rip roaring fire and heat the space fast and furious.

The other method is to indeed use those large logs as soon as you get the fire rolling and let them burn slowly not poking or tending but letting them turn to coals, round unsplit wood can help,
 
                      
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Thanks for the reply. That's the info I needed! It does have a damper in the flu.

I think the wasp problem was partially because it sat unused for so long, and the damper was rusted in place (part way open). I had to use a pair of channel lock pliers to break it loose. The wasps must have built some wicked nests in the outer wall of the damper.
 
                          
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stewartrIL wrote:
Thanks for the reply. That's the info I needed! It does have a damper in the flu.

I think the wasp problem was partially because it sat unused for so long, and the damper was rusted in place (part way open). I had to use a pair of channel lock pliers to break it loose. The wasps must have built some wicked nests in the outer wall of the damper.



There is no pathway from the inside of the flue to the outer wall.  Unless the door of the fireplace was open the wasps could not have entered this way.
 
                    
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Moths like narrow confined spaces. Probably entered through the vents. 

The spring after I completed the interior of our cabin we had moths coming out of the yet to be insulated spaces around the windows (on the interior). It went on for a couple months. I found a Shopvac handy for sucking them up.
 
                      
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The outer wall is open somewhere; I stood there and watched a couple dozen wasps fly out of the holes and into the room. I haven't seen any inside the firebox, they come out of the holes in the stovepipe. There isn't a door either, just a hinged screen.

I'm going to look into some decent fireplace doors, and try to retrofit it.
 
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