Newbie draft issue/hopper moisture & sulfur smell at night

Newbie draft issue/hopper moisture & sulfur smell at night

PostBy: Gringacool On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:29 pm

Hi all,
This is only my second year using our leisure line pioneer stoker, but since last winter was so mild, it's basically the first year we're having to truly experiment. Lately we've started having random draft issues where we get moisture in the hopper and the sulfur smell that goes with it, and only at night. We've already tried to clean the horizontal pipe, the RC fields damper is set at .04, and we resealed all the gaskets at the beginning of the season. Last night the smell got really bad (it's been fine for 2 weeks), and so we resealed all possible pipe seams since we thought maybe we jostled something while cleaning the other night.

I'd read on here that someone did a temporary fix for a similar problem by bumping up the temperature and the fan, which does seem to solve the problem...sort of. I did that last night, and the smell did go away, but there's still some moisture in the hopper so it's just going to continue to be an issue by this evening.

I'm at my wit's end as to what else to try, and am confused that it seems to be happening so randomly and only at night. Outside temps of low 30s shouldn't be causing such a draft issue (high 40s/low 50s, sure). Suggestions?

Aslso, is there anyone in the Centre County area that would be willing to come by and possibly help/troubleshoot?

Thanks in advance!
Gringacool
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Pioneer Top Vent

Re: Newbie draft issue/hopper moisture & sulfur smell at night

PostBy: Rick 386 On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:29 pm

First off welcome to the forum.

Now.......... Most important - DO YOU HAVE CO MONITORS ??? Most here use the Kidde Nighthawk since they also give a digital readout of the amount present. If you do not have a CO detector, shut this down until you do get them. A sulfur smell usually piggybacks CO.


Do you have a manometer ?? This measures draft. Most here use the Dwyer Model 25. This will tell you exactly what draft readings you have.

After you increased the feed and burn it may take a while to get that condensation off the inside of the lid. It may take a day.



But lets get the readings and we can go from there.




Rick
Rick 386
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA 260 heating both sides of twin farmhouse
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL Hyfire II w/ coaltrol in garage
Coal Size/Type: Pea in AA 260, Rice in LL Hyfire II
Other Heating: Gas fired infared at work

Re: Newbie draft issue/hopper moisture & sulfur smell at night

PostBy: Gringacool On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:58 pm

Thanks!

We do have CO monitors on each floor of the house, but we don't have a manometer. I was just looking at some online and trying to find them in stores around here.

I'll keep the temperature and fan bumped up for now to see if that helps dry out the hopper moisture.

Thanks again!
Gringacool
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Pioneer Top Vent

Visit Lehigh Anthracite

Re: Newbie draft issue/hopper moisture & sulfur smell at night

PostBy: nwaelder On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:50 pm

Do you run a clothes dryer at night, or maybe an exhaust fan in a restroom? Are you sure it only occurs at night? Is your stove on your main floor? How tight is your house?
Describe your chimney. In cold weather, it seems unusual to have poor draft.
nwaelder
 

Re: Newbie draft issue/hopper moisture & sulfur smell at night

PostBy: franco b On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 4:27 pm

A combustion fan can create positive pressure in the firebox portion. I would shut down and inspect and clean all flue passages in stove, pipe, and chimney.
franco b
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: V ermont Castings 2310, Franco Belge 262
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood Modern Oak 114
Coal Size/Type: nut and pea

Re: Newbie draft issue/hopper moisture & sulfur smell at night

PostBy: Gringacool On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:09 pm

Hi all,

Thanks for the replies.

We do sometimes run an exhaust fan (either in the kitchen or bathroom) at night, but not usually the drier. And it's not consistent. We can run the bathroom/kitchen exhaust fans every single night and be fine for weeks, and then all of a sudden, have a draft issue like now.

The coal stove is in the basement of our split level house, top vent to a stainless steel lined chimney which runs the up the entire side of the house and extends up past the roof probably about another 5 feet. After talking to someone at a local coal/pellet/wood business, they suggested putting insulation around the pipe leading into the chimney (there's 1-2" of clearance around the whole pipe, which we thought was fine since the inspectors never said anything), and to check if there's a cap at the bottom of the liner - where the clean out door is. We just put the insulation around the pipe leading to the chimney, and given the amount of detritus/crap in the clean out door and the fact that i can see some air movement, I'm assuming that there's no cap on there. Sigh. So that's probably causing some of the issues.

I might try shutting down this weekend and doing a better clean, even though we did clean the horizontal pipes on Wednesday and did a thorough clean and inspection in mid November. We're still waiting to hear back from the local company mentioned above how much it would cost to have them come out, re-inspect it, turn it off and do a serious clean and check to make sure the chimney doesn't have fly ash buildup that's causing the problem, as well as actually check the draft with a manometer and troubleshoot. As much as we don't want to spend more money, it might be worth it to have someone who actually knows for sure what's going on and/or what we're doing wrong.
Gringacool
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Pioneer Top Vent

Re: Newbie draft issue/hopper moisture & sulfur smell at night

PostBy: titleist1 On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:57 pm

lack of insulation around the pipe going to the chimney isn't the issue....

you said you tried cleaning the horizontal section, does that mean you did clean it but it didnt help, or you tried to clean it but maybe didn't get all the fly ash out of it?

you mention a SS lined chimney...can you tell what condition the SS liner is in? Those are notorious for falling apart. I suspect a clogged chimney from the liner or fly ash build up in the horizontal pipe if it didn't get cleaned out thoroughly.

I would not chance running it until you find the reason.
titleist1
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite

Re: Newbie draft issue/hopper moisture & sulfur smell at night

PostBy: Dennis On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:03 pm

pics of your set up and chimney would help us spot a problem or advice and welcome
Dennis
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: AHS/WOC55-multi-fuel/wood,oil,coal
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite/stove size

Re: Newbie draft issue/hopper moisture & sulfur smell at night

PostBy: WNY On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:12 pm

Without a draft gauge/ Manometer, you are ONLY guessing at your draft. The setting on the BARO Damper is only approx.
HOW far is it open or closed when its burning low or high.? does it change a lot? Make sure it's not STICKING either, sometimes they stick, make sure its level and moves freely.

Does the sulpher smell only happen when it's idling or no demand for heat?
DO you have the CoalTrol, you many need to increase the MIN number up a few points to increase the temp and make more draft into the chimney. If the chimney gets cooler and your stove is not producing enough heat to make draft, then it may build up in the stove and leak up thru the hopper.

Typcially, it's a gasket problem or draft problem. Sometimes the gaskets under/around the grate area can be a problem.
Is the fire burning way back on the grates towards the hopper?
WNY
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90K, Leisure Line Hyfire I
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker, LL & CoalTrol
Stove/Furnace Model: 90K, Hyfire I, VF3000 Soon

Re: Newbie draft issue/hopper moisture & sulfur smell at night

PostBy: oilman On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:49 pm

Gringacool wrote:Hi all,

to check if there's a cap at the bottom of the liner - where the clean out door is. We just put the insulation around the pipe leading to the chimney, and given the amount of detritus/crap in the clean out door and the fact that i can see some air movement, I'm assuming that there's no cap on there. Sigh. So that's probably causing some of the issues.



This is my warning flag. A liner or pre-fab chimney with a missing tee cap is notorious for draft issues. You must have a very well insulated/sealed door if this clean-out is on the outside.Your typical cast iron door won't cut it.
Personally, the liner job sounds terrible, not insulated, not sealed, etc.
oilman
 

Re: Newbie draft issue/hopper moisture & sulfur smell at night

PostBy: dcrane On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:03 pm

oilman wrote:
Gringacool wrote:Hi all,

to check if there's a cap at the bottom of the liner - where the clean out door is. We just put the insulation around the pipe leading to the chimney, and given the amount of detritus/crap in the clean out door and the fact that i can see some air movement, I'm assuming that there's no cap on there. Sigh. So that's probably causing some of the issues.



This is my warning flag. A liner or pre-fab chimney with a missing tee cap is notorious for draft issues. You must have a very well insulated/sealed door if this clean-out is on the outside.Your typical cast iron door won't cut it.
Personally, the liner job sounds terrible, not insulated, not sealed, etc.


Im leaning with Oilman's comments... no cap is a problem (should be a lock on that shyt to make damb sure the cap does not come off). if your smelling sulfur gasses or anything else for that matter shut it down (damb baro is prolly acting as your chimney). you need to inspect (no way around it).
dcrane
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane 404

Re: Newbie draft issue/hopper moisture & sulfur smell at night

PostBy: Rigar On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:12 pm

Oilman nailed it...

If the liners tee cap is missing.....
A- the baro is useless
B- at night colder (heavier ) air can essentially fall down the chimney...
Now...if th tee cap is missiing on the liner INSIDE the masonry chimney...and the thimble isnt sealed....you have double jeorpody...
Shut it down...inspect and /or redo liner....stat
Rigar
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker A 150
Coal Size/Type: anthracite rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: A 150 warm air furnace

Re: Newbie draft issue/hopper moisture & sulfur smell at night

PostBy: Gringacool On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:07 pm

Thanks again to everyone for all the really great input. I'll try and get a picture posted soon to see if that helps.

We don't know for sure if the liner is insulated or not, but given some of the other shoddy repairs done by previous owners, it wouldn't surprise me.

The cast iron clean out door I mentioned is inside the house. We did reseal all the gaskets, etc, after thanksgiving, so they should be fine. It's what makes me think it's just the draft and/or needing to actually use a manometer to set the damper.

We didn't hear back from the company about coming out to reinspect, etc, yet, so we'll shut it down this weekend and troubleshoot as much as possible ourselves in the meantime til they can come out.

WNY - it does seem to be when there's no call for heat and it's just idling, and I'd totally forgotten about changing the min/max values on the coal-trol. The fire sometimes does burn back in the grate a little bit, but again, all of these problems are totally random and have no seeming pattern. Maybe once a month since we started burning. It's usually for a day or so (and we do the temporary fix of bumping up the heat and fan), and then it seems to be fine. When the company comes out, they'll actually check the draft with a manometer, as well as reinspecting, troubleshooting, etc, so we can get that set for real.

Unless we're having high winds, the damper stays pretty much closed, which is what Leisure Line said it should be doing; not flapping open and shut all the time. I rechecked it last night and it's definitely level and doesn't seem to be sticking.

Redoing the liner is not an option b/c of cost, so we'll have to see how the reinspection goes. This company sounds way better and more thorough than the last one, since they never mentioned any of these things as potential issues.

Thanks again for all the help and input!
Gringacool
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Pioneer Top Vent

Re: Newbie draft issue/hopper moisture & sulfur smell at night

PostBy: Rigar On: Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:30 pm

The "gap" around the stove pipe where it enters the chimney (thimble) needs to be sealed
..
But to check for yourself if the liners tee has a cap is fairly simple..
Remove the stovepipe entering the thimble.
The "tee" should be imediately inside the thimble.
Reach in there (12- 18 inches or so)...
Feel to see if the "clean out" port of the tee is capped. (downward point)
It will probably by full of fly ash if is capped. (acting as a drop)
Rigar
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker A 150
Coal Size/Type: anthracite rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: A 150 warm air furnace

Re: Newbie draft issue/hopper moisture & sulfur smell at night

PostBy: titleist1 On: Sat Feb 09, 2013 12:20 am

Rigar wrote:The "gap" around the stove pipe where it enters the chimney (thimble) needs to be sealed


I see now i misread earlier today. i thought they were talking about the flue pipe being insulated so it wouldn't lose heat and therefore affect draft. I now get they are talking about sealing around the flue pipe as it entered the thimble. :doh:
titleist1
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite

Visit Lehigh Anthracite