I had to shut her down...
about two weeks ago - woke up at 4am to the CO detector going off. The digital readout read 80 - for those that don't have digital units, the alarm sounds at 30. Draft Issues!
Well... to begin, this is a new construction. I was told the heat loss on the place is 50,000 BTU/hr at zero degrees outside. I'm not sure If I can trust that figure - but rest assured, the place is tight. The house is situated at the top of a small ridge in a clearing about 40 feet from the drop down the ridge. The house is facing south. There are two chimneys - one houses two flues, one for a fireplace on the first floor and the other for an old kitchen cook stove in the basement. The flue in the basement is TOTALLY OPEN - no stove there yet... no damper... nada! This chimey is facing west. When I was having my draft issues a couple weeks back, the damper on this flue (fireplace) was closed. The other chimney houses the flue for the AA-130 and is situated on the back of the house which faces north. I don't know if you can picture it... but the west and north sides of the house are about 40 feet, both sides, from very tall trees. The other sides of the house - no trees, just wide open space.
I don't know if I have corrected the problem yet... but I lit her up tonight...
I set the baro up per the AA manual - weird configuration, but I followed the specifications. I also set up the pipe as Greg instructed (see attached pic). MISTAKES I MADE:
1. When we moved into the house, I closed the A/C vents into the basement... because hey - it's cool enough down there!
I'm sure this created a negative pressure in the basement (location of boiler room) which adversely affected the draft.
2. Inspection plate hanging only 1/4 inch open during idle stage
Simple mistake... 'remembered' that it should be 1/4"... but when I went over the installation instructions I discovered the error.
3. Damper of the fireplace tightly closed.
I actually don't know if this is a mistake - I have it wide open now, and the draft has improved - maybe
. I would think that pressure changes outside would have an affect on air exchange processes with the house. Maybe this was affecting the draft as well.
4. Stove pipe configuration: two elbows (45's), and a baro not installed as AA has recommended.
I know that there was negative pressure in the basement because if I were to close the door to the basement stairs... it would close by suction - had to be careful not to slam the door. I drilled three 1.5 inch holes to the outside for 'replacement' air - rather than pulling air from the house, I wanted it to pull air from outside, and put a 60 CFM blower on the one hole blowing air into the boiler room. This and opening the A/C air vents to the basement has significantly reduced the negative pressure. When A/C blower is off - no neg. pressure. When it kicks on, the door will draw shut if it is within an inch of the door frame. The draft is affected by the fan... about +.01 difference when fan in off as opposed to when fan is on.
I was reading about draft problems and read that homes that are built next to tall trees often experience higher pressure at chimney height than at ground level or inside house do the the air coming down over the trees into the open area. This, I read, cannot be cured by an automatic draft unit ($1000 price tag for the DIY-er). Right now, I'm at .01 - .02... oh there it dropped to -.005... DUDE! I just stepped outside and the tree tops are blowing pretty good, but no breeze in front of the house (faces south). It's supposed to get down to 60 tonight, but it's about 77 and humid outside right now.
Question: If I can watch the manometer drop and rise... and it's windy outside, do you think that one of the vacu-stack caps for the chimney would help my draft woes? (http://www.woodlanddirect.com/Chimney/W ... himney-Cap
Okay... I'm all out of steam. I think I've done everything by the book here... anyone have any ideas or can point out a problem I haven't identified yet?
One more thing... I have the baro set at .o6 - don't care if I burn a little more coal... just want to live