Below is a list of common questions regarding both wood and coal circulators. Click on the question to see the answer.
What is draft? What is combustion air?
The draft of a chimney is created when the air temperature inside the flue is greater than the outside flue temperatures. Since hot air rises, the greater the difference between the inside flue temperatures and outside temperatures, the faster the gases flow or stronger the draft. 90% of all wood and coal burning problems can be traced to draft and chimneys. Combustion air is the air that a solid fuel appliance needs air to support combustion. A house that is too tight may not allow enough air to feed the fire, and a smoking stove or fireplace can result. Adding a fresh air vent or simply cracking a window may correct the situation.
Why does my Wonderwood have holes in the doors?
This is part of the air inlet system located in the ash door or feed door. This feature will promote a cleaner burning fire, per EPA regulations, without the assistance of costly converters. It is recommended, if your venting system (i.e. chimney) is producing draft above the recommended allowance, as outlined in your owner’s manual, you install a Barometric Draft Regulator along with the solid cast iron damper supplied with the unit. This addition, along with the bi-metal thermostat included with the unit, will assure safe and optimum operation.
Why do I have smoke spillage when I refuel my stove or furnace?
Smoke spillage is attributable to a problem with the chimney or connector pipe - relating to poor draft. If you want to completely prevent smoke spillage and a related condition called back puffing, you should do the following: 1) Check the chimney and connectors for obstructions, and clean the chimney as necessary. Bird nests, animals and creosote are possible causes of blockage. Over hanging trees may also cause down drafts; remove limbs within ten feet of the top of the chimney 2) Make sure the connector pipe to the chimney is not inserted too far into the flue. 3) Check all openings into the chimney, such as a clean out doors, to make sure they are tightly sealed. 4) Try to eliminate elbows in the connection from the flue collar to the chimney. The more elbows, the less potential for draft. 5) Consider increasing the height of the chimney. Remember the higher it is, the better it will draft. 6) Your flue, inside the chimney, may be too large for the appliance. The old rule of thumb certainly applies here - the chimney flue should be sized to the flue collar on the appliance and should never be more than 33% greater than the flue collar size.
What is creosote? How is it produced? How can I prevent it?
Creosote is a natural byproduct of the incomplete combustion of wood. It is a truly hazardous substance; it is flammable and when ignited can burn violently and produce extremely dangerous temperatures in the chimney - in excess of 2,000 F. Creosote has many forms - from a watery consistency, to a sticky tar-like substance, to the final form which is glazed, baked-on and difficult to remove. Creosote is produced by having large fuel loads with low air settings and a failure to have the appliance properly vented. Make sure that any creosote produced is carried away from the home and not allowed to condense in connector pipes or the chimney.
How can I prevent grate burn out and warping of cast iron parts?
All grates are constructed of cast iron which can "burn out" or oxidize rapidly - or warp so severely the grate becomes immobile. There are two ways to prevent such problems: 1) never over fire your furnace or stove, by leaving the feed or the ash door open during operation. 2) Failure to empty the ash pan and allowing ashes/cinders to accumulate to the point of contact with the grate can quickly warp or burn out the grate. To function properly - and endure for years as intended - grates rely on the flow of cooling air to prevent warpage or burn out.
Why can't the heater I want be used in mobile homes?
Heaters which can be installed in mobile homes must be specifically tested and noted. The primary requirement of mobile home standards is that combustion air must be vented directly from outside via a special ductwork to the air inlet of the stove. Also, allowable clearances between the heater and the walls are substantially less. Finally, the heater must firmly attached to the floor of a mobile home.
Which coal is best to burn?
Your Wondercoal or Hot Blast is capable of burning both Bituminous and Anthracite coal. Anthracite is perhaps the best coal fuel because of its long and even burn time, high heat output, and cleanliness. However, keep in mind that it is a much more difficult fuel to use. Anthracite coal is not so widely available, is usually much more expensive, and requires more care and patience. Most sizes of Bituminous coal will work in your Hot Blast Furnace or Wondercoal Circulator. You will have more MAINTENANCE with bituminous than with Anthracite coal as more soot will collect on heating surfaces and in pipes, which requires more frequent cleaning.
How to I get my Anthracite coal to burn?
When burning Anthracite, use coal the size of an egg or broken egg with sizes between 2-5/16" thru 4-3/8". Before starting the fire, open the stove pipe damper, turn the automatic thermostat to high, open the ash pit and feed doors, place newspaper and finely split kindling on the grate, light the paper, and then add larger hard wood. Now, add a thin layer of coal to the wood fire, being careful not to disturb it too much or cut off the draft. Then, add a second heavier layer after the coal is ignited and burning well. If necessary, add a third layer to bring the coal up to the top of the front liner. Before adding further fuel, be sure you leave a red spot of glowing coals in the center of the firebox. A deep charge will give a more even heat and a longer fire. When the fire is well established and the room is becoming warm, partially close the dampers. Adjust the stove pipe damper to reduce the draft on the fire. Only when the coal is burned down to half its original depth is it time to add fresh coal. When doing so, open your stove pipe damper and turn your thermostat damper to high. Then, open the feed door, and with a small rake, hoe or hooked poker pull the glowing coals to the front of the firebox. Next, add a fresh charge to the back, being careful not to seal off the top. Close the feed door but leave the spin damper (or thermostat) open for a few minutes until the volatile gases have burned off. For extended operation, such as overnight, you will need to bank the fire. To do so: heap coal up along the sides and back of the firebox so that the fire gradually burns it over a long period of time. Then close your damper and automatic control to the point where the house does not become too cold.
How do I get my Bituminous coal to burn?
With Bituminous coal, use large nut coal to small egg coal (1-3/4" diameter to 4" diameter). All coal fires should be started with wood, which will allow the fire to get hot enough to ignite the coal. Use soft woods as kindling, and add hard wood to increase the heat prior to addition of the coal. Once your kindling and wood fire has produced a bed of well established embers, start adding coal in layers allowing each to ignite before adding more. Once the fire is WELL ESTABLISHED, add coal to the center of the firebox, forming the cone. Burning in this fashion allows heat to drive off the volatile gases, and turbulence created increases the burn efficiency. Allow enough secondary air to enter the firebox and keep your stove pipe damper open so that volatiles are properly burned. Before refueling, take the time to break up the cone a little with a poker. The objective is to remove a small amount of the ashes without disturbing the fire. For overnight operation, shake the fire and add coal, retaining your center cone. Then adjust your thermostat to the desired heat level.
I purchased a Wonderwood model 2941, but I can't find the draft regulator, part number DR6.
The part DR6 is a Barometric Draft Regulator that is available through most dealers that also have other venting materials (i.e. dampers, pipes, caps, etc.). The name DR6 is a name given to the item available in the United States Stove Products. Should you not find ours or others available locally, please feel free to contact our offices directly for pricing and availability.
I have a Wonderwood and I need to change some bricks in it. How to do this?
The brick retainer brackets on the side of this unit have bolts in them that need to be taken out and the brackets will come away from the wall far enough to replace the bricks . To get to the bolts, take the screws off the bottom of unit on the outside of the firebox and the whole outside shell will lift up exposing the bolts and nuts.
Why does the EPA not permit burning wood in a Wondercoal stove?
Burning of wood is required to meet certain EPA emission standards that a coal burning appliance does not handle. It is not a safety issue, in fact, until 1990 we sold the coal burning appliances of today as wood or coal. When the EPA Clean Air Act of 1990 was enacted, we had to start marketing them as coal only. The wood models either had to have a catalytic combustor added or the firebox adjusted to meet a 35:1 air to fuel ratio.
Why do I have a hard time starting a fire in my wood stove unless the door is open?
If your stove isn't lighting and only seems to stay lit if you leave the door open, then you have a drafting problem. Drafting problems are related to the chimney. You need to have a 6" stove pipe the entire length of your chimney and it needs to be at least 12 feet high. For drafting problems, we recommend that you have your chimney inspected to make sure that it has the correct water column pressure.
Do I need a grate for the logs in my wood stove or do they just sit on the fire brick?
The logs are designed to sit directly on the firebrick. We do not recommend a grate in the stove.
Why did my old stove work in my chimney, but my new stove is having a hard time drafting?
Newer stoves require more draft than older stoves and can require a newer chimney. If there is a question as to whether the chimney will have enough draw to it, we recommend that you have it professionally tested for the proper water column pressure.
If I have a new stove, can I vent directly into my masonry, clay lined, or terracotta chimneys?
Masonry, clay lined, and terracotta chimneys are all very difficult to get warm and create a draw. When these chimneys are used there is usually a drafting problem associated with them. To avoid this we recommend that you line the chimney with the same size pipe that comes from the stove. The round shape of the stove pipe also creates a better draft than a square shaped chimney.
Does the Magnolia 2015 need a damper in the flue pipe?
No, this stove doesn't require a damper.