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Multi fuel stove filling room with smoke....

Discussion in 'Building' started by amfisted, 7 Mar 2017.

  1. amfisted

    amfisted

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    Perhaps not technically a DIY disaster, but a problem which is probably related to posts about a poorly drawing gas fire which I contributed a few months back. The following will be a statement of the blindingly obvious to some, but hopefully a timely warning to others.


    We had a multi fuel stove fitted about 3 months ago, replacing the above mentioned gas fire.

    Few problems once we worked out how to light it and keep it lit, except for one previous occasion when to my utter amazement smoke had started issuing from the front of the stove instead of going up the chimney. I never managed to work out what had happened until this evening, when it happened again. And happened big time.

    All the windows in the bungalow were closed, and the only source of fresh air was the vent in the room where the stove is fitted. In the kitchen my missus was cooking up a storm, and the extractor fan was on full blast. I went to light the stove and to my horror smoke started billowing out from above and so it seemed, below the door. In panic I opened the door, poked the stove contents, shut it again and watched with mounting horror as the smoke continue to billow into the room. Then it struck me: the kitchen extractor was drawing air out through the open lounge door into the kitchen, and instead of the smoke and fumes being drawn up the flue, they were being pulled back into the room via the open air vents top and bottom of the stove. Once I turned the extractor off the smoke stopped issuing into the room, after which it was a matter of opening lots of windows to get a draught going to remove the smoke from the house. The CO alarm must have been on the point of sounding but fortunately we managed to get the smoke out before it reached a critical level.

    Obvious moral of the story: think about the possible consequences of simultaneously using extractors and multi fuel or wood burning stoves in a modern, hermetically sealed property.
     
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  3. amfisted

    amfisted

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    Oh, and there was an obvious (with hindsight) clue prior to the event which should have alerted me to what was about to happen.

    When I opened the stove door to add fuel, I felt a cold draught coming down the chimney.
     
  4. maltaron

    maltaron

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    Had a similar thing when I built a kitchen extension. We have an oil fired cooker/boiler which is open flued. The approved drawings showed an extraction fan in the kitchen. I had problems with the building inspector who insisted that the extraction fan must be fitted, I explained that a fan could not be installed in the same room as an open flued appliance. I had to force him to talk to the stove manufacturers before he would believe me.
     
  5. Diyisfun

    Diyisfun

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    Was it fitted correctly by an approved installer.
    My multifuel worked well till I fitted a cowl on another pot, amazing how a piece of wire upset the updraught.
    You can get the chimney cleaned & checked for about £50 (that's what I paid Oct 2016 Norfolk).
     
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  6. Tonydeane

    Tonydeane

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    An extractor fan should not have any bearing on the operation of a flue/chimney. A cold draught coming down a chimney is remedied by building the fire slowly to warm the chimney and get the draw going. Has there been a new pot fitted? A gas terminal on a pot with solid fuel fire below is NOT suitable and no fumes can escape sufficiently. Is the flue suitable for a solid fuel fire? This should have been surveyed before the installation.
     
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  7. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    If the down draught is caused by low pressure in the room due to the extractor fan then building only a small fire will release only a small amount of toxic combustion products into the room.

    Even with a pre-heated chimney an extractor fan will overcome the convection driven up-draught. ( pre-heated by a large fire already burning when the extractor fan is switched on )
     
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  8. Tonydeane

    Tonydeane

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    If the extractor fan is causing smoke to come back into the room then there is a big problem with the install. A vent should have also been put into the room where the stove is.
     
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  10. amfisted

    amfisted

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    Thanks for the replies, and apologies for taking a while to get back to this thread.

    The installation was carried out by a local HETAS engineer who has a good reputation and is recommended by a local multi fuel stove supplier.

    A new pot was fitted because the old one fell to bits when the installer went to fit the bird/ rain cowl, and the installation included a stainless steel flue liner.

    There is a vent in the room, but its fitted with a sliding flyscreen. Given the above, I may need to replace it with a permanently open version.

    Since having the stove fitted I've also discovered that the roof space is unventilated because the eaves have been boxed in with solid covers, so that's another problem I need to rectify, because it has caused some condensation. Given the likely cost of fitting sufficient numbers of vents in the roof slopes, I'm thinking of fitting just two vents--one in the brickwork of each gable end-- and monitoring whether that provides an adequate draught. Its quite windy where we live, so it might work.
     
  11. Robbie uk

    Robbie uk

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    The vent in the living room has to be one that cannot be shut off. Any fire that is over 5kw would need one, Less than 5kw then you don't have to have one but it may still be fitted.
     
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  12. amfisted

    amfisted

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    Yes, I've checked the manual for the stove and it does stipulate that the vent should be permanently open. So that's something I'll have to address, and also to wonder why the installer didn't flag this up prior to the installation. Would putting a screw through the moveable flyscreen or gluing it in the open position to prevent it being closed make the vent "permanent" as per regs? Or would I have to change the vent entirely?
     
  13. footprints

    footprints

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    With gas appliances it was standard practice to test the flue with any extractors in adjoining rooms on. Strangely even those ceiling fans that just move air around have been known to cause problems with gas appliances so I expect the same would be true for any open flued appliance.
     
  14. Robbie uk

    Robbie uk

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    Doesn't matter how you do it, as long as it stays open and cant be shut then its ok. It should be sleeved through the cavity as well so it is direct to the outside. This is to stop cavity wall insulation from blocking it.
     
  15. amfisted

    amfisted

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    Thanks to you both.

    We've been using the stove a little less over the last few days, but I'll leave it till the warmer weather now and then change the flyscreened vent for a permanently open one.

    Once that's done, I'll put a Welcome sign on the wall outside in case the creepy crawly things don't notice their new opportunity to pay us a visit. :D
     
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