freestanding gas stove flaming out- vent problem?

pooperFebruary 25, 2008

I have a free standing direct vented gas stove vented from the basement through to outside about 3' above the grade, (with a snorkel)It's on a wall thermostat.

It uses outside combustion air, (double pipe from stove.)

On occasion when initially lit, the gas near immediately rises off the burner, dissipates and flames out.

Nothing is impeding within about 3" of the snorkel termination cover outside.

I am wondering if this is due to wind or a 'cold pipe' pipe problem.

When it's off all night, it usually lights fine in the morning when the pipe is cold. But with a direct wind it 'flames out'.

If it's a temperature difference causing a draft blockage is there any type of air regulator (retro-fit),that will allow internal air sufficient to initiate the start-up?

I'm inclined to think the wind is the factor???

So is there a vent cap or some kind of wind baffle available.

Since we have a direct prevailing wind it's near useless on

many days.

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The lifting flames indicate the flames are starved for oxygen and are being snuffed out for lack of air.

How old is the equipment and how long have you been noticing this as a problem? Often this kind of condition is caused by a defect in the installation of the stove or fireplace, but it could be an overfired appliance (too much gas going to the burner), a sooted up vent, a vent plugged in some way, shrubbery or something else intruding into the vicinity of the vent, a leaf being drawn into the venting system, a joint in the venting system that has separated or is otherwise broken or improerly installed ---lots of things.

The installation manual for the equipment should detail the vent parts that can be used with the equipment. ONLY parts listed and approved for your fireplace should be used to vent the fireplace, including the termination cap.

If you have something intruding to within 3" of the termination cap, that's veryt likely a violation of the installation standards --- the clearances required to various kinds of objects should be listed in the installation manual. An object too close can easily cause burned combustion gasses to be fed back into the fresh air inlet, starving the flame of oxygen.

So you need to check all that out. If you can't identify the problem yourself, you need a skilled fireplace repairman to check it for you --- the problem can be quite subtle.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 9:56PM
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Brand new, from first month. licensed installer is baffled too. It works fine with no wind coming at it. (from west)North wind no problem.
It recycles to temp. setting fine on calm days or with an indirect wind.
We leave it off when not in basement rooms, but it lites no problem with no wind.
However. With our home heat turned way down over night and basement @ 60o on rising,
*the stove lights wind.
*the stove tries to lite, the flame drifts off the burner and flames out.

It will do that repeatedly with a west wind.

There are no outside impediments. We have tried blocking a direct wind using my o/s bar b q, but that helped not.

Is there a termination cap made for directional wind problem I wonder.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 9:31AM
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I've pretty much concluded it's the direct wind problem, but since that's our prevailing wind, it won't serve us very well when we want it on.

The dealer 'tech' says that it's a cold pipe problem when it's off too long.
But it lights fine with a cold pipe and no west wind.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 9:37AM
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I'd be much more inclined to suspect an installation problem. Manufactured fireplaces have to be pretty rigorously tested in order to be certified for use.

So reading the installtion standards carefully would be a good place to start.

Calling the manufacturer and talking with a technical services rep who is an expert on the product would also be a good idea, but they will ask about what tests and checks have been done to rule out problems.

Filing a claim under the guarantee for the product would also be worthwhile. Letting the dealer who installed it and the manufacturer who designed it off the hook while you hold the bag would not appeal to me. Make THEM perform!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 6:54PM
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flames rising off the burner can be a sign of either too much or not enough air, but there is a difference in the appearance.

Not enough air: Ghost flame, the flame will float away lazily becoming almost invisible...hence the name ghost flame.

Too much air: lifting flame, the flame will lift off the burner, not float, and remain forceful only get smaller and smaller until it goes out.

Based on your description, I think you will respond saying too much air is your problem, and that the wind is causing your problem since you only experience it with a direct wind. Call the manufacturer and speak to one of their technicians, ask for their advice. I am inclined to say you will find that Sierra East is correct and some error in the vent installation has occurred, or that the vent system is of poor design(doubtful).

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 7:05PM
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Sorry that I called you sierraeast, seattlepoineer.... foolish mistake on my part.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 7:12AM
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"Not enough air: Ghost flame, the flame will float away lazily becoming almost invisible...hence the name ghost flame."

Apparently then the wind is somehow blocking the intake of air for combustion, not blowing it out?

I'm working with the installer, who is contacting the manufacturer's tech. But thanks for the input. Ant more ideas will be much appreciated, because even if this one is removed I would hesitate installing another make given the wind problem.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 3:09PM
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you may be getting exhaust air blown back into the fresh air pipe, thereby reducing the oxygen level needed to burn the flame...I think this is a good place to start. Is there anything that can be added to the vent pipe, a shield of sorts, that would prevent this in direct wind? Were all the pipe joints sealed (I doubt this is the problem) according to directions, vent cap installed according to directions, meeting distance requirements from ground, corners, etc?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 9:40PM
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Hi jca1 Thanks.

The vent pipe:

We have a 'snorkel' vent outside to get the vent pipe up from grade height by about 3'.
The vent pipe comes from our basement out thru the basement wall at ground level. It connects to a 'snorkel' pipe o/s.
On the outside, it has a round 'termination cap' on it facing at a horizontal attitude with vent slots around the circumference. The snorkel rising from the o/s wall from our basement room also has gill like vets in both sides.

It definitely is a wind problem because with no wind or wind from any direction but the west,it works fine.
I'm going to try duct tape on the west side of the snorkel
vent, not fooling with the terminal cap.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 8:30AM
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I'm getting a different mental picture now, thanks. Also if I'm understanding this right, wind blows from west directly at west side of cap, I wonder if it could be creating a vacuum effect on the pipe not letting any air into the pipe at all, this just gets more confusing hu? In lieu of duct tape you may try a shield of some sort positioned 12" or so away from the cap to direct the air around the cap, thereby not restricting the openings in the cap. Either way it seems obvious to me as well as you that the wind is the problem, either from that direction it forces exhaust air into the fresh air pipe or it keeps air from being pulled into the fresh air pipe at all. You are going to fix this soon, I sense it.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 7:25PM
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OK chillun here's the poop.
Manufacturer and tech. so far have been of little help though they've tried. I found another installation where the ventilation faces the same way, but they vent directly out from the 'snorkel' required. They have no problem.
Thinking--thinking..??? I draped a piece of aluminum window screen across the termination cap and down the sides where the gill like combustion air enters, so that it 'baffles' the wind but still provides ventilation both ways..
Eureka! So far no more problems of 'ghosting' gas flame outs.
I have it held in place temporarily with a rock. I will secure it more elegantly when the weather allows. A secondary benefit will be to prevent wasp infiltration.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 9:20AM
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Hey Pooper.

I got the same problem! Gas Fireplace works great, (obviously not a piping issue then), but then strong winds will make the flames go in and out. Very frustrating!

I live on a windy bay and the best time to "strike it up" is those cold, blustery days. I recently built an addition which I can see has added a chute-like impact on the exhaust.

Please tell me the aluminum screening works! That would be awesome. Are you concerned about the impact of heat on the screening?

Thanks for reaching out.

    Bookmark   last Saturday at 10:03AM
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