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Outdoor fireplace smoking!

Posted by Jacksimpson (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 31, 05 at 19:47

Hi. Wife and I just put in a nice little outdoor patio fireplace. It's one of those reclaimed 70's style acorn jobs. The firebox is about 12" up from the pavers and a firegrate is used for the firewood. The whole unit was built under a large pergola (at its edge) and the stove pipe projects about 4' above the top wood member. It is insulated where it passes through the structure. The pipe is 8" and is about 8' in total length -- from the top of the fireplace to the 10" chimney cap. There is an inpipe/flue damper and it is always wide open.
However, every time we light the fire it burns hot then dies to a very low flame. By then the fireplace starts to smoke us out and the only way of keeping it from smoking is to keep restarting the fire with a bag of kindling. In other words keeping the flame hot. My feeling is the draft is insufficient.
Aside from extending the chimney to the flight paths of the local aircraft, how else can we improve the updrafting?
Thanks, Jack.

Here is a web site that shows the fireplace: http://wfiles.jetirc.net/the_fireplace


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Outdoor fireplace smoking!

It doesn't sound unusual. These things don't draft well even under the best of conditions. You have to keep the fire hot. Fireplaces 101.


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Closer look

In taking a closer look at your pics, it appears that everything including the single wall pipe you used (no triple wall?), it's way too close to all combustibles. Since it is a non-listed appliance, it has to be 36 inches away from all combustibles on all sides. It looks like the cap does not have a spark arrestor on it too. This is an accident waiting to happen.
What do you mean by "it's insulated" where it passes through? I only see a small piece of metal up against the beam. Even triple wall pipe requires a two-inch clearance to combustibles (i.e. air space). Single-wall pipe requires 18-inch clearance. If I have seen everything correctly then this fireplace is nowhere meeting even a minimum code.

If you want to know more just Google "wood stove" + installation . Also try the words "single wall connector" + clearance.


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RE: Outdoor fireplace smoking!

Thanks for the reply. The pictures don't really do the install justice. However, I did fix a section of double wall heavy guage metal to the pipe as it passes by the pergola upper structure (an air space of about 1.5")..with the pipe about 9" away from the wood beam. Also on that wooden beam, there is 1/4" rectangular piece of cement HardyPlank (type of house siding) extending the radius of the pipe and up and down. I've felt with my hand and it appears cool to the touch when the fire has been hot for some time. As for the "spark arrestor" I wrapped the inside of the cap insertion sleeve with 1/4" wire mesh to break up any sparking. Is there a better way to do this?
Also, while on that subject, is there a way of making my own type of chimney cap that will move with the wind (I think folks call them Maiden Hats) -- away from the wind to keep any back smoking down? Jack


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RE: Outdoor fireplace smoking!

I've never seen a homemade wind cap, sometimes called directional caps. I used to sell some stainless steel ones made by the Mark Stevens company.

Your photos just look like the plants, furniture, trellis, etc. are all way too close to the piping.


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RE: Outdoor fireplace smoking!

Yes, I know. I think it's the lack of depth of field from the camera. The point in taking the pictures was to illustrate the actual structure of the chimney assembly to find a better solution to my back smoking problem. Jack


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RE: Outdoor fireplace smoking!

It looks to me like the principal problem is the lack of an insulated flue. Not because of safety concerns, although safety does need to be considered, but because when the fire dies down, the flue cools off, and then won't draw.

I'll bet you could resolve the problem by installing either a double or triple-walled flue, which wouldn't cool down so quickly when the fire dies down. Better yet, you might want to consider insulated stainless steel flue, which would remain hot enough to continue to draw until the fire goes out. A cold flue simply will not draw.

Hope this helps.


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RE: Outdoor fireplace smoking!

An insulating flue is not in the cards for us now as we have already blown our budget for this rig. It's only an outdoor fireplace and insulated flues are really pricey in these parts ..not to mention stainless! Especially, 8 inch. Preheating the fire and building a large one is an idea we might adopt. But having a large fire may just cook us out of this patio! Anyway, I'm also now tending toward extending the chimney another 2 feet and perhaps replacing the cap with a wind resistant type. So it may be interesting in figuring out how to construct a directional chimney cap or a Monsoon type. Anyone with diagrams or pictures of (detail construction) examples? Thanks. Jack


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RE: Outdoor fireplace smoking!

Maybe this website will help you solve it or get more info

Here is a link that might be useful: Outdoor Fireplaces


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