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Multi fuel stove problems - how do I make the bloody thing work?

(30 Posts)
kitsmummy Fri 11-Feb-11 12:26:22

We have an Aarrow Ecoburn 11 multi-fuel stove, which supposedly has a massive heat output (11kw) for our 21' x 14' room. We've burnt £100 of logs on it in 6 weeks (evenings only, we're at work Mon - fri daytimes)but the bloody thing never gets very hot, certainly not hot enough to heat the room to a comfortable temperature.

At the time of installation, both installers were saying "Phew, it's going to be hot in here, you'll need to keep the doors open" etc etc, but it's bloody freezing!

The installer has come back to check it and he did get it going nicely but he lit it with a whole bag of kindling, which obviously we can't do each time. We haven't used coal yet, but then again we were actually supposed to be having a woodburner, not a multi-fuel, but they installed the wrong one. The wood we're using is plenty dry enough, the installer tested it and said it was fine.

My parents have a smaller Franco Belge woodburner in a similar sized room and the room is always really warm, way warmer than ours ever get. They keep it going nearly all day and use way less wood than us too! We can't shut ours down or the fire goes out, so we've always got it on full burn.

Any ideas? At the moment we've spent £1800 on something which doesn't really work. It's cheaper for us to use the oil central heating and have the radiators on than it is to light the stove and sit there cold angry

AMumInScotland Fri 11-Feb-11 12:39:10

If you can't close it down without it going out, I'd say there's a problem with the air flow somewhere - they need to pull air in and get the smoke up the chimney to work efficiently, and it sounds like yours isn't managing that.

We have a different make and model, but it gets roasting hot, and will sizzle along quietly with the air vents turned right down, once its got good and hot, and only gets through a small nuber of logs in an evening.

Presumably if your parents have one, you're clear enough about setting a fire - scrunched up paper, handful of kindling, thinnish log to start up, all with air vents open. Then bigger log, keep vents open for a while. Then gradually close vents while temp goes up. About half an hour after putting a match to ours, we have the vents closed most of the way down, that's probably about the same for your parents?

How about getting your fitter to come again, and set a time so you can have it fully hot and roaring when he arrives - then he can see how it reacts when you try to close the vents. That should convince him there's a genuine problem!

kitsmummy Fri 11-Feb-11 13:14:29

Thank you muminScot. Yes we start it like that and we use a fair bit of kindling but it never seems to get roaring hot. The fitter got it going well, but with enormous amounts of kindling - amounts that really aren't practical for a daily basis.

So it never gets roaring hot, yet we use about 6 big logs in 2 hours, and as I say £100 of wood in six weeks, most days only burning wood for 2-3 hours!

Do you think it could be anything to do with just burning wood on a multi fuel stove?

auntyfash Fri 11-Feb-11 13:19:07

We have3 a multi fuel stove, and tbh it did seem the first few times we used it to not get that hot, went through loads of wood, went out when the vents were closed etc, but now it works fine.
I do pretty much what amuminscotland does and it gets really hot now.
I wonder if it's just a matter of getting used to it? I sort of automatically know now when to start closing the vents, and how far etc.

AMumInScotland Fri 11-Feb-11 13:28:45

Ours is a multi-fuel stove and we burn logs in it fine... as I say, all I can think of is getting the fitter to look at it once its up and running, so he can see if he can control it adequately. If he can manage it, it may just be a matter of learning the knack. But if there's a real problem, he won't be able to turn it down either.

I'd guess when he's come and started it up, he's gone away not long after? So he's not really seeimg the symptoms.

kitsmummy Fri 11-Feb-11 13:36:34

Thanks both. I guess we'll have to keep practising and then get him back again. Might try it with some coal too?

conculainey Fri 11-Feb-11 13:50:39

Remember that a multi-fuel stove which is rated @ 11kw will only produce 5 kw of energy when wood is used as the fuel, all these stoves are rated using coal as the fuel but wood, turf and peat will produce half the output or less than coal does. I use seasoned wood which is recycled and crushed pallets which are free in my stove, my only complaint is that it is too warm at times.

conculainey Fri 11-Feb-11 13:55:14

Op, can I ask if your flue is a low level type which exits from the rear of the stove or the much more efficent top exiting flue?

kitsmummy Fri 11-Feb-11 14:08:59

The flue is definitely on the top of the stove. Am so envy at everyone saying how warm their stoves are!!!

conculainey Fri 11-Feb-11 14:24:56

Kits, the top exiting flue is the best type of flue, there are a few things that you can do to get a little more heat from your stove. First check that the stove has got a good supply of air, this is a common problem with stoves if they are located in an air tight room but this can be tested by lighting the fire , waiting until it is fully alight then simply open a door and wait 5 minutes to see if the fire burns hotter. another useful thing that you can do is use smaller peices of wood in the stove which will increase the surface area of the burning material giving more heat. Make sure the wood is seasoned and very dry, I use old pallets in my stove and usually have to leave all the doors open due to the excessive heat. wood burns better if it gets its air supply from the top of the stove and not the bottom which is suitable for coal only, if you have a top air slot which is sometimes called a secondary burn or glass cleaner then use it more than the lower air supply when burning wood, its all a bit of trial and error but your stove is actually tiny as far as outputs go and I doubt if you will get more than 5kw of heat from it at best which is roughly the same as one and a half 3 bar electric fires. Hope this helps.

frenchfancy Fri 11-Feb-11 18:31:53

6 big logs in 2 hours doesn't sound too excessive, but with that it should get hot.

2 ideas - what type of wood are you burning? Not all wood burns the same; You could burn 6 big logs of poplar for instance and never get any heat out. You need ash or oak for preference.

How big are the logs? If they have a loarge diameter you would be better splitting them. Smaller wod burns much hotter. To get our stove really hot we use saw mill off cuts, which work out much cheaper than logs.

Frirsty Tue 29-Jan-13 23:34:21

Just installed a woodburning stove, Stovax Stockton 7. Lights no problem but burns furiously. Can really hear the draw of the chimney. Seem to be burning a lot of fuel. Have tried both logs and coal but it's not producing that much heat. I've closed off all the vents but it's still burning furiously. It's also been installed quite far back in the fireplace pretty much up to the back wall. I thought that there would be space at the back to allow the air to circulate. Someone also suggested buying a fan buts it's brand new and I don't want to have to do that. Any advice really appreciated.

SquinkiesRule Wed 30-Jan-13 04:00:40

Ours is multi fuel and we only burn wood, I start it with a tiny piece of a fire starter and a handful of kindling with a thin log on top. Some days I find I have a hard time getting the box hot enough to really roar for what seems like ages and will scrunch up a big piece of newspaper and stick it in and put a match to it. That usually sets the whole thing off from simmering to full boil IFKWIM.
We are burning walnut, If I slide the vent thing all the way off there is still a tiny amount of air gets in and the fire simmers all night. Our friends have the exact same burner as us and if they slide the vent knob all the way theirs goes out so I think they all vary and you get used to your burner in time and know where to set the vent knob for what you need.

Skittish Wed 30-Jan-13 14:14:46

make sure to leave a good layer of ash in the bottom too, no need to clean it all out every time, burns better with a layer.

SquinkiesRule Wed 30-Jan-13 16:39:52

Oh yes Skittish mine always heats up faster when I haven't cleaned it out too. LOL

GrendelsMum Wed 30-Jan-13 17:11:31

When you say it isn't producing much heat, do you mean that the room isn't very hot, or that the stove isn't very hot when you hold your hand beside it?

Can you get the 'flippy flames' (this is what we call them in our house - sort of orange flames moving back and forth over the surface of the wood but no roaring) when you close the vents?

Has it been very windy round your way lately?

Is heat being lost up the chimney before it makes its way into the room?

PigletJohn Wed 30-Jan-13 17:47:53

is this a stove which also heats a hot water cylinder?

As conculainey says, you will get a lot more heat out of it with a coal or smokeless fuel. It will also need feeding less often. Wood doesn't contain much heat.

Frirsty Thu 31-Jan-13 00:00:54

The stove is hot but the room isn't. Getting a damper fitted tomorrow to try and stem airflow up the chimney. It has also been really windy which will have an effect I know. Thought I'd be toasting by now but not happening. Will see if the damper helps. Anyone know about the position of the stove in the chamber? Should be right up to the back? We've a lot of space to the front and just wondered if it was fitted further forward then that might throw heat out into the room.

Thanks for all your replies so far.

Frirsty Thu 31-Jan-13 00:01:24

No it doesn't heat hot water either.

GrendelsMum Thu 31-Jan-13 13:36:18

Hmmm - I wonder whether it just takes a while to heat up your room in comparison to a radiator. Our woodstove does, and I think it's because the rather quirky design of our chimney / fireplace means that a lot of 'dead' air has to be heated before the room starts getting heated. It heats a room nicely if you run it all the time, but it needs at least an hour before it has much impact from scratch.

PigletJohn Thu 31-Jan-13 14:38:56

I'm wondering how much heat gets sucked up the chimney. I'm guessing you have a steel liner in an existing brick chimney. The old chimney will be relatively large. I expect it has a steel plate in in for the steel pipe to pass through. Are there leaks allowing hot air to rush up the chimney? You will be able to detect this is you use a joss stick or <boak> cigarette and watch where the smoke goes. It will be worse if the room is draughty or open plan. Again you can use smoke to see where the air currents are.

How did you heat this room before, and did it get warm? It hasn't got stone or solid brick external walls, has it?

moranweb Sat 24-Jan-15 11:54:38

We have exactly the same problem with our Arada stove. we've done everything to get it to produce heat and it just doesn't work properly. did you eventually solve the problem?

Marmitelover55 Sat 24-Jan-15 12:57:39

I think you do need to use more kindling than you might imagine to get s good hot fire. We also invested in a stove thermometer which I find useful. Once it gets to 400 degrees ( I think), it burns most efficiently as you get the secondary combustion of the waste products (mainly creosote I think).

thehodge Thu 28-May-15 21:26:02

We have just fitted an arada ax2 stove, only lit it twice and csn honestly say i am disappointed with the performance, we have just been wood so far but the heat output is poor and if we close the primary vent like it tells you to then it goes out. The installer said the chimney had a really good draw n it would burn really well so dunno if we're doing something wrong.

PlainHunting Fri 29-May-15 08:25:03

It took us a few foes to get out stove working well. If you haven't got one a stove thermometer like this really helps with watching how/if the stove is heating up.

I've realised with ours that I have to sit with it and watch it like a hawk during the first 30-60 mins to make sure that I keep adding the right thing at the right time. I put a lot of kindling - does make a difference - but it has to be good stuff not the rubbish bought from petrol stations. When that is burning really well I add small logs or splinters that break off big logs. When the stove gets to about 200 degrees I add a small amount of coal and a double of decent logs. The. It soon gets to 300 degrees (well, within an hour) and then I top it up with coal and a log every hour or so.

Coal makes a huge difference to the temperature, and the wood must be decent ones too. We''be recently run out of coal and have noticed that stove is much less efficient just with wood. 6 logs in 2 hours sounds about right.

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