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Problems with a solid fuel rayburn?
 Started by  leni_andrews
 2 Mar 2010, 4:46 PM

Hi there,
We installed a SF rayburn 2 years ago January 08 and we heat out water and now our radiators and of course we cook on it too we are having trouble at the moment with the slidey plate that you open in order to let all the air into the rayburn it gets stuck alot with tar at times and we find that we have to clean the rayburn flu etc at least once a month.
We still get smoke coming into the room even when everything is open at times and we have made our flu as high as we can for our roof but any higher and it would not only look terrible but we would need guy ropes etc and would have no where to attach them. We burn different types of wood as my partner is a Tree Surgeon so free wood but I must admit I get really annoyed with all the smoke etc at times does anyone have any other ideas? We are going to re-seal everything as we know that will help too??? Please any ideas would be helpful
My Rayburn is about 20 yrs old, so might be different but I'm guessing you mean the damper plate where the flue connects to the top of the stove? The only other sliding thing mine has is on the bottom of the opening to the furnace, ie the top one. This provides secondary air for wood burning and should be to the right.
Sounds like you're getting way too much tar, which could be due to burning wood that is too wet - how long do you store it before burning?
Chimney sweeping removes soot, but less good at tar. It sounds likely that tar has built up in your flue, restricting the flow. Potentially dangerous I would think. There are products that help resolve this - a chemical that you burn on the fire before sweeping to make the tar more easily brushed off. Don't know how effective they are though. Here's a link to one I found:
Hope this helps.

how dry is your wood to start with? it may be woth investing in a moisture tester as the would needs ideally to be below 20% moisture and will have to be stored for some time to acheive this.
secondly, do you have an air vent in the room? this is required to help with the removal of flue gases. without it you may have increased chance of condensates (creosote) building up in the flue.
thirdly, the size of flue (diameter) also matters. Too big and again you get condensation problems and possible problems with the draw as chimney is too cold. On the other hand too small (less then 6") and you have increased chance of the flue blocking up with soot/tar and eventually smoking back.
I would also recommend installing a carbon monoxide detector in the room if you are getting fumes.
Hope this helps
agree with dean and mike- likely issue is with fuel quality- should be stored for 2-3 years from cutting to season properly (the approx 20% he mentions)- sounds like you have a twin wall insulated flue system (metal) rather than a brick chimney with or without a flue liner. This could also be an issue- is it definitely an insulated flue you have? single walled flue just won't do the job!!
I canít be of any help but can sympathise with you fully as we are having the same problems. I would say that its unlikely to be your wood as your partner is a tree surgeon as is mine so will know what he is doing, more likely to be the height of your flu. It should be at least the height of your roof and if not you get a down draft. We now know this as we have done our research into the matter. We have had an anti down draft thing fitted to the top but it is not working. Iím assuming that your problem gets worse when itís windy or even just breezy! We still havenít payed for all of our installation yet because as far as we are concerned the installers should have done a thorough site survey and have known that a flu would not be sufficient but that we needed a proper chimney. We have a carbon monoxide detector and it has alarmed, so I seriously suggest you get one for your own safety.

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