problemswith Contessa log burner

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4 years 2 weeks ago #551316 by anne in Dunedin
I have a Contessa log burner. Over the last two or three years it has not been working properly.
It will start off burning well then as soon as you put even a medium size piece of wood on it it starts to go out and the wood just smolders.
I have had people look at it and they blame the flue not being high enough or the wood. However the flue is the same as it was when the burner was working well and it does not matter what kind of wood I use, pine, oregeon, macrocarpa or blue gum it is the same and the wood is dry. I buy it early and it has that crack sound of dry wood when you cut it.
Hopefully someone can suggest something as it is getting worse. Yesterday it was a real battle to get it going.
Thanks
Anne in Dunedin

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4 years 2 weeks ago #551317 by Kilmoon
Welcome Anne....we're on the outskirts of Dunedin and have the Lady Kitchener version of that Contessa. Ours has been in now for 9.5 years and no problems at all. Have you thought of contacting the makers of the Firenzo fires and asking them what they think might be wrong? It sounds weird to have it operating normally and now it doesn't. On the back of your fire you should see a hanging metal tag with your fire's serial number and details etc, that way they can look up their records on it as well. It sounds like a air intake issue, does it work with the door partially open letting in more air and then start to die when the door is closed? If so, then air intakes may be clogged somehow.

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4 years 2 weeks ago #551318 by Stikkibeek
Presume you get your chimney swept every year?
Does it have a damper in it and has this somehow become detached.
Has something changed in your neigbourhood? Higher buildings, trees? weather causing an inversion layer? Bird nest?
Have you had someone take off the cowl on top and look down the chimney for any blockages?
We are having a similar problem at the moment with the burner spewing smoke out into the kitchen instead of it going up the chimney. 3 nights in a row. Going to investigate today. Ours does burn however once it gets going.

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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4 years 2 weeks ago #551319 by kate
Hi Anne and welcome to the site.

I assume you've checked that the flue isn't blocked? Do you have a baffle on top of the flue? is that blocked?

I've had Contessa/Lady Kitcheners for many years and the only thing that caused this problem for me was the flue.

Is there a difference when the fire is turned up? If not then maybe the air intake is blocked somehow.

Cheers
Kate

Web Goddess

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4 years 2 weeks ago #551324 by anne in Dunedin
Thanks for your answer. Yes the flue is swept every year. I don't have to think about it they contact me.
I think it might be the air intake as some have said will see if I can find out more about where that is.

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4 years 2 weeks ago #551325 by anne in Dunedin
Thanks Kate. I have had the flue checked and they said nothing is wrong with it.

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4 years 2 weeks ago #551326 by anne in Dunedin
Thank you
Yes it will start up again if you open the door providing it is not to close to going out, then you have to restart it.

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4 years 2 weeks ago #551327 by kate

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4 years 2 weeks ago #551332 by Alan Gilbert

anne in Dunedin wrote: Thank you
Yes it will start up again if you open the door providing it is not to close to going out, then you have to restart it.


In that case, Anne, you've got a problem with the combustion air intake. Opening the door is giving the fire sufficient air to support the enthusiastic combustion that the air intake should provide while the door is closed.

It could be a blockage of some sort, could be that the damper which is used to regulate the rate of burning has become detached from whatever is supposed to control its position and has lodged in the closed position, could be all sorts of things.

The diagram on Kate's link page might help you nut it out.

Good luck, and let us know how you get on.

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4 years 2 weeks ago #551338 by PatrickHerd
Continuing on from Alan's suggestion: Do you get mason wasps where you are? Mud/clay nests would definitely block the air intake vents quite effectively...

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4 years 2 weeks ago #551340 by linrae
When they are cleaning do they remove the air intake and the top baffle plate under the flue .They could both be blocked.
Has it been cleaned over the summer ,get them back say something has changed from when they last cleaned it

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4 years 1 week ago #551348 by anne in Dunedin
thank you to everyone who offered suggestions and Kate who sent the diagram. Yes I think the problem is the air intake.
Will find someone to look at it.
Cheers
Anne

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4 years 1 week ago #551360 by tonybaker
If it draws with the door open, must be the air intake. Can you test the intake by holding a flame near it to see if it sucks? Otherwise the fire is drawing air in higher up the flue through a poor joint. Any chimney sweep should be able to diagnose the problem surely? It is very important that the join where the flue meets the fire is well made and absolutely airtight. Again, the flame trick works for this.

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)

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4 years 1 week ago - 4 years 1 week ago #551361 by Stikkibeek
Well our so called experienced sweep obviously didn't clean our chimney at all and took a $100 for it! OH got up on the roof this morning and shone a torch down the flue and it had big lumps of soot stuck in it. No wonder it was spewing smoke out every time we lit it. less than an hour later with a kerosene tin a 1/3 full of soot, it is now burning brightly. I'll have something to say about this visit and in future we'll clean it ourselves and pocket the $100.

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S
Last edit: 4 years 1 week ago by Stikkibeek.

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4 years 1 week ago #551400 by tonybaker
glad to hear your problems re over, Mitre10 sell a good set of brushes, well worth the investment. Not sure how the insurance people feel about DIY cleaning though. There must have been a reason he did not put the brushes down , let us know what his response is?

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)

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