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When and how should I clean the flue?
Pyroclassic Fires are renowned for burning very cleanly when dry fuel is used but you should still always clean your flue once a year. This is often a requirement for many insurance companies.
Keeping your flue pipes clean will help eliminate the risk of a flue fire. Your flue is also a great indication of how your wood fuel is performing. If the pipes are clean then the wood is good, if the pipes are filling up with carbon, creosote and tar deposits then you may need to revisit the operating instructions and refresh yourself with how to create a cleaner burning fire.
The easiest way to clean the flue is by placing a deep baking tray or similar under the base of the flue and sweep the flue down into this, this stops all the debris from falling into the top chamber and requiring vacuuming out. Sweeping the flue into the top chamber is never a good idea as it can restrict the flow of gasses from the primary fire chamber and cause your fire to perform poorly.
To clean the top chamber and wetback, you will need to remove the top plate (it just lifts off) and clean out the top chamber of soot and creosote. Take care not to remove any of the Kaowool lining during cleaning and ensure that the gasket is all intact before replacing the top plate. Support the flue with a frame made of wood so you can easily remove the top plate.
The build-up around the wetback is best removed by hand. The wetback can be knocked out of alignment if it is moved when the creosote is being cleaned off so be careful as this can cause the constant rise to be knocked out of alignment and can result in water hammer developing in the system.
Can you configure the flue to have an offset so it goes out the wall behind the fire rather than the roof?
Yes, offset bends are available for the flue systems. The best option would be to speak with a local installer who can give you specific advice about a flue system to suit your home.
Do note that a general rule of thumb is to try and avoid having any offsets in the first length of flue pipe, no more than a 45 degree angle and no more than 600mm centre to centre of the offset. Offsets do require more maintenance with cleaning etc. and can have adverse effects on the fires performance versus a typical vertical flue.
How do I refuel the fire?
Use the rake to evenly distribute the hot ember and ash along the base of the fire box, ensuring there is sufficient hot ember at the front to provide adequate ignition to the fresh fuel load. Load the fresh fuel so the logs are loaded lengthways and one end of each log is in contact with the back wall of the firebox. If you keep your fire burning under the metal air tubes which run along the top of the cylinder, this will ensure the maximum amount of heat is captured within the ceramic cylinder. As hot gases have the most distance to travel before entering the flue, this allows the whole fire to retain as much heat as possible. When raking, avoid plugging the Turboslide inlet with char or ash (this is the hole covered externally by the Turboslide below the door). Using other tools may cause damage to the ceramic cylinder, always take care not to impact the ceramic surface.
How do I clean the glass?
If the correct quality fuel is burnt in the right manner, the glass should stay relatively clean. The air wash which passes down the inside of the door will scrub off any deposits during the burn cycle. If the glass is becoming dirty then scrunch two pieces of damp newspaper, dip one in cold fire ashes and rub over the inside of glass, use the other to rub over the glass to clean off the dirt. Do this in the morning before rekindling the fire as the glass will be cool enough at this time. To help keep the glass clear and clean if it is becoming dirty then get into the habit of cleaning it regularly as this will maintain the glass and prevent ashes from being fused onto the glass due to intense heat in the firebox.
What wood should I be using?
DRY. This means a maximum of 25% moisture content but ideally under 18% if possible.
Do not burn any wood which has been treated as this will release poisonous gases and dioxins. Do not use any driftwood as the salt content can cause irreparable damage to the ceramic cylinder and metal components. Younger softwoods and timber which has a higher moisture content will produce a greater volume of creosote and soot than dry, well seasoned hardwood.
Logs should be approximately 100mm - 120mm in diameter by around 300mm - 400mm long for your Pyroclassic IV Fire. Logs should be approximately 100-120 mm in diameter by around 200-250mm long for your Pyroclassic Mini Fire.
Dry wood is a must. To get the heat out of wood the fuel must pass through several stages. Firstly, free water that is not chemically bound with the wood is driven off – even wood at 20% moisture content still has to get rid of 2 litres of water for every 10 kilograms of wood. In the second stage the wood breaks down into the volatile gases, liquids and charcoal. Finally, the charcoal is also gasified, burning with a very short flame close to the char surface that appears to glow. In wood stoves all stages proceed simultaneously.
Wood is the most prolific worldwide, solar embedded, carbon sequestered energy source which is renewable in a human lifetime. It will provide energy when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing, when the outside temperature is above or way below freezing and when the electricity is not coming out of that little hole in the wall. If the abundant, worldwide timber resource is managed correctly it is the most sustainable, environmentally safe, renewable, resource we have and it has sustained mankind for centuries, providing us with warmth for the space we live in, warm water to clean with and the ability to cook food.
With the discovery of more energy intensive and easily transportable fossil fuels, wood was relegated to a lowly place in the order of preference and although it is bulky to transport it is the safest as it does not need a specially built pipeline, it won't suddenly explode or cause devastating marine pollution and with almost no refining can be used in its raw state. The closer it is used to the place where it has grown makes this an even more environmentally friendly product.
Most designer wood burners catering to aesthetic demands totally disregard the thermal conductivity of wood. Microscopic examination of wood shows the channels which carry the liquid nutrients up and down the tree; consequently the properties of wood are very different along the grain than across it. Heat moves along the grain about fifteen times faster than across it, therefore, solid wood across the grain does not conduct heat and is an effective insulator meaning it does not readily burn.
When a fire is lit, even by rubbing two sticks together, the gasification process starts and it is the combustion of these gases with air that produce heat which we see as flames and smoke. When heat cannot penetrate wood easily, i.e. across the grain, the volatiles given off are not rich enough nor hot enough to burn efficiently. Efficiency apparently is not a consideration in such panoramic appliances.
This is getting to the really nerdy bit now...
Burning of the volatile gases delivers over 60% of the heat stored in the original log but few heaters can recover the major portion of this heat as the volatiles must be over 600°C and mixed with hot oxygen to burn them. Now these are difficult conditions to meet and here’s why: if the main air supply comes from under or around the burning logs, the glowing char consumes all of the oxygen - it takes only 5cms of glowing char to consume all the available oxygen. At that point, incomplete combustion continues as characterised by increased carbon monoxide and tars which mostly go up the chimney where the unburnt volatiles deposit on the flue walls as a highly flammable, gummy substance known as creosote. It is wrong to introduce cold secondary air above the fuel as it cools the gases below their ignition temperature and now they won’t burn at all. The requirement is to introduce a highly pre-heated but variable volume of air for the different stages of combustion. This is done very efficiently by the secondary air tubes inside the Pyroclassic IV fire.
All fires consume large volumes of air in order to extract the oxygen required to burn their fuel. One kilogram of wood needs 3.7m3 of air to burn completely, although this is only a theoretical minimum for stoichiometric combustion. Such ideal combustion does not exist in real life as only some of the oxygen in that amount of air can be used and therefore 'cool fires' need some 200% - 300% excess air to get the oxygen they need. Therefore some 7 - 10m3 of air per kilogram of wood pass through the firebox cooling the core temperature inside it and cooling air below 600°C , which kills the reaction needed to burn the volatiles. In most fires the air needs of the fire make it work against itself making it inefficient and polluting, the excess air it uses only goes up the chimney with all that gas, tar and particulates. A Pyroclassic IV only uses super-heated air in its secondary burn cycle ensuring there is no cooling of the firebox and no excess air consumed.
Burning wood scientifically is done very effectively by the Pyroclassic IV freestanding woodburning fire but even the cleanest and most efficient woodburning stove needs logs which are as dry as possible to give the best output from your fuel. Check the moisture content of your wood when you buy it and then let nature do the hard work for you. Stack it off the ground in an open sided, roofed store to allow plenty of air flow around it for as long as possible or at least until the moisture content is below 20%. It’s then ready to be used in your Pyroclassic fire to give you a nice warm house right through winter in the most efficient and cleanest way possible.
More information about the 2 hectare rule under the NES
Most urban areas in New Zealand experience air pollution during winter. Our focus is on improving air quality in those areas. Urban areas typically have smaller property sizes and as there is no nationally consistent definition for an urban environment, a property size of less than 2 hectares was used. The standard two hectare rule applies throughout New Zealand including rural areas.
See more information at http://www.mfe.govt.nz/air/national-environmental-standards-air-quality
The front of my Pyroclassic fire has developed smoke stains on the panel. What can I do?
Depending on how extensive the marking is you may be able to remove it by using a light abrasive car polish. Remove the panel and place it on a kitchen bench as this will be much easier than doing it on the fire. Please be careful of the gasket if it's still attached to the back of the front panel when removing and replacing it. Please avoid handling the panel when hot. Always make sure the panel is cold.
How do I find the serial number of the fire?
The serial number is printed on a metal plate at the back of the fire. To view the panel, simply slide it up to the left side and you will be able to view it from the front.
What is the warranty for Pyroclassic parts?
The ceramic firebox in the Pyroclassic IV is warranted for 15 years against defective material or workmanship, providing that the fire is used according to the manufacturer's operating instructions. Cracks and blisters to the cylinder are not considered a failure of the ceramic firebox.
All other parts are warranted for 12 months from the date of purchase. This warranty does not cover damage or failure caused by tampering, carelessness, abuse or misuse, cosmetic damage or general wear and tear - this includes damaged door knobs and broken door glass. All cases will be considered at the manufacturer's discretion.
Please note: the warranty only applies to the original owner registered on the warranty card and cannot be transferred without express permission by the manufacturer.
How do I clean the outside of the Pyroclassic and the flue pipes?
The powder coated panels on the Pyroclassic IV can be wiped clean with some light detergent and warm water. You can choose to do this with the panels on the fire or remove them for a more thorough cleaning. Be careful when you remove the front panel to not tear the insulating gasket which is on the inside of the panel: you will need to pull the centre of the panel forward slightly to allow it to clear the space behind it when you slide it up.
The stainless steel flue pipe can be cleaned using a soft cloth with a small amount of methylated spirits soaked into it. Try to avoid touching the flue pipe with your bare hands as this leaves oils from the skin on the pipe and becomes very hard to remove once the pipes have been heat cycled.