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Why does my Pyroclassic not get as hot as traditional 'black box' style wood fires?
The Pyroclassic is not a conventional radiant heater. As with all fires it can only generate the heat available from the fuel loaded into it and a single kilogram of wood fuel, soft or hard wood, carries the same calorific value by weight, so if a 'black box' fire is using 3kgs an hour of fuel and yours is using 2 then the other has 50% more heat being generated during the same period.
A percentage of the heat from a 'black box' wood fire will be lost up the flue that would normally be captured in the ceramic cylinder of the Pyroclassic. However, this doesn’t generate more heat, it just recovers some of what might have been lost.
If you want more heat then more fuel and air is the way to generate it. Load an extra piece of fuel in each time and leave the Turboslide open for a little longer, this will build more heat quicker and get the cylinder up to a higher temperature.
The maximum temperature wood fuel can combust at is 1100c and the cylinder wall in your Pyroclassic is capable of withstanding temps over 1500c so don’t worry about getting your fire too hot. The other components like the first section of flue and the coloured panels will show signs of high temp levels long before the cylinder.
What type of flue do you recommend?
We recommend a 150mm flue kit for your Pyroclassic Fire.
As we are a carboNZero certified organisation, we are not keen to support the unnecessary freight of bulky flue components great distances when there are comparable products available from reputable manufacturers in your locality. Please speak to your local Pyroclassic agent about the Flue Kit options available to you in your area.
Do you recommend using Smartburn in the Pyroclassic?
We have not carried out any testing with the SmartBurn in the Pyroclassic so we have no official data to go from and based on the limited knowledge we have of it there is little to suggest that it would make any significant difference to the burn environment inside a Pyroclassic.
A Pyroclassic in good working condition should not need a SmartBurn or similar in it to achieve a good, clean, effective and efficient burn.
How do I use my re-usable fire starters?
Place the soaked fire starter in the front of the fire chamber just underneath the front of your kindling. When the fire has started use tongs to remove it and place somewhere safe to cool down. When the fire starter is cold, place into a jar of methylated spirits for storage.
- NEVER leave methylated spirits near the lit fire
- NEVER soak a hot fire starter in methylated spirits
- NEVER squirt spirits or any liquid fuels directly into the fire chamber
What are the ceramic chips/divots in my cylinder? Is it normal?
These are exposed air blisters and are completely normal. The blisters are a result of small air pockets getting trapped just at the edge of the surface in our castings. Depending on how much air is trapped inside these, they sometimes erupt and take a piece of the ceramic off. These will not affect the performance of the fire at all.
There is over 35mm of thickness to the cylinder, and this is then wrapped in a thick insulating blanket and a complete steel band to ensure that nothing can escape from the cylinder walls.
What can I do if my wetback develops a thick coating on it?
The wetback can develop a coating of crusty creosote when the wood fuel is not being burnt in the most efficient way. Firewood can play a major role in the performance of a wood fire. The species is part of the picture but the most significant thing is that whatever the type of wood it must be well seasoned and dry. Best performance cannot be achieved without the best fuel.
So back to the question...
Burning wood at low temperature causes incomplete combustion of the oils in the wood, which are off-gassed as volatiles in the smoke. As the smoke rises through the chimney it cools, causing water, carbon, and volatiles to condense on the interior surfaces of the chimney flue. The black oily residue that builds up is referred to as creosote, which is similar in composition to the commercial products by the same name, but with a higher content of carbon black. Over the course of a season, creosote deposits can become several inches thick. This creates a compounding problem, because the creosote deposits reduce the draft (airflow through the flue) which increases the probability the wood fire is not getting enough air to burn at high temperature. Since creosote is highly combustible, a thick accumulation creates a fire hazard. If a hot fire is built in the stove or fireplace and the air control left wide open, this may allow hot oxygen into the chimney where it comes in contact with the creosote which then ignites—causing a flue 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. The build-up around the wetback is best removed by hand and the rest can be carefully removed by a vacuum cleaner.
The wetback can be knocked out of alignment if it is moved when the creosote is being cleaned off. This can cause the constant rise to be knocked out of alignment and can result in water hammer developing in the system so be careful. The wetback can develop a coating of crusty creosote when the wood fuel is not being burnt in the most efficient way. Firewood can play a major role in the performance of a wood fire. The species is part of the picture but the most significant thing is that whatever the type of wood it must be well seasoned and dry. Best performance cannot be achieved without the best fuel.
My fire isn’t going like it used to and performs like the flue is blocked even after cleaning. What do I do?
Remove the front panel by sliding it up. If there’s a white felt material (gasket), remove this and put back front panel.
Reason for removal: The gasket is present in Pyro models pre 2015. It was initially there to insulate the bolt but we found it restricted airflow as it tore and clogged the primary air intakes causing the fire to be starved of air.
If the gasket is not there and you are still experiencing these same issues then it is likely to be one of these three reasons:
1) Use of wet or unseasoned fuel - test your wood with a moisture meter by splitting a log in two and spiking the centre. If wood is above 20% this is not ideal and you should look at getting some drier wood.
2) Flue height - it could be a case of the flue not getting enough draw so it needs to be extended to create more positive draw. Every house is different, some houses require 600mm, some 1200mm. This depends on roof configuration and external factors like neighbouring buildings, trees, cliffs & wind.
3) Operation - you may be unintentionally not allowing the cylinder to get hot enough. Leave the Turboslide open for 30-45 minutes on initial start-up and open again for approximately 5-10 minutes after refuelling to ensure the new fuel has ignited and for the cylinder to maintain an optimum temperature.
How do I light my first fire?
1. Soak the reusable fire starters in methylated spirits. Tip: It is also handy to store the fire-lighters in a glass jar filled with methylated spirit.
2. Slide the Turboslide to the far right or far left position. This opens the air hole inside the door and allows air to flow through acting like an old fashioned pair of bellows.
3. Place DRY kindling and a few small logs lengthways in the front of the fire chamber leaving a clear space in front of the air inlet hole.
4. Place a soaked fire starter just under the kindling at the front of the fire chamber and light it. Try to avoid dripping methylated spirit on to any surface when doing this as it can discolour some hearth materials.
5. Close the door.
6. Once the fire is burning really well and you have a nice bed of hot embers, move the Turboslide to the central position (to cover the air inlet hole), this can be done slowly in several stages if preferred.
7. When opening the door to load more wood, slide the Turboslide to the far left or right open position, and continue as in number 6.
Refuelling onto a low firebed
The wood fuel inside a Pyroclassic® IV fire burns best on a thin bed of ash and hot coals. However, if there is insufficient burning material in the fire bed to light a new fuel charge, excessive smoke emission can occur. Refueling must be carried out onto a sufficient quantity of glowing embers and ash so that the new fuel charge will ignite in a reasonable period, add suitable kindling if necessary. If a new fuel load is left without suitable ignition then a buildup of unburnt volatile gases can occur, this can cause the unit to be put under stress when these gases eventually do combust causing a possible internal explosion. Always ensure adequate combustion and ignition of fuel and use the Turboslide as instructed.
Why is smoke coming from my Pyroclassic fire into my room?
There are a few reasons why this could be happening:
- Negative pressure in the room - this can be caused by a household electric exhaust fan or severe pressure difference in a windstorm. Open a window to equalise the pressure.
- Severe down draft due to surrounding structures, hills, trees or roof layout.
- Most commonly, this is an indication your flue is blocked. Clear the obstruction and investigate the cause. Check the moisture of your wood and make sure you are burning good, dry wood. The flue pipe can block very quickly if you are burning wet or gummy wood. Make sure you are using a reliable chimney sweep as the Pyroclassic is different from other wood fires.
Download down draft troubleshooting info HERE.