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Old 02-08-2010, 06:01 PM   #1
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Napoleon Gas Fireplace Problem


I recently finished my basement and had a contractor install a Napoleon Gas stove. When the temperature outside is above freezing the stove works fine. As soon as the temperature drops below zero the flame in the stove starts drawing back towards the fresh air vent which comes from the back of the stove. With the flame pulled down and toward the rear of the unit it sets off an overtemp sensor in the stove and shuts off the pilot light. It also heated up the piezio ignitor so much that it melted the wire.

The contractor felt that the fresh air opening feeding the unit was not large enough so we opened it up significantly. This did nothing to recitify the problem. When I finished the basement I did not put in a cold air return. Could this cause a pressure differential severe enough to prevent the gas stove from operating properly. If so why would it work when its warm outside? My ceiling is drywall but is below the floor joists so I could with some difficulty get at the existing cold air ductwork and place a return in the room. Before I do I just wanted to get someone's opinion if this would rectify my currrent gas stove issues.

Is there a way to test the theory before going to all the work?

Thanks for any help.

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Old 02-08-2010, 06:08 PM   #2
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Napoleon Gas Fireplace Problem


Is this a ventless unit. post model number. And pics of install if you can.

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Old 02-08-2010, 06:14 PM   #3
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Napoleon Gas Fireplace Problem


A cold air return won't make any difference and may make the problem worse. You have a venting/draft problem with the stove. As it gets colder the draft increases as that is the way draft and thermodynamics work. I am wondering if there is not some type of orifice plate missing from the combustion air supply pipe to the stove. Get him to check with Napoleon. Too much draft may be the problem. You may also have a negative pressure problem in your house and need a combustion air pipe to the furnace room. If the stove is sealed properly you shouldn't but I have seen it happen. When the flame disturbance starts get the wife to open a door on the main floor 1" while you watch the flame and see if the problem goes away. If it does then you need a combustion air pipe to the furnace room to break the negative pressure. Post some pics of the stove from all sides so we can tell what type it is.
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Last edited by yuri; 02-08-2010 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 02-08-2010, 09:59 PM   #4
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Napoleon Gas Fireplace Problem


The Unit model is GDS60. I took some pictures but I am trying to figure out how to post them for you.
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Old 02-08-2010, 10:35 PM   #5
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Napoleon Gas Fireplace Problem


I opened the front door on the main floor and the flame still fed back under the plate that holds the logs towards the fresh air intake. In the installation guide for this unit there is an area where it mentions taking off an access plate on the back of the stove and removing and discarding the air intake cover. According to the instructions this is only for GS60 stoves with a B-Vent installation. My unit is a GSD60 but there is an access plate on the back of the unit in the same location. The B-Vent is a setup where the unit is vented from the top like mine is but the chimney is different with an inline adapter where the spill switch is relocated to. If my unit is equipped with this same air intake cover I suppose he could have removed it by mistake.
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Old 02-09-2010, 12:54 AM   #6
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Napoleon Gas Fireplace Problem


How is your chimney ran?
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Old 02-09-2010, 07:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
How is your chimney ran?
The chimney is runnning vertical from the fireplace with a 90 degree to the wall exiting outside. It is well within the run limits of the installation guide.
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Old 02-09-2010, 02:08 PM   #8
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Napoleon Gas Fireplace Problem


Post pics of the outside termination.

Is the intake on the same wall as the chimney.
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Old 02-09-2010, 02:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
Post pics of the outside termination.

Is the intake on the same wall as the chimney.
The chimney goes up the centre of the black steel pipe. The fresh air comes down the outside of the chimney between the chimney and the steel pipe. It feeds in the top of the stove and then is direct through a channel towards the back of the unit and then down to come out the bottom of the cumbustion chamber underneath the support for the artificle logs.

The flame is then drawn backwards towards the fresh air supply underneath the log support. This is also where the ignitor and termocouple are located.

The unit looks like an old fashioned stand alone stove with the black vent pipe extending from the top about 54 inches with a 24 inch 90 degree to outside.

The outside termination is a typical aluminum gas fireplace terminal. The termination point is however fairly close to ground level. Not sure on how many inches clearance there is but a snorkel termination probably should have been used because it is less than 12 inches from grade. The termination faces north. Winds are typically out of the north west. There is a 4 foot decorative brick wall extending approx 3 feet from the house in close proximity to the exhaust vent location. I am assuming this would blanket it from wind disturbance. Not sure if any of this would cause the problem I am having.

Last edited by John.Davis; 02-09-2010 at 02:41 PM. Reason: Additional info
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Old 02-09-2010, 02:44 PM   #10
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Ok.

How high is the flue pipe/chimney before it goes out the wall.
Post pic of it.
Post pic of the hole he made larger.
And of the chimney termination outside.

Is anything close to the termination outside.
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Old 02-09-2010, 02:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
Ok.

How high is the flue pipe/chimney before it goes out the wall.
Post pic of it.
Post pic of the hole he made larger.
And of the chimney termination outside.

Is anything close to the termination outside.

I think I know how to post the pics now. Will take some more tonight and put them up. Thanks for thinking about this one.
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Old 02-09-2010, 06:06 PM   #12
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Here are some pictures of the Gas stove
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Old 02-09-2010, 06:19 PM   #13
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I hate to be negative but that looks like a bad termination setup outside. It will be prone to snow buildup blocking it and you do get exhaust ice buildup when it runs. I have seen lots of them get partly blocked and then they burn dirty and foul up the inside of the stove with carbon and can produce CO. If it can be snorkeled up that would be a lot better. Is it windy all the time when your problem happens. Sounds like you are getting cold denser air and a swirling effect which is affecting your draft. The engineers design those stoves for an unobstructed termination and a flat wall with a recommended ground clearance etc.
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Old 02-09-2010, 06:21 PM   #14
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Napoleon Gas Fireplace Problem


I removed the front glass of the unit to provide a better picture of the log support. The flame is being drawn back under this support where the fresh air is coming down the pipe to this point from outside. With the glass off and the fireplace open the flames works fine. As soon as the glass is put back on the flame is drawn towards the fresh air.
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Old 02-09-2010, 06:27 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yuri View Post
I hate to be negative but that looks like a bad termination setup outside. It will be prone to snow buildup blocking it and you do get exhaust ice buildup when it runs. I have seen lots of them get partly blocked and then they burn dirty and foul up the inside of the stove with carbon and can produce CO. If it can be snorkeled up that would be a lot better. Is it windy all the time when your problem happens. Sounds like you are getting cold denser air and a swirling effect which is affecting your draft. The engineers design those stoves for an unobstructed termination and a flat wall with a recommended ground clearance etc.
I have asked the installer to get me the snorkel vent. I don't think that this will fix the problem but you are correct about the snow possibly causing a blockage. This year there has not been alot of snow around here. I have never seen it blocked. We did place some plywood around the vent to see if air turbulence was creating the problem. There was no change in how the stove operated. There is usually a breeze here and it can get quite windy. Tonight there is little to no wind and the stove is u/s. This will be the third winter that we have been unable to use the stove. It works great when the temperature is warm outside. Unfortunately we don't need it then.

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