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657 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2343536 25-Oct-2019 15:02
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dafman:

 

There's nothing quite like the heat and ambiance from a woodburner. And I love walking around our beach suburb in winter with the smell of wood fires in the air. So, in my view, the day you can't chop down a tree and burn it for warmth will be a sad day.

 



Personally I'm not a fan of the small of wood smoke.

Even if you do, is is not good for your health. Partially the Heart and lungs with the greatest risk falling on the young, elderly and those with existing heart of lung disease.


332 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2343546 25-Oct-2019 15:23
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Swept:

 

Finally, people have mentioned Pyroclassics: they are well built, but are a 'form over function' fire for me. 1) they cannot be installed if an offset (kink/bend in the flue) is required.  2) they can only be swept from the roof (we do 95% of our sweeps from the bottom) meaning you're stuffed if you have an A-framed house or a 2 story house.  3), they have a stupid door mechanism.

 

 

Out of interest why can they not be installed with an offset flue?


 
 
 
 


15329 posts

Uber Geek


  # 2343558 25-Oct-2019 16:01
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Delphinus:

 

Swept:

 

Finally, people have mentioned Pyroclassics: they are well built, but are a 'form over function' fire for me. 1) they cannot be installed if an offset (kink/bend in the flue) is required.  2) they can only be swept from the roof (we do 95% of our sweeps from the bottom) meaning you're stuffed if you have an A-framed house or a 2 story house.  3), they have a stupid door mechanism.

 

 

Out of interest why can they not be installed with an offset flue?

 

 

 

 

I wonder if it is something to do with the flues on some models being thinner, and if they are able to retain or generate more heat the a regular fire, as don't they have a ceramic  interior? 


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  # 2343587 25-Oct-2019 18:00
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tdgeek:

 

@Wheelbarrow01

 

 

 

 

I don't have any info on the models the OP asked about - I only know about mine, the Masport Mystique. You'll find a couple of GZ threads on the subject where I've provided my opinion, but after I installed mine I stopped tracking new models so I probably can't add much to that debate.

 

I've had my Mystique for over 3 years now and I love it more than ever. Over time I have learned how to control the heat most effectively - initially I had a tendency to over feed it which resulted in an always roaring fire and the house was just far too hot sometimes. I now recognise the optimum time to put a new log on, and I only ever put one on at a time now, so I use a lot less wood than I used to and the temperature is more consistent and comfortable. Basically once the fire is lit and has a good base, I only use around 3 logs a night (between approx 6pm and 11pm), only putting a new log on when the previous log has broken down to small chunks.

 

The only annoying issue I have had is with the removable ceramic grate at the rear wall of the lower chamber. I used to remove it for cleaning but found that they become very brittle over time and then shatter if you try to remove it. After HeatStore replaced it a few times at no cost, they changed their stance (or Masport did) saying it's not a defect and that the grate is a consumable product. At $40 a throw I can't afford to be replacing it every time I want to clean the fire. Heatstore advised me to stop removing it, so now I just use the brush tool on the vacuum cleaner to dust off any surface ash, but I don't remove it anymore. Consequently I have no idea how much fine ash might have built up behind that grate.

 

There is one other issue - the top of my flue does not seem to be very bird friendly. I've never had a bird fall down the flue of any of my log burners until this one, but it's happened 4 or 5 times now. The position of the damper handle determines whether the bird survives or not. In the open position, the bird ends up in the top burner chamber where I can see it, so I open my ranch sliders before opening the fire door, and they just fly out. However if the damper lever is down, the bird will end up behind the grate in the lower chamber, and I usually don't know it's there. I've found a couple of cremated skeletons in there during previous deep cleaning - poor little buggers.

 

In terms of fuel, some firewood merchants sell a special "ULEB mix" which is supposedly optimised for ULEB burners. What they mean is the pieces are split to a smaller diameter than normal. I found not only does the special mix cost more, but it burns faster too due to the size. I have no issues using standard sized firewood. If any individual piece is too large to burn nicely, it's easily fixed with one swing of my log splitter (before burning it obviously!).

 

I used to use timber offcuts (untreated) which are cheap, but they also burn too fast. Nowadays I burn a 50/50 mix of pine and oregon logs. Offcuts can be useful for getting the fire started though.


7 posts

Wannabe Geek


  # 2343596 25-Oct-2019 18:59
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Delphinus:

 

Swept:

 

Finally, people have mentioned Pyroclassics: they are well built, but are a 'form over function' fire for me. 1) they cannot be installed if an offset (kink/bend in the flue) is required.  2) they can only be swept from the roof (we do 95% of our sweeps from the bottom) meaning you're stuffed if you have an A-framed house or a 2 story house.  3), they have a stupid door mechanism.

 

 

Out of interest why can they not be installed with an offset flue?

 

 

 

 

So when manufacturers make new logfires, they have to be independently tested by a lab.  This includes the burner and the flue kit.  Pyroclassic decided not to with their flue kit with an offset.  This means they can mitigate some tolerances into their logfires (offsets are fine, but there are some things you need to consider with them).  So if you do install your Pyroclassic with an offset, any issues you may have (draw, build-up, chimney fires) Pyroclassic can just raise their hands "we said not to install it with an offset".  Primarily, you can only sweep Pyroclassics from the roof due to their baffle (top plate which plays an important role in modern logfires working well and efficiently) being welded in place.  All chimneys should be swept at least once a year unless they're a ULEB which is every 2 years.  Despite what Pyroclassic claims, their fires are not Ultra Low Emission Burners.  They're simply 'low-emission' burners.

 

For context, we sweep just about every logfire from inside your house (the ones we cannot are where we cannot remove the baffle which always cover the flue hole spigot).


7 posts

Wannabe Geek


  # 2343598 25-Oct-2019 19:04
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Rikkitic:

 

Swept:

 

Hi!

 

Bit late to this convo, but I'm a chimney sweep and have serviced both.

 

 

Where are you located? I'm in the market for a chimney sweep. Not sure how to tell real ones from cowboys.

 

 

 

 

Hi there, we're based in Christchurch.  We service as north has Hanmer Springs, west as Arthur's Pass, south as Ashburton.  $90 for a sweep and service for a standard logfire, $99 for open fires and coal ranges, $150 for the new ULEB fires (take twice as long and are more technical).

Are we any good and trustworthy?  Well, we use to be logfire installers but moved to just servicing.  We're NZ Home Heating Association certified with sweeping, servicing, and repairing logfires all we do 12 months of the year.  We like to think that when it comes to logfires, if we can't fix it, no one can.


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Wannabe Geek


  # 2343601 25-Oct-2019 19:11
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Wheelbarrow01:

 

tdgeek:

 

@Wheelbarrow01

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is one other issue - the top of my flue does not seem to be very bird friendly. I've never had a bird fall down the flue of any of my log burners until this one, but it's happened 4 or 5 times now. The position of the damper handle determines whether the bird survives or not. In the open position, the bird ends up in the top burner chamber where I can see it, so I open my ranch sliders before opening the fire door, and they just fly out. However if the damper lever is down, the bird will end up behind the grate in the lower chamber, and I usually don't know it's there. I've found a couple of cremated skeletons in there during previous deep cleaning - poor little buggers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So Masport no longer make the Mystique due to too many issues with it - the cermaic grill being just one of them.  Sounds like you're in Christchurch.  For a long term solution, I'd go have a chat with Paul from Spiroloc in Woolston about making a stainless steel one which won't wear out.  For your bird issue, no cowl (the top cap) is bird proof.  To bird proof it, do NOT use chicken wire - that will burn out in less than a year.  Go to Mitre 10 and get a special stainless steel mesh stocking which is made for bird proofing.  It is $100, but if you're comfortable to climb on your roof, it take will 20 seconds to install (just pull over and down, it snaps itself into place, no restraints required).

 

This is what we use, we've installed 120 of them since July 2019.


 
 
 
 


7 posts

Wannabe Geek


  # 2343605 25-Oct-2019 19:20
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mattwnz:

 

Swept:

 

 

 

 

 

Logfires built from 2000's onwards have a build lifetime of 15-20 years.  They can last beyond this, but the welds and steel sheets tend to start warping.

 

 

 

 

Are there any that are still built really well these days, where they are built to last? We had a Stack woodburner fire from the 80's which is still going well today, so it is at least 30 years old.

 

 

 

 

To the 80's standard?  No, not really.  Only Firenzo's and specifically only the flagship model "Lady Kitchener" or 'Lady K' as we call them.  The Firenzo Contessa is the same.  Firenzo are like the Rolls-Royce of logfires.  Their original fires (Lady K and Contessa) are over 50 years old in design and have barely changed.  They cost a lot, have demanding tolerances, and have a specific 'look' i.e. they work well in old character homes.  With Firenzo's, they are mostly made from cast iron, steel, and fire bricks; this makes them bullet proof.  However, to repair them (or rebuild them as we call it), costs at least $500 every 10 years.  The oldest Firenzo I've serviced was 47 years old.

 

Masport.  My personal favourite.  Why?  They are like Toyotas.  No, they don't have a USB charger or special fan, but they are dead simple and well built.  Whereas a Woodsman will use 4mm steel for the body, Masport will go 6/8mm.  They use stainless steel for parts that take a lot of wear (airtubes, brick retainer clips) and everything else out of thick steel.

Masport's current generation of logfires are no longer cast iron unlike all the previous gens (Masport LE series), but are still rock solid.

 

So, Firenzo or Masport is all I would look at (excluding the ULEBs) for my house.


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11177 posts

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  # 2343606 25-Oct-2019 19:22
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Swept:

 

Hi there, we're based in Christchurch.  We service as north has Hanmer Springs, west as Arthur's Pass, south as Ashburton.  $90 for a sweep and service for a standard logfire, $99 for open fires and coal ranges, $150 for the new ULEB fires (take twice as long and are more technical).

Are we any good and trustworthy?  Well, we use to be logfire installers but moved to just servicing.  We're NZ Home Heating Association certified with sweeping, servicing, and repairing logfires all we do 12 months of the year.  We like to think that when it comes to logfires, if we can't fix it, no one can.

 

 

I wish I could give you the job but it's just too far away. Any tips what I should look out for when choosing someone?

 

 





I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney
 


7 posts

Wannabe Geek


  # 2343612 25-Oct-2019 19:52
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Rikkitic:

 

Swept:

 

Hi there, we're based in Christchurch.  We service as north has Hanmer Springs, west as Arthur's Pass, south as Ashburton.  $90 for a sweep and service for a standard logfire, $99 for open fires and coal ranges, $150 for the new ULEB fires (take twice as long and are more technical).

Are we any good and trustworthy?  Well, we use to be logfire installers but moved to just servicing.  We're NZ Home Heating Association certified with sweeping, servicing, and repairing logfires all we do 12 months of the year.  We like to think that when it comes to logfires, if we can't fix it, no one can.

 

 

I wish I could give you the job but it's just too far away. Any tips what I should look out for when choosing someone?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ahh all good! 

Check for online reviews.  When you call them - do they answer straight away or reply to your message quickly?  This will tell you whether they'll show up on time.  Secondly, ask them how they do their sweep; will they do it from the roof or from the bottom?  What will they do other than the sweep? I.e check the bricks, airtube, baffle, air control slide, wear and tear to the firebox?  How will they keep the area clean?  If there are any issues, can they fix them or get spare parts?  This last one is a big one.  If they're fly-by-night operations, they won't know where, how, or who to get spare parts from.  We have trade accounts with all manufacturers bar one, but we can get spare parts for them regardless.  If spare parts are no longer made, we can get them custom made up for you.  Can they do the same?  Any decent or serious chimney sweep should be able to.

Do they provide a job sheet for your house insurance? 

Cost isn't a real indicator.  But if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

 

Finally, ask them this: will you remove/drop the baffle?  To clean a chimney correctly, you need to remove/drop this to clear the build that is swept out of the chimney.  If they say 'no' or don't know what a baffle plate is, find someone else.  If they don't remove the baffle or clean the build-up that lands on it, you will have a chimney fire with the week.

 

Hope that helps?


Lock him up!
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  # 2343615 25-Oct-2019 19:56
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Thanks heaps. It helps a lot. I am in Hawke's Bay and will have to look for someone local.

 

 

 

 





I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney
 


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  # 2343629 25-Oct-2019 20:45
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Wheelbarrow01: There is one other issue - the top of my flue does not seem to be very bird friendly. I've never had a bird fall down the flue of any of my log burners until this one, but it's happened 4 or 5 times now. The position of the damper handle determines whether the bird survives or not. In the open position, the bird ends up in the top burner chamber where I can see it, so I open my ranch sliders before opening the fire door, and they just fly out. However if the damper lever is down, the bird will end up behind the grate in the lower chamber, and I usually don't know it's there. I've found a couple of cremated skeletons in there during previous deep cleaning - poor little buggers.

 

We started having this problem last year when the new flue went in. Had 6 Starlings into the firebox in about a 3 week period. Fixed that with a bit of chicken wire cut into a + shape then bent to shape and wired in place.


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  # 2343641 25-Oct-2019 21:05
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Swept: To the 80's standard?  No, not really.  Only Firenzo's and specifically only the flagship model "Lady Kitchener" or 'Lady K' as we call them.  The Firenzo Contessa is the same.  Firenzo are like the Rolls-Royce of logfires.  Their original fires (Lady K and Contessa) are over 50 years old in design and have barely changed.  They cost a lot, have demanding tolerances, and have a specific 'look' i.e. they work well in old character homes.  With Firenzo's, they are mostly made from cast iron, steel, and fire bricks; this makes them bullet proof.  However, to repair them (or rebuild them as we call it), costs at least $500 every 10 years.  The oldest Firenzo I've serviced was 47 years old.

 

Masport.  My personal favourite.  Why?  They are like Toyotas.  No, they don't have a USB charger or special fan, but they are dead simple and well built.  Whereas a Woodsman will use 4mm steel for the body, Masport will go 6/8mm.  They use stainless steel for parts that take a lot of wear (airtubes, brick retainer clips) and everything else out of thick steel.

Masport's current generation of logfires are no longer cast iron unlike all the previous gens (Masport LE series), but are still rock solid.

 

So, Firenzo or Masport is all I would look at (excluding the ULEBs) for my house. 

 

@Swept - thanks for all your useful and informative input into this thread.

 

My fireplace is a Metro compact insert which, from the paperwork I've managed to locate, was installed in 1992. I've only been renting my place from the bank for 7 years started a somewhat larger than expected reno project on it 4 years ago. Year one was a good cleanup of the insides, new bricks, new glass retainer, new prommet, new rope gaskets, cleanout of the inside of the door and a spray paint with paint designed for wood burners. Year two was new flue (kit purchased from Turfrey), new baffle (and prommet) with a far superior designed one to the original, new steel cage roof (including anti-rust treatment of sidewall tops, new insulation blanket.

 

Over the reno period I was super impressed with how responsive Metro were to my barrage of requests for info on parts etc. so I could then order the right bits through an official reseller.

 

I don't think the fireplace had ever been properly looked after before (for instance the flue sections had come adrift and rain would enter the firebox) but everything's well sealed now and it runs like an absolute champ. All that said, due to the perceived previous neglect I think it's very much on it's last legs. I'll replace the rope gaskets again this summer, but think I'll probably be looking around for a replacement fireplace somewhere between the next 1-5 seasons - I shall definitely bear your comments in mind.


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  # 2343664 25-Oct-2019 22:26
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We have a Lady Kitchener in our house. I haven't lit it in at least 3 years I don't think. We keep it just in case there is a lengthy power cut (or, I suppose, a zombie apocalypse).

 

 

 

It's a very good woodburner. Our chimney sweep says they are about $5,000 now.

 

 

 

I agree with the comment above though - burning wood to heat houses in the 21st century is bonkers and it is hardly surprising so many Kiwis have asthma etc given the woodsmoke pollution some places have. There are towns in the Wairarapa that smell like a bonfire all winter.






839 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2344505 28-Oct-2019 18:41
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dafman:

 

There's nothing quite like the heat and ambiance from a woodburner. And I love walking around our beach suburb in winter with the smell of wood fires in the air. So, in my view, the day you can't chop down a tree and burn it for warmth will be a sad day.

 

 

 

 

An efficient fire will only produce CO2 and H2O.  Carbon monoxide is usually produced as well though not ideal.

 

If you can smell a wood fire you're smelling unburnt fuel; hopefully not creosote.  It's an indication of incomplete combustion from an inefficient log burner.


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