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John A.

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Everything posted by John A.

  1. Possibly out of range financially and geographically, but our fallback was going to be Newhaven - Dieppe for £119 for a 3 week return including dog, which I though was a pretty good alternative, and a fairly pleasant crossing. But now we've been lured away by the offer from our neighbours here to have the dog and from RyanAir to take us to Tours for 1p (i.e. £10) each, which is near our destination.
  2. Gary - This is very interesting, I think you've come up with the missing link. Our stove is a Supra Alsace (10 kw) and it was installed 4 years ago in our absence. We had the first pipe replaced 6 months ago, but not by the same company that installed it. Because of the slope on the pipe it had developed a hole, where resin had been running down the seam inside, and fumes were escaping. We were there when the second pipe was fitted and there was no sign of any seal being used - they just slid it onto the outlet on the stove and that was it. I have not got anywhere with my complaints to the repair company, so it t sounds like I need to get one of these seals from Supra and put it on myself. Incidentally we had 3 excellent years with this stove, we were very pleased with it until this recent episode. Thanks for your help!
  3. Gary - it looks to me as if Chipie/Jackie's pipe bend actually fits inside the flange on the stove, because the pipe flange is at the top. This accords with the advice I have been given - i.e. the pipe should go inside the stove outlet, not over the outside of it. My situation is a bit more complicated. My first upright pipe is on a slight slant - about 3 or 4 degrees - because of the chimney geometry the stove won't go far enough back to allow an absolutely vertical stack. Therefore  the join is slightly on the skew, which doesn't help. I did carefully push fireproof mastic from the inside of the pipe, with my arm up through the stove, into the join between the pipe and the stove flange, and that lasted for 3 nights. On the fourth night the black stuff found its way through and leaked out again.
  4. I'm wondering if any experts here can assist with a couple of similar questions. Having waited for the right weather we're now off to France to have a go at sorting our problem flue (described in my thread a few weeks back). I want to go down a size, and then back up a size, with the first pipe (which is about a metre long before it disappears into the  plaster above in the fireplace). This is because the pipe currently (incorrectly) fits over the stove flange where it should fit into it. The resin that runs down the pipe then will be able to go into the stove rather than seep out of the joint onto the open top of the stove, waking us at 2 a.m. with it's (now) familiar choking odour.  Would this cause any adverse problems? Anyone know any shops in the Poitiers area where I can buy the necessary converters over the counter? Secondly I have been advised that the flexible 'crinkly' liner is not appropriate for wood-burners. This is because the resin gets into the crinkles and no matter how mch you brush the chimney, the hardened resin is not dislodged until the chimney gets hot enough for the resin to melt and pour back down. My advisor actually says that we would be better off with no liner at all past the initial pipe in a wide and substantial chimney like ours. He says we just need a substantial register plate with a sliding access plate for sweeping the sides of the chimney. Does this make sense? It would be an easy cure to remove the liner.
  5. I'm missing something here ... we've used Speedferries for the past 3 years and have rarely paid more than £20 - £25 each way. Are the prices about to rise steeply, making this offer of £27 each way worthwhile? Speedferries is of course off the air for January, as with previous Januaries, whilst they paint the boat.
  6. Thank you all for the advice. Some comments ..... We have a flexible flue liner joined on to the top of the initial (inflexible) 4 foot stainless steel pipe. The flexible liner goes to the top of the chimney, where it has a clip holding it in place. About 5 inches above the top of the pipe, which just pokes out of the top of the chimney, is a paving slab sitting on 4 pairs of bricks at the corners of the chimney walls - so it is difficult for rain to get in. We don't have any insulation in the surrounding gap in the chimney. Steve's reply confirms my suspicion that we are using the stove at too low an operating temperature. When winter is at its coldest the stove is just about the right size for the house - we keep it on high heat all the time. But what do you do when the weather is not so cold but you still need some heat in the house? In this situation we have been running on low heat. Maybe we should have been turning it up and opening some windows to get rid of unwanted heat.  The stove has a glass window, and for the first three years it regularly kept going perfectly well overnight - at low heat - and we were able to revitalise it in the morning by pulling the damper out. I think the wood we are using is mainly hornbeam, some hazel and some oak. I thought my guarantee was just a couple of years, but I'll check. Presumably the installer would say that the fact that the system was working perfectly for 3 years means the installation was ok. I don't think my command of the French language would get me a lot further than that. To get the rigid pipe completely vertical would require either chiselling away 3 or 4 inches from the wall at the back of the fireplace or buying a different design of stove. It may yet come to one of those options.
  7. Really?? That's fantastic - many thanks. For the next 4 or 5 months I'm a refugee from Poitiers airport - where they turned a perfectly good rugby pitch into a car-park because of long-term parkers like me. Then it went from free parking to 3 or 4 Euros a day. I'll try not to abuse Tours airport car-park too much - wouldn't want to see the same thing happening there.
  8. I need to back & forth to our French house over the next 6 months. Does anyone know of anywhere I could park my (French) car within reach of the airport at Tours? I am assuming long-term airport parking is fairly expensive. Thanks.
  9. After 4 trouble-free wood burning years we have now had a year which has changed all that. After the stove was installed (it's a Supra Alsace) in 2003 we thought it was our best ever investment - it heated the whole house, it was effortless to light, lasted all night with the damper pushed right in, it would burst into life in the morning half an hour after pulling out the damper - in a word, a dream! However, our troubles started in February this year, when we started waking up in the mornings with muzzy heads and an unpleasant odour in the air. Turned out to be 'les emanations' from a hole in the back of the black enamelled pipe going from the stove top up to the register plate (plaster actually). The pipe slopes backwards slightly because the flange in the top of the stove is slightly forward of the chimney cavity above, so resin had been running down the seam at the back of the pipe and finally eaten its way through the pipe. We then had the black pipe changed for a stainless steel one. All was ok - for 3 nights. On the fourth night we woke at 2 am with a smell of resin throughout the house. I lifted the top from the stove and there was black resin flowing out of the join between the stove flange (male) and the pipe (female). The next day I took the insides out of the stove, cleaned everything thoroughly, swept the chimney with my neighbour's brushes, carefully put mastic over and into the joins between the pipe and the stove's flange - inside and out, and put all back together and started up the fire. I also put new seals around the door window. Great, all ok .... for the next two nights. Then, 2 am on the third night the familiar resin smell. Lifted the top of the stove again - there was the old black magic running out of the joint again! In great depression we left the house - couldn't stay in it with that smell - and came back to England to take stock. What on earth do we do? Our wood has always come from the same source - our neighbour, who we get on well with, who leaves his wood for 2 or 3 years at least in piles under black plastic sheets in the fields before using it or passing it on. Speaking with 'experts' in the pub back here we are now wondering if our downfall might have been our normal practice of putting a large log onto the damped-down stove before we go to bed at night - to keep it going all night. We are told that you should always put a new log onto a lively fire and let it flame for 20 minutes before closing it down for the night. Also, maybe we should be splitting the logs. Does anyone have any suggestions, or similar stories? Does anyone know where I can get a log-splitting machine for 50 cm logs near Poitiers? - I don't relish the physical prospect of big logs and axes at my time of life. We really wood be grateful for any suggestions for sorting out our dilemma!
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