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3 posts
Posted Yesterday, 12:42 PM
Hi - we have a basement with an old concrete slab, at least part of which does not have polythene underneath it. We think we have sorted out most of the water ingress issues with basement, but before recarpeting and regibbing we want to put down a sealer (Dampstop) to prevent any rising damp. THe problem is lifting off the old carpet glue and some ancient old paint. A quote from concrete grinders is in the $500 range. So we are thinking of hiring a rotary sander from hirepool and giving it a go ourselves. Is this a DIY job or is it something that is beyond the skill set of your average kiwi housewife ?

6 posts
Posted Yesterday, 11:24 AM
Thanks for the helpful comments guys but the problem is on its way to being sorted- the installer is going to rip out the pyrocrap (like the name ) and fix a masport as soon as consent comes through- bear in mind we bought the pyro at easter as an invcestment for the house- ha bloody ha!
Interesting to hear about the faulty fire though as I have also suspected there could be a problem with the fire as well as the long flue- will keep an eye out for the problem you describe. (well there is definitely a problem with a $7000 fire that won't heat the house except on warm, dry days!)
But yes the flue (looks lovely all that stainless steel right up until it is covered with dribbles of black gunk from the roof to the fire) is totally exposed to the roof (mind you if it was covered the kao wool would be absorbing all that creosote and we wouldn't know it was happeneing). The house is about 20 years old and timber- no brick flue.
We have had the tubes glowing red hot on occasion- it generally takes about 3 hours to get hot tho, you have to sit there and feed it wood about every hour on the hour and still doesn't really put heat out into the house- we can get the living room and the bedroom above (mezzanine type) warm but the small open plan room attached to the living room is still freezing. The wet back was really good for the first few weeks but since the blocking of the flue the pipes are covered in gunk so they are insulated and seem less effective.
It's been burning ok for the last few days but we have had that run of warm sunny dry days- today we have drizzle and fog and I suspect it's going to be a mare to get going.
We don't have leaking at the moment but it's been dry- I did hear dripping one night but there was no external leak I think it was down the inside of the flue. As stated the installer did come out and bog it up - that was after the first week when we noticed the start of the creosote problem.
We asked the installer about the flue but the 4inch thing is the standard fitting for it- their hands are tied- we're not in a clean air zone- we were suposedly future proofing and being green with the pyrocrap.
Our problem is not with the installer- they have been desperately trying to fix the problem (remember they have not yet had all their money so they are out of pocket) our problem is with the poor service from the manufacturer who refuses to admit the possibility that there might be a problem with the flue or the fire itself to us or the installer. We did our research before purchase (not just from the manufacturers site) and thought we were getting ourselves a good fire that would last us for many years to come, add value to the house, use less wood, put out less emissions that was backed by the manufacturer- boy were we wrong on all counts there!
if you've got one of these and it works for you then great but i wouldn't want anyone else getting suckered like we did because their conditions don't meet the fussy and exacting standards required by this overpriced, overhyped burner.

3 posts
Posted Yesterday, 12:17 AM
Hi Meg
a couple of questions
two story house .
where is the flue pipe fitted ?
ie in the old brick chimney , exposed to ground ceiling then double skinned ? .
we have finally got our PYROCRAP as we call it going properly .

and i believe it was made wrong.
check the two over air tubes arent burnt away and split on the top of them and rear .
when you have a fire going with the slider and door shut .
when you have a fire going ,
look at the two air tubes at the top of the fire , can you see a air steam with flames around it at open ends of them ?

do you have a wet back fitted ?

what i found was this .
Take the side panels and front panels off .
is there any rust marks around the outside of the tube ?
if you have a wetback and you see rust all along the joins . then its leaking ! if the wet back leaks into the combustion chamber . no amount of wood will get draw into the chimney. the water is turning into steam robbing the heat energy .

look at the bottom back of the fire tube , you will need a mirror .
there is a slot about 15mm wide and goes about 100mm around the bottom of the steel tube . we found our was blocked with KOawool.
this stops air getting to the over air tubes.
after fiddly work i managed to get the space clear from the slot to the back of the air tubes .
I had to replace our tubes , when i did this the second time i altered them . i plugged the end with a 1/2 iron plug and drilled 8 of 6mm holes 50mm apart down each tubes length.
when i refitted the tubes i had the holes pointing down wards .
since doing that the slider is hardly open and our ceramic tube is white hot .
the slider allows cold air to enter the firebox. this is then sucked strait up the flue .
air via the over tubes is pre heated and gets the wood degassing and burning.

I once had a wood fire that a firm fitted that i worked for and it just didnt go . it was a very high ceiling Lockwood ./ the flue was exposed all the way to the apex of the roof .
when i put a thermometer on the flue out at the roof , the smoke was only a couple of degrees warmer than air temp . we wrapped the flue in Kaowool from about 3 meters above the fire and it worked a treat .
a proper fix after that was to remove the flue and put a liner around it with kaowool between them.

a bigger flue will give you a slower flue speed and less pull .
I have a firms thermal camera and my next door neighbors flue pipe 500mm above the fire is 250 degrees . our pyro when roaring is only 150 degrees c .
If the flue is over cooling then you will have no draw and water vapour condensing this will lead to hi creosote levels too.
The hot gasses in your flue are pushed up by colder heavier air wanting to replace it.
people think hot air / water rises . it doesnt its pushed up by heavier air ! .
sorry for the ramble but i we have had two years of it . and now selling the house !

hope you get it fixed .

3 posts
Posted 29 Jul 14 10:44 PM
Ok the flue water leaks would seem to be an issue with the install not the fire..

If you're not getting much joy from Pyroclassic then speak with the installer. I think it's possible to remove the flue adaptor from the top of the fire (the bit that necks down the 150mm outlet to 100mm) and then install a 150mm (6") flue.. Given that 150mm is pretty much an industry standard that should resolve any issues with a restricted flue and possibly is the same flue diameter as the '20 year old' burner was running.

The installer should be able to certify that I would think. It depends I suppose if you are on a rural property 2ha and greater. As modifying the flue will take the fire out of Clean Air spec. Some installers have issues with this some dont I guess it depends on how 'severe' the local authority is when it come to CA compliance.

The flue install when complete should be compliant with AS/NZS 2918 and the building weather tightness will need to comply with the NZBC.

One thing I would generally say is if you are on a property less than 2ha and therefore need a CA compliant wood burner then generally comparing a modern CA compliant fire to a 20 year old non CA compliant fire can be a bit of a rude awakening. CA legislation and the 4012 4013 testing forces manufacturers to control air flow rates quite tightly in the fire.

6 posts
Posted 29 Jul 14 9:21 PM
the installer was totally surprised by the issue- the only time they have had an issue with creosoting like this was with someone burning freshly cut avocado! they are quite reputable and I have no doubt if they had been aware of an issue with this length of flue they would have advised us to put something else in. They have been out several times( that's an hour and a half travelling time and they are still awaiting final payment, so it is in their interests to get it fixed soon as) ,bogged up around the flue (stopped the initial water leak but not the creosote or subsequent water leak) checked out the flue, swept the flue on the last visit, made adjustments and contacted pivot stoves- and been given absolutely no support or help from them. Except for an over the phone comment asking them if it was a "sloping roof" (aren't most?) followed by the comment ähh ok"when told it was- no further explanation was forthcoming.
I would agree with your assessment that the flue is too long for its diameter- but it is the only flue available for this fire and there is NO mention of this being an issue in any of the pyroclassic literature.
There were no issues like this with our previous (20 year old) fire running a standard flue in the same two storey house! to me this is an intrinsic fault in the pyroclassic fire- one that pivot stoves keep hidden from their clients and wash their hands of when it comes to light.
My first contact with pivot stoves regarding the issue was answered in a very patronising manner. They did have a staff member who was visiting family in the area who came and saw us- he prefaced every remark with the comment that he was not a technical person -and filled the house up with smoke (setting off the smoke alarms )trying - and failing- to get the thing lit, the installer then swept out about 5lbs of soot and the two of them then had to take the fire to pieces to remove it from the base of the chimney. The heat exchange bars are so badly clogged up that their efficiency has to be greatly reduced After some more twoing and froing we were told that someone from pivot stoves was going to ring us about it the "next"day- that was about 5 weeks ago and we are still waiting for that call.
Tonight the fire has been lit for about four hours, I currently have the vent open and am sitting four feet away from it shivering because it is a cold night and it is just not chucking out any heat- we're just watching our firewood go up in smoke (and creosote ) for little heat output.

3 posts
Posted 29 Jul 14 12:52 PM
We did this once over a few weeks Summer (opinions differ on if you need to bother), just using some old tarpaulins.

Just make sure you tie down whatever you use well and avoid any flapping edges. The wind removed most of our tarps by the time we returned :-)

3 posts
Posted 29 Jul 14 12:49 PM

For anyone wandering by who was wondering...

I have now fixed this by replacing the roof sensor, using fresh heat transfer paste and sealing the cable exit hole with silicon.

3 posts
Posted 29 Jul 14 7:28 AM

So the flue must be at least 8.5-9.5 m long...????

My take on what is happening based on distilling the info out of your posts is that the flue is basically too long for the fire. The smoke is cooling as it heads up the flue and then is condensing forming creosote etc...

What length of flue is the 'masport up the road' running?...

We used to get quite a few issues with longer flue installs from flues gunking up as is this case to complaints about whistling air tubes.

What's the installer saying about the water ingress issues you have been having and the overall performance of the fire and flue issues???

6 posts
Posted 28 Jul 14 9:06 PM
in answer to your question we have a two storey house but with a high roof. when originally installed they forgot the extra 600mm but came back and fitted it- it seemed to draw worse post that! fuel is FINE it's burning fine in a masport up the road- it meets the three sides burnig within a couple minutes of being put on the fire" test. As far as the pyroclassic is concerned I think the flue is too narrow for such a long run- but pivot stoves wont admit it. I suspect there is also a leak somewhere- this may now be blocked up by the creosote which is STILL running.
We are in a pretty damp area, when it is raining the fire doesn't draw properly, when the temp is 15 degrees outside the house is nice and warm- drop below ten tho and you need to sit on top of the fire not to freeze. So basically if you have a tiny single storey house, a nice warm outside temp , have an RH of less than 4%, are prepared to buy kiln dried wood and only want a fire when there is an "r"in the month buy this overpriced lump of metal.
You also seem to need to feed wood into the fussy thing on the hour every hour if you wish to keep any heat in and the fire burning- so only useful if you intend to sit at home all day looking after it- and it uses HEAPS.
If you have a larger house of more than one storey think again!
The amusing instructions on how to use the thing which tell you not to light your fire with them are correct- instead light your first fire with the warrenty as pivot stoves have no interest in helping you when things go wrong. Their service sucks worse than the fire which is why we are having the thing taken out and replaced as soon as possible.

11 posts
Posted 28 Jul 14 5:50 PM
Hi Jane

I'd say you are right to think that your hot water consumption wouldn't warrant a solar hot water system. If you get a solar pv system you can get your electrician to put a timer on your hot water cylinder to make sure it's only being heated during the day when you are generating solar power. If you get your cylinder insulated then it shouldn't need to be topped up with power from the grid. Then the plus with solar pv is any extra power will go to other appliances or sent to the grid which you'll get a credit for. If you not home during the day as much you'd probably only need a small pv system around 2kW - costing around $7-$8K.

22 posts
Posted 28 Jul 14 11:02 AM
Hi JaneUK

Have a look at our system on

May not be for you, but an option.

Happy to answer questions - contact details on website.

Kind regards

22 posts
Posted 28 Jul 14 10:59 AM
Hi JaneUK

1 posts
Posted 28 Jul 14 10:30 AM
Hi Guys,

I'm looking to get various plastic items custom moulded and figured this forum would be the place to ask. I have come across Rotational Plastics ( who offer a custom plastic moulding service but I was wondering if anyone had any experience with them before? Would like to know so I know whether I should use them or not. Looking forward to answers!

Thanks guys.

3 posts
Posted 28 Jul 14 10:02 AM

We have a 200 square m modern house built in 2007 in Pukekohe that we installed a Pyroclassic fire into a couple of months ago.

As a disclaimer I used to work for a well known NZ wood fire and Gas Distributor in a Technical role.

Ok the Pyroclassic fire has heated our house very well indeed. We have a 7kw heat pump in our living area and we haven't used this since the fire went in. I went for a Pyroclassic as I like the design and while the emissions figures are a bit overstated as all wood fires are I believe the fire is relatively low emission and I also believe the efficiency claims. We have run the fire pretty consistently for 18-20 hrs a day since it was installed and we've burnt about 4 cubes of wood so far. This has been a mixture of pine, and Macro... While not every bit of wood has been under 20% moisture content the majority has been.

We had an issue with the fire back puffing smoke into the room on a couple of occasions. I shot down to M10 and grabbed a set of flue brushes and swept the flue and this cured the issue straightaway. Having said that the flue was in no way blocked, there was a minimal bit of build up. I also looked at the installation of our flue and despite using the standard flue kit the install wasn't compliant to AS/NZS 2918. Tis states if the flue is within 3m of the apex of the roof the flue needs to extend 600mm above the apex. I cured this by fitting a bit of 100mm SFP SS flue pipe to the top of the existing install and this has now cured the intermittent back puffing as the flue now has good draw and exits into clear air above the roof.

Fire performance has increased as a result. I'll nip back up on the roof in a couple of weeks and see what sort of state the flue is in.

My view on flues running with creosote etc. would be that to get creosote formation occurring either the fuel is damp so the combustion is cool or the combustion of the fuel is incomplete leading to lots of smoke which then cools and forms the creosote. I wonder what length of flue is being run???

All manufacturers of wood fire overstate their max heat output as the standard Testing they all have to undertake results in a very low figure which they don't like using so they either run the NZHHA test, or run a calculation based on wood energy content and fire box size...

Overall I'm content with the Pyroclassic it is an interesting fire to own...

2 posts
Posted 26 Jul 14 10:08 PM
Hi, chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) is ok to stop an outbreak of bacteria that's already happened in the tank (uv won't kill the bugs in the tank unless you recirculate it continuously and hard). You want to aim for around 10mL per cubic metre of water. For ongoing treatment UV is best. Put a 1 micron filter before the UV as any particulates in the water cast shadows and stop the UV from working properly. The only other Eco alternative is to get a little ozone generator. These leave a residual and therefore actually sterilise the tank and pipes to the house unlike uv. Ozone Decomposes to oxygen so environmentally sound.

We used a system with a filter + UV on an aid project we did for a slum in Kolkata and got the tap water from 400,000 times over the bacteria limit in the NZ drinking water standards to fully compliant.

256 posts
Posted 26 Jul 14 4:03 PM
It's an interesting question as most of your proposed solutions have some relatively serious drawbacks, so they only really work in combination.

Solar water heating needs a secondary back up system, so if you choose a wet back do you really want to light your fire in the middle of summer if the sun doesn't shine? And if you are thinking about PV's how many solar collection systems do you want on your roof?

Personally I like the idea of PV's and a HWHP. With PV's the issue is you are often generating energy at a different time of day to when you use most of it, but a good way to store energy is hot water. So if you are grid tied you will use as much of your free energy as possible before sending it out to the grid.


256 posts
Posted 26 Jul 14 2:55 PM
Your problem is caused by excess moisture in the air that condenses when it comes into contact with a cold surface and single glazed aluminium framed windows conduct heat very efficiently so will be very close to the outside air temperature.

The first part of your solution is to minimise the amount of moisture getting into the air, so avoid unflued gas heaters, drying clothes inside and vent showers and cooking steam as much as possible. Also check for any leaks that might be introducing water into the house.

Next step is as Rob says, a heat recovery ventilation system but make sure you go for a proper one. They don't need to be expensive, have a chat with Pat from Smooth Air, or Michael at HPAC in Christchurch.

Reducing the dampness in your house will reduce the opportunity for mould and will be a big benefit for any asthma sufferers.


37 posts
Posted 26 Jul 14 1:59 PM
You can go for a positive pressure system or a full on heat recovery system.
Our next door neighbor has a positive pressure system and it gets very cold in the house at night currently due to the fact you cannot turn it off only turn it down to low.. so it pumps in air at whatever it is in the ceiling cavity.
A full heat recovery system with two fans and a heat eachanger is better as it heats up the incoming air via the heat exchanger from the outgoing air.
You can see the efficiency of the one I use at: http:\\
Hope my 2¢ helps.

6 posts
Posted 24 Jul 14 8:12 PM
I got excited to view Pyroclassic's website, after having seen the woodburner in the shop, and growing up in Europe with wood burners which were hot for days, and large and fantastic, this pyroclassic is my first choice.Why going for anything else? But now I am unsure. We will build a very small house, i.e. 60m2 or so, and we more worried that it will be too hot in there, since we will insulate well too, plus having passive heat with perfect sunny aspect. Would love to hear from somebody who uses pyroclassic in a small new house, and would love to hear more about this problems of water running down too. We only burn, as we learnt over seas, 3-4year old wood, which was SPLIT 3 years plus, not just stored in large logs. so should be fine with moisture contents.

1 posts
Posted 24 Jul 14 1:12 PM

Wondering if anyone could give me some feedback/recommendations.

I am in Canterbury and have a single aluminium glazed house (brick approx 11-12yrs old) that is cries with condensation in the winter but incredibly hot in the summer. I am looking for something that will reduce/eliminate the condensation in my house. I am looking for an unbiased opinion on what would be best.

If anyone has a similar house and found a way to reduce said condesation your feedback would be appreciated.

Thanks heaps!

5 posts
Posted 23 Jul 14 9:12 PM
The project is a microhydro design for a Boyle River Camp in Lewis Pass. The hydraulic design has already be completed and our group will be completing the electrical design, including specing a generator, electrical protection and solar integration. I can't think of any way for you to follow the project. It will mostly be electrical specifications and standards anyway.

5 posts
Posted 23 Jul 14 8:18 PM
That's great idea thanks . Is there any way of watching the progress of the project you do ? I enjoy this type of thing.

1 posts
Posted 23 Jul 14 12:46 PM
I am building a new house and trying to figure out the best option for water heating - essentially the choice between solar hot water or hot water heat pump. At some point down the line (when funds allow!) I also want to install PV. Also considering adding on a wetback to the wood burner (although this adds approx $1000 to the cost, so not sure if that is better invested in e.g. PV).

We're a small household - me and my 4 year old son, so we won't use all that much water and I'd read that efficiency of HWHP drop off at low usage rates (but would that matter if it was powered by PV anyway?!).

Our average electricity consumption (with an old poorly insulated electric HWC) is 2000 kWh/year, so imagine in the new house our consumption would be less.

At the moment I am going round in circles, from one option to the other - any advice would be much appreciated!

4 posts
Posted 23 Jul 14 8:23 AM
Yep, Thats what I did: UV steriliser
So far , very good.

6 posts
Posted 23 Jul 14 7:23 AM
If you want to gasket off your plugs, just use a bead of clear silicone either behind or around the plug unit. Youll have to cut it off if you want to get in there but itll give you your desired result. Use of a painters mate will ensure your silicone bead is invisible.

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