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Pyroclassic IV wood fire

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Re: Pyroclassic IV wood fire

Posted 18 Sep '15 10:21 PM

I would just like to say Pyroclassic burns well but the quality of the heater is terrible, we have had our heater for 18months have replaced the wooden knob 3 times, first time not long after we got it, door comes loose all the time, glass broke, and the other day a piece came off from in side the heater some where, not sure what it is, but we are now looking at getting another heater. waste of money!

RE: Pyroclassic IV wood fire

Posted 27 Dec '15 09:45 PM

they're bloody good stoves, heat water well with wetback, cook on top easily

RE: Pyroclassic IV wood fire

Posted 19 Apr '16 10:49 PM

I too own a Pyroclassic....
I have it installed in my bach. It is the wrong fire for this application. The bach has tall ceiling-7m- and is 2 storey we find the fire will heat the upstairs but the room that the fire is in is cool. This is more about the design of the house rather than the fire. The fire takes time to reach thermal inertia and thus by the time it is working well we are leaving. so the fire needs to be on constantly to be hot and delivering the heat to a room.
So i have also installed an aftermarket wet back the proper term for this is a water booster in this fire as it does not sit within the fire box. It was claimed to heat 3 Kw this was not the case. I have calculated the heat out put from the booster at 1 to 1.2 Kw. this was done from the time it took to heat 270 lt cylinder from 4 to 45 degrees. The booster seems to leave me a little grumpy it is clearly under powered and this is no fault of the fire but has 2 effects. Disappointment in the water heating and a "cold" fire.
The height of the room dictated the need for additional flue sections to be added. This has reduced the effecience of the fire by increasing the chimney effect of the flue or the draw. It will still burn over night if correctly handled. but the fuel added to the fire also needs to be managed. Slow burning woods such as hard woods will keep a fire in all night but if I burn them all day and night the ash and coal content prevents further stoking of the fire and not enough out put!
All this said when we occupy the house eventually we do get to a good place!

RE: Pyroclassic IV wood fire

Posted 11 May '16 05:10 PM

I have appreciated the helpful comments that people have made on the Pyroclassic IV.

We have now had our Pyroclassic IV for 2 ½ winters and overall we are very happy with it.

Prior to the Pyroclassic we had the original Kent Barker wood heater (two models over abt 30 years). The Pyroclassic definitely uses less wood than the Kent Barker. Having only experienced the two, I can’t comment on how it compares to other wood heaters. However, I have designed, built and used high temperature kilns (furnaces), so have some understanding of the principles involved.

If you don’t have a ready source of smaller diameter firewood, or are able and prepared to do the splitting yourself, this is not the wood heater for you; this heater is designed to be run on longer than usual smaller diameter wood that is not readily available from commercial wood yards. If you do split yourself, do it immediately you get/receive the wood. As others have found, the moisture content on the surface can be very different to the core, and splitting speeds up the seasoning. We got the moisture meter with ours, which is indispensable.

If you don’t have a source of fully seasoned wood in the optimum sizes and don’t have the capacity on your property to take green wood through to being fully seasoned (this can take much longer than the 12 to 18 months often cited, especially for hardwoods), then this wood heater is probably not for you. Storage of the wood off the ground and under some form of roof cover (the sides open to airflow) is essential for seasoning and maintenance of lowered moisture content once achieved.

If you have limited time first thing in the mornings and don’t have time to attend to the fire to get it fully going again, are at work or otherwise occupied out of the house for most of the day, then arrive home in the evening when it is cold and dark outside and just don’t have the energy or time-priority to spend half an hour getting the wood heater going again, then this heater is not for you.

If emissions are not a factor in your considerations, then this outstanding performer in this regard may not be the wood heater for you. It was for us, although there are other makes that are nearing its performance that we would consider now, especially those that have higher efficiency ratings, like the Neo 1.6 and 2.5.

The design of the flue lengths and expert installation is essential. Ours installation was designed by a wood heater specialists with decades of experience in the Adelaide Hills where a lot of wood heaters are used and their installer has been doing that for them for well over a decade. Interestingly, they refused to install ours with the 100mm flue and insisted on the 150mm. Our flue is over 5m long.

The knob on ours is as new after 2 ½ winters. I can’t imagine how hot you would have to run this wood heater to get it to burn the knob. We can always touch ours without gloves. I expect leaving the start-up air supply slide open for too long would probably char it.

I clean the flue twice a season; at the beginning of the season and half way through. Having to raise the flu to capture the creosote as you brush from the top is one of the downsides of the design of this heater, but it is not alone in that regard with after-burn design of the newer more efficient and lower emission wood heaters.

I have found that allowing the wood to sit too far forward in the firebox is associated with some smoke escaping out of primary air intakes above the door. Has anyone else had that issue, and if so, have you found a solution? I have noted the comment that the insulation behind the front panel next to the primary air intake can be removed. This may be a factor in the smoke feeding back from there. Has anyone else been told by the manufacturers that this insulation can be safely removed? I did write to the manufacturers via their website about that, but got no reply!

With the above caveats, I would recommend this wood heater.

Neil

RE: Pyroclassic IV wood fire

Posted 23 Jun '16 01:37 PM

This is our third winter with a pyroclassic (no wetback). We are on the hills in north Wellington. I would never buy this fire again. In fact I am contemplating ripping it out and getting something better.

I moisture test EVERY piece of wood and only burn those that are 20% or less - yet we still do not seem able to get a really good fire going and often wood remains unburned in the chamber. Reading the above comments I suspect a lot is to do with the size of the wood we use. Our previous woodburner had been in our house for over 20 years and we never had a problem with it burning any wood. The only issue was a roof leak had started to cause a lot of rust so we decided to replace it - a decision I now regret.

With the pyro it appears we had a flu fire (contained in the flu) within the first 3 months of use. It doesn't heat the house adequately - it doesn't even heat the room it is in adequately. All up it cost us almost $8000 to have the old wood burner removed, a new hearth built and pyro installed - $8000 wasted. We do use less wood than the old fire, but we also have to have the heater on as well - so savings in one area are lost in another.

So can someone recommend me a good woodburner that burns hot and well.

RE: Pyroclassic IV wood fire

Posted 01 Jul '16 04:08 PM

Raca, I can't pretend to have enough expertise to analyse where the problem is with your Pyroclassic, but ask one question that will indicate if your Pyro is burning efficiently; are you ever able to get a smoke free burn (ie. no visible smoke coming from the chimney) with the secondary air closed (ie.the front slide below the door at the middle point) once the fire is well established? It does take about 30 minutes after each reload to get back up to the 600deg C that is necessary to get complete combustion in the afterburn chamber, but after that you should be getting smoke free, or close to smoke free, burning. If not, there is either a problem with your wood (ie. for burning in a Pyro) or with your installation and/or air intake settings.

On the wood, you say that you are using wood below 20% moisture content. In my experience, anything above 18% is far too green for any woodfire. We are using non-resinous wood below 16% and most in the lower teens and high tens. For most of each burn cycle there is no visible smoke coming from our chimney. Also, you get a better burn with a few longer narrower pieces than one larger piece, but that is the case with all wood heaters that load north/south.

If you had a flue fire after 3 months of use, that seems to indicate to me that you had a heavy creosote buildup from wood that was either too green or your Pyro and/or chimney are not right. The wood heater installation and maintenance experts here in the Adelaide Hills who have had many decades of experience say that most of the problems they come across are due to incorrect flue installations. A wood burning country like NZ must also have similar expertise. Pyro may be able to recommend a local specialist to assess your installation.

As mentioned in a previous post, our installation has a 6" flu, so I'm not sure to what extent that might influence its performance one way or the other.

One component of the Pyro that I know is prone to 'malfunction' is the primary air intake. That is the two air inlets *above* the the door behind the front cover panel. You can see a slight outward bow in the front panel where it sits on a bolt head that sets the air intake gap. On my Pyro there is a thin sheet of refractory/insulation material glued to the back of the front panel adjacent to the primary air intake holes. With the door open you can look up behind the panel and see the bottom of a (probably white) sheet if you have this. If this thin and fragile sheet is torn or otherwise disturbed while removing and replacing the front panel during the installation of the heater, this will have a significant effect on its performance. If torn away at the bolt head, but intact at the air inlets, this will considerably reduce the primary air intake. If this sheet is disturbed adjacent to the air intake holes this can also reduce the air intake and starve the fire of oxygen. You can check to see if this is the case by removing the front panel and inspecting the sheet, BUT you have to be careful not to create this problem or make it worse by doing so. The installation guide has a warning about this and how to remove and replace the front panel. Read and follow the Pyro installation guide before doing so! In my experience, the front panel has to be held out at the mid-point by its bottom edge and bowed further out until it is clear of the bolt head as you remove the panel and again as you replace it. The door needs to be open to get a comfortable grip without disturbing the sheet. The bolt head is located very close to the bottom of the panel. So, this manoeuvre is critical at the start of removing the front panel and at the end as you replace it.

One posting above indicates that Pyro are no longer adding the refractory/insulation sheet to the back of the front panel. I wrote to Pyro about this, but got no reply, so cannot confirm this. It was probably added to reduce the possibility of the front panel becoming discoloured from the heat coming back through the intake holes. I don't know if it is necessary to prevent this happening, and I'm not suggesting that anyone remove this sheet, but I did remove mine for the purpose of sorting mine out (the sheet had been mucked up during installation) and did do a test burn without it, which resulted in a hotter and much quicker burn, so much so that I couldn't get an overnight burn with it configured that way. So, I reglued a section of the sheet that was still intact back on with silicone (it takes quite a high temperature) and got back close to the sweet spot of getting a clean burn while just lasting overnight, that is if I don't sleep in!


There are also the air inlets provided by the tubing inside the firebox that are designed to deliver preheated air to the combustible gases and particulates as they pass through the after burn chamber. You know they are working when you observe the flames passing the ends of those tubes when you have a hot fire underway. You should see a clear jet of air spurting out of the ends of the tubes through the flame pathway. If that is never happening your fire is either running below 600 deg or the intake for these tubes is blocked or partially blocked. One of the above posts describes how to get to the air intake for these tubes.

Last question. Is the glass on the door of the Pyro sooting up? If the fire is running hot and burning cleanly you should rarely have to clean it, especially once you are in winter weather and the firebox is kept constantly hot. The culprits for causing sooty glass are the same as above, wood that is too green and/or the combustion dynamics from the controls and settings are not right.

The Pyro is more like a highly tuned Formula 1 racing car than a family sedan. It was one of the best options available for my purpose when I installed it, but I am retired and prepared to put in the effort to get the best performance from it. My son is currently getting a new wood heater installed and, although they liked what they saw of our Pyro, I recommended they not get it because with their work commitments and busy family life I couldn't see it being the best option for them. Some people need a family sedan to match their needs. The Pyro is not for everyone.

Raca, as you already have a Pyro installed, and have had all of the costs of doing so, it might be worth persisting with some of the above for a bit longer to see if you can get a better performance from it before giving up on it.

Perhaps start with a clean flue and afterburn chamber and use only seasoned wood (low teens) for a few burns to see how it performs. If you haven't done so already, split some of your wood and test the moisture content at the core of the pieces. The surface moisture content can be very different from the core. I split and measure the core immediately to get an accurate reading of moisture content, and sort accordingly. If I need to check again later on, I drill in 10mm on the end grain to get a more accurate reading of moisture content than I can get from just pushing the meter probes into the surface of the wood, but just on a few sample pieces to get an idea of the differential.

Neil

PS - since adjusting the refractory/insulation sheet on the back of the front panel I have had no further smoke blow back through the primary air inlet.


RE: Pyroclassic IV wood fire

Posted 16 Apr '17 09:00 PM

I have had a Pyroclassic IV for two winters now and have only been impressed by its performance. It is easy to light and even though I am not burning hardwoods I regularly get 16 hour burns. My fire will burn for a couple of weeks at a time, only going out if I am away for a weekend. It is frugal on wood and I am reminded of this every time I visit a friends and see the volume of wood that they go through in a evening.

It is important to load kindling in if restarting the fire from a ember bed so that there is a flame to ignite the volatile gasses. This is easy to do.

I burn very big pieces of wood in my fire (as big as I can fit through the door) but only load these in when the fire is hot. Do not load these on to a cool ember bed.

The Pyro does take an hour or two to come up to temp when first lit. After this though it comes into it's own and this is when you get the Pyros great performance. There is no lag in performance when reloading on to a hot ember bed. When rekindling a fire from a cool ember bed though (following an overnight burn) it may take up to 30 minutes before the fire starts burning like a Pyro does.

There is little ash to clean out with the Pyro. I can go from 5 - 7 days of continuous burning between clean outs (I never burn paper or cardboard in my fire). When I do clean out the ash I carefully rake the ash off of the embers following an overnight burn then leave the door wide open while taking the ash bin outside. Go very slowly and carefully as the Pyro ash is so fine that rapid movements or tipping the ash in to the ash bucket will result in an ash cloud. I then use wet newspaper with ash to clean the now cooled glass and then dry the glass with a paper towel. Then I throw kindling and smaller pieces of wood on to the ember bed and off she goes. It is so easy.

I love winter because I get to use my Pyro.

RE: Pyroclassic IV wood fire

Posted 10 Jun '17 12:07 PM

We have a pyroclassic IV which we've been using for the past 4 years. The first 3 years were trouble free. However this year has been a different story entirely. The chimney was cleaned, as usual, before lighting for the first time this winter and the wood has been stored undercover for the past 3 years. About a month after the chimney was cleaned the inside flu changed from stainless to a most unattractive mottled, obviously heat affected colour which, after enquiry from pyroclassic, was explained as being due to a chimney fire and we should get the flu cleaned more often. Then we've had the minor explosions when refueling the fire regardless of how careful we are making sure the wood flames up immediately, etc. The final straw came last week when I put the wood onto a bed of red glowing char and was watching the flames starting to take hold when a massive explosion took place, the front panel jumped upwards exposing the 2 holes above the door and the top plate tilted down from the back to the front. It surprised me that the glass didn't break. Needless to say we got a hell of a fright and haven't used it since! We are wondering if the method of sweeping the flu from top to bottom and leaving the soot to burn off is sufficient as our chimney sweep says originally it was quite a mission to take it apart to clean it until pyroclassic came up with the present method. Is it possible that the soot could be blocking something which is affecting the airflow? We are in North Canterbury and find it very difficult to find anybody who knows about these fires so any advice would be much appreciated.

RE: Pyroclassic IV wood fire

Posted 11 Jun '17 08:56 PM

We clean the flu from top to bottom, but raise the flu (you need to remove the cap from top of chimney first) sufficiently to place a container under the bottom of the flu pipe. It is a two person operation, one person lifts the flu and the second person places the container under the flu. The flu is then lowered to seat in bottom of container. This avoids soot escaping into house. The process is reversed when the cleaning is done.

There is no need to disassemble the Pyro heater itself to clean.

If soot has been allowed to fall and build up in the secondary chamber that can cause a number of problems, including most likely your explosion. Restricting gas flow through the secondary chamber would be another problem if the soot has built up in there.

You will be able to inspect the secondary chamber when you raise the flu. You should be able to see whitish (it starts of white but darkens with use) fire wool, not black soot.

We clean our flu this way at the beginning and again mid season.

We use very seasoned wood and our Pyro burns beautifully​.

Keep warm!

Neil


RE: Pyroclassic IV wood fire

Posted 11 Jun '17 11:43 PM

Thanks for your reply. We are going to have to get a professional to help with this as my husband is not able to get on roofs any more! Do you have any ideas how to get the top plate level again?

RE: Pyroclassic IV wood fire

Posted 12 Jun '17 12:41 AM

The flu will have to be raised and also the external panels removed before the top plate can be repositioned, so definitely will need someone who can do that.

Also, if the front panel was pushed up by your 'explosion' care needs to be taken​ to ensure that the insulation pad on the back of that (if your model has that) is intact and in the right position opposite the two air intake holes. The panel has to be held forward at the mid point while raising and lowering it to avoid dragging the insulation off. I found if that insulation is disturbed it changes how the fire performs when the air slide is closed.

I hope you find a good wood heater service person who will look after you.



RE: Pyroclassic IV wood fire

Posted 19 Jun '17 04:16 PM

This is the second winter with our Pyro and we love it. I would honestly not have any other fire now. I was initially skeptical regarding the marketing claims. But it stood up to these claims and more!

We previously had an old Masport which chewed through wood, and only kept the area it was in extremely hot, while the rest of the house remained cold. The Pyro is extremely economical on wood. We only need to put in a log every 3-4 hours. The heat travels upstairs to where our bedrooms are, so we are never cold. We can feel the heat all night long. In the morning Pyro is still hot to touch, and all it needs is a bit of poking and some more wood to light up again. It's awesome! I hate trying to light a fire from scratch, but with Pyro I don't have to. It literally burns all winter and never goes cold.

Regarding some of the comments above:
- some users have complained about the fact that you need particular type of wood to burn Pyro. I'm not sure if it's just our luck or what, but we buy wood (mainly gum) from a local firewood delivery place. Exactly the same stuff we used to burn in our Masport. We've had no problems whatsoever. The wood burns beautifully.
- we have cathedral ceilings too and Pyro heats up our open plan lounge/kitchen really well. If we keep the door open the heat also travel upstairs to the bedrooms. In fact we almost have to do that as otherwise it's too hot!




RE: Pyroclassic IV wood fire

Posted 19 Jun '17 04:42 PM

Thanks for your comments. I would certainly agree that the pyroclassic does all the things you mentioned when it's going ok, which it has done for the past 3 years. However this year it's been prone to exploding. I'm fully aware this is due to unburnt gases but we're burning exactly the same wood as the last 3 years and also in the same way. Still trying to get some advice but in the meantime too scared to light it!! Hopefully will get it sorted this week.

RE: Pyroclassic IV wood fire

Posted 08 May '18 05:23 PM

Hi Richard
Interested in your experiences with the pyroclassic now you have had it a few years. Namely
How is the wetback performance and your hotwater usage IE size of household .Do you think it would be spitting water in a family of 2.
Any other issues ,and how did you get on with the warping steel blocking the air intake.
How often do you clean the flue and have you taken the top off the stove to check build up in the top chamber.
Is your flue 100mm or 150mm

RE: Pyroclassic IV wood fire

Posted 23 Jun '19 12:24 PM

What does the bolt behind the front cover actually do. Can you remove it and just put the white material back in behind there

RE: Pyroclassic IV wood fire

Posted 23 Jun '19 12:24 PM

What does the bolt behind the front cover actually do. Can you remove it and just put the white material back in behind there

RE: Pyroclassic IV wood fire

Posted 23 Jun '19 12:24 PM

What does the bolt behind the front cover actually do. Can you remove it and just put the white material back in behind there

RE: Pyroclassic IV wood fire

Posted 23 Jun '19 12:25 PM

What does the bolt behind the front cover actually do. Can you remove it and just put the white material back in behind there

RE: Pyroclassic IV wood fire

Posted 23 Jun '19 12:25 PM

What does the bolt behind the front cover actually do. Can you remove it and just put the white material back in behind there

RE: Pyroclassic IV wood fire

Posted 23 Jun '19 12:26 PM

What does the bolt behind the front cover actually do. Can you remove it and just put the white material back in behind there

RE: Pyroclassic IV wood fire

Posted 23 Jun '19 12:52 PM

The bolt head thickness determines the gap between the front panel and primary air intakes. The primary air setting is important in setting the minimum air needed to sustain an established burn.

The manufacturer now recommends the removal of the white insulation material applied opposite the bolt and air intakes if that has become damaged (from removing front cover without holding it away from the bolt head) and partly blocking the preset airflow.

I hope this single reply suffices for multiple question... : -)

RE: Pyroclassic IV wood fire

Posted 23 Jun '19 01:52 PM

Yes it sure does mate . Thank you and sorry for the multiple replies

RE: Pyroclassic IV wood fire

Posted 23 Jun '19 02:00 PM

While I'm here, we are now into our 7th winter and our Pyroclassic is holding up and showing no signs of wear. We are still very happy with it.

Seasoned wood and ensuring a good burn is established at start up and after each reload before turning down remain important. The dreaded explosion awaits you if you ignore these two things.

We have 6" flue and clean it mid and end of woodburning season to ensure efficient operation.

Much of our wood supply is already small diameter so the small cross section of fire box suites us. If we had to split all of our wood to fit (given 2 or 3 pieces side by side burn better than a single piece) then this wood heater may not work so well for us.

I'm about to add a mini hearth to ours to raise it by 30cm. Now that we are seniors the door and chamber are too low for comfortable loading and adjustment.

If you only run your wood heater of an evening this wood heater is probably not for you. It takes an hour for the ceramic fire box to heat up before letting out its heat into the room, but will continue to do so after going to bed.

If you are out at work during the day and hope to have the house warm when you get home in the evening, be aware that it takes at least an hour to get the heater going, loaded up for a long burn and trimmed down to burn all day. Most working people and especially those with families don't have that much time to spare of a morning.

IMO, this wood heater is more suited to retirees who are mostly at home or home based workers who can keep it running continuously on a low setting.

The large thermal mass of the firebox has both advantages and disadvantages with most advantage coming with continuous use.

So, perhaps not an ideal wood heater for everyone, but it is still working well for us.

Stay warm!


RE: Pyroclassic IV wood fire

Posted 28 May '20 06:06 PM

Thought I would just jump in on this thread. We have used a Kent tile fire as heating in the house for the last 26 years, it has been a bloody good fire but was getting a bit worn out and needing top plate replacing which is common. Happened to be browsing Trademe one night and saw a very tidy pyroclassic for $500 buy now so I grabbed it. I have now installed the Pyroclassic and have nothing but praise for it, its a totally different animal to the Kent, takes longer to throw out heat as you have to wait for the ceramic firebox to heat up but this only takes about 30 minutes. Have only been using Pyroclassic for 2 weeks now but my observations as follows; Make sure you use dry wood for initial lighting of Pyroclassic and heating ceramic firebox, have turboslide open and takes about 30 minutes. Once a good bed of embers are established and firebox is hot you can load on bigger pieces and close turboslide, I'm using the same firewood I was burning in the Kent and its not super dry but once firebox in Pyroclassic is hot it burns great, as an example I loaded 2 quite large bits of wattle just now and whereas in Kent this would have created smoke from chimney for a while with the Pyroclassic there was no visible smoke at all straight after loading wood. I have managed to get an overnight burn using gum, loading it to full about 8pm and at 6 am the next morning there are still enough embers to get fire going again by adding more wood and opening turbo slide, pretty good for a fire with no air controls. Another thing I have noticed is that residue left on walls of flue from using Kent and turning down to low have completely burnt out of flue after using Pyroclassic a few times, could hear residue coming loose and falling down flue. Its disappointing to hear of some of the previous posters bad experiences with a Pyroclassic, I must admit I was a bit concerned I may have similar issues but from my experience so far they are a brilliant wood burner.
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