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Why have Pyroclassic fires dropped from No. 1 on Consumer NZ tests on their last report?
Consumer Magazine recently changed the way fires are rated. This has caused some issues across the industry as what were considered the 'best' fires are now not rated near the top...like the Pyroclassic IV. They have changed the weightings of their review to focus more on price for output over emissions and efficiency as they believe this is more in line with what the customer wants.
This has resulted in a list which is more about heat output for dollars spent rather than which fires actually perform the best. It also makes no provision for servicing costs, warranty duration or expected life of the appliance and its components.
The statement we have printed in our marketing material - 'Consistently chosen as the top pick for wood fires in all Consumer reviews' refers to the consumer reviews across various formats in NZ, Australia and the UK over the last 30 plus years including true consumer feedback.
Can I use a heat transfer kit?
The simple answer is yes.
The thing with heat transfer kits is they work well with excess heat. The Pyroclassic IV produces a different kind of heat than your traditional 'black box' style wood fire. The black box fires spit out heat almost instantly as long as you keep refueling it regularly so will therefore provide you with excess heat which is why heat transfer kits are useful for these kind of fires. The Pyro on the other hand takes longer to heat up but once up to temperature retains this heat like a kiln and gives off a lovely, warm more consistent heat with less fuel needed once the cylindrical ceramic fire chamber is hot. Many Pyro customers find this as the biggest advantage of a Pyro and have it going for 2-3 months solid during winter. However, it won't necessarily provide lots of excess heat for use in a transfer system. Our recommendation is to install the Pyro first before the transfer system as you may likely find you don't require one.
It is worth noting that in newer homes which have much better seals around doors and windows these kits can cause a negative pressure to build up in the room the fire is in as all the air is being sucked out. This results in the fire being starved of air and in some cases has even caused smoke from the starving fire being drawn back into the room. This same effect can also be caused by powerful range hoods and other fan forced systems in newer, more airtight housing.
If you are building a very airtight home, we recommend you put in an air vent, approximately the size of a fire brick. The Pyroclassic IV needs 3.6 cubic metres of air per kilogram of wood to operate effectively.
Why has the cowl not got a rain cap?
The Pyroclassic eco flue system and full flow vertical discharge cowl has been in use now for more than 20 years.
The cowl is designed to work with the fire in creating a good draw whilst not inhibiting the flow of the flue gases from the cowl. The design and shape of the cowl ensures that no significant amount of rain water can enter the flue system.
Many customers mistake the full flow cowl as the end of the flue pipe and often question whether something is missing from the cowl assembly when in fact this is the complete unit as it has no raincap or butterfly arrangement and is a straight pipe.
Why do I need a Wall Screen or a Flue Shield?
Pyroclassic Fires can be installed with a double skin half round flue shield or for minimum clearances from combustible walls a correctly sized wall screen must be installed, the clearances for these are shown in the relevant Tech Spec sheet for each fire.
Alternatively you can install a Pyroclassic Fire without wall screens if you chose to use a non-combustible wall board product such as Eterpan, Supalux or Promina board and install it as per the manufacture specifications. Usually this involves ensuring a 25mm air gap is maintained between the wall board and any timber framing, through the bottom, up between the combustible surface and the screening material and out of the top.
In some instances the wall may not contain any combustible material and therefore will not require any screening.
Pyroclassic Wall Screens now have a simple keyhole hanging system to make installation very easy.
My powdercoating looks worn after cooking?
The top plate of the Pyroclassic is 10mm plate steel which sits directly above the heat of the firebox making it a great surface for cooking on if desired, however as with all cookers, if used, this will leave some evidence of cooking so this is normal to show signs of use. This impact can be reduce with careful choice of how to cook and in what pan or pot, so for baking and roasting fully enclosed containers are ideal, if you are going to be frying and sautéing then this will obviously create more deposits. A good way to minimise the clean-up is to use a large piece of aluminium foil across the top which will stop any spills from marking the fire. The top plate is painted in a special Senotherm paint which can withstand very high temperatures, this allows it to be able to ‘burn off’ most spills and marks, however the powdercoated panels are not heated to the same level and so would not be able to self-clean like the top plate, these panels are therefore powdercoated to allow a smarter look in a wide range of colours.
When and how should I clean the flue?
Pyroclassic fires are renowned for burning very cleanly when dry fuel is used but you should still always clean your flue once a year. This is often a requirement for many insurance companies.
Keeping your 100mm flue pipes clean will help eliminate the risk of a flue fire. Your flue is also a great indication of how your wood fuel is performing. If the pipes are clean then the wood is good, if the pipes are filling up with carbon, creosote and tar deposits then you may need to revisit the operating instructions and refresh yourself with how to create a cleaner burning fire.
The easiest way to clean the flue is by placing a deep baking tray or similar under the base of the flue and sweep the flue down into this, this stops all the debris from falling into the top chamber and requiring vacuuming out.
The build-up around the wetback is best removed by hand. The wetback can be knocked out of alignment if it is moved when the creosote is being cleaned off so be careful as this can cause the constant rise to be knocked out of alignment and can result in water hammer developing in the system.
How do I light my first fire?
1. Soak the reusable fire starters in methylated spirits. Tip: It is also handy to store the fire-lighters in a glass jar filled with meths.
2. Slide the Turboslide to the far right or far left position. This opens the air hole inside the door and allows
air to flow through acting like an old fashioned pair of bellows.
3. Place DRY kindling and a few small logs lengthways in the front of the fire chamber leaving a clear space
in front of the air inlet hole.
4. Place a soaked fire starter just under the kindling at the front of the fire chamber and light it. Try to avoid
dripping meths on to any surface when doing this as it can discolour some hearth materials.
5. Close the door.
6. Once the fire is burning really well and you have a nice bed of hot embers, move the Turboslide to the
central position (to cover the air inlet hole), this can be done slowly in several stages if preferred.
7. When opening the door to load more wood, slide the Turboslide to the far left or right open position,
and continue as in number 6.
How can I test if I am getting a good heat output from my Pyroclassic fire?
As you will note in the operating instructions for the Pyroclassic IV, the fire will not give its full performance for the first few uses until the unit has fully cured and heat tempered.
A couple of quick checks to measure the approximate output levels is to hold your hand 10cm off the centre of the top plate when the fire is running. If you can’t keep it there for 5 seconds then the fire is cranking along. If you can between 5 - 10 seconds then the unit is performing well in its expected typical output range. If you can hold it there for more than 10 seconds then you can probably hold it there indefinitely and so depending on the heat required you could load a fresh fuel charge in and begin the cycle again.
The side panels are also a good indicator of when a Pyroclassic is fully heat cycled. If the bottom back corner of the side panel is warmer than skin temp then the whole cylinder is hot, if it’s not warmer than your hand then it is still warming up.
What do I do with my warranty forms?
Please make sure that both copies of your warranty paperwork have been fully filled out with all your details, the details
of who you purchased the fire from, and your installer’s details for both the fire and the wetback if applicable.
The ceramic firebox in the Pyroclassic IV is warranted for 15 years against defective material or workmanship, providing that the fire is used in accordance to the manufacturer's operating instructions. Cracks and blisters to the cylinder are not considered a failure of the ceramic firebox. All other parts are warranted for 12 months from purchase. This warranty does not cover damage or failure caused by tampering, carelessness, abuse or misuse, cosmetic damage or general wear and tear, this includes damaged door knob and broken door glass All cases will be considered at the manufacturers discretion.
Note: the warranty only applies to the original owner registered on the warranty card and cannot be transferred without express permission by the manufacturer.
What chimney sweeps can you recommend to clean the flue?
It would be great if we could keep an up to date national register of all the good chimney sweeps around the country but as you can imagine this is a somewhat transient profession and so a call through the good old yellow pages and an ask around some friends is usually the best course of action to get a sweep.
It is always worth asking them if they have done any local Pyroclassic fires before and if so can they tell you where so you can ask the homeowner how it went, any doubts and we are always happy to give some tips to proactive chimney sweeps.