Hearthstone Bristol DX Toubleshooting

Below is a question emailed in from Chris, italics are his questions. Bold are the Stove Guy’s answers.

[CHRIS] I have recently had a Hearthstone Bristol DX heater installed (LP converted) and have noticed some issues that I am concerned about. I was wondering if you could shed some light as to just how I should expect this unit to perform

1- With unit set to high, secondary burner has trouble igniting for the full length stopping about the midline of the firebox. It may or may not light full length after short period of time.

[STOVE-GUY] This is typically caused by improper installation of the embers/lava rocks in the burner area. The rocks block the burner ports in the line, and the gas has to build up on the other side before it ignites resulting in a delayed ignition. This will all typically take place within about 10 seconds. However in your case, I think that this is directly related to your question #4, as I think most of your problems are also. Too low of gas pressure would absolutely cause this.

[CHRIS]2-Secondary burner in general seams to burn weak, small flames.

[STOVE-GUY] Too low of gas pressure.

[CHRIS]3-The Flame level adjustment has no affect on flame heights, at least not that can be noticed. (Valve was checked and showed that the pressure is stepping down and up.)

[STOVE-GUY] There is not a huge adjustment on the main burner. On LP gas the unit is rated to go from 26,000 BTU to 10,000 BTU. But most of that turn down rate is in the secondary burner shut off. They don’t give us the numbers but I would guess that the main burner only turns down 15 – 20% itself. Which is hard to notice.

[CHRIS]4-Inlet pressure was measured at 10.8 IWC. Unit requires a min inlet pressure of 12.0 IWC. Is this big enough difference to affect performance as noted?

[STOVE-GUY] This can absolutely cause all the problems you are experiencing. I would bet that will fix your problem. 12″ WC – 13″ WC is a fairly common input pressure for most appliances, but it is a fairly small range and can drastically effect performance and operation, being the 10% low that it is.

[CHRIS]5-On Thermostat mode: Unit will light up and go off right away, or will only stay lit for short period of time. (not long enough to set fan off). Is this a function of the temperature tolerance of the remote? Is this normal and most efficeint function to maintain constant temperature?

[STOVE-GUY] There are three thermostat modes with the proflame control that the Hearthstone Bristol uses. I will explain the difference, but please understand the thermostat modes DO NOT adjust: the secondary burner, the fan, or the aux function. The thermostat mode will turn the whole unit on and off, and adjust the main burner flame height (in smart mode), but unless you turn the fan on manually, it will never come on.

Proflame Thermostat Modes:

  1. Off – Stove is controlled manually, you have 5 flame height settings on the main burner.  It will stay on whatever mode you have it set to indefinitely. 
  2. On- Thermostat mode is on. You still have control of secondary burner, fan, and aux. But on the flame height option now you have a temperature setting. When it gets to the set temp it will turn the unit completely off.
  3. Smart- In this mode as the room temp gets close (within a few degrees) of the “set temp” it will start turning the main burner height lower and lower. If it reaches or exceeds the “set temp” it will turn the unit completely off, until the room temp drops again.

Pro Flame Remote Control Functions

Pro Flame Remote Control Functions

[CHRIS]6- When burners go out they do so with a noticeable puff. Is this normal for LP or should they extinguish evenly?

[STOVE-GUY] That is somewhat common with propane. I would get your input pressure corrected and then go back through these issues and see what is left. A low input pressure can make it do some pretty unpredictable things.

[CHRIS]As you know this unit is not cheap and I just want to make sure that I am getting everything that I payed for. Thanks for your help in this matter. Best Regards, Chris

[STOVE-GUY] Chris, I know this was not a cheap unit.  If you want to reply and tell me a little bit more about your propane supply situation, I may be able to help you out there. But you should feel confident you made a good choice with the Hearthstone Bristol and you will love it once you get these little wrinkles ironed out. You can check out my review on it for all the details.

Yours Truly,

The Stove Guy

Zone Heating with a Propane Stove vs. Forced Air

Zone Heating with a Propane stove.

Guil wrote in with the question below:

I have a Hearthstone propane stove, I don’t know which model. Is the use of propane significantly less than a gas furnace powering heat through overhead ducts (forced hot air)? Thanks, Guil D.

Guil your question is a hard one to answer specifically because there are way too many variables. I can’t just tell you which is more efficient. I will try to explain to you the concepts behind it and you can decide for yourself.

Zone Heating is heating one zone of your house with a stove or in room appliance.

Whole home heating is using a central heat source (heat pump, furnace, forced air, etc) to heat your whole house with a central thermostat. This heat is usually distributed through ducts installed in your home, under the house or in the attic.

The theory with zone heating is that you can heat the area that you live (90% of the time) with a wood/gas/pellet appliance and not need to heat every square inch of your home. A lot of us like our bedrooms cooler. So by placing this unit in our living area. Like the living room, dining room, kitchen area, we can keep those areas warmer and the bedrooms will stay naturally cooler, heating less square footage. Thus saving energy & money.

So as you probably know a gas stove is not as efficient as a gas furnace. This is mainly because they design them to be pretty, with a yellow flame. Which is not as efficient as if it was a completely blue flame. But if you think about a gas furnace, that efficiency is in the unit. It does not take into account all the heat that you have lost by the time that you blow it through the ducts in your attic or under your house and then actually feel the heat in the home.

I would advocate strongly for zone heating as a major supplement. It cannot replace your central heat for those coldest parts of the winter, but I think it can save you a lot of money throughout the heating season.

Hopefully this has given you some concepts to think over and please post in the comments section if you would like to add anything.

Yours Truly,

The Stove Guy