Friday, June 10, 2011

FlueCube Chimney Cowl & Stove Efficiency


Super Magical Chimney Cowl
Gets Rid of Smoke - More Efficient?
Somehow I really doubt it!!

10 Gallon Can or Chimney Cowl?

I got this comment from "Jeremy"  - who prefers to remain unidentified:


Jeremy has left a new comment on your post "Dealing with Down-Draught":

It may also be worth checking out a cube shaped cowl in New Zealand called a FlueCube. Highly rated by consumers and irritating to those who'd rather have less self sufficient options available to consumers - such as the state owned energy sector. Smoke disappears, in most cases, in less than 4 minutes re YouTube video. Go Mr. Venturi indeed!


Thanks for the heads-up on the Cube Cowl Jeremy. I have taken your advice and looked up the thing. My initial reaction is that the hype on the website makes some VERY dodgy sounding claims, like it's fuel efficiency and self-cleaning, but most of all  - that it reduces smoke by some process of after-burning in a vortex. How is this vortex formed and how exactly does it perform after burn?

Maybe Mr. Dyson, the vacuum cleaner man - who has fair knowledge of vortex usages - might be able to come up with a design for a chimney cowl?

The FlueCube site is HEAVY on hype and very light on any real scientific principles. If the guy has the patent why is he so shy about giving us operating principles and diagrams.

That sort of approach to publicity - tends to leave me with a very poor first impression. However, I shall make contact with FlueCube and ask for some real specifics regarding the design principles and copies of independent testing of results against other anti-downdraught cowls - and see what they have to say. Can the claims be fully supported - I believe not - buy I will wait and see.

THE COMMERCIAL BLURB BY FLUECUBE (My comments are in italics)

The FlueCube cowl is effective by taking advantage of both the hot air from the heat source below and the cold air from the inversion layer and winds from above. The two air pressures then mix in a chamber above the flue outlet, forming a mini cyclone in effect. This cyclone creates a self-generating and perpetual vacuum. 

How exactly does this work and can we see some proper tests?

The FlueCube is:
  • Designed to handle all winter weather conditions including downdraft from inversion layers.
And so are almost all other anti-downdraught cowls on the market today.
  • Fuel efficient while maintaining the wood fire's optimum heat output.
This sounds like a bit of exaggeration to me. For starters. if there is too much up-draught in the chimney - you will have less efficiency unless you install a draught controller. Secondly, optimum heat is adjusted by the air intake on a stove.
  • Stand alone - free of moving parts
  • Bird proof, wind proof, snow proof
  • Self-cleaning provided that dry, low resin content wood is burned.
The only way it could be truly self-cleaning is if the surfaces were treated with nano-technology, or perhaps where very high temperatures were present to burn off soot.
    • Using less Kindling, the fastest light up with the lowest pollution.
    Where are the independent test figures to show higher fuel economy against other anti-downdraught cowls? Where are the test to show any significant reduction on smoke particles??
    • Major reduction in wood smoke emissions in all conditions.
    Again - where are the independent test results. The videos show a reduction on VISIBLE emissions, much of which is probably water vapour.
    • Optimum heat all winter long, in all winter conditions, using less wood.
    Stretching the truth a bit here - don't you think?
    • A cleaner firebox, flue, and cowl provided the correct dry, low resin wood is used
    • Heating during power blackouts.
    These points above, like several others, have feck-all to do with the darn cowl guys!!
    • With a hotplate, cooking during power blackouts
    • No toxic gases or smoky odours inside the home - a relief to asthmatics and allergy sufferers.
    That is some claim to make - and is again a bit of an exaggeration.
    • You'll be one of many supporting sustainable, carbon neutral domestic energy use.
    • There's nothing like the age - old comfort and aesthetic of a real fire.
    Here I fully agree!!


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