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Author Topic: Venting a smoker shed  (Read 5626 times)

Offline Aran33

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Venting a smoker shed
« on: June 28, 2014, 01:04:31 pm »
Hey guys,

I've seen a few different "versions" of venting modifications with a smoker shed.  I'm picking a shed up this weekend for mine, as even on moderately temperate days (5-10 degrees celsius) if there's a breeze, my Original smoker has trouble keeping temp up.  I'm in no hurry to vent it, since it's summer, so I thought I'd ask your input before making any modifications.  I'm hoping to come up with a venting solution that won't allow any rain/snow/pest entry or leakage year-round, and I'm up in Canada so we'll see weather from -35 to +35 throughout the year. 

I've seen a few people comment about possible condensation, so I'm wondering if an almost-90-degree bend to vent out the side would be better or worse in that regard, and what other steps I can take to avoid "black rain".  I'm trying to avoid any extra electrical (i.e. a small fan or other suggestions I've seen) but at the end of the day, if it's necessary, I guess I'll suck it up and do it.

I've seen Beefmann's setups and I'm thinking of some adaptation of those, whether that's out the side or out of the roof remains to be seen though, depending on the opinions and feedback I get here.

I'm picking up a shed today most likely, so I'll post photos of the shed once I choose one, seeing the design may help with any input you guys may have.

Thank you in advance!!!

Offline cathouse willy

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Re: Venting a smoker shed
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2014, 04:10:10 pm »
I keep my obs in a rubber maid cabinet.It wasn't cheap and I wasn't anxious to cut holes for a vent so I decided to try it without venting. That was 18 mos ago and it works just fine with no vent. In cold weather I leave one door slightly ajar.The inside of the cabinet has a light brown patina but there have been no problems at all.I smoke all year long and with an insulated cover the smoker easily maintains 240 f even on the coldest days.The cabinet sits on the deck just outside the back door so with the maverick 732 I can monitor all the vital signs from indoors , nice for 3 day cold smoked bacon in the never ending west coast winter rain.

Offline tskeeter

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Re: Venting a smoker shed
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2014, 05:01:05 pm »
Aran, I'm not an HVAC technician, so take this with a grain of salt.  Hopefully someone who really knows their HVAC stuff will be along soon.  However, it is my understanding that the longer a flue (vent) the better it will draw.  And that the top of the flue should be 36 inches away from of nearest obstacle.

The vent flue for my smoker is about 3 1/2 feet long and extends through the roof of my smoker shed.  I used a double walled pipe section to minimize how much the pipe would cool during the winter.  So far, through one winter,  I haven't experienced any condensation issues with the vent flue.  The only issues I have had are trouble getting the flue pipe sealed where it goes through the shed roof.  And rain getting blown into the vent cap and collecting in my puck bowl.

What I'd do differently next time.  Probably vent through a wall rather than through the roof.  Less risk of leakage to the inside of the shed.  One forum member who vented through the wall sloped the horizontal section of his vent pipe slightly down, then drilled a drain hole at the low point, to allow any condensation or water that accumulated in the vent pipe to escape.   And, I'd pay the money the first time to the more expensive vent cap.  The one I ultimately ended up with is round, with a series of louvers to allow the smoke to escape.  There is also insect screen inside the vent cap.  If any rain should blow through the louvers, the drops will catch on the screen, then drain away through the drain holes I drilled in the bottom rim of the vent cap.

I don't have a way to let makeup air into my smoker shed.  I've thought about it since my smoker doesn't seem to draw as well when the doors to the shed are closed.  What I've thought about is drilling a series of holes low on the wall of the shed and cover the holes with the type of vent that is often used on the eaves of houses.  Rectangular metal, about 4 inches by 10 inches, louvers, and insect screen. 
« Last Edit: June 30, 2014, 09:21:12 am by tskeeter »

beefmann

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Re: Venting a smoker shed
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2014, 06:26:21 am »

Offline Jim O

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Re: Venting a smoker shed
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2014, 08:15:08 am »
If I didn't already say it - WELCOME !

My solution to the "black rain" problem was to place an aluminum pie plate on a rack just below the vent inside the tower. It catches anything that may drop in.

Works for me !
- smoking
 -boating
- motorcycling
- how do I find time to sleep !

Offline tskeeter

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Re: Venting a smoker shed
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2014, 09:58:36 am »
So, yesterday afternoon was windy and rainy.  And I had some ribs all set for the smoker.  I went ahead and started everything.  Decided to do some experiments to see how the smoke drew through the smoker when I shut the doors on the smoker shed (I usually smoke with one door propped wide open).  What a difference it makes if the smoker shed door is closed vs. open.  Only a small fraction of the smoke exhausting out the stack.  Obviously I need to cut in some vents to allow makeup air to get into the smoker shed so the smoker can draw correctly.  This also explains some of the things I have been seeing with some of my smokes since I put the smoker in the shed.

Offline Saber 4

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Re: Venting a smoker shed
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2014, 10:46:18 am »
So, yesterday afternoon was windy and rainy.  And I had some ribs all set for the smoker.  I went ahead and started everything.  Decided to do some experiments to see how the smoke drew through the smoker when I shut the doors on the smoker shed (I usually smoke with one door propped wide open).  What a difference it makes if the smoker shed door is closed vs. open.  Only a small fraction of the smoke exhausting out the stack.  Obviously I need to cut in some vents to allow makeup air to get into the smoker shed so the smoker can draw correctly.  This also explains some of the things I have been seeing with some of my smokes since I put the smoker in the shed.

That's some good info to have. Thanks for sharing.

Offline Aran33

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Re: Venting a smoker shed
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2014, 09:05:21 pm »
Back to this topic, as my smoker has been (sadly) unused for the last several months since I got it all shedded up!

I'm going to be firing it up this weekend, and doing some reading on the forums here, it seems a lot of people run these shedded smokers un-vented with the door propped open slightly for air intake - are there any issues/consequences with the smoke not being able to escape upwards and out??  It's a bit breezy this time of year, and definitely cooler...  My shed is more of a horizontal shed, designed for those big garbage/recycling bins I think, so the lid does open, but then it allows wind to interfere with the top vent of the Bradley and potentially cool the interior temp.

I'll start early and play around with it I guess.  On the bright side, we've had some snow already this year and the interior of the shed has stayed nice and dry.  Now if I could only figure out a way to keep those damn spiders out!!

Offline tskeeter

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Re: Venting a smoker shed
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2014, 10:00:31 am »
Aran33, my plastic shed certainly has a venting problem when the doors are closed.  Not enough fresh air can get in.  So smoke backs up in the smoker cabinet.  This leaves a sooty film on what you are smoking (this was most obvious with some cheese I smoked) and does change the flavor.  (I didn't care for the flavor change.)  The smoking backing up has probably been the source of some off and on puck feeding problems I have experienced recently.  In a post a few weeks back, Brian from Bradley made the comment that smoke backing up into the smoke generator can cause the microswitch to stick intermittently.  So, what seems to be happening with my smoker is several pucks will feed, then the switch will stick and pucks stop feeding.  They might start feeding again, later.  Then, maybe not.  Accumulations of ash on the puck feed tray, the puck burner, or in the puck bowl tell you that one or more pucks didn't advance when they should have.

Your horizontal shed is different from my 3 ft by 7 ft vertical.  But, it is probably similar to plastic horizontal storage shed/bin I use for gardening supplies (doors on front, hinged lid on top).  In order to keep rain out of the bins, side panels and the like are designed to overlap and interlock.  To me, that indicates that only a small amount of air leaks through all the joints and connections.  Considering that you want to smoke in windy, snowy conditions, I'd be buying a few vent covers and cutting some holes in the shed.

In response to the problems with my shed, I cut three sets of vents into the shed and covered them with 4 X 10 inch vent covers with insect screen.  Since the insect screen reduces air flow by about 50%, compared to an unscreened opening, I made sure the area of the vents I cut into the shed are at least twice the area of the exhaust vent on the top of the smoker.  (Think I've got between 13 and 20 square inches of smoker exhaust and about 70 square inches of makeup air.  Factor in the insect screen, and I've still got at least 50% more makeup air than smoker exhaust.)  Haven't had a chance to try out the vented shed yet.  But, I'm looking forward to significant improvement in how the smoker breathes when I use it in a couple of weeks.   

Offline Aran33

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Re: Venting a smoker shed
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2014, 10:18:30 am »
Good to know! My plan this weekend will be to start with the lid completely open and the front doors propped open slightly, and I'll only vary from that if the wind becomes a factor. The smoker takes up less than 50% of the width of my shed, so I may build a partition wall as high as a closed lid will allow, in the hopes that this will provide some additional shelter to the top vent of the Bradley (the top vent is a good 8-10" below the shed's "ceiling". We'll see how that goes!

Offline Andy55

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Re: Venting a smoker shed
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2014, 05:49:50 am »
I put mine in my garage that is heated. I got a used range hood and vented it outside works very well and also I can smoke when it is -30C. I'm in Manitoba Canada.