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Burned wood smell in the house

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by stratocaster1422, May 13, 2014.

  1. stratocaster1422

    stratocaster1422 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2014
    Messages:
    75
    Loc:
    Mendon, MA
    This is my first year with my Harman 52i in my fireplace. This is also the first summer in my new house. With the stove FINALLY off and the warm weather here, I am getting some pretty strong smells of ash/burned wood inside the house. It seemed to be worse on very windy days.

    1.) I haven't done my end of season full cleaning yet, so there is still some ash inside the stove (rectifying that this weekend)
    2.) There was chimney fire in my chimney at some point in life. I had it swept before I knew I was getting a pellet stove.
    3.) My install has the flue open and no insualation in the flue area
    4.) My vent pipe is attached to a plate at the top of the chimney which seals the chimney off

    Do you think the smell is just from air coming down the vent pipe, into the stove, and out through the distribution air piping? Or could it be just the general smell from the chimney flue being open and the fact that there's probably enough "stuff" still in the chimney to leave a smell?

    I was considering stuffing insulation in the flue area to "seal off" air/smells from the chimney traveling back down and into the hose if that was the problem. If it is, what kind of insualtion should I use?

    Thanks!

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  2. john193

    john193 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2010
    Messages:
    911
    Loc:
    Southeast PA
    I get this before I close up the stove as well. I have unfaced insulation stuffed between the stove and chimney to cut back on the air moving down. Some of the air does back draft into the stove and out the air intake. When I disconnect the exhaust liner and stuff with a shirt for the summer it eliminates the smell and cuts down on moisture in the fire box.
  3. alternativeheat

    alternativeheat Minister of Fire

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    Dec 19, 2013
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    817
    Loc:
    Cape Cod
    Most installs like yours would have a plate at the bottom as well with insulation on top of the plate. Depending on code in your area stuffing insulation around the pipe will work. Wrap it around at the base of the chimney. You can get fireproof insulation made for t his purpose. Either way I think yiu should insulate the bottom end if the chimney. You have to be getting some heat loss there otherwise.

    I suspect though that you are getting a back draft through the stove. If you do not have an OAK installed you can then get firebox odors coming out the stoves intake. If you have an OAK then it may be he old chimney as you describe.
  4. rona

    rona Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    Messages:
    438
    Loc:
    southwestern Minn
    Reading this seems like you have a down draft problem and a air leak some place. I doubt that air coming into the stove from the exh would get into the room unless there is a flue opening. I think it is a leak in the flue causing your problem. If you have a down draft and open windows in the house the open windows could actually suck air from the chimney and give you stale smoke smell.
  5. stratocaster1422

    stratocaster1422 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2014
    Messages:
    75
    Loc:
    Mendon, MA
    No OAK installed
  6. alternativeheat

    alternativeheat Minister of Fire

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    Cape Cod
    Well that's an unsealed port leading to an the firebox. If you get a back draft its free to blow right on through . Just saying it could be the cause, not saying it is.
  7. stratocaster1422

    stratocaster1422 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2014
    Messages:
    75
    Loc:
    Mendon, MA
    I'll seal that up for the summer as a first step (with a note in the controller area to unblock it!) and see if that helps. I was getting zero drafts from inside the fireplace during the winter, so this seems more plausible to me.
  8. alternativeheat

    alternativeheat Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2013
    Messages:
    817
    Loc:
    Cape Cod
    Yes it makes sense, to cover the intake. The odor either goes away or it doesn't.

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