1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Desperately Need Help with Stinky Hearthstone Stowe - Please HELP!!!

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by istink, Nov 29, 2008.

  1. istink

    istink New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Loc:
    california
    This might not be the right forum for this but I desperately need help. I have a very stinky Hearthstone Stowe that is driving me crazy. This is a problem that has been going on for a long time and it continues to cause me stress. Several years ago we bought a propane powered Hearthstone Stowe stove. It was really stinky and the smell wouldn’t go away. The couldn’t find a problem so they replaced it. The 2nd stove stunk just like the first one. So, we thought it was something in the room. A few months passed and it was out of warranty. I called to get it worked out and they said “sorry can’t help you”. They (Hearthstone) suggested removing the labels on the back of the stove – they had problems with some stinky stove caused by glue used to put the labels on or so they said. Took those off (almost passed out from the toxic glue they used to stick them on) and still smells. Finally found a nice local furnace/heater guy to help. He has come to the conclusion it is the metal used. It continues to smell like burning metal and paint. I have burned it for 10+hours on high on several occasions and for several years now. It STILL stinks. There is noting in the room that would be contributing to the smell. It sits on several pieces of grouted slate. The smell is definitely coming off of the stove. In order to burn it, I have to open the windows and turn on an air purifier. Every night I turn that thing on I just cringe that I’m poisoning myself. I would NEVER EVER in a millions years buy another Hearthstone.

    Has anyone had this problem? Am I just a freak! I feel like I spent $1,500 for a pile of stink.

    Should I just bite the bullet and buy another stove from a different manufacturer....I'm so sick of the stink! What could it be!!!

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2006
    Messages:
    1,601
    Loc:
    Adams County, PA
  3. tubbster

    tubbster Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2008
    Messages:
    127
    Loc:
    Central NY
    Is there any way you can hook it up temporarily OUTDOORS for a solid 24 hour burn on high?

    The hassle and cost of fuel will be cheaper. It is not the metal. Sealant and or paint, but sooner or later it has to get burned off.
  4. tubbster

    tubbster Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2008
    Messages:
    127
    Loc:
    Central NY
    Also, any chance you use chemicals that otherwise may not smell? Bleach, renuizit, air fresheners etc? Some of these, run through a heater, really stink.
  5. istink

    istink New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Loc:
    california
    There is no chance it is chemicals. I'm a totally eco-friendly and don't use harsh chemicals to clean.

    My furnace guy recommended putting it in a kiln and burning it really hot for a half hour but we haven't gone down that road. Should I? I don't really have a way to burn outside.

    It really couldn't be cheap metal?
  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,382
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Cheap metal? Seems strange, but could be coating slowly coming off of steel. If so, a good paint might be able to encapsulate it.
    Have you tried putting a CO detector near it and see if it goes up a bit?

    Many HVAC guys carry a sensitive device called a "combustible gas detector"....which might also give you an indication of something amiss.
  7. R&D Guy

    R&D Guy New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    Messages:
    375
    Stinky fireplaces are a really hard one to diagnose unless a lot of time is spent on a paticular home. One of those where the mfg would be out of business if they really did sell stinky stoves because each one is made with the same materials, the dealer doesn't understand because they've sold a bunch and it can't be that this one house just happened to get the only 2 stinky stoves they've every sold.

    I wouldn't buy another stove because I think you'll have the same problem no matter who you buy from. I don't work for Hearthstone, but I can say that stinky fireplaces are an industry wide phenomena. I've never heard about it with a free-standing stove before, but I can tell you about stinky fireplaces. It's a really rare problem, but I've seen dealers put 3 different units into a customers home over a 2 year span only to have every unit "smell." The 3rd unit being one we first pre-burned in a very controlled environment in Research & Development searching for any hint of a smell, then the dealer does the same in their shop. Then they get it into the consumers home and what do you know, there's some sort of smell. I've also been on the side of the second choice, meaning that another mfg had 2 of their units in a consumers home and both smelled so they choose ours as an alternative. In every case I'm aware of the home still smelled.

    I've only dealt with these phenomenas a few times in the last 10 years, but each time it was house specific. In most cases I've seen it's related to the building materials in the home, like what the hearth or surround is made of, or what type of adhesive was used to secure the tile, or the type of paint used on the walls etc. The few left IMO are home owners who are overly sensitive to any types of smells in their homes.

    At the risk of sounding rude (which I apologize for), I get the impression that you are in the overly sensitive group. If you really "almost passed out from the toxic glue they used.." for the labels then surely it would have solved or greatly improved the issue when you took them off. It's also the second unit you've had in your home. At some point you have to look at the common denominators in this situation which are the mfg of the stove, the home, and the sensitivity to smell of the homeowner. My advice would be to stay away from gas units, because my experience with this issue is that another unit will not solve the issue.
  8. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,382
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Great Post, R&D;guy!

    I have had a lot of stinky gas fireplaces, but it usually did turn out to be dust and other such stuff. It would usually settle down to some degree after certain measures were taken - burning it hot, cleaning inside and around the unit, etc.

    With a soapstone unit...if it is soapstone (some Hearthstone gas units were ceramic tile) it is also possible that a tiny bit of the stone dust is coming off. Again, it may be the kind of thing that certain people would not notice....and others would.

    If it were mine...I'd burn it for even longer than 10 hours straight. Even in that time, it is possible that full heating has not taken place.


    ( findlater )
  9. R&D Guy

    R&D Guy New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    Messages:
    375
    Thanks Craig,

    You bring up a good point about the dust built up and then of course there is the initial curing of the paint which creates a lot of off-gassing.

    Everyone's home has a unique smell which we all notice and its one that the homeowner quickly becomes immune to. I know that whether its the home I grew up in, or my first two homes I bought as an adult, there is a smell that I only notice when I first walked into the house or when I've been away on vacation for a few weeks, but with each house it's the same unique smell particular to that house.

    Could be that when a new fireplace is introduced it combines with the original smell of the house and for a really small amount of houses that combo puts out funk for those who have a really sensitive nose. Just like how my wife can tell the guy driving in front of us on the freeway (60 MPH) at night is smoking. Can't see any smoke at night, but when he/she drops their cig out the window and the big spark hits the road you realize she did smell it. Which is why I believe istink smells something, but at the same time feel it's a unique issue. Otherwise we'd see thread after thread about stinky Heathstone stoves.

    istink - how are you heating your home without or in combo with your gas stove? Is it with baseboard electric heaters?
  10. istink

    istink New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Loc:
    california
    thanks r & d guy and admin guy for the responses.

    yes, i do agree with you that i am more sensitive to smell than most; however, i'm not the only one smelling it. i had a friend over recently who put in a similar type freestanding stove (whose stove doesn't stink, natural gas not propane) and she said she definitely smells something off - reminds here of the smell her brand new oven still makes since she hasn't used it much. the furnace guy and my husband smell it too.

    the materials used in construction of the room are similar to the rest of the house. in our living room where we have a wood stove insert where the room gets very hot - we don't get any smells. same sheet rock, paint, insulation, etc.

    we have a wood burning stove as our main source of heat in the living room (as a note, it stunk the first 2 times we burnt it but now its doesn't smell) and a small electric wall heater. we bought this stove to have as an instant heat source that could be set on a thermostat and the house would not be so cold when we got home - so much for that. we don't have the option for central heat due the configuration of our house - this was the only instant option.

    as a note, if you stand over the stove you can smell the mystery scent coming off the stove as it warms - i am convinced it is the stove. my house is meticulous, so i know its not dust. i will try burning it again for 10+ hours!. but, hearthstone even told me that had problems with stinky stoves - which they attributed to the labels. HA! regardless, i am totally soured by hearthstone. i don't know if i mentioned it in my previous email, but this stove also has a small nut on the button that has caused several small leaks that the gas company fixed. so its been doubly stinky. LEMON! Fyi, i do have a CO detector in the room and it has never gone off.

    thanks for your responses. i will try burning it again.

    stinky stove forever!
  11. istink

    istink New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Loc:
    california
    oh yeah, the stove is all cast metal no soapstone.....
  12. tubbster

    tubbster Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2008
    Messages:
    127
    Loc:
    Central NY
    Is there carpet in front of the stove?
  13. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Messages:
    3,724
    Loc:
    Madison, WI
    When you do a long burn is the blower on or off? It should always be off when you are trying to cure the smell, otherwise the blower cools everything off.

    Odor problems are the hardest to resolve.

    So it smells like hot metal / paint?
  14. istink

    istink New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Loc:
    california
    Thanks for all of the replies.

    Answers to some of the posted questions...

    There is carpet in the room but it is an all natural burbur. I thought maybe it was the carpet so I did a little research. I talked with the carpet folks and they noted there is noting toxic in this particular brand that would cause any odors. The smell doesn't come from the floor too.

    There is no blower on the stove.

    I burnt it for 13 hours yesterday on high. I turned it on tonight. It still stinks. Guess I'll try it again? Any other suggestions besides throwing it out the window would be helpful......
  15. Fire Bug

    Fire Bug New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Messages:
    305
    Loc:
    Clarks Summit,Pa.
    Hi Istink,
    Is it possible that the termiation cap is allowing the exhaust of the stove to blow downward and entering sofiting vents around your roof or possibly the stove pipe/linner is not connected properly, causing a spent propane gas smell to enter your room where the stove is located or a blocked termination cap exhaust ports?(Birds nest, mice nest, squrrel nest, etc.)
    Spent propane gas has one hell of an odor to it!

    Thanks,
    John
  16. istink

    istink New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Loc:
    california
    hi...

    what does spent propane smell like?

    the smell from my stove is very metallic and paint like when it begins to heat up after is gets really hot is tends to smell a little sweeter.
  17. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Messages:
    3,724
    Loc:
    Madison, WI
    Just think of the smell coming off an LP grill with no food on it.
  18. innkeeper

    innkeeper Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    Messages:
    11
    Loc:
    midcoast maine
    Hi, I'm new the forum and this is my first venture into answering a question....hope I don't mess up.
    I'm an innkeeper along the mid-coast of Maine and I have 11 propane fireplaces, mostly Jotul and Majestic
    and VC. When we bought our Inn 11 years ago, there were 11 wood burning fireplaces...all I did my first winter
    was to haul wood and clean fireplaces. By the next winter, I switched to propane.
    Anyway, With so many propane fireplaces I have had only a few problems and some interesting smells. With
    the exception of one very dead squirrel who managed to get into the chimney the only other smells were propane
    related. Propane is heavier than air and odorless(on it's own) so a stinky additive is added to help identify
    leaks. The few times I have had a problem were when there was a tiny...nearly undectable leak in the stove
    internals that was only an issue when my 500 gallon propane tank was very low on propane. As explained to my by
    Stoney...the propane stove wizard from my propane supplier...as the tank gets low, the "stinky" additive is more
    concentrated and more metallic in character. This is especially true with an older tank..as the "stinky" additive can build up in older tanks over time.
    The way Stoney found the leak was to do a leak down test over several hours...Disconnect the line at the tank and
    pressure up against a gauge and check for a drop in pressure over time.
    Don't know if this helps, but you could call your propane guy..they may have their own version of Stoney.
    Good luck
  19. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,528
    Loc:
    USA
    The first thing I'd do is pressure test the lines and stove. If it's not leaking, I think I'd take this thing outside and let it run at a high setting for some time to burn off whatever it is that's coming out.
  20. istink

    istink New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Loc:
    california
    you responded to my post about a stinky hearthstone stove i have.

    i think i have pinpointed the problem. i think it is the non-enamel metal at the top of the fire box under the enamel coated top piece. i think as this metal heats up it lets off a weird smell that i can't stand. it comes up out of the grate on the top of the stove. it seems to be the un-coated metal versus the painted stuff. can you effectively remove this layer of metal with compromising the stove. at least part of it appears to be screwed on to the inside of the side outside of the fire box.
  21. R&D Guy

    R&D Guy New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    Messages:
    375
    Can you take a picture of the piece you'd like to take off? Could be it's just a heat shield to keep the surface temp of the casting from exceeding the safety standard (finger/hand burn not necessarily burn your house down). Something like that you can likely take off temporarily for a test to see.

    If you would post a pic and point to the piece in your picture.
  22. nevadadave

    nevadadave New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Messages:
    4
    Loc:
    Reno, NV
    Hi there, istink, when I came across your posting I thought it was mine - meaning the answer I just posted under "Fumes and Leaks" in answer to "gasgal's plea for help on 17 February 2009. There are three of us now, at least plagued by the same chemical stink problem in a Hearthstone Sterline DV gas stove - a problem that has resisted all diagnosis and remediation. As far as we have determined, the stink emanates from the top of the stove beginning when it starts to heat up. We gutted our stove completely down to an empty shell, and recycled/dumped all its innards excepting the two cast iron pieces that represent the heat exchanger (long rectangles, one of them looks sort of like a rake). The dealer who declined to service our stove indicated the stink might have to do with the heat exchanger, so we baked these two pieces in our Jennair oven - putting the temp on "clean" and then cancelling the operation. The stink immediately seeped through the oven door, before the oven even reached the "clean" stage. When we opened the oven door, we got a faceful of the usual stink. Unlike you, we were not assertive enough to bring the matter to Hearthstone immediately. However, the dealer from whom we bought the stove (and who installed it) quit dealing with Hearthstone two years thereafter because they were difficult to deal with as far as parts and service were concerned, and he did not want this to reflect on his business. Thereafter there was no dealer in Reno or Carson for a a number of years, only in California about 1 1/2 hrs. away. The new Hearthstone dealer in Carson does carry Hearthstone GAS stoves because, as he told us, they are troublesome. This is also why he declined to service our stove. Furthermore, he was unable to get any answer from Hearthstone as to what our problem might be - i.e. stonewalling. However, Hearthstone has now responded to our letter to them and to the Attorney General's Office in Vermont, stating that we have invalidated their warranty by gutting the stove, inserting a Duraflame electric log fire, and baking their heat exchangers in our oven. This after we put up with 8 years of stinking Hearthstone stove without any help, advice or service whatsoever from Hearthstone. You may wish to bring your situation to the Attorney General's Office in Vermont at the following address:
    Consumer Assistance Program
    Vermont Attorney General's Office
    103 B Morris Hall UVM
    Burlington, VT 05405

    For your information, there is also a website www.f-i-r-e-service.com with an old posting on March 20,2005 by a Jim Adams of Gunnison, Colorado who is associated with F.I.R.E. Exchange wherein he pleads for help on behalf of someone with a Hearthstone stove bought5 years earlier, i.e., in 2000 who is also suffering from that stove's incessant pungent eye-burning smell.

    Finally, I was amazed and gratified how many knowledgeable folks have contributed their collective wisdom to help you with your problem. I am firmly convinced that the problem lies with the heat exchanger parts when they get hot. I absolutely do not believe it has anything to do with the liquid propane itself (NOT CO), or any additive in the lp. We have an lp fired furnace (whole house forced air) in an alcove in the garage which we pass by a lot. We can see the flames in the furnace and have yet to smell anything around the furnace that remotely resembles the stink emanating from the Sterling Hearthstone. However, when we park our car in the garage after a long drive, the engine gives off an odor somewhat like the Hearthstone. I believe the relationship is the heated metal in the engine block and the heat exchanger. I would advise you to bring your problem to the Attorney General's attention as I have. We paid $3,500 for the stove in 2001 (inc. installation), and the $200 electric duraflame insert today does a better job than the Hearthstone Sterling ever did. Good Luck.
  23. istink

    istink New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Loc:
    california
    NEVADADAVE

    Thanks for the reply. I gave up on the stove and forked over $1500 for an Empire wall heater. The STINKER now sits in my garage. Unfortunately, my new stove is not free of smell either. It is relatively new and I don't use it a whole lot but it smells a little dusty and slightly off. It is a major improvement however over the old stove. Even when the old stove was off, I had odors in the room and the occasional propane leak. I haven't had those problems with the new one. I think I am super sensitive to the smell but also think something else might be going on, maybe its the propane. But, it is a definite improvement, and I do agree that my old Hearthstone was a true stinker.
  24. nevadadave

    nevadadave New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Messages:
    4
    Loc:
    Reno, NV
    Hi, I sent you an e-mail as well re. giving up and going away quietly regarding the stinker. The "little dusty smell" from the new stove is probably nothing compared to the chemical hot metal smell emitted relentlessly by the Hearthstone Sterling. I for one am not going to take such a financial hit quietly, as I am suspecting there is a structural issue that is causing the stink. Now, and that's a laugh, Hearthstone has informed me that I have "invalidated my warranty" by gutting the stove completely and inserting a little duraflame electric log fire into the cavity. We also took out the glass door, but left in the wire grid. Now the blower lets the hot air from the electric fire into the room - 1,500 watts, safe, odorless, sort of pretty to look at (actually, the flickering flames are generated by twirling aluminum strips which cast a shadow at the back wall of the insert) I never knew the stink was covered by a warranty, haha, as nobody, neither the original dealer, nor the good folks at Hearthstone with whom we spoke half a dozen times, nor the most recent Hearthstone dealer who came to our house and declined to service the stove, ever mentioned that this was a WARRANTY issue. We were faced with having the stove transported to a dealer other than the one from whom we bought it, and face considerable expense, trial and error to find out what causes the stink. Rather than prolong the agony, we cut our losses for the time being and proceeded with the conversion. Suddenly, Hearthstone remembers that our stove apparently HAD A WARRANTY which we could have apparently invoked. Well, dear istink, maybe it's time you remind Hearthstone that their stove, while no longer stinking in your garage, is not working properly either and that there is a warranty that should cover this apparently systemic defect causing the stink. Hearthstone can't play it both ways - concealing the fact that the stink is a repair caused by a design/construction defect, jerking stove owners around often for years, and then invoking the warranty after the fact the stove has been dismantled by a frustrated owner. We are now considering an Avalon Tree of Life - after we have sniffed it in operation at the dealer. Good night.
  25. istink

    istink New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Loc:
    california
    nevadadave...

    i'm right there with you. if there is one thing i've learned from this whole ordeal, if your not happy with something, report it immediately, i contacted hearthstone too late, after the 1 year warranty, and they pretty much told me they couldn't help. i would love to go round and round with hearthstone about it, but i've already spent too much time worrying, stressing, and mulling over what to do. i'm glad i decided to replace it. i hope you get resolution to your problem. guess we both wont' ever buy another hearthstone, thats for sure. best of luck. stinky stove be gone!!

Share This Page