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Harman P68 - Need help with Strange Smell

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by TomR, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. TomR

    TomR New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2011
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    Central CT
    Hi Guys - I purchased a Harman P68 back in October and have been running it pretty much non stop since installation. Yesterday something strange happened that has me worried.

    I had shut the machine down for about 2 hours (because the house had gotten too warm) due to a quick outside temp increase. When I started the machine back up my wife immediately noticed a strange smell. The smell was coming from the back of the machine, not the front. The smell is difficult to describe but actually was very similar to the smell the machine gave off when we first started it out of the box (like the smell of oils and new metal getting hot for the first time), and the tech said this was normal. It could also be be described sort of like an electrical burning smell, but not quite the same.

    Another strange thing happened Saturday night during the massive snow storm we got. I was concerned about the power going out so I shut down the machine Saturday night at 10pm. I quickly noticed a small drip of water coming from around the pipe where it goes into the unit that vents it out of the house. I don't know if this was condensation from the temp change or water actually making its way in from outside. I went out and cleaned the pipe of snow and the problem went away.

    I think these are two separate issues but wanted to throw it all out there.

    Other than this i haven't had single issue with the machine and it has already saved me thousands in heating oil, so I don't want to have a single day where the machine is down.

    Appreciate any help/suggestions.'

    PS - I have been doing the basic cleaning every 2 weeks, just the front of the machine, not the back doors. I have never done the back and planned to do so at the end of the season. I have never checked the pipe for creosote. I have only burned about 3 tons of pellets and I'm burning stove chow exclusively which I got positive reviews on from folks on this forum and has worked just fine so far. Given the crazy weather I'm actually going on 3 weeks now without a cleaning so I am going to vacume it out today.

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  2. glenc0322

    glenc0322 Minister of Fire

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    I was thinking that you were getting condensation or moisture in your exhaust pipe when you shut the stove down. It could be just water evaporating but that is just a guess. What does the venting look like outside? I am sure other members with more knowledge will chime in. good luck
  3. Bioburner

    Bioburner Moderator Staff Member

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    Could be you had some sort of moisture that was heated and vaporized into the room upon startup that had came in from the venting(and leaked around stove exaust outlet) and having a bit of creosote to mimic electrical burn smell. I've had that problem with wood stoves. You stated some moisture coming in from the venting and I would lay a heavy bet on that.
  4. CT Pellet

    CT Pellet Minister of Fire

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    Possible that you have a small leak somewhere in the pipe and you smelled minute amounts smoke. Typically, the really small breaches will not leak once the stove is cranking, and the convection blower and draft work in unison to pull it all out, coupled with the fact that once the stove is ripping, there is much less smoke than during start-up. Also....check your socks. Quite often when something in my house smells, it's my socks.

    As for the water, if the snow made its way into the pipe and melted, and there actually IS a small exhaust leak, well then bingo, you may see a drop or two of water. This would actually reinforce my theory that there may infact be a small leak.I am not saying that this is it, but it certainly is a reasonable possibility. Check it out.
    Thaddius Wenderoth likes this.
  5. Thaddius Wenderoth

    Thaddius Wenderoth Feeling the Heat

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    LOL! Check your socks. I actually laughed out loud and everyone in the office just looked at me.
  6. mary lee Fantino

    mary lee Fantino New Member

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    :ZZZGOOD MORNING OUR PELLET STOVE IS WORKING NICE,TOOK SOME TIME TO FIGURE OUT THE NOISE,
  7. subsailor

    subsailor Minister of Fire

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    WHY ARE YOU YELLING!!!!!!
  8. TomR

    TomR New Member

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    Thanks guys. This is disappointing. It's cranking away and the smell is now very faint. Perhaps there is a very small pin hole somewhere in the pipe. I certainly can't see it if there is.
  9. Hoot23

    Hoot23 Minister of Fire

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  10. TomR

    TomR New Member

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    Hey guys. I just cleaned it top to bottom including the fines in the back. I'm still getting a smell when I stick my head behind the unit. The service guy can't get to me for more than a week. Should I keep running it or shut it down until someone can look at it? Could carbon monoxide be an issue?
  11. CT Pellet

    CT Pellet Minister of Fire

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    Carbon monoxide is not the issue, but make sure you have CO detectors in the house anyways. If the smell bothers you, shut it down. To find a small exhaust leak, shut the stove down completely. Then once it is cool, put it into start up mode and turn off the lights. As the stove is starting. take a flashlight and shine it on the pipe and if there is a leak, you will see smoke coming out. Let us know how it goes, but most importantly, get CO detectors if you don't have them. They are cheap, and the" feel good" value is off the charts!
  12. Bioburner

    Bioburner Moderator Staff Member

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    You have burned THREE TONS OF PELLETS without checking the venting? Your venting may be close to being totally plugged and giving you alot of problems. Check it quick.
  13. TomR

    TomR New Member

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    Thanks guys. I just grabbed 2 co detectors. I placed one behind the stove and the other 10 feet away. So far they aren't indicating a problem. I will try your tip for finding a leak.

    I looked into the vent pipe from inside the unit. While there was build up it wasn't close to being clogged. The pipes are tapped so I really don't want to pull it all apart just yet.
  14. Bioburner

    Bioburner Moderator Staff Member

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    How many feet of venting? How many elbows? On longer runs the blockage can be near the end.
  15. glenc0322

    glenc0322 Minister of Fire

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    what about the cap of your venting does it have a screen on it maybe it froze or is blocked off ? worth checking
  16. Hoot23

    Hoot23 Minister of Fire

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    Is there anything on or close to the exhaust pipe.
  17. TomR

    TomR New Member

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    About 5 feet including inside an outside the house. There is only one elbow and it's inside at 45 degrees. I could look from the outside, just can't now because I need to get on a ladder. They used some high temp tape on the inside joint, I don't think they used silicone. This is frustrating.

    No blockage from what I can tell on the vent cap but I'll chech again.
  18. Brokenwing

    Brokenwing Feeling the Heat

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    The Red Flag here is you have burned 3 tons with out a proper cleaning. My guess is that is your problem. Looking down the pipe tells you nothing, you can not see into the cleanout tee, stove passages, and combustion blower. This thing needs to be shut off and gone through a deep cleaning. The vent really should be brushed after every ton. I bet your plugged up somewhere with ash.
  19. boo boo

    boo boo Feeling the Heat

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    Your set up sounds like mine
    When you do your weekly or bi-weekly cleaning do you remove the combustion cover and run a brush into the exhaust? I bought a dryer vent brush that works great and goes past the ESP probe with no issue and my 45. then bring it outside take the tee trap off and run the brush up the flue. The extra 8 minutes it takes each week is well worth it to the trouble you may have at the end of a ton or three.
    The fan is exposed to the blower and a paint brush cleans it up nice

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