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How do YOU keep your house from smelling like a chimney??

Post in 'Classic Wood Stove Forums (prior to approx. 1993)' started by NorthernMN, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. NorthernMN

    NorthernMN New Member

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    Mornin' Forum, first time poster (in this forum anyway) and like everyone else I love me some wintertime wood stove burnin! Living on a lake in Northern Minnesota has it's advantages, but facing northwest winter winds, burning untold cords of wood and being a single male is a recipe for, well, a house that doesn't smell as good as you gal's houses. So.....I know I can BUY potpourri, but I wonder if anyone has any economical ways to combat the smoke smell that naturally occurs from the burning of wood all winter. I know cutting up citrus and cinnimon, but man.....that sounds expensive! I'll take your input if you got it!

    Jimmy in Minnie

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  2. Kevin Dolan

    Kevin Dolan Burning Hunk

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    Morning Jimmie ,
    Welcome to this forum.
    Is the smoke in your house coming from opening your wood stove or stoves? What kind are they?
    We burn wood in a jotul castine with a large door and if not careful we get some smoke spilling out on reloading but with some care do not have a noticeable smoke smell in the house.
    Others will probably ask some questions but I would be interested in where the smoke is coming from.
    Kevin
  3. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    What kind of stove are you burning in?

    Like Kevin, I'm wondering if the smoke is coming from your stove or leaking into your house from the chimney. Which do you think it is?

    Most of my family burns wood, and none of the homes have any smoke smell.

    Is the stove installed in an old fireplace that could be causing the smell?

    In general, a smoke smell comes from burning wood that isn't seasoned well enough, which produces extra smoke and tends to make the operator open the door more often than normal to poke at it, mess with it, etc. Or from a chimney setup that isn't ideal (too short or too large a diameter flue) which causes insufficient draft. Other problems can come from improper operation such as not opening a chimney pipe damper when reloading, or using a damper (closing it) when it shouldn't be or turning the stove's air controls down too far and causing the fire to smoulder instead of burn.

    Welcome to the site!

    pen
  4. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    As mentioned . . . more info is needed. If the smoke is inside the home and comes from when you open the door to the woodstove to reload it then the issue could be a draft issue which may require a taller chimney . . . if the problem occurs at start up then it may be a drafting issue where you may need to pre-warm the chimney to establish a draft.

    If the problem occurs as a result of smoke outside working its way in it may be an insulation issue with the home.

    Quite honestly . . . a properly working woodstove should result in little to no smoke smell in the home . . . if it is drafting correctly. That said, on the rare occasions I do get some smoke in the home -- typically in the early Fall or late Spring when the outside temp and inside temp are close to each other and I have a reverse draft situation. Fortunately I can fix that by opening a nearby window a crack until the fire gets going. As for smoke outside . . . I occasionally smell it if the weather conditions are right (or wrong), but I get zero smoke penetration coming from the outside into the inside.
    Kevin Dolan likes this.
  5. NorthernMN

    NorthernMN New Member

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    Hey Kev, thanks for respondin' and the nice welcome - like a warm blanket after stackin' cordwood in the snow! I have no leaks in my vent run - it's a brand new pro-installation. I AM using an old stove - it's a classic 1976 Garrison 2, which was made out east and had to shut down when the UL started its thing. It burns efficiently and with elegant design, and this little stove will run me out of my 2200 Sq Ft house in a heartbeat if i don't watch the dampers - it's really a cool stove. Only drawback: no window for viewing the fire - all cast iron. Garrison's philosophy was simlple: "Hey......we are here to heat your home - not to look pretty, we are the Bruce springsteen of Wood Stoves, not the Davod Bowie of pretty woodburners". I can only assume that the smoke smell occurs when I "charge" the stove (as the manual refers to loading it). when I open the door I do get some smoke escape - i don't know how to combat that.....I can send pics if you desire...

    jimmy in minnie
  6. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I think it helps to open the air all the way and open the door slowly.
    NorthernMN likes this.
  7. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    The lil woman likes to burn scented candles here. They can be had pretty cheap at the dollar store.
    NorthernMN likes this.
  8. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    +1 . . . Open up the air all the way . . . wait a few seconds . . . open up the door a crack and wait a few seconds and then open all the way.

    There is a possibility you might also be loading too soon . . . generally when I load my stove I'm loading on coals when there is no smoke. As mentioned earlier . . . where I do get some smoke coming into the house on occasion is on a cold start in the Spring or Fall.
    Tuneighty and ScotO like this.
  9. Kevin Dolan

    Kevin Dolan Burning Hunk

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    Jimmie,
    The responses from the guys certainly raise some good issues especially re chimney drafting. Sounds like you have a good heating stove, not familiar with it but seems to produce great heat for you. Velvet foot raises a good point about opening your air up fully for a few minutes before opening and pen talks about less than dry wood causing excess smoking - have had that problem before.
    Posting a few pics of your stove and door might be helpful as I can appreciate not wanting a smoky smell in my house. With the help of the seasoned veterans on this site, I am sure they will have some helpful solutions for you.
    Kevin
  10. NorthernMN

    NorthernMN New Member

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    Thank you for the warm welcome, as i said to kevin! wow this is a Nice Forum!! i am an accomoplished guitar player and belong to other forums which are comparitively SNOBBISH....

    Admittedly I am using an old stove....BUT they were known for superlative efficiency and uncomprimising quality. It's a 1976 Garrison Model 2, solid cast iron, no cracks, brand new pro-installation, 6" flue. It is a long run, 2 full stories plus the rise/run on the roof, but from the exterior the draft is looking excellent, and when I open the door to "charge" the firebox (load it with wood), I get a little smoke escape but then an impressive (but not excessive) backdraft up the flue. Also, when i open the door to load, smoke comes out the draft holes if I don't close them - the manual says this will happen so it advises to close the drafts before opening to load the stove. I got the stove for free because it looks really cool, thinking I'd use it as a conversation piece/decoration in a room. I was worried that with it's size that it'd only heat a part of the house. Lemme tell ya....this little stove heats every nook and cranny of this 2200 sq ft house, and I'm not even finished covering the walls yet. ive got it insulated and Poly over that, but no drywall or pine on the walls or ceiling yet!! this stove will absolutely heat me out the door if I don't mind the draft controls! I loaded last night and accidentally left the drafts holes wide open. I woke up 90 mins later and it had gone from 68 to 79 degrees EVERYWHERE in the home. I'm tellin ya, it's a cumbersome system, but it heats like nobodies business! THANKS!

    Jimmy in Minnie
  11. Stella

    Stella Member

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    I get smoke if I open the door of my Supra Mulhouse too quickly when either the wood I am burning is damp or I have just started the fire. I find the answer is to open the door just an inch and then wait a couple of seconds before fully opening to put in more wood. Other than that, I have no smell inside the house and only occasionally outside when I first light the stove.
  12. NorthernMN

    NorthernMN New Member

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    "lil woman"? you BROWN NOSER! lol....good idea about the candles - amazingly hadn't thought of that. it's a no brainer. Tell the lil woman (as John Prine also likes to call them) she had a great idear.

    jimmy
  13. NorthernMN

    NorthernMN New Member

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    I'm confused...first you say "open the door all the way", but then you say "open a crack and wait...". which is best?

    also...good point on loading too soon. My stove doesn't have a viewing window so I unfortunatley have to guesstimate :~/
  14. NE WOOD BURNER

    NE WOOD BURNER Minister of Fire

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    Welcome aboard!
    I see you installed a 6" chimney?
    What size is the outlet on your garrison?
  15. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Open the door up a crack for a bit after you've opened up the air . . . then after a few seconds you can open up the fire door all the way and reload.
    ScotO likes this.
  16. NorthernMN

    NorthernMN New Member

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    it's the garrison 2...the mis sized one. 37,000 BTU per hour and she gives you 100% HEAT. ive never seen a small stove heat like this one does.
  17. NorthernMN

    NorthernMN New Member

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    IMG_2632.JPG

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  18. NE WOOD BURNER

    NE WOOD BURNER Minister of Fire

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    I believe the garrison two was a sheet metal stove with fire brick and cast doors. with two rear air drafts that screwed in. Had an optional soapstone top that was appealing to many. I just can't remember the flue size. I think it was greator than 6".
    It had an interior smoke baffle(check to see if its there?)
    also is your chimney installed interior of house or is it on the exterior of the house?
  19. NorthernMN

    NorthernMN New Member

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    yes, excuse me, you are absolutely correct, it is sheet metal with cast doors. Spinwheels are in place and fully operational, as is the baffle, and mine is straight as an arrow, unlike some owners who report some warping after a period of time. As i understand it, this stove was the equivalent of the "car that a little old lady drove to church every Sunday". it was rarely fired. it is in absolutely immaculate condition. I think it's just that I'm a new user, and I gotta get the hang of it? The garrison 3 was an 8" flue, this one is absolutely positively ruler tested a second ago at six inches and holding. Thank You!!
  20. NE WOOD BURNER

    NE WOOD BURNER Minister of Fire

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    Ah exactly! Lose the barometric damper and install a manual flip damper.
    I used to get these stoves for free years ago. We used them for everything. Had one we tried to melt down had it glowing red. Still works today! its a heater but don't fall asleep with out the damper closed.
  21. NorthernMN

    NorthernMN New Member

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    Actually I suspected the damper might be part of it. It DOES have a locking gasket on it so I closed and locked it so it is essentially not even there, and i do have a flip damper a few inches above there. THANK YOU!! I loved your comments about trying to melt one down....out of curiousity, HOW did you get her so hot?????

    jimmy
  22. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    I hope you are being mindful of clearances. Can't easily tell from the pictures but I see wood, cloth bag, exposed insulation with poly. You won't even see that poly if it touches off.
  23. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    A barometric damper on a woodstove? Did that pass inspection???
  24. NE WOOD BURNER

    NE WOOD BURNER Minister of Fire

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    Just leave the damper open and keep feeding hardwood.


    so when you button this stove down for the night close the damper and air screws(experiment a bit for burn times).
    When you reload open the flip damper first. wait a minute or 5. then open the air screws slowly. wait a minute or 5. now if you have no smoke entering house you can open the doors. this warms the chimney as you will have temp differances on your pipe from interior to exterior at your roof. Possible smoke is exiting from your interior pipe connections as it needs to go somewhere and the cold pipe at roof is blocking the smoke from exiting at times.
    Another possibilty:door gaskets, this is an old stove could be worn or very dry.
  25. NE WOOD BURNER

    NE WOOD BURNER Minister of Fire

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    Since you have options with your Hearth during construction it would be wise to build it to accomodate a stove that is in production today also. your clearances currently do look unsafe and certainly house cleaning near a heat source is imperitive. It is possible your smoke smell maybe indeed be dust burning off your poly or even the poly starting to melt. I would suggest a temp sheetrock/dura rock covering and or moving stove out and offsetting connection at cieling to increase your clearance from wall. Also you are hanging a lot of pipe from ceiling with no support. gravity will pull your stove pipes apart and or add stress to your appliance flue collar.

    If you love this stove, wait until you try the stoves that have been mentioned here.

    You are in the right place here. Ask away!

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