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Slight Smoke Smell

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by gilmil, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. gilmil

    gilmil Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Messages:
    49
    Loc:
    Central CT
    I'm burning in an HI300 insert with a full stainless liner. Last night I noticed a slight smoke smell once I choked the stove down. I've never noticed it in the past. Over the last year I've installed a block off plate, chased air leaks and insulated the heck out of our attic hatch (still has some air leaks).

    I'm wondering if the house is getting a bit too tight? Or maybe the strong wind was blowing right that the smoke was coming in the attic windows which surround the chimney?

    I'm letting her cool down tonight and I'll pull the shroud before I start burning tomorrow. Then I can at least see if it's related to the stove/liner joint.

    Ideas?

    Gil

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  2. embers aplenty

    embers aplenty Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2011
    Messages:
    106
    Loc:
    East Tennessee
    Hi Gil, I have encountered smoke problems in the past. Maybe if you were having some wind and shut the air off a little to soon, could have been just enough to do it. I know if I add a new load late at night and shut it down too soon and go back to bed, I can get some smoldering smell in my back bed room. I just make sure I leave the door cracked a few minutes, then close door, and leave the air open for a little bit, before shutting it back down usually helps me.

    If your fire is burning good, stove top temps are up, and wind isn't blowing, and it's still happening, you might try cracking a door or a window, to see if that helps when you shut it down. If it does, maybe an OAK might be in order. I had some of those older turbine stile vents on my previous roof that I feel, let smoke into the attic. Smoke getting into the attic can make it's way back to the living area for sure. You'll figure it out. It will just take some more investigating and trial and error.

    Some more will chime in with some better ideas I'm sure. Good Luck To You!:)
    ScotO likes this.
  3. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Or maybe you've gotten into a different part of the wood pile? A different type of wood? Wood that is not dry enough will certainly give you some bad smells.
    corey21 and ScotO like this.
  4. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Embers and Dennis probably hit the nail on the head in his posts above......backpuffing can happen, even to the most efficient stove, if the winds are really howling, and wet wood can make some smells in the house. Also, shutting down the stove before it's up to cruising temp can possibly cause the smell.

    Have you checked your flue and chimney cap lately? Sometimes the cap can clog (especially running damped-down fires and milder weather, when combined with a spark arrestor on the cap). Happened to me last year, we had a very mild winter here in central PA and I had the fire too low for a spell, had to clean the cap.....
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  5. TradEddie

    TradEddie Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2012
    Messages:
    724
    Loc:
    SE PA
    I used to worry about a slight smoky smell until I realized that many times, it was worse outside and my stove wasn't lit. At least one of my neighbors needs better burning habits.

    TE
    n3pro and Joful like this.
  6. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    749
    Loc:
    Meadow Valley, CA
    when was your last cleaning?
  7. Adkjake

    Adkjake Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2010
    Messages:
    207
    Loc:
    Adirondack High Peaks
    Ditto on the cause is likey the wind. I don't know about down in CT, but Tues night we had 25 mph wind, with gusts up to 40mph kick up here in the Adirondacks. Woke up late that night to a slight, but noticeable smell of smoke in the house. Got up, checked house and stove. All OK. Stove was turned down as it was only about 32* that night, opened up the air to get a cleaner burn, that helped.
  8. soupy1957

    soupy1957 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2010
    Messages:
    1,361
    Loc:
    Connecticut
    I LOVE the smell of the wood burning! Door gasket degrading? Try the "dollar bill test when the fire is out and the stove is cold. If it slides, the gasket needs replacing.

    -soupy1957
  9. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
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    6,378
    Loc:
    Philadelphia
    The other suggestions are probably dead on, but here's something else to consider, while you're at it. Our house is shaped like a big "U," with about 84 windows. It's not that uncommon to find a room far from either of the stoves that smells slightly smokey, due to some outside smoke being drawn in with the make-up air. Have you checked in daylight to see which direction the wind is carrying the smoke from your chimney.
  10. gilmil

    gilmil Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Messages:
    49
    Loc:
    Central CT
    Thanks guys. Last cleaning was only a few weeks ago and the temps have been so sporadic that I haven't burned much. The winds were at least 35mph. The wood is old, 3+ years old. I'll make sure I didn't steal from another pile in a state of delusion. Tomorrow I'll check out which direction the wind is blowing the smoke once the sun comes up.

    I bet I shut her down before she was cruising.

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