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Smoke leaking from stove pipe joints into house

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Millworker, Nov 20, 2007.

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  1. Millworker

    Millworker New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Downingtown PA
    :mad:

    I moved into a house with a wood stove and am learning a lot about how these things work. Definitely more complicated than one would think.

    I am puzzled by a recent, very sudden development. I have been burning wood for about 1 month, 24 hours a day, quite happily.
    Thought I had things all figured out. Then, suddenly, smoke started leaking out of the stove pipe and into the house. The stove had been burning just fine all day, and for reasons I don't understand, the smoke just started pouring out of the seams of the stove pipe. This literally happened all of a sudden with no warning signs. I let the fire go out, and used a fan to blow the smoke out of the house. The next day I light some newspaper and observed smoke coming out of the stovepipe seams. I used high temp. silicone and sealed these leaky seams. I then tested again with a small amount of kindiling and the smoke now came out of different seams, that I hadn't sealed.

    I cleaned the stove pipe myself a few months ago. This was my 1st time doing this. I was a little concerned when re-assembling the stove pipe to the collar of the stove, because the connections were certainly not air tight. But my concerns were relieved when I began burning because the smoke seemed to prefer to just go up the chimney, and not escape through the stove pipe seams.

    Now the smoke prefers to come out of the seams and not go up the chimney. Does anybody know why or how a stove can go from working perfectly to working horribly within a matte of seconds? Should I get up on the roof and check for a blockage? The stove pipe has a cap and also a metal mesh cap over it which should keep critters and debris out.

    -Frustrated

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  2. johnsopi

    johnsopi Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    MD near DE&PA;
    maybe the cap screens are clogged.
  3. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    Check the cap, it is probably plugged. If this is the case, next step is to check your wood, as it is probably not seasoned or rotten.
  4. Millworker

    Millworker New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
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    Loc:
    Downingtown PA
    You were both correct, the cap screen was coated over with what I guess is creosote?

    I must admit I am surprised how quickly the cap could clogged, especially since I cleaned it before the burning season.

    Lesson learned: only stick to the well seasoned wood.

    Thanks
  5. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    get those seams sealed! the leakage was inward at first , not real noticable unless a seasoned burner, this lowered your stack temps allowing creosote to build on the screen , when it blocked a certain amount the flue no longer could draft and the smoke starts coming out of the seams at that point. all air must go through the stove into the flue. this will keep your stack temps higher and bring about less buildup. check the screen on the cap regularly , if you can see it from the driveway , make a habit of glancing up at it daily. this way you can see buildup before it brings smoke and can get a feel for how long it takes to build up , set your cleaning regimen based on these observations and you will be fine.

    by the way , welcome to the hearth! you will find no better source of information on wood burning as well as meeting some really outstanding people.
  6. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    middleborough, ma.
    Millworker, another thing that will help you along. I burn mine HOT at least once a day, that will help keep things clean.
    VERY IMPORTANT to start with a CLEAN chimney.
  7. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    Phoenixville, PA
    If the screen is removable, you might want to just get rid of it during the burning season. Of course that's not a substitute for proper burning, and if you aren't burning clean then your chimney could be full of dangerous creosote which at some point will likely burn off when you get your stove hot enough - then you will see smoke coming out those joints for a totally different reason :)
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