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Upgraded to modern stove- now I smell wood smoke in my house!

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Johnny Dill, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. Johnny Dill

    Johnny Dill New Member

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    Waterford, Michigan
    Hello to all from Waterford, Michigan! I just joined this forum.....

    We had one of those old school Vogelzang "Lil Sweetie" stoves and used it for 3 winters. It worked great and it reduced our gas bills by like 85%. The downside to this stove is, of course, high wood consumption and limited wood capacity. So we decided to upgrade.

    Tractor Supply opened a new store locally so we picked up a sale price U.S. Stove model 2000 {EPA approved} with the badass secondary combustion and viewing window.

    I "broke in" the stove per owners manual, ie, small fires first so the paint cures correctly. But every fire, I can distinctly smell "wood smoke" in the house that is proportional to the fire intensity. Keep in mind that this NEVER happened with that old Vogelzang! I cannot see the smoke in any way- I can only smell it. It does not set off smoke detectors, either. I tried sealing any gaps in the single wall stovepipe with furnace cement with no improvement. { It has one of those 6" Miracle heat reclaimers installed like it was before. The setup was foolproof.}

    It should not be a draft issue as it is a simple vertical exit setup going up and out. I cleaned out everything with my chimney brush before installing. I never had a problem with backdrafts, ever.

    What is the best way to detect where this odor is coming from? I tried a dark room and a flashlight and I see no source of smoke. It is the oddest thing- I cannot even tell if it is coming from the stove itself or the stove pipes. -Any help here is MUCH appreciated. -Johnny
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    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2013

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  2. pen

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

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    First thing, pull the magic heat reclaimer off it! The modern stoves need a strong draft to make the secondary combustion happen, and that unit there reduces draft considerably. No need for the thing anyway.

    Next, since draft is a concern, what kind of chimney / flue is this hooked up to? Masonry? Class A? What's the diameter? How tall?

    Also, are you certain the stove boards you have up are meeting your clearance to combustibles required in the stove's manual? It appears they are just resting there and not secured?

    Additionally, did you smell the paint curing on the stove? Any chance that is the odor you are getting? Or perhaps even from those blinds being overheated?

    Welcome to the site!
  3. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Is that a Magic Heat I see on the flue? If so, this might be a possible answer to your question.
    Johnny Dill likes this.
  4. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    Magic heat is the answer, it may have helped with your old stove but it's hurting with the new stove.
    Johnny Dill likes this.
  5. Johnny Dill

    Johnny Dill New Member

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    LOL, the blinds warped long ago from a VERY intense fire in the Vogelzang. The chimney is 6" DuraVent triple insulated pipe that is only going through about two feet of attic space. The exit of the chimney is over three feet past the roof outside. I tried in every way to install this per code. The distance to the walls is good according to the owners manual. The fireboards were there for the Vogelzang so I put them back there for the hell of it. Do you really think the Magic Heat Reclaimer is the source of my issue???
  6. Johnny Dill

    Johnny Dill New Member

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    {I did smell the paint slightly, but this is different}
  7. pen

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

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    If heat could / should be stolen from the flue, the stove manufacturer would build one into every stove. They want you to be as happy / warm as possible. Using one steals draft and cools the flue gasses which can potentially lead to a greater creosote accumulation as well as a reduction in draft. In all, I'm not a fan of 'em in any way on a modern stove. On the older stoves, often times so much heat went up the flue, that these things didn't hurt much.

    Whats the total height of that chimney? From stove top to cap? It's a straight shot up? Or are there bends?
    Johnny Dill likes this.
  8. brenndatomu

    brenndatomu Feeling the Heat

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    Yup, I agree with these guys, the modern stoves need a stronger draft to work correctly, so what worked fine before may not now. I'd pull the Magic heat off and try it, the flue gasses are too cool after passing through it, not enough temp differential left to make the chimney draw, especially in these warmer fall temps. Your new stove really doesn't need it anyway, they don't waste heat up the stack like the old models did, and, if left in place, the MH WILL cause creosote buildup in your chimney. Wanna experience what a chimney fire is like?

    Oh, and welcome to the jungle baby...er, I mean, ah, welcome to Hearth.com!
    (hang around, you'll see what this ^ means) ::-)

    Edit: Didja ya know that is why they call 'em Magic Heat? Cuz they magically make a whole lotta heat...all of a sudden...one day...when you least expect it...in your chimney...where, if you're REAL LUCKY...it will stay!
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
    Johnny Dill likes this.
  9. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    I concur 100%!
    Johnny Dill likes this.
  10. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Every time you reach a higher temp with the stove than before, you will smell the paint curing a little more.
    As everyone else already suggested. Lose the Magic Heat box.
  11. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Until that stove gets to around five hundred degrees or over the curing of the paint and oils in the steel ain't even done curing out. I kicked my last new one to 550 stove top temp sitting on my driveway and the fumes were still coming off of it. Move that thermometer down on the top center of the stove and see how hot you are burning. You have it 18 inches too low for measuring pipe temp anyway.

    PS: Welcome. You are gonna love the stove as soon as you get that wart off of the pipe.
    HDRock and Johnny Dill like this.
  12. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    I'm curious ..
    When you had that heat reclaimer off did you look inside it to check out the tubes..was there much crap on them?
    What did your flue above and below it look like?
    Johnny Dill likes this.
  13. Johnny Dill

    Johnny Dill New Member

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    With the old primative Vogelzang stove, there was so much damn heat going through the heat reclaimer that there was mostly just ash in that thing. I was always very careful about creosote and I took my pipes apart three times each season and cleaned them to be sure I never got a chimney fire. The creosote started forming above the heat reclaimer. Surprise, surprise.

    One thing I noticed about this heat reclaimer is that it took a bigger fire to keep the thermostat on with the new stove- because the exhaust is cooler {efficiency!} So even if it did not cause problems, its effectiveness is diminished with an EPA stove.

    I am pretty sure that the reclaimer is the cause of my problems. It makes sense to me. I will remove it ASAP, maybe tomorrow and let everybody know if it fixes my issue.


    ps- The stove is fantastic, by the way. The secondary burn is just beautiful! -Lots of "ghost flames" that are captivating to watch. It will pay for itself in wood savings. -Johnny
    Batman and brenndatomu like this.
  14. Cynnergy

    Cynnergy Member

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    Do you have a CO detector in addition to the smoke detector?

    I always get a little nervous when I hear of woodsmoke getting into the house (except for newbies like me still trying to figure out reloads and startups). If smoke can escape from the system, CO can too, and you might never know it unless you have a detector.

    Sounds like you have everything in order, but just checking...
    jeff_t and Johnny Dill like this.
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The stove will vent better without the Magic Heat and when it is turned vertical. You will have to fix the Magic Heat but I rotated your picture for you. The stove is already looking better.
    oconnor and Johnny Dill like this.
  16. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    Everyone has given you the answers you need. I'll just say welcome neighbor!(I'm near Oxford)
    Johnny Dill likes this.
  17. Johnny Dill

    Johnny Dill New Member

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    Yes, I have a CO detector and a smoke detector in the firebox room. Neither has went off but my nose tells me there is a smell of smoke when the stove is turned up. When the wood is mostly spent and it is not so hot, I don't smell it. Which is consistent with what would happen with a partially blocked flue, which is the heat reclaimer. those tubes going across the flue are like a damper that is partially closed. Not exactly an ideal scenario for my new stove that specifically says NOT to install a flue damper! ==c -Can't wait to remove this device and Craigslist it to help a hot smoke dragon. :cool:
    pen likes this.
  18. brenndatomu

    brenndatomu Feeling the Heat

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    But now it doesn't match his avatar! ;) :) ;lol :rolleyes: ;hm ::P
    dafattkidd and Johnny Dill like this.
  19. dafattkidd

    dafattkidd Minister of Fire

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    Hey Johnny, welcome to the forum. Sounds like you're in for a fun winter playing around with a new stove. Good luck with it. I bet you're going to get more heat from less fuel with your new stove. The only issue with the newer units is they require dry firewood, and tend to be less tolerant of wood that contains over 20% moisture content.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013
    Johnny Dill likes this.
  20. Johnny Dill

    Johnny Dill New Member

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    I am investing in a digital moisture meter. I have a ridiculous reserve of firewood and I am sick of guessing about how dry it is! ==c
  21. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    Great idea...best reading will be from splitting a split over again.
    Johnny Dill likes this.
  22. Chrism

    Chrism Feeling the Heat

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    Wow to me that looks like a scary set up ! Holy close to combustibles !!!
  23. Johnny Dill

    Johnny Dill New Member

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    It is supposed to be no closer than 12" from the stove corners to the walls and the stack should be no closer than 21" and that is right about where it is. There was another stove there for 3 winters with no issues. I suppose I should remove the blinds as they already distorted from thermal abuse. ::-)
  24. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    The moisture meter will take all the guesswork out. My firewood supply is all over the map on moisture as well, and my meter has saved me all kinds of problems.

    And +1 on getting rid of that "magic" thingy.

    Those two things will make all the difference.
    Johnny Dill likes this.
  25. BIGDADDY

    BIGDADDY Feeling the Heat

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    Welcome. I like the blinds. Gives it that seasoned look!!
    Johnny Dill likes this.

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