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what is an acceptable odor?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by lorax, Dec 18, 2007.

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  1. lorax

    lorax New Member

    Dec 18, 2007
    norhern new mexico
    hi folks. first time posting. glad to find a discussion board as they tend to the best resource for help in so many areas(much more so than the manufacturer IMHO).

    just moved into a new house (rental) that is heated by 2 pellet stoves (i have no previous experience w/ them).

    one stove is on main floor and one in the bedroom. the one on the bedroom is brand new, just put in this month. during the first couple weeks we experienced a lot of smoke in our bedroom because of improper installation (exhaust venting wasn't sealed properly (ie. at al). finally that got fixed. now we are experiencing a different smell that doesn't seem right. to me it smells like a mild exhaust smell. NOT like the campfire odor we were getting initially when we could actually see smoke coming out of the pipe.

    our bedroom is large but still only one room. we try to keep the door open but because of a draft it seems to defeat the purpose fo having the stove run. i have called the manufacturer who continues to tell met to check for exhaust leaks (found none) and now the guy who installed it (works for the landlord...who lives in france) tells me it is just the way a stove smells, or that it is the pellets.

    meanwhile, our downstairs stove doens't seem to put off much odor at all, except for a mild campfirey smoke which we don't mind.

    oh yes. one mor thing. the smell only comes out when the air circulator (that blows heat into the room) comes on.

    the stove is KOZI model 100. any others w/ experience with this stove or similar issues please lmk if this is just 'normal'.

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 17, 2005
    Western Mass.
    In theory there should be no smell at all.

    Personally, I would not want a Pellet Stove heating my bedroom, but that is a personal preference. Code would probably allow it, given the use of outside air.

    OK, so theory and real life collide here, because there are odors that come from solid fuel appliances even if everything is perfect. It might be when you open the door to stir the pellets or to scrape the pot. In your case it is probably something else - a leak of sorts as you suspect.

    Others here may give more technical hints on finding the leak, but I will say to make sure your smoke detector is working, put a CO detector in the room, and also keep the door at least somewhat open.
  3. eernest4

    eernest4 New Member

    Oct 22, 2007
    I'm no expert, but from other posts I read here, sounds like you may have a small leak where the exhaust fan blower housing fits to the back of the heat exchanger or the gasket on the mounting plate of the exhaust fan blower motor, especially if either of these are in close proximity to the intake of the room air circulator or the center of the room air circulator squiril cage rotor blades.

    I mention that because you say you only smell it when the room air circulator comes on, so baring an unlikely hole in the heat exchanger, you have some place near the room air motor
    intake , an exhaust leak that may be small and hard to see.

    The exhaust fan blower housing can get up to 500 deg. F , so use the better grade of 900 *F
    or 1200* F black silicone seal for pellet stoves(rsv or rvs or something close to that).

    Calk with silicone seal any likley joints that you suspect might be leaking & you will probably
    calk the leak by "accident" , as it were.
    You will have to remove the sheet metal on the back of the stove and make sure the stove is cool & unplugged , for your safety,while you are in there calking.

    The silicone seal is easily removed at a later date if required.

    This , above ,is the FOOL PROOF METHOD. That does not mean it will work, it only means it is safe enough for a fool to do.


    Another method which may work, I have never tried it, but it sounds logical, is to turn the stove on, without any pellets, or remove the fire cup so that burning can't happen. This should
    create an air flow & you should have positive air pressure on the blow side of the combustion
    fan motor and a partial vacuum , negative or below atmospheric pressure, on the suction side of the blower. Make sure you close and latch the stove door so that the air flow is the same as when the stove is burning.

    THIS METHOD IS VERY DANGEROUS FOR those not mechanically adept or anyone else that has absolutly no idea about what they are doing. You need to know what you are about, in order to do this; otherwise, you could hurt yourself and should not even attempt it.

    Just like a tax accountant should not try to fix his own car engine, but rather, pay a mechanic
    & a mechanic should not try to file a 26 page irs return without a tax accountant.


    Buy a bottle of kids soap bubbles and a large cotton swab and wet areas suspected of leaking with the bubble solution. If you have a leak on the blow side , bubbles will form & if you have a leak on the suction side, the bubble solution may be seen to get sucked into the crack of the seam.


    Use a paper towell to blot up any errant run away soap solution, so as to prevent it from reaching any electric terminal.

    Most tax accountants cant reconize one.

    A safer way to preform this test, is to wet the suspect seams with soap bubble solution with the stove unplugged and then plug in and start the stove, without a fire.

    Its rough enough being in there with a strong light, looking for bubbles or soap being sucked into a seam and watching out not to get near a electric wire without worring about getting burned by hot sheet metal too, so disable the fire as described.

    Alternatly, you can use dishwashing liquid & water, maybe not as easy to see as soap bubbles, and a kids squirt gun instead of a swab or as well as a swab, in case you want to reapply liquid to confirm a suspicion.

    There is some small danger involved with this test, so you cant get by blundering into it without any forethought, you need to be sober, allert, use good mature judgement, not be high
    or otherwise mentally impared and think about what you want to do before you try to do it.

    There is no offense intended by this warning, I needed to say this because the first thing an incompetent Do It Yourself repairman says is why dint you tell me or warn me. I am not there looking at the stove and you are.

    You are in the position to know what you are capable of, not me.

    If you think you cant handle it, pay a professional or call factory service. Dont risk hurting yourself.

    A trick many repair men use in that situation is to unplug the stove before you start and put extra black electrical tape on all exposed terminals, so that in case you accidentally brush up against one, you dont get a shock. You dont need a lot of tape, just one layer stuck to each side of the uninsulated terminal for temporary insulation, as you will have to remove all the tape you put on after the test is done.

    The tape may catch fire or melt if you leave it on because it is not heat proof, so it must be removed. The tape is also evidence of unauthorized repairs and will void your absentee landloard's warrantee , if you dont remove it.

    This is free advise and I take no responsibility for anything that may occur. Working around live electric wires is not for gomer pile, the village idiot or dumb & dumber or brain dead drunkard. It reqiures common sense & mature adult judgement, so if you think you may resemble any of those remarks, forget about running the motors and doing a soap bubble test and just unplug the stove and cauk everything.

    I am not an expert, just another jerk with a pellet stove that has a better owners manuel than yours.
    Sorry about all the warnings in strong language, but I needed to do the standard disclaimer thing in an unmistakable maner.

    Good luck, Think First, Act Second.

    I have two friends that act first and never think about what they are doing, even when they are explicidly warned against it & they are both always hurting themselfs & others and breaking everything they touch, so maybe this has had an effect on me.

    I feel sorry for both of them, but they are stuborn, wont listen & think they know it all & when I point out to the know it all's that I told them so, they just get mad. Almost makes me want to stop helping people.
  4. eernest4

    eernest4 New Member

    Oct 22, 2007
    I nearly forgot to tell you that my pel pro owners manuel explicitly forbids placing a pellet stove in sleeping quarters; probably because they don't want to be held libal if there is a carbon monoxide poison gas leak or a carbon doixiode non life supporting gas leak (its not poison just not oxygen, wont sustain life).

    So, by having a pellet stove in your bed room ,you are setting yourselves up.

    Therefore, what webmaster said in his post, you need a carbon monoxide detector, a carbon dioxide detector and a smoke detector.

    You should consider yourselves lucky to still be with us.

    My pellet stove is in my living room, two rooms away from my bedroom & a good thing too, because when first installed,it had two exhaust gas leaks that I since fixed & now it really is oderless. Before, the air would start to get foul & sickening, inside an hour. If I didnt shut it down when it got stinky, and let the air freshen up, it probably would have killed me.
    Exhaust gas leaks should be taken as the potentially life threatening situations that they are.
  5. lorax

    lorax New Member

    Dec 18, 2007
    norhern new mexico
    thanks for all the tips, advice and warnings. i knew the discussion boards would be fruitful. i am going in w/ the soap bubbles (after e-taping all open wire connectors). i've gotten VERY familiar with this stove in the 3 weeks i have lived w/ it. our the stove was put in by the caretaker after asking us what kind of heat we wanted in the bedroom....we knew nothing about pellet but there was a pellet on the main floor. in hindsight we should have done something else.

    anyway, caretaker is putting in an outside vent for combustion air today and i am checking out for more leaks. i will post the results.

    btw, eernest4, as an aspiring comedian you may appreciate my blog notes recounting my pellet stove experiences. it ain't pretty:

  6. lorax

    lorax New Member

    Dec 18, 2007
    norhern new mexico
    hello again. so. here we have it.

    in the midst of doing some more sealing (though hadn't gotten to the soap bubbles yet) i make another call to the manufacturer(kozi). as i am describing the smell and situation i mention it is in the bedroom. i am told NONE OF THEIR STOVES ARE APPROVED FOR BEDROOM INSTALLATION. furthermore, they suspect that NO PELLET STOVES ARE APPROVED either. what a revelation. luckily, the caretaker who installed it was right with me and, after being pointed to the page on the installation manaul where explicitly stated the above he conceded.

    i am indeed thankful to be alive. we should have some electric baseboard installed in a day or so (unless someone can make a better recommendation for bedroom heating (besides making whoopy).

    thanks again for the help guys. still got a quadrafire santa fe pellet heating the rest of the house so i'll still be round these parts in the future.

    god bless to all. ho ho ho.
  7. eernest4

    eernest4 New Member

    Oct 22, 2007
    Dear brett:

    I clicked your link. O. M. G. What A Nightmare you had!! You were not kidding when you said "NOT Pretty.

    But don't give up on pellet stoves or wood stoves. I expect fuel oil for the oil/money burner to be going up 1.oo per year for the next 10 years, so I expect 14.oo a gal fuel oil by 2018 & 16.oo a gal/gasoline.

    So ,heating will be done by wood stove & pellet stove, except for stupid multi millionaires. They smart ones will have already switched to wood & pellet.

    Expect electricity and food & items in stores to also follow the fuel prices upwards
    while poor people loose the homes, jobs & cars. Chineese will be driving around in cars while americans ride bycicles , unelse GM suddenly remembers that it perfected the electric car in 2000 & starts mass producing them. The oil companies told the car companies to bury the electric car & the car companies knucked under & did so.

    But you can still convert an existing car to electric for about what it costs to buy a new 2008 toyota corolla.

    Any way, I am sure that your electric baseboard heat will be quite convienient for you , at least until you see your electric bill.

    You should be lying down in bed & have already taken two asperin, & some hawthorn berry pills to lower your blood pressure, before opening the bill; because I am sure you will need them.

    BTW , don't forget to shut off the electric baseboard heat as soon as no one is in the room, or at least turn it down some.

    Most people never experience anything like the trouble you have had with pellet stoves. And while I had 2 exhaust leaks on my new pellet stove, I found both fairly easily & it was no big deal to fix.

    The first was because some fool told me that I didn't need to calk the exhaust vent pipes with hi temp silicone seal, so i didn't & later disassembled them & did. Took me 1 hr
    to finsh it.

    The second was a sprung door/ hinge , that someone had damaged before I bought the stove new. I took me a year to figure out that all I had to do to get the door to seal properly was to put my thumb under the bottom coner of the door & push up 3/8ths of an inch
    and the door latch would fall into its proper notch & give an airtight seal.

    Before , I was closing & partially catching the latching mechinism but not properly & so
    I put up with campfire smell my first heating season.

    Never having seen my model pellet stove before or one without a sprung door hinge
    I thought I was doing it right, but I tried the dollar bill test between the door gasket & the stove & knew I had to look further. Gasket was new so that only left a sprung door hinge
    & sure enough, that was it.

    Now my stove is oderless & has paid me back its cost in fuel savings.

    THEY SELL AN ALCOHAL PELLET IGNITING GEL, you throw a hand full of pellets in the fire pot & squirt some gel on them & just drop a match & thats it/all.

    So,if the ignitor is out, who cares, just get some gel or use a propaine tourch to start the hand full of pellets in the fire pot.
    That is what they did before electric ignition, before 1998.

    You should spend some time here on the board reading other peoples posts AND PLEASE CLICK ON HEARTH WIKI on the upper right hand coner of the top of the page.
    When you get to hearth wiki , look on the list to the left & click on list of titles,WIKI TITLE LIST on the menu.

    This pulls up a list of 200 articles about wood & pellet stoves, several of which I have written, like wood stoves for newbees & opperating pellet stoves for newbees.

    Good luck & dont give up on pellet stoves because economics will force you back to them or
    put you broke being stubron.

    I know several people that resemble put you broke being stubron & I always ask them how many new cars they bought the oil man, or the electric company or the gas company this year.

    Edit: I forget to tell you, when you click on your menu selection ,WIKI TITLE LIST, & THEN the title of article from article title list,
    the page comes up & looks empty but if you scroll down 3/4ths of the way ,the article is way down at the bottom.

    I know this info will be a big help to you.
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