Blaze king Ashford 30.2 smoke smell problem

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Woodpower

New Member
Feb 6, 2021
16
NH
I absolutely love my blaze king. It heats the entire house on the coldest days and I don’t think you can beat the larger fireboxes. However, I was recently told I can’t use the stove anymore due to an almost constant smoky smell and for the first time this winter we are burning propane.

I assume my issue is due to improper set up leading to pour draft. Unfortunately due to my thimble height restrictions the stove pipes takes an immediate 90° turn into the thimble and up my exterior masonry chimney that is approximately 26 feet. There is no way to get my thimble to the recommended 3 feet due to post and beam construction. The only thing that goes against this being a draft issue is I have great draft when opening the door. The fire immediately roars to life and I have little to no smoke entering the house. The stove even seems to run a littler hotter then needed sometimes and I need to turn the thermostat down to just over halfway and the stove temp will read 3/4 on the thermostat (where I like to keep it on cold days).

I have tried leaving a window crack next to the stove which does not seem to have any effect. The smell seems to be a little worse on windy days. The overall draft seems to be improved on cold days but this does not seem to make a difference in the smell. I am using dry wood that was cut and split two years ago. There is no smoke exiting the chimney when the catalytic unit is engaged. It does not seem to matter if I am burning the stove really hot or if I turn it way down.

I did not do a doubled wall 90 given that I didn’t think I would have much heat loss with the shorten run. I did try insulating the pipe with many layers of aluminum foil which made it so I could easily put my hand on the foil while the stove was running. However, this did not seem to help.


When I put my face directly above the stove I can smell a very subtle smoky smell. I am not sure if this is coming from the thermometer hole or the stove pipe.

I have not tried putting cement and all the seams of the stove pipe, but was thinking about doing this next.

Do you think it is worth putting a insulated liner/vacu-stack in my chimney or is this set up due to fail no matter what with a blaze king given the thimble height?
Is there something wrong with the stove? I assume if I call blaze king they’re going to tell me my thimble needs to be higher.
should I buy a new stove that isn’t so picky with the draft.
any other recommendation?

thank you for your suggestions/recommendations. Let me know if any other information is needed!

Long time reader and woodstove user...first post.
 

Rickb

Minister of Fire
Oct 24, 2012
1,190
St.Louis
Do a search on here for smoke and ashford. This seems to be a issue with some of these stoves. Sometimes its a install/setup issue. Sometimes not. I know some people have gotten the smell reduced a lot by changing the door gasket. Sometimes it because of too much draft causing turbulence and a dampener helps. Sometimes its too little draft. Sometimes its something else.
 

Woodpower

New Member
Feb 6, 2021
16
NH
thank you for the reply, Rickb.

I have done some searching on here, but will do some more! Door gasket seems like an easy and low cost thing to try. I will do that next
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,679
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Pictures please. I can’t imagine a situation where you couldn’t raise the crock plus post and beam houses with a good looking ashford would look great.

You seem aware that your installation is not compliant with the manual so smells may be the result. This particular series of stoves really needs to meet minimum requirements.
 

Woodpower

New Member
Feb 6, 2021
16
NH
image.jpg

Thanks for the reply!
Yes, I wish there was an easy fix so I could keep this thing going. I am afraid that if I put the time and money into a liner that won’t solve the issues and I will just need to get a stove that isn’t so picky in terms of the set up. Just don’t really want to get a new stove because I like everything about this one (except for the smell).
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,679
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
So that “mantle” piece doesn’t look structural so if you abandoned the current crock and popped a new one in up near the picture frame you could get the height you need. You would probably want to extend the rock facing as well. There is a minimum clearance requirement between the pipe and that beam of course.

Now, would be horrible to do all that and it still stink.

The gloss black looks sharp.

What the heck was there previously? All top vent stoves would need that immediate 90. Another option is to get a rear vent stove like an Ideal Steel or fireview from Woodstock.
 

Woodpower

New Member
Feb 6, 2021
16
NH
Yes, I agreeI could take the mantle out and continue the rock up. I looked into doing this myself and got some prices (could easily buy two more stoves for the prices I got)

there are a few headaches with this...The SIPS (structurally insulated panels) attaches to the mantle. I would also have to somehow remove the SIPS from behind the top structural beam to place brick (I believe I have to have brick surrounding the thimble).

agree... would hate to do this and still have issues.

I had an old jotul bear there before that is now in the basement.

I did just test the door gasket again and found a small area that I can almost pull a strip of paper though... I will adjust the door later today and see if that helps
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,337
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
There IS stovepipe under the tinfoil, yes?

An insulated liner will be your friend no matter what stove you wind up with. Put that one on the yes list.

Post a photo that shows the exterior chimney and as much roof as you can see from that angle?

There is undoubtedly some troubleshooting BK can help you with also. Get with them before you change the gasket. (I mean, they will still tell you that this install does not meet the minimum requirements listed in the manual, but they will still try to help you resolve the situation.)
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
6,532
07462
.The SIPS (structurally insulated panels) attaches to the mantle. I would also have to somehow remove the SIPS from behind the top structural beam to place brick (I believe I have to have brick surrounding the thimble).
So your house is a newer SIP house? To me that screams tight construction, I'd request the thicker door gasket from BK and also the oak kit first before diving into anything more crazy as far as thimble relo or a different stove. You might have a static draft issue, with the door open and the by-pass open your getting enough air for no smoke roll out, maybe with the door closed, by-pass closed, t-stat set your just giving the stove enough air, but then something competing inside the house turns on like a vent fan, air recovery unit, radon fan, or simple door to the outside opening and closing changing the air pressure in the house and your getting the smoke smell.
 

Woodpower

New Member
Feb 6, 2021
16
NH
So your house is a newer SIP house? To me that screams tight construction, I'd request the thicker door gasket from BK and also the oak kit first before diving into anything more crazy as far as thimble relo or a different stove. You might have a static draft issue, with the door open and the by-pass open your getting enough air for no smoke roll out, maybe with the door closed, by-pass closed, t-stat set your just giving the stove enough air, but then something competing inside the house turns on like a vent fan, air recovery unit, radon fan, or simple door to the outside opening and closing changing the air pressure in the house and your getting the smoke smell.

Thanks for the comment....I thought this at first too. I tried to trouble shoot this two different ways... I made positive pressure in the house by turning off all the exhaust air intakes and I open the fresh air intakes all the way for the ERV unit... there was clear positive pressure in the house after doing this and it didn’t seem to help... I also left the window closest to the stove open a crack for a few days and once again didn’t seem to help... I had already purchased the outside air intake for the stove, but when the above didn’t help the situation I didn’t install it and it’s not sitting in the basement. Thanks again for your thoughts! I will look into the thicker gasket.
 

Woodpower

New Member
Feb 6, 2021
16
NH
There IS stovepipe under the tinfoil, yes?

An insulated liner will be your friend no matter what stove you wind up with. Put that one on the yes list.

Post a photo that shows the exterior chimney and as much roof as you can see from that angle?

There is undoubtedly some troubleshooting BK can help you with also. Get with them before you change the gasket. (I mean, they will still tell you that this install does not meet the minimum requirements listed in the manual, but they will still try to help you resolve the situation.)

hahahahaha wait I need stove pipe not just foil!?!? JK :) yes there is pipe under the not so attractive foil.

thanks I guess I will give BK a call I was thinking they would just blame it on the short thimble

8CF342FB-959B-43EB-AF69-C8213295CD28.jpeg
 

Woodpower

New Member
Feb 6, 2021
16
NH
Not sure if this is helpful info or not, but I have turned the stove all the way down just to see how it does and it still seems to still work great. The fire does not go out...seems to get the air it needs. The temp on the stove always correlate really well with the thermostat temp. Smoke smell does not seem to depend on how hot I run the stove.

I just put some cement around the opening of the thermometer and put the thermometer back in as it does seem like this is where the smell has been coming from. It was really hard to tell if I got a good seal

I just started the first fire since i was told no more fires until this problem solved… Wish me luck!
 
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gthomas785

Minister of Fire
Feb 8, 2020
652
Central MA
I'll just leave this here in case it's helpful

 
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Woodpower

New Member
Feb 6, 2021
16
NH
Thank you gthomas. I will take a closer look at my door. I think it looked okay, but I will look again! Thanks
 

kf6hap

Minister of Fire
Jan 15, 2016
716
Nevada City,Ca.
A few Ashfords will leak "smoke smell" (invisible smoke) and be quite a nuisance. If the minimum chimney height is present and the house is not in a negative, get with the factory or BKVP and request a 7/8" gasket with the hinge shims. This was the fix for mine 2 years ago. Still working great. Once fixed, you will love the stove. In my case, increasing chimney height did not improve the situation.

Try tightening the door way beyond the dollar bill seal test. Remove the top plate and the right side plate to do this. Mark where the parts are with a sharpie and increase the latch tightness. This might get you by until the real fix happens.
 
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BKVP

Minister of Fire
Respectfully, we have almost no Ashford smoke smell issues in 2020. In fact, with the exception of a few residual issues from prior seasons, we show no new issues.

We made some changes to the assembly process, not materials or specifications. Gaskets and doors are assembled more than 24 hrs in advance of stove assembly, allowing for gasket adhesive to cure. This prevented gasket from rolling as seen in a couple of cases previously.

For this particular install, the 90 on the top of the stove is not acceptable for ANY of out models. It is not exclusive to the Ashford 30. We would also encourage the vent adapter to liner be sealed. In one instance in 2019, a customer unplugged their fans and the smell decreased by over 90%. Upon further inspection, the smoke smell was originating from the adapter-flue liner connection.

We will be pleased to offer a larger gasket, but with the 90, it is unlikely to improve the situation. Keep fingers crossed.
 

Woodpower

New Member
Feb 6, 2021
16
NH
My stove is one of the older models... BKVP is going to send me a gasket and the spacers. I am going to seal the vent adapter too.

will keep everyone updated.

Thanks BKVP for your help!
 
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kf6hap

Minister of Fire
Jan 15, 2016
716
Nevada City,Ca.
I used newspaper in between the loading door and the stove to prevent sticking. After 24 hours, I lit the fire. Also, I placed a large wet rag in the stove as the silicone hi-temp "cement" was humidity cured. I also placed a 75 watt incandescent light in the ash drawer to keep it warm to assure a speedy and complete cure.
 
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trueg50

Member
Dec 19, 2014
26
VT
With the smokey smell, are you guys finding issues with the smell at all points in the burning process or just before getting the stove hot enough to flip off the bypass?
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,679
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
With the smokey smell, are you guys finding issues with the smell at all points in the burning process or just before getting the stove hot enough to flip off the bypass?

Most of the complaints I read were during the long low burn after cat engagement when flue temps are lower. A constant ooze of smell. Not so much during high burn warm up.
 
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Woodpower

New Member
Feb 6, 2021
16
NH
With the smokey smell, are you guys finding issues with the smell at all points in the burning process or just before getting the stove hot enough to flip off the bypass?

I am getting the smell after the stove gets hot/bypass is flipped. It seems constant and not dependent on the stove temp
 

kf6hap

Minister of Fire
Jan 15, 2016
716
Nevada City,Ca.
Mine was worse at turn down after the initial 20 minute wood charring. Turning it down slowly helped. What helped the most was placing a strip of thin lat self-adhesing gasket along the top. The real fix was the 7/8" gasket. The door shims were required to do this.
The Ashford is one of the best stoves ever made. I easily get 24 hour burns with a mix of pine, oak and madrone. No way for an air tuber.

Make sure the door is adjusted to be very tight. That might get you by. Dollar bill tight is not enough. I use molybdenum dry lube on the latch roller.