Help with pellet stove smoke smell in house

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New Member
Oct 31, 2010
Danbury, CT
Hello all, new member here and I absolutely love the site. I was hoping for some help from the experts. I bought a Quadrafire Sante Fe 2 years ago when I bought my house to replace an older Whitfield stove. It is vented out of the wall of my house, currently with about 1 ft. of pipe from the stove, to a 90 degree elbow, to a T, to another 90, then about 2 feet of pipe out of the house, all Selkirk piping (not sure how old). Towards the end of last year, and upon fire up this year, I have a smoke smell that is constantly there. I removed all of the piping, cleaned it out thouroughly, and reinstalled. I siliconed inside the pipes, and around all of the joints, and still have problems. I was seeing small plumes of smoke occasionally, so redid he joints, and it got a little better. I then removed the exhast fan, cleaned that out thoroughly, and reinstalled. The gasket for this was not in great shape, so I siliconed around the edge of the plate of the exhaust fan as well (not sure if this is recommeded?). I have noticed that I can feel a significant amount of air from inside the stove when I open the side door, it seems as if the exhaust fan is almost blowing out a little, is this normal? I think this is where my smoke smell is coming from, but can't figure out how to fix this. Is there anything else you can recommend I try to solve this problem? It has gotten much better since I re-did the piping and cleaned the exhaust fan area, but I can't get rid of the smell completely. Do you think my piping could be too old and should be replaced? My other question is can this smell be dangerous? I have 2 small kids, and I have not gotten any sign of CO2 from my detector, which is good. Sorry for the long winded post, any and all help is appreciated.


Minister of Fire
Jun 9, 2008
central maine Lat 45
The cooling fan on the outside, on the vent motor will blow air. Did you use a stove adapter on the stove first, then pipe.
The Simpson adapter needs sealing on the inside or you will smell smoke, not sure what you used for adapter, if any.
Dark room on start up, check joints with flash light, will show smoke big time.


Minister of Fire
Dec 30, 2008
Northwestern CT.
The slightest leak will give off a smell. Dim the house lights and grab a bright flash light or drop light to check for leaks. Most leaks show more on start up so start with a cold stove first. Start the stove and watch like a hawk.

The high heat aluminum tape also does a nice job at sealing leaks and comes off pretty easy when you need to remove the pipe. make sure its rated for 600ºF. 3M has a tape just for this. I found it at a True Value hardware store. I used it on the tee caps because I need to remove them when I clean. Once the pipe is warm you can peel off the tape. I then wipe the pipe with goo gone to remove the sticky stuff. Retape and good to go.


New Member
Oct 31, 2010
Danbury, CT
Thanks all, I will definitely try the lights out and flashlight at startup to find the issue, and think I'll add the foil tape for good measure.

Snowy Rivers

Minister of Fire
Feb 7, 2010
NW Oregon
I use a small LED flashlight (most auto parts stoves have them on the counter in displays)

Turn off the lights as mentioned and use the little LED light and carefully move it around the pipe joints.

If you can make a smokey fire it will help locate the leaks.
Any wisps of smoke show up real good in that bright white light.

Even with the pipe "sealed" you likely need to use a single wrap of High temp tape at each joint and elbo.

I used the pipe with the built in seals on my whitfield install last winter. Still needed to tape the joints.

Here are some Pics of the way I have done it, plus the handy little light

These are sold with the name NEBO on them.

Make sure the tape you use is foil and rated for 350F minimum and I like to see 600F rating.

Most pellet pipe will not get over about 200F under normal use. Mine is rarely hot enough that I can't put my hand on it, at least for a little bit.

Some of the cheaper drier duct stuff will stink really bad when it gets hot.



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tdidona said:
.....The gasket for this was not in great shape, so I siliconed around the edge of the plate of the exhaust fan as well (not sure if this is recommeded?)......

While many people have done this and had no problems, it can also be a hit or miss. IMO, get a new gasket and install it....then you won't have to worry if that's a source of the leak.

Also, as was mentioned above, go to Home Depot or Lowes and get a roll of aluminum foil furnace tape and tape all the joints.


Feeling the Heat
Oct 2, 2012
Albany (ish)
I know it's an old thread but I found it useful so THANKS. :)
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