Mendota odor nightmare

drwslacy

New Member
Nov 15, 2014
1
Madison, WI
I bought a Mendota DVX-45 direct vent gas fireplace. The installers explained there would be a "burn off" period during which there would be smells (and possibly smoke) from curing paint and manufacturing oils, etc.

I followed the following recommendations for this burn off period cited in the manual:

PAINT CURING CYCLE RECOMMENDATION
: It is recommended that you run this Fireplace on maximum flame height, for 3 cycles of 2 hours ON and 2 hours OFF, initially, to cure the paint. Some non-toxic smoking will be visible during the
cure cycles. It is recommended that all windows be opened during the first 2-hour burn cycle to expel the visible smoke.

These burn off odors were indeed really strong. Unfortunately, these odors never went away (as the manufacturer and installers claimed they would) and remained very noticeable. Whatever was outgassing also continued to produce physical effects such as irritation of my throat and nasal passages, and headache. My housemates also noticed this and were similarly affected.

I eventually reached an agreement with the dealer that sold and installed the unit to replace the new unit with a floor model unit. I reasoned that the floor model must have had much more time to go through the burn off period and so there wouldn't be a problem with residual odor. The dealer even kept the floor model unit burning on high for several weeks before they swapped it out with the new unit in my house. Unfortunately, the floor model is emitting the same smell as the new unit did, even after all this so-called "burn off" time. The smell is not as strong as emitted by the new unit, but still extremely noticeable and disagreeable.

I'm fairly convinced this smell is a consequence of the Mendota unit construction/painting and not associated with my particular thing in my environment that might be heated by the unit when it is operating. I've had professional fireplace installers inspect the unit as it is operating and they tend to agree with me that what I'm smelling is some kind of residual burn off odor. The Mendota company reps have not been helpful and have tried to convince me that the odor will fade in time or that I am smelling "burning dust". Well, I am not willing to wait for the odor to fade and I know what burning dust smells like (from having operated a furnace), and this smell is NOT burning dust.

So, I'm totally disgusted with Mendota now and will be returning the unit. However, I don't know what to replace it with. I'm extremely worried that if I install another brand of direct-vent fireplace, the problem could very easily be repeated. One thought I had was to try to find a direct-vent fireplace that didn't use painted metal (or at least a clean-face design that minimizes it), but that has proven virtually impossible.

Has anyone experienced the same problem with persistent odor that seems to be the burn off odor? Everyone tells me the odor should go away, but it hasn't, even with two different Mendota units.

If anyone has a good suggestion for how I can replace my Mendota fireplace without a big risk of having the same problem, I would appreciate hearing your feedback.

Thanks
 

Heatsource

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2011
1,064
Northern CA
a1stoves.com
maybe the tile facing was put on w/glue and not thinset?
(ive seen construction materials that were the issue the stove took the blame for...)
 

heyfatboy

New Member
Nov 17, 2014
2
ct
We got a Mendota Full view Direct vent Gas Fireplace (FV44i) on sale last April. and the installer said it would smell for a couple of hours. Well if smelled every time we used it and the fumes would travel upstairs where it was really bad. So of course we didnt use it in the summer but in October when I turned it on it was really bad again, I mean like a nauseous headache. So I contacted Mendota and the said you had to run it on high for 10 hrs. without the fan. So I did that and opened some windows and and its not a problem. But believe me, it drove me crazy.
 

Heatsource

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2011
1,064
Northern CA
a1stoves.com
We got a Mendota Full view Direct vent Gas Fireplace (FV44i) on sale last April. and the installer said it would smell for a couple of hours. Well if smelled every time we used it and the fumes would travel upstairs where it was really bad. So of course we didnt use it in the summer but in October when I turned it on it was really bad again, I mean like a nauseous headache. So I contacted Mendota and the said you had to run it on high for 10 hrs. without the fan. So I did that and opened some windows and and its not a problem. But believe me, it drove me crazy.
heyfatboy welcome to the forums
 

steve123456789

New Member
Dec 17, 2014
1
montreal
Hi All,

We just installed a Mendota Modern F41 gas fireplace. Since the beginning 3 weeks ago there has been a strong odor emitted from the fireplace. The salesman where I bought the unit told me it was the paint curing process and it would go away the next day. It did not. He then told me to run the fireplace on HI for 8 hours, which we did, same smell. We did another run the next day for 6 hours, same aweful odor. Before this, I must say that we used the fireplace for 8 or 9 nights at LOW flame for 3-4 hours a night. Total # of hours of usage has been over 40, with at least 20 on high.
Both 19x19 tiles on top of the fireplace get extremely hot and it is once these tiles get hot that the smell starts to get strong. So, question is this: is it the thin set polymer based cement that was used to tile that is emitting this "toxic " odor, is it the cement board which I believe was Durock, or is it the fireplace that has not finished curing at over 40+ hours of use? Also, is it normal for those tiles above the fireplace to get so very, very hot? I called MAPEI and they told me they never heard of such a thing with concerning the Ultralite thin set polymer cement. I called Mendota and the gentleman told me it was in fact the cement offgassing. I am more confused than ever. Hope someone can give clarity. Thanks. Steve
 

f_martin

New Member
Mar 4, 2015
1
Northeast
I bought a Mendota DVX-45 direct vent gas fireplace. The installers explained there would be a "burn off" period during which there would be smells (and possibly smoke) from curing paint and manufacturing oils, etc.

I followed the following recommendations for this burn off period cited in the manual:

PAINT CURING CYCLE RECOMMENDATION
: It is recommended that you run this Fireplace on maximum flame height, for 3 cycles of 2 hours ON and 2 hours OFF, initially, to cure the paint. Some non-toxic smoking will be visible during the
cure cycles. It is recommended that all windows be opened during the first 2-hour burn cycle to expel the visible smoke.

These burn off odors were indeed really strong. Unfortunately, these odors never went away (as the manufacturer and installers claimed they would) and remained very noticeable. Whatever was outgassing also continued to produce physical effects such as irritation of my throat and nasal passages, and headache. My housemates also noticed this and were similarly affected.

I eventually reached an agreement with the dealer that sold and installed the unit to replace the new unit with a floor model unit. I reasoned that the floor model must have had much more time to go through the burn off period and so there wouldn't be a problem with residual odor. The dealer even kept the floor model unit burning on high for several weeks before they swapped it out with the new unit in my house. Unfortunately, the floor model is emitting the same smell as the new unit did, even after all this so-called "burn off" time. The smell is not as strong as emitted by the new unit, but still extremely noticeable and disagreeable.

I'm fairly convinced this smell is a consequence of the Mendota unit construction/painting and not associated with my particular thing in my environment that might be heated by the unit when it is operating. I've had professional fireplace installers inspect the unit as it is operating and they tend to agree with me that what I'm smelling is some kind of residual burn off odor. The Mendota company reps have not been helpful and have tried to convince me that the odor will fade in time or that I am smelling "burning dust". Well, I am not willing to wait for the odor to fade and I know what burning dust smells like (from having operated a furnace), and this smell is NOT burning dust.

So, I'm totally disgusted with Mendota now and will be returning the unit. However, I don't know what to replace it with. I'm extremely worried that if I install another brand of direct-vent fireplace, the problem could very easily be repeated. One thought I had was to try to find a direct-vent fireplace that didn't use painted metal (or at least a clean-face design that minimizes it), but that has proven virtually impossible.

Has anyone experienced the same problem with persistent odor that seems to be the burn off odor? Everyone tells me the odor should go away, but it hasn't, even with two different Mendota units.

If anyone has a good suggestion for how I can replace my Mendota fireplace without a big risk of having the same problem, I would appreciate hearing your feedback.

Thanks
Hi, same thing here. Purchased an FV33i. Tried burning it in for what seemed like the equivalent of 3 heating seasons worth of sitting around the fireplace, about 40-50 hours. Can't even run it on medium low for an hour without the smell kicking in. Too bad because everything else about the product seems top notch. Did you find a replacement? What did you end up doing?
 

DrewAtFPS775

New Member
Mar 31, 2015
20
Seekonk, MA
We have the same issue with a FV44 in our showroom. Mendota said that they were having issues with the fiber gasket used to seal the unit charring and causing an undesired smell. Waiting on the replacement kit from Mendota and will update when we perform the repair.
 

fast06WRXtr

New Member
May 7, 2015
1
United States
We have the same issue with a FV44 in our showroom. Mendota said that they were having issues with the fiber gasket used to seal the unit charring and causing an undesired smell. Waiting on the replacement kit from Mendota and will update when we perform the repair.
Any updates? Our family is fairly sensitive to odors and want to make sure this is resolved prior to installation.

Thanks!
 

DrewAtFPS775

New Member
Mar 31, 2015
20
Seekonk, MA
So we finally got to replaceing the interior gasket and this is what it looked like when it was taken out. IMG_1456.JPG

Needless to say, it had been charred somehow while the unit was operating. I would contact your dealer and see if they can get in touch with Mendota. This may be your issue as well but ours went through the burn in process and was odor free for a few months before we started noticing the charring smell.
 
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DrewAtFPS775

New Member
Mar 31, 2015
20
Seekonk, MA
I do not. It got replaced on my day off and nobody else thought it would be nice to have a picture of it (lame). But after doing some inspection of the top of the unit, it looks to be white fibrous gasket material just layered up. Definitely should not be yellow however.
 

dfader

New Member
Feb 11, 2017
1
DE
Hi All,

We just installed a Mendota Modern F41 gas fireplace. Since the beginning 3 weeks ago there has been a strong odor emitted from the fireplace. The salesman where I bought the unit told me it was the paint curing process and it would go away the next day. It did not. He then told me to run the fireplace on HI for 8 hours, which we did, same smell. We did another run the next day for 6 hours, same aweful odor. Before this, I must say that we used the fireplace for 8 or 9 nights at LOW flame for 3-4 hours a night. Total # of hours of usage has been over 40, with at least 20 on high.
Both 19x19 tiles on top of the fireplace get extremely hot and it is once these tiles get hot that the smell starts to get strong. So, question is this: is it the thin set polymer based cement that was used to tile that is emitting this "toxic " odor, is it the cement board which I believe was Durock, or is it the fireplace that has not finished curing at over 40+ hours of use? Also, is it normal for those tiles above the fireplace to get so very, very hot? I called MAPEI and they told me they never heard of such a thing with concerning the Ultralite thin set polymer cement. I called Mendota and the gentleman told me it was in fact the cement offgassing. I am more confused than ever. Hope someone can give clarity. Thanks. Steve
Your story reads just like ours - did you ever get a resolution? It's been 40+ hours of "burn off" and we'll being told to start the "process" again.
 

Heatsource

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2011
1,064
Northern CA
a1stoves.com
^ they work through a dealer network, you should be working with your dealer not the maker
if you've been let down its probably the dealers fasult
 

webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
10,887
Indiana
I get that "break in" odor if I run on high with the doors closed. If the doors are open then there's never any odor. Just curious, does anyone that's having an odor have the doors?
 

Honestgal001

New Member
Jan 19, 2018
1
Illinois
I bought a Mendota DVX-45 direct vent gas fireplace. The installers explained there would be a "burn off" period during which there would be smells (and possibly smoke) from curing paint and manufacturing oils, etc.

I followed the following recommendations for this burn off period cited in the manual:

PAINT CURING CYCLE RECOMMENDATION
: It is recommended that you run this Fireplace on maximum flame height, for 3 cycles of 2 hours ON and 2 hours OFF, initially, to cure the paint. Some non-toxic smoking will be visible during the
cure cycles. It is recommended that all windows be opened during the first 2-hour burn cycle to expel the visible smoke.

These burn off odors were indeed really strong. Unfortunately, these odors never went away (as the manufacturer and installers claimed they would) and remained very noticeable. Whatever was outgassing also continued to produce physical effects such as irritation of my throat and nasal passages, and headache. My housemates also noticed this and were similarly affected.

I eventually reached an agreement with the dealer that sold and installed the unit to replace the new unit with a floor model unit. I reasoned that the floor model must have had much more time to go through the burn off period and so there wouldn't be a problem with residual odor. The dealer even kept the floor model unit burning on high for several weeks before they swapped it out with the new unit in my house. Unfortunately, the floor model is emitting the same smell as the new unit did, even after all this so-called "burn off" time. The smell is not as strong as emitted by the new unit, but still extremely noticeable and disagreeable.

I'm fairly convinced this smell is a consequence of the Mendota unit construction/painting and not associated with my particular thing in my environment that might be heated by the unit when it is operating. I've had professional fireplace installers inspect the unit as it is operating and they tend to agree with me that what I'm smelling is some kind of residual burn off odor. The Mendota company reps have not been helpful and have tried to convince me that the odor will fade in time or that I am smelling "burning dust". Well, I am not willing to wait for the odor to fade and I know what burning dust smells like (from having operated a furnace), and this smell is NOT burning dust.

So, I'm totally disgusted with Mendota now and will be returning the unit. However, I don't know what to replace it with. I'm extremely worried that if I install another brand of direct-vent fireplace, the problem could very easily be repeated. One thought I had was to try to find a direct-vent fireplace that didn't use painted metal (or at least a clean-face design that minimizes it), but that has proven virtually impossible.

Has anyone experienced the same problem with persistent odor that seems to be the burn off odor? Everyone tells me the odor should go away, but it hasn't, even with two different Mendota units.

If anyone has a good suggestion for how I can replace my Mendota fireplace without a big risk of having the same problem, I would appreciate hearing your feedback.

Thanks
We sold our large 2 story home, and bought a ranch home, as my 52 y/o husband ( a surgeon),was diagnosed with a disease that attacks muscles.
We lived in an apartment for a year while we completely rehabbed the home.
One idea we both liked, was the sealed, direct vent, fireplace.
It has been an absolute nightmare.
Have had installers out 3 times now... each time, they tell us different stories.
"once you've used it for a total of 8 hrs... you won't notice anything anymore."
2nd call
"Oh no... you have to run it on high, fan on high, run fans and open windows"

We have run this thing on high for in excess of hundreds of hours.

Still same result. We are coughing, my eyes are burning, I open all doors and windows. ( we live in the Midwest...and its freezing)

My husband is sick and to think we are breathing in even more toxins.

Getting the complete run around and THATs what makes me incensed. They have our money and now this....

It seems obvious to me that there is a fundamental issue with this product. I will not run it any more as there is nothing good that comes off of this "burn off" which will never end, in my opinion.

Not worth even more illness.

How do we get results and what is right?
I bought a Mendota DVX-45 direct vent gas fireplace. The installers explained there would be a "burn off" period during which there would be smells (and possibly smoke) from curing paint and manufacturing oils, etc.

I followed the following recommendations for this burn off period cited in the manual:

PAINT CURING CYCLE RECOMMENDATION
: It is recommended that you run this Fireplace on maximum flame height, for 3 cycles of 2 hours ON and 2 hours OFF, initially, to cure the paint. Some non-toxic smoking will be visible during the
cure cycles. It is recommended that all windows be opened during the first 2-hour burn cycle to expel the visible smoke.

These burn off odors were indeed really strong. Unfortunately, these odors never went away (as the manufacturer and installers claimed they would) and remained very noticeable. Whatever was outgassing also continued to produce physical effects such as irritation of my throat and nasal passages, and headache. My housemates also noticed this and were similarly affected.

I eventually reached an agreement with the dealer that sold and installed the unit to replace the new unit with a floor model unit. I reasoned that the floor model must have had much more time to go through the burn off period and so there wouldn't be a problem with residual odor. The dealer even kept the floor model unit burning on high for several weeks before they swapped it out with the new unit in my house. Unfortunately, the floor model is emitting the same smell as the new unit did, even after all this so-called "burn off" time. The smell is not as strong as emitted by the new unit, but still extremely noticeable and disagreeable.

I'm fairly convinced this smell is a consequence of the Mendota unit construction/painting and not associated with my particular thing in my environment that might be heated by the unit when it is operating. I've had professional fireplace installers inspect the unit as it is operating and they tend to agree with me that what I'm smelling is some kind of residual burn off odor. The Mendota company reps have not been helpful and have tried to convince me that the odor will fade in time or that I am smelling "burning dust". Well, I am not willing to wait for the odor to fade and I know what burning dust smells like (from having operated a furnace), and this smell is NOT burning dust.

So, I'm totally disgusted with Mendota now and will be returning the unit. However, I don't know what to replace it with. I'm extremely worried that if I install another brand of direct-vent fireplace, the problem could very easily be repeated. One thought I had was to try to find a direct-vent fireplace that didn't use painted metal (or at least a clean-face design that minimizes it), but that has proven virtually impossible.

Has anyone experienced the same problem with persistent odor that seems to be the burn off odor? Everyone tells me the odor should go away, but it hasn't, even with two different Mendota units.

If anyone has a good suggestion for how I can replace my Mendota fireplace without a big risk of having the same problem, I would appreciate hearing your feedback.

Thanks
 

k0wtz

Member
Nov 30, 2010
193
missouri
^ they work through a dealer network, you should be working with your dealer not the maker
if you've been let down its probably the dealers fasult
take my word for it you were lucky to even got to talk to the factory. this is how things are done through dealers!
 

Ronfrommass

New Member
Apr 9, 2019
2
Mass
We sold our large 2 story home, and bought a ranch home, as my 52 y/o husband ( a surgeon),was diagnosed with a disease that attacks muscles.
We lived in an apartment for a year while we completely rehabbed the home.
One idea we both liked, was the sealed, direct vent, fireplace.
It has been an absolute nightmare.
Have had installers out 3 times now... each time, they tell us different stories.
"once you've used it for a total of 8 hrs... you won't notice anything anymore."
2nd call
"Oh no... you have to run it on high, fan on high, run fans and open windows"

We have run this thing on high for in excess of hundreds of hours.

Still same result. We are coughing, my eyes are burning, I open all doors and windows. ( we live in the Midwest...and its freezing)

My husband is sick and to think we are breathing in even more toxins.

Getting the complete run around and THATs what makes me incensed. They have our money and now this....

It seems obvious to me that there is a fundamental issue with this product. I will not run it any more as there is nothing good that comes off of this "burn off" which will never end, in my opinion.

Not worth even more illness.

How do we get results and what is right?
I have spoken to many stores in regards to this odor ...They all agree that the installer did not use the correct "FACING BACKER MATERIAL"- ---NEVER USE THESE CEMENT BOARDS-WONDERBOARD OR DUROCK NEXT GEN...The best backer material is from Europe and VERY expensive.. These cement boards are ok>>HARDIBACKER 500 AND HARDIBACKER and not as expensive as the European material.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
81,852
South Puget Sound, WA
Has this installation been carefully inspected by a third party? It could be there are other errors that are the cause, like the fitting of the chimney to the fireplace. Or did the installer use a compound like silicone on the chimney joints? Exactly what materials did get used for the finishing face?

Hardibacker has some cellulose fiber in it. Durock NexGen has pumice filler which is volcanic and non-combustible. Regular Durock if you can find it is just cement. Wonderboard Lite has stryrofoam pellets and should be avoided. Micore is not a suitable backer board and would need a layer of cement board on top for any surface treatment like tile or thin brick.
 
Last edited:

Ronfrommass

New Member
Apr 9, 2019
2
Mass
I am not here to argue ..I am looking at page 17 of the MENDOTA installation guide for the FV41 direct vent gas fireplace...They specifically say that MICORE 160 and 300 IS a recommended backer material and that DUROCK NEXT GEN and WONDERBOARD should NEVER be used..HARDIBACKER gets a "caution"--most installers use the Hardibacker. MICORE is available online at AMAZON.
 

webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
10,887
Indiana
I am not here to argue ..I am looking at page 17 of the MENDOTA installation guide for the FV41 direct vent gas fireplace...They specifically say that MICORE 160 and 300 IS a recommended backer material and that DUROCK NEXT GEN and WONDERBOARD should NEVER be used..HARDIBACKER gets a "caution"--most installers use the Hardibacker. MICORE is available online at AMAZON.
Micore is very fibrous and is not suitable for bonding stone or tile to.