Mendota odor nightmare

drwslacy Posted By drwslacy, Nov 15, 2014 at 9:58 PM

  1. drwslacy

    drwslacy
    New Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Nov 15, 2014
    1
    0
    Loc:
    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
     
  2. Heatsource

    Heatsource
    Minister of Fire 2.
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    Dec 19, 2011
    1,055
    155
    Loc:
    Northern CA
    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...)
     
  3. heyfatboy

    heyfatboy
    New Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Nov 17, 2014
    2
    1
    Loc:
    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.
     
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  4. Heatsource

    Heatsource
    Minister of Fire 2.
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    Dec 19, 2011
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    Loc:
    Northern CA
    heyfatboy welcome to the forums
     
  5. heyfatboy

    heyfatboy
    New Member 2.
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    Nov 17, 2014
    2
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    Loc:
    ct
    Thanks very much
     
  6. steve123456789

    steve123456789
    New Member 2.
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    Dec 17, 2014
    1
    0
    Loc:
    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
     
  7. f_martin

    f_martin
    New Member 2.
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    Mar 4, 2015
    1
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    Loc:
    Northeast
    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?
     
  8. DrewAtFPS775

    DrewAtFPS775
    New Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Mar 31, 2015
    20
    3
    Loc:
    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.
     
  9. fast06WRXtr

    fast06WRXtr
    New Member 2.
    NULL
    

    May 7, 2015
    1
    0
    Loc:
    United States
    Any updates? Our family is fairly sensitive to odors and want to make sure this is resolved prior to installation.

    Thanks!
     
  10. DrewAtFPS775

    DrewAtFPS775
    New Member 2.
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    Mar 31, 2015
    20
    3
    Loc:
    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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  11. Heatsource

    Heatsource
    Minister of Fire 2.
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    Dec 19, 2011
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    Loc:
    Northern CA
    wow!
    do you have a pic of what the replacement looks like before its charred?
     
  12. DrewAtFPS775

    DrewAtFPS775
    New Member 2.
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    Mar 31, 2015
    20
    3
    Loc:
    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.
     
  13. dfader

    dfader
    New Member 2.
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    Feb 11, 2017
    1
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    Loc:
    DE
    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.
     
  14. 1mountaintop

    1mountaintop
    New Member 2.
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    Mar 17, 2017
    1
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    Loc:
    new jersey
    Any resolution to this? My experience with Mendota customer service was absolutely horrible. Run, don't walk away from this company.
     
  15. Heatsource

    Heatsource
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Dec 19, 2011
    1,055
    155
    Loc:
    Northern CA
    ^ 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
     
  16. webby3650

    webby3650
    Master of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Sep 2, 2008
    7,785
    1,936
    Loc:
    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?
     

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