Morning After - Carbon Monoxide Issues

BeccaG

New Member
Feb 5, 2019
3
New York
Hello all, we recently moved into a new home which was outfitted with a wood burning stove in the unheated basement. At night, an hour or so before bed we will open the air intake fully to burn any additional logs and coals as best as possible. In the morning, irregardless of whether the air intake is open or closed, we will get low levels of CO in the basement. Not enough to set off the alarm, but still a cause for major concern.

My gut tells me that as the stove temp dies down, the draft begins to downdraft when the boiler kicks on. There are still small coals burning and creating our CO condition.

We plan on installing an outside air vent and duct to the near the boiler to help alleviate the need for the boiler to pull down the stove chimney.

As your fires die down over night and the heat is not enough to induce a draft, are your stoves tight enough to keep any harmful gases in the stove and not allow leakage back into the space?

We have had the boiler looked and the fire department surveyed and said everything was fine, but I am hoping to get some insight from you folks. In the meantime the stove will stay off.
 

vwmike

Feeling the Heat
Oct 7, 2013
253
Chilliwack, BC, Can.
How do you know it’s carbon monoxide?

Unfortunately this isn’t uncommon with a basement install. Your on the right track with outside air supply for the stove and for the boiler.
 

BeccaG

New Member
Feb 5, 2019
3
New York
Thanks for the reply.

I have multiple combo smoke/CO detectors around the house. In the basement I have one with a digital reading that you can see the "peak level". I will reset it before bed and when I wake up, it will ultimately be in the 15-20 ppm range.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
18,643
central pa
Yes outside air is a good starting point assuming you can install one properly
 

Rich L

Minister of Fire
Jan 25, 2008
846
Eastern,Ma.
g-mail.com
Hello all, we recently moved into a new home which was outfitted with a wood burning stove in the unheated basement. At night, an hour or so before bed we will open the air intake fully to burn any additional logs and coals as best as possible. In the morning, irregardless of whether the air intake is open or closed, we will get low levels of CO in the basement. Not enough to set off the alarm, but still a cause for major concern.

My gut tells me that as the stove temp dies down, the draft begins to downdraft when the boiler kicks on. There are still small coals burning and creating our CO condition.

We plan on installing an outside air vent and duct to the near the boiler to help alleviate the need for the boiler to pull down the stove chimney.

As your fires die down over night and the heat is not enough to induce a draft, are your stoves tight enough to keep any harmful gases in the stove and not allow leakage back into the space?

We have had the boiler looked and the fire department surveyed and said everything was fine, but I am hoping to get some insight from you folks. In the meantime the stove will stay off.
I overcame this problem by putting in a stove that gives me 14 hrs of heat.I keep it going 24/7.The heat it produces gives me a continuous updraft.It's a huge soapstone stove so the heat from the soapstone still emits an updraft even during clean outs and refills.
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
4,225
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
Contact your stove manufacturer with the details of your current install before purchasing the OAK. It may not be possible to safely install one on a basement stove (but you are right that it will be a good idea if it can be done safely). Outside air for the boiler will also help.

Burning the stove hot overnight also improves its draft by a lot, if your stove has the legs for that.

How tall is your current flue? Can you add a few feet?
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
877
Northern Maine
Try leaving the air control alone. The coals will burn down no matter what.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
18,643
central pa
All of the sugestions about burning overnight etc would help prevent co spillage. But it won't actually fix the problem. One should be able to let the stove burn out safely at any point. I would start with fresh air to the stove and furnace . Also check for leaks on upper levels of the house as they can cause neg pressure in the basement.
 

BeccaG

New Member
Feb 5, 2019
3
New York
Thanks for your insights. As you said, the overnight burns have helped, but it just delays the CO spillage until later in the day when we let the fire burn out.