Need help just installed pellet stove, sometimes smoke coming into room

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.

kaaljean

New Member
Dec 20, 2021
6
MA
My husband installed a used King pellet stove a few days ago. We decided to buy a used pellet stove since natural gas will be installed in the spring and we were looking for a solution to oil this winter. We bought the stove, which was less then 3 year old from someone with the same size house and it was tested and working fine.

My husband grew up with a wood stove and went to trade school and has been in his trade for 25 years, so he thought he could install it himself. There was no one willing to install for over 2 months and we called in 3 states area. My husband watched videos, and used the a similair set up to the previous owner (he used some of the previous owners piping and bought a few new parts and some silcone,) . My husband could not get a cold air intake valve. He had to order one online, they were not in stock anywhere locally. We do not have a cold air intake valve installed yet.

The first time he started it up, there was a smoke smell and I panicked and I unplugged it and smoke filled the room. I now know unplugging was wrong. My husband went through his install job, added a bit more silcone and we started it up again. 3 times worked fine, on a 2 or 3 the first floor was 80 degrees and the upstairs in the 72-74 range. We had it on all afternoon just fine. We turned it off because we were going out (still a bit nervous about leaving it on when going out). Came home and my husband turned it on and after about 15 minutes smoke could be seen in the house, not only in the room with the stove but in the rooms next to it. We turned it off. I called the list of every repair person I could find, I made over 25 calls and no one can come out till January.

I would really like to use the stove. We moved to get medical care, and this heating situation is causing me so much panic. I'm afraid of running out of oil (and of the cost) and afraid of the smoke and the pellet stove and I have to have the house warm because our child is having surgery soon.

Any tips or suggestions would be appreciated.
 

jackman

Minister of Fire
Jan 15, 2013
657
Oregon
I feel your desperation. Turn out the lights and use a good flashlight to see where the leak may be coming from. I use foil tape to seal the seams of the vent pipe rather than silicone.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Pete Zahria

gutlo

Member
Feb 22, 2009
184
eastern connecticut
We had a similar problem and found 2 sources of smoke.
1. The bends in the exhaust pipe. No matter how much silicone or aluminum tape we used, we could always detect an odor or visual smoke.
2. Air conditioner near the exhaust output. Sealed it up inside and outside.

The cure for #1 was to run the exhaust straight out, no bends. Had to make a new hole for relocate the exhaust pipe.
 

tlc1976

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2012
1,024
Northwest Lower Michigan
When I first installed my stove, it would get smoke in the room. Flashlight showed it pulling from pipe seams. A few times gooping up every seam and rivet, no more smoke. Then after a few hours the stove quit and filled the house with smoke. The solution was to add the outside air kit. Night and day difference.

Since you can’t get the kit right now, try cracking a window somewhere away from the chimney and see if that makes a difference. If it solves the problem then you do need that outside air kit. I made mine from automotive exhaust flex pipe. And put a dryer vent hood on the outside as a rain shield.
 
  • Like
Reactions: FirepotPete

kaaljean

New Member
Dec 20, 2021
6
MA
We tried the flashlight and did not see any smoke. My husband put extra tape on the pipes. My husband turned it on this morning and you could still smell smoke and it smell went upstairs so it was not just a light smell but there was no smoke in the room. We do have 5 CO dectectors and 3 smoke decetectors in the house. They were just installed new a month ago and tested fine.

My husband did put a dollar bill in the front window and he could easily pull it out so he wonders if it is the seal on the door?

I got a two calls back and am on cancellations lists but with the holidays it will not be till at least next week if I get lucky. It seems like many places only want to service what they sell and some people will only work on expensive brands?

I think after knowing how warm and comfortable my house could be when the stove worked a few times, it is hard to go back to turning the oil on. It has been 10-15 at night and the oil (forced air) warms up the house for 30 minutes and then it gets a chilly again. I have to stay up all night with my son since he has bad seizures. The night the pellet stove worked I was so productive, unpacking, made a cake and when I use the oil heat I am under a blanket with 2 sets of pjs on doing nothing but trying to stay warm. The oil heat wroks fine, we had the furance serviced, it is just there are so many windows in the house and we are on a big piece of land with no houses around us and the wind blows. Plus the cost of that oil truck coming out is such a shock. My heating bill last season in my old house was $47 , one delivery of oil is about 10 years of heat at my old house.
 

gfreek

Minister of Fire
Nov 5, 2010
1,561
WNYS
Post pictures of the piping inside and out, maybe someone can see something.. and model of stove..
 

gutlo

Member
Feb 22, 2009
184
eastern connecticut
If the dollar bill slipped out easily from the door gasket, that's a problem. Replacing the door gasket would be an immediate thing to do.
Also, replace any other gasket (ash pan door if there is one).

Be sure to use exactly the same thickness gasket as original. Get that measurement from the manual, or buy a kit with the correct diameter for your model.
 

kaaljean

New Member
Dec 20, 2021
6
MA
Just wanted to update I found someone to come out and got the stove safely working. I appreciate all your advice and help.
It is amazing how much the pellet stove warms the house better than forced air oil heat. I had the oil tank serviced and they said we had a fairly new good furance and it was operating properly. The pellet stove on 2 for half a day keeps first floor at 76-78 and then second floor at 72. The oil heat set at 68-70 would keep the first floor 68-70 but the second floor 64 and the cost was so much higher.
 

Jeremy6500

Member
Jan 22, 2021
240
Indiana
Just wanted to update I found someone to come out and got the stove safely working. I appreciate all your advice and help.
It is amazing how much the pellet stove warms the house better than forced air oil heat. I had the oil tank serviced and they said we had a fairly new good furance and it was operating properly. The pellet stove on 2 for half a day keeps first floor at 76-78 and then second floor at 72. The oil heat set at 68-70 would keep the first floor 68-70 but the second floor 64 and the cost was so much higher.
What ended up being the cause of the issue?
 

kaaljean

New Member
Dec 20, 2021
6
MA
What ended up being the cause of the issue?
My husband had bought a bunch of parts so I am not sure what solved it. The repairman was very nice about DIY installations. My husband already had the gasket kit so I think it was either that or the reapairman said something about sealing the inside of the piping. He used something to seal inside because he waited with us while we fired up the stove and warned us there would be a smell from the sealing stuff but it was a short time. We also got a quality fresh air intake my husband installed that day and added some additional outdoor pipe that raised the part where the smoke exits. The repairman said it was not 100% needed but we had the piping and he thought it would be safer since there are many bushes out front. My husband feels the quality fresh air intake made a difference. My husband is a reapirman (different field) and he said the first 2 fresh air kits he bought online (parts are out of stock everywhere locally) were just junk. This new kit he said was so much better and even from my low knowledge of parts, it looks so nice.

My husband also installed a very quiet motor. Huge difference in noise. I do not think it had anything to do with the smell but We can watch TV 15 feet from the stove no issues. Plus we have pet birds and they did not like the noisy blower. Now our senior citizen bird, asks for heat con on (that means warm air blowing in bird speak) and sits the stove room and is so happy. I am worried I might have a bird asking for heat con on in June, because he likes it so much.
 

mtnbiker727

Feeling the Heat
Mar 11, 2019
250
PA
I'm glad you were able to get it resolved!

I love wood heat too. I grew up in a house with 100% wood heat.

Baseboards and forced hot air just don't do it for me.