Noticing more smoke smell on cold start ups lately

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PA. Woodsman

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2007
2,211
Emmaus, Pennsylvania
Hello all! I have been burning the Dovre Aurora #700 since 1993 so not much has changed lately, but for some reason this season at times I will notice more of a smoke smell inside the house when I am starting the stove on a cold start. The chimney is not blocked, the amount of creosote when I checked right before the season was so insignificant that I didn't have to clean it, but I did clean the first 4.5 feet or so because I took that section off to check to make sure that the elbow wasn't rusted through, even had a guy at the stove shop look at it and he said it was fine, so it isn't creosote and what was lining the upper part just looked like dust, no glaze because I burn hot with good dry wood. The only thing that I did differently was I adjusted the bushing that the door latch closes on, I felt it was a little tight so I made it so it closed looser, but it was such a small adjustment that I doubt it did anything much to the gasket on the door when it closes, and as we know even if it did that would allow more air IN not allow anything out unless it was a huge backpuff. I even several times in the dark got a flashlight and looked around the stove door and the sides and the back and checked the stovepipe but saw no smoke coming out, and I have small pieces of gasket stuffed in the gaps where the pipe meets too. But for some reason I at times on startup notice more of a smoky smell, unless it is coming out when I open it towards the beginning to add some bigger pieces once the kindling and quarter splits get going and I'm just not noticing it? Like I said I am basically doing everything the same since 1993, just smelling a bit more smoke smell, and I know the draft and weather can play games with it but tonight the draft was noticeably strong as it is clear and cold out today, we are supposed to get up to a foot of snow the next two days, don't know if that has anything to do with it? The only thing different is the door latches a little looser, but that wouldn't be an issue would it because I'd see smoke coming out and again it is drawn in?! I am starting to put the logs a little bit back farther in the firebox, maybe that will help, but once it gets rolling there is no more smoke smell.

Thanks for any input!
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
999
Texas
Have you changed anything about your house? Energy upgrades like air sealing? New windows? Weatherstripping? Is the dryer or the furnace fan running when you open the door?
 

PA. Woodsman

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2007
2,211
Emmaus, Pennsylvania
Have you changed anything about your house? Energy upgrades like air sealing? New windows? Weatherstripping? Is the dryer or the furnace fan running when you open the door?
No, nothing has changed. Just that adjustment on the stove door.
 

St. Coemgen

Feeling the Heat
Feb 4, 2016
324
Hungary
www.stcoemgen.com
I don't know about where you are, but the weather where I am is a bit warmer this year than "normal" and my draft seems a bit less. I have no smoke smells myself, but I have noticed the fires at startup seem a bit more sluggish and a bit more smoky in the firebox.
 
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kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
6,102
07462
We've had many temp fluctuations here recently, perhaps your experiencing some minor stack effect issues on cold start due to damp air not being able to rise as freely as drier air.
 
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moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,842
Iowa
Put the door tension back where it had been. Simply eliminate that unlikely possibility. Its the only thing you've changed!
 
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PA. Woodsman

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2007
2,211
Emmaus, Pennsylvania
I just started a fire and put the wood a bit more towards the back, away from the front door and glass, and it is very "heavy" air right now as we are supposed to get up to a foot of snow starting in a few hours. I used the top down starting method, left the door ajar just enough so that the fire caught but observed no smoke coming out of the open door, and it was somewhat better until I had to open the door to add another medium sized piece of wood, after that I smelled a slight bit of smoke but that was it.

Now I do have to tell another part of this "story"....this stove the Dovre Aurora #700 from 1993 has the latch adjustment on the left side that is a round bushing that the door handle latches and spins closed, it also has two big bolts on the right side that you can loosen and adjust the whole door up or down to make it level. I have not changed the door gasket in years, and the upper left side of the door and gasket have always been looser than the rest of the door whenever I tried the dollar bill trick, and I just did that trick as it was going with a five dollar bill lol as I had no ones, and the upper left side of the door is looser but it always has been that way. I did a little "hack" that I learned years ago and put some smaller gasket over the existing gasket to fill in some of that gap, it holds and works fine, and YES I know that I will have to one day take the door off and put new gasket on and wrestle with all of the adjustments and try to get the door to close smoothly the best that I can, but honestly I wasn't in the mood for it this year, it is a real pain to do thanks to all of the adjustments, I have gotten by with the gasket being the way it has been for years and I didn't have any issues this season until just the last few fires so I am thinking it is something weather wise and/or draft wise, because unless I am wrong even with the door gasket being a little loose on that upper left side it would allow more air IN not have anything come out unless there is a huge backpuff, right? And I again got the flashlight out and looked at that upper left side as it was burning and I see no smoke coming out there or anywhere else, so it must be in the pipe or somewhere else, but again it is just the last few fires that it is happening, not any from the last month or so, very strange.
 

weatherguy

Minister of Fire
Feb 20, 2009
5,829
Central Mass
I was going to suggest a new door gasket but you seem to have that taken care of, that might be the reason.
 
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PA. Woodsman

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2007
2,211
Emmaus, Pennsylvania
I also wanted to add that I just went outside and notice the same smell outside so it must be coming from the pipe. Like I said I didn't clean it because there was hardly anything in it from last season, and I have been able to go without cleaning it every few years for years, there has never been an issue with that. But I must say that I have noticed the thermometer on the stovepipe a bit above eye level has been reading lower these last few fires, so maybe the weather is causing some issues. And my wood is very dry, kept inside the big double car garage that gets like a kiln and I have never had any issues with that, the wood ignites just great, so it must be weather related or for some reason since that door gasket is a bit looser on the upper left side like I said in the post above but again it has been for years and that would allow more air in not out. Maybe I will adjust the latch back to where it was, but the reason I loosened it was it was not closing and rolling smoothly on the bushing, it was sort of rolling a bit but then grinding right over it, so I thought by loosening it a bit would help that and it did, but whether doing that caused this issue remains to be seen.
 

PA. Woodsman

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2007
2,211
Emmaus, Pennsylvania
I was going to suggest a new door gasket but you seem to have that taken care of, that might be the reason.
But even if the gasket was a bit looser that would possibly allow some more air in increasing the draft not let any smoke or smell out unless it backpuffed badly or am I wrong?
 

PA. Woodsman

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2007
2,211
Emmaus, Pennsylvania
Today I put some small rope gasket over top the existing gasket on the upper left side, the side that the gasket has always been looser since 1993, and I noticed it didn't smell as smoky upon startup BUT the draft was fantastic today, very cold out and we had lots of snow the other day so maybe that is the reason, or maybe somehow it did leak smell out the front which defies logic?!

I know I should break down and take the door off and replace the gasket but I don't have the patience to align it right now, and the way 2020 is going I would probably screw it up so I'll get by the way that it is until the season is over lol!;lol
 

jatoxico

Minister of Fire
Aug 8, 2011
4,352
Long Island NY
Bee's nest or other blockage? Any baffles or blankets that could be out of place?
 
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PA. Woodsman

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2007
2,211
Emmaus, Pennsylvania
Bee's nest or other blockage? Any baffles or blankets that could be out of place?
No, I have a cap that prevents birds and bats and anything else from getting in, plus before the season started I looked up from the bottom with a flashlight, all clear. That blanket on top of the stove never moves, so no to that too.
 

jatoxico

Minister of Fire
Aug 8, 2011
4,352
Long Island NY
No, I have a cap that prevents birds and bats and anything else from getting in, plus before the season started I looked up from the bottom with a flashlight, all clear. That blanket on top of the stove never moves, so no to that too.
Have you pulled that all out to inspect? When I went to sweep this year I found I that all the creosote I would normally have removed with the soot-eater was already piled on my baffles. It had just fallen from the liner over the summer. That never happened before.
 
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PA. Woodsman

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2007
2,211
Emmaus, Pennsylvania
Have you pulled that all out to inspect? When I went to sweep this year I found I that all the creosote I would normally have removed with the soot-eater was already piled on my baffles. It had just fallen from the liner over the summer. That never happened before.
No, I have never checked it in 27 years actually. The stove pipe comes out of the back of the stove not the top so even if it fell down the creosote wouldn't get on that blanket, and I looked in the back of the stove when I had the elbow and lower pipe out and it looked open.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,260
Downeast Maine
Did you perhaps get some oil on the stove? Linseed oil or olive oil would require a very high temperature to burn them off entirely.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,531
South Puget Sound, WA
This is the second time I have puzzled about this stove, but unfortunately, the last person never got back to me and I have never found a parts diagram for the stove so I don't know if it is similar to the 400's secondary combustion system or other Dovres. If you look into the firebox is it conventional with tubes under a baffle or more complex like its siblings?

Also, has anything changed in the house since last year? Like a new attic fan, windows added, super kitchen exhaust fan?
 
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PA. Woodsman

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2007
2,211
Emmaus, Pennsylvania
Did you perhaps get some oil on the stove? Linseed oil or olive oil would require a very high temperature to burn them off entirely.
No, but I did paint some of the top of it before the season started but that I am sure has burned off by now, I painted some spots last year that the enamel cracked and peeled but it didn't take long to burn that off, and what I am smelling now is definitely wood smoke.
 

PA. Woodsman

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2007
2,211
Emmaus, Pennsylvania
This is the second time I have puzzled about this stove, but unfortunately, the last person never got back to me and I have never found a parts diagram for the stove so I don't know if it is similar to the 400's secondary combustion system or other Dovres. If you look into the firebox is it conventional with tubes under a baffle or more complex like its siblings?

Also, has anything changed in the house since last year? Like a new attic fan, windows added, super kitchen exhaust fan?
It has three rows of metal with holes in them, not tubes but one tiered piece of metal with rows of holes. On top of that held in place with metal "clamps" is the insulated blanket, but I never touch that when cleaning, never though that I should fool with it and I think I read that once about it.

Nothing has changed in the house. I had started using the top down starting method late last year and have continued it this season, perhaps I will try the "tee pee" method like I used to do and see if that makes any difference?

I also want to add that the pipe comes out the back of the stove, not straight up the top, there is an elbow there that goes into the back of the top of the stove.
 
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PA. Woodsman

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2007
2,211
Emmaus, Pennsylvania
time for a peek
I never fooled with it, I think I read once awhile ago that said not to. It's that "blanket" insulation and it is held in place with some metal "clamps" but maybe I'll try to run the vacuum attachment up there tomorrow gently, and pop the pipe off the back and take another look, maybe gently vacuum some of that out if needed.

I said in the post above that I started using the top down starting method late last year, perhaps I will try the "tee pee" method again to see if that makes any difference. But I also can see that the stack temperature seems to be running lower than before, which leads me to believe that for some reason the draft is lessened, I have to add more wood to get that temp up higher and the wood certainly is dry, so that isn't the issue. But I'll try to vacuum some out tomorrow, I don't want to fool with taking that insulation blanket out.
 

PA. Woodsman

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2007
2,211
Emmaus, Pennsylvania
Just took a look at the insulation blanket, opened the front door and can see it held on with 2 metal "clips", it is not easy to reach so I just put the end of the vacuum cleaner house up there and swept what little I could. I then took the elbow out of the back and looked in there, there is no blockage at all, it is just white, fluffy insulation, I vacuumed what little soot was laying there and put it back together, it is in place where it had been from 1993, I'm not going to fool around with it as I don't see that being an issue.

I am assuming that you guys mentioned this to make sure that it didn't get bunched up and was partially blocking the opening going to the elbow, right?
 

jatoxico

Minister of Fire
Aug 8, 2011
4,352
Long Island NY
I was thinking in 27 yrs it could be anything. Buildup of ash/creosote in the wrong spot, a deteriorated bracket or something causing sag or droop or even a pile of rusty debris causing an obstruction. I tried to find diagrams of your stove but no luck so just guessing as to what could be. You have almost 30 yrs experience with this thing so unless you're just imagining it sounds like an obstruction.

Edit: why so worried to take the baffle down and have a good look?
 
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PA. Woodsman

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2007
2,211
Emmaus, Pennsylvania
I was thinking in 27 yrs it could be anything. Buildup of ash/creosote in the wrong spot, a deteriorated bracket or something causing sag or droop or even a pile of rusty debris causing an obstruction. I tried to find diagrams of your stove but no luck so just guessing as to what could be. You have almost 30 yrs experience with this thing so unless you're just imagining it sounds like an obstruction.

Edit: why so worried to take the baffle down and have a good look?
Now this is getting interesting!

Okay, to answer you question this baffle plate is held in place by 8 old rusty nuts and bolts, it's not like some of the newer ones that you just turn a pin and lift it out and clean it and put it back in, and I know from working on a 1987 Ford Bronco that you always run the risk of very bad things happening with old nuts and bolts so I don't want to deal with that, it doesn't look like this baffle was designed to be removed unless something went very wrong so I am going to let it alone.

The best description of this is to picture it as looking like upside down steps, the first two sections of it are about 4" of metal behind the holes, the last section is right up against the stove and only goes in about 1" or so behind the holes. I always vacuum over the holes to begin the season, and I just got the metal inside part of a twist tie and pushed it through random holes in all 3 "steps", and for the most part it went right through to the back BUT when I was putting it through the left side of the second/middle step I noticed resistance, and it actually pushed some sort of white section of something up towards the holes, about 2 1/2" long of something, but I have no idea what this would be? I assume that the metal of this baffle is just open area, it is attached to a cast iron top or roof so there is nothing up there that might loosen and fall out I wouldn't think? And this was the only step that I felt something like this. But it was white in color, about 2 1/2" long and thin, so I pushed it towards the back of that step's metal away from the holes, and I will watch when I have it going if the flames act the same way in that area as the other areas. I don't know if this would be enough to cause this issue, but I will see. I really don't want to have to try to loosen these bolts after 27 years, if a bolt cracks I'm screwed.
 
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jatoxico

Minister of Fire
Aug 8, 2011
4,352
Long Island NY
Old rusty bolts, and its always the last one that gives you the trouble. I've seen old metal "sheet" off so maybe that's what you found? Maybe your door adjust is causing a leak while the flue is cold that you don't get after its warm and drafting good??
 
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