old stove has started to smell awful

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skye33

New Member
Mar 13, 2021
4
Laniakea
I have a wood stove that's about 10 years old, and with the last two fires I've had, my living room fills with a horrible off-gassy sort of smell. I've sniffed all around it and it seems to be coming from the top of the stove, from what I can tell. (I have an infrared thermometer and the walls and surrounding areas aren't getting too hot.) The only other time I've smelled something like this was when I replaced the gaskets and the glue was off-gassing, but that only lasted for a few fires last fall then completely went away. This smell is definitely new. And it's not a matter of the stove getting too hot because the smell starts as soon as the top gets above about 200 F.

One thing I can think of is that there's a little more rust on top of the stove than when I moved in about 1.5 years ago. Perhaps there's some odor coming out because the metal isn't as sealed as it used to be? I also read on this forum that dust on the stove can create a stinky smell, and the first time this happened was after not having a fire for about a week or two. But then it was only a few days between that fire and this one tonight, and I can't imagine that much dust accumulated in that time. Hoping this can be solved because I'm really sensitive to chemical smells and have been avoiding using the stove because of it. Thanks!
 

gthomas785

Minister of Fire
Feb 8, 2020
529
Central MA
Did you set anything on top of the stove recently?

We had a horrible smell from our stove one time, and it took a quite bit of puzzling before I figured out that my aunt had put a candle there, months ago during the summer, and there was just a tiny residue of wax (not even spilled wax, like just a bit that had rubbed off) on the stovetop that was burning and creating the smell. Anyway it disspiated after several hours.
 

skye33

New Member
Mar 13, 2021
4
Laniakea
Did you set anything on top of the stove recently?

We had a horrible smell from our stove one time, and it took a quite bit of puzzling before I figured out that my aunt had put a candle there, months ago during the summer, and there was just a tiny residue of wax (not even spilled wax, like just a bit that had rubbed off) on the stovetop that was burning and creating the smell. Anyway it disspiated after several hours.

Hmm, that's crazy that such a minor thing could cause so much odor. I can't think of anything like that at the moment but maybe I did and just forgot about it. Thanks for the suggestion.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,462
South Puget Sound, WA
Got kids? If so look for toy soldiers or animals in odd locations like behind the rear heat shield.
 

skye33

New Member
Mar 13, 2021
4
Laniakea
Got kids? If so look for toy soldiers or animals in odd locations like behind the rear heat shield.

Just cats, and I always check for toys before starting a fire. I'm also kind of OCD about vacuuming up cat fur, so as far as I know there's nothing on the ground. The other thing is I really think it's coming from the top of the stove. As much as I can, I've sniffed all around the stove and don't smell it as strongly lower down.
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,283
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
Have you inspected the flue?

Creosote rundown is a possibility especially if you have some pipe installed upside down.

+1 for something plastic stuck somewhere odd, my cats are good for that too. :)
 

skye33

New Member
Mar 13, 2021
4
Laniakea
Have you inspected the flue?

Creosote rundown is a possibility especially if you have some pipe installed upside down.

+1 for something plastic stuck somewhere odd, my cats are good for that too. :)

Okay, will do a thorough toy inspection tomorrow. And can the creosote thing happen pretty quickly? It really went from no smell to super stinky with no warning.
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,283
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
Okay, will do a thorough toy inspection tomorrow. And can the creosote thing happen pretty quickly? It really went from no smell to super stinky with no warning.

...Not likely, AND it requires either a terrible terrible creosote problem, or at least rainwater dragging creosote to the outside of the upside down joint. The first one might be running inside the stove but the second one would be quite visible.

A foreign substance on the stove is way more likely in my book.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Did it suddenly get warm where you are? Temperature can dramatically affect how well a woodstove runs. You could be smelling incomplete combustion. Do you have a CO alarm in the house?