Q&A Red Defiant Encore that smells

QandA Posted By QandA, Jun 17, 2007 at 11:44 PM

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  1. QandA

    New Member 2.
    Staff Member

    Nov 27, 2012

    We have owned a red Vermont Castings Defiant Encore for 5 years. Every time I start a fire (cold start) there is a peculiar, "metallic-like" smell. The smell only occurs while the stove is first warming up. If I rekindle a fire in a warm stove I do not get the smell. The smell is something like that of a hot clothes iron, but stronger and more obnoxious. It also reminds me of the smell of a new stove that hasn't been broken-in. But the stove was used almost continuously for 4 winters. Because we were worried about a possible health hazard, we did not use the stove last winter. The smell is strong enough that we have to open all the windows and doors and evacuate the house every time we start a fire. We have had the problem since we first purchased the stove.

    In an attempt to identify the source of the smell I have conducted several tests:

    1. I took the stove back to the store where I bought it and plumbed it in to their chimney. I did not sense the smell there, but there was allot of background which may have masked the smell (it is a bike shop with lots of rubber products).
    2. I heated the black stove pipe with a torch -- no smell.
    3. I heated the stainless steel pipe in my masonry chimney with a torch -- no smell.
    4. I put all the components together -- it smells.
    Also, I heated up a shelf that attaches to the stove on my gas range -- I think I get a faint smell, but am not sure.
    I have three questions:
    1. What is causing the smell?
    2. Have others had this problem with red Vermont Castings stoves?
    3. How do I eliminate the problem?


    Tough one. My first thought would be to use a couple of crude instruments, such as:
    1. A CO detector
    2. A smoke Detector
    Locate them near the stove (above) and determine if this gas has products of combustion in it, or if it has carbon monoxide. I do not think that this is a problem with Red Vermont Castings stoves..or any other color for that matter. Another thought would be that a small amount of smoke is leaking from the stove until the chimney and stove warms up. Here's the steps to take for this one.

    1. Remove and clean the catalytic converter, making sure it and the gaskets around it are replaced correctly as per the manual.
    2. Make certain the door, ash pan and top griddle gaskets are seated correctly. Use the "dollar bill" test to confirm this. Close the doors with a dollar in them and make certain it is not too easy to pull out.
    Other thoughts:
    1. Do not switch into the cat mode for at least 203- minutes after startup.
    2. Leave a small amount of ash in the pan and on the grate.
    3. Check the calibration of the primary and secondary air thermostats and flaps.
    4. DO you have rear/bottom heat shields. Check for dust accumulation in these areas.

    That all said, there is a smell associated with space heat. Actually, it's mostly a small of dust in the house passing over the stove and other compounds from the home, walls near the stove, floor under, etc. being heated. Some materials can outgas when this happens. We often have this complaint of burning dust (similar to what you said) from owners of gas stoves and fireplaces. The double chambers around these tend to be dust and dirt collectors when the stove is not operating..then they smell when it's fired again.

    Then again, you may have a more sensitive nose than some others. Has the dealer came to your home and smelled it?
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