Smoke exiting the rear of my Vermont Castings Dauntless.

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GrumpyDad

Minister of Fire
Feb 23, 2022
553
Champion, PA
During my last test fire, I found something concerning. There are two areas toward the back of my stove that I thought I saw smoke coming out of. Well that cant be right!? I took a flashlight and sure enough, there is smoke coming out of the back. HOPEFULLY it is just manufacturer oils / paint fumes coming out of there, but honestly after my last couple of burns we no longer smell those fumes that we did when we were breaking in the stove. I checked again when I shut down the primary combustion damper to allow for secondary combustion burn, and the smoke was no longer coming out from there.

So I'm pretty sure it is smoke and not oils/paint smoke.

Any ideas as to what this could be and how to resolve?

At this point I was at about 400 degrees and added a couple of pieces of wood trying to get temps up a bit more. I was about 2 hours into burning at this point. I had it up to around 500-550 for a bit then let it die down as I did work. The wood im using is 20% moisture content per my general calibrated moisture meter, testing after splitting a piece in half. The primary combustion damper was open as I had just added wood not too long ago and I was waiting until it hit 450 to close it for secondary burn.

I honestly barely saw it until I used a flashlight. My eyes were starting to burn but I didnt see any smoke coming from anywhere until the back of the stove caught my eye and the flashlight confirmed.

Thoughts?

Also are Midwest stove thermometers considered decent? I bought one and compared temps to my laser thermometer. My laser thermometer kept showing that it was 50-100 degrees difference (lower) than what was being read on the midwest thermometer. It wasnt until the stove top thermometer hit about 500 degrees that they both agreed within 25 degrees. I put a pot of water on the stove, waited a bit then tested the pot of water at 161 degrees with a very accurate insta read digital meat thermometer (gotta have for good brisket), and my laser thermometer - they both read EXACTLY 161 degrees, so my belief is that the Midwest thermometer is off until it hits around 475-500 then it seems accurate after that. But that doesnt serve me well to be that far off below 500 degrees.

image000000 (4).jpg
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,202
Long Island NY
That does not look right to me - if you don't smell the initial fire fumes anymore, that's gotta be smoke.

You have the handle going in the stove there, so that could leak if it is not properly sealed. Depending on how these stoves (now) are constructed, you may have a sloppy stove cement job at that corner, meaning the top panel is not sealed well to the rest of the body there.

I don't know the internal layout of this stove, but can you make the room dark and shine a light to that corner from the inside of the stove to see if you can see any light out (indicating where the leak is)?
 

GrumpyDad

Minister of Fire
Feb 23, 2022
553
Champion, PA
That does not look right to me - if you don't smell the initial fire fumes anymore, that's gotta be smoke.

You have the handle going in the stove there, so that could leak if it is not properly sealed. Depending on how these stoves (now) are constructed, you may have a sloppy stove cement job at that corner, meaning the top panel is not sealed well to the rest of the body there.

I don't know the internal layout of this stove, but can you make the room dark and shine a light to that corner from the inside of the stove to see if you can see any light out (indicating where the leak is)?
That's a good idea. I did turn off the lights to look for leaks in the pipe and stove further, and found nothing else but this area. I didnt really get a good look inside the stove through that cavity. I will work at it again, keeping vigilance for any smoke and try to narrow it down. I may need to remove that entire back area which I am assuming I can do from the outside, and I'll likely have to wait for the stove to cool down to attempt that if required. That would suck if my entire stove has to be disassembled to redo some gasket material to say the least.
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,202
Long Island NY
If you have a gap where smoke comes out, then using incense (or something smoking) when the stove is "going good" should also work to locate where the leak is. When the stove is burning well, leaks will suck in air. So you can follow the incense smoke being sucked into the leak.
 

Diabel

Minister of Fire
Jan 11, 2008
3,660
Ottawa, ON
During my last test fire, I found something concerning. There are two areas toward the back of my stove that I thought I saw smoke coming out of. Well that cant be right!? I took a flashlight and sure enough, there is smoke coming out of the back. HOPEFULLY it is just manufacturer oils / paint fumes coming out of there, but honestly after my last couple of burns we no longer smell those fumes that we did when we were breaking in the stove. I checked again when I shut down the primary combustion damper to allow for secondary combustion burn, and the smoke was no longer coming out from there.

So I'm pretty sure it is smoke and not oils/paint smoke.

Any ideas as to what this could be and how to resolve?

At this point I was at about 400 degrees and added a couple of pieces of wood trying to get temps up a bit more. I was about 2 hours into burning at this point. I had it up to around 500-550 for a bit then let it die down as I did work. The wood im using is 20% moisture content per my general calibrated moisture meter, testing after splitting a piece in half. The primary combustion damper was open as I had just added wood not too long ago and I was waiting until it hit 450 to close it for secondary burn.

I honestly barely saw it until I used a flashlight. My eyes were starting to burn but I didnt see any smoke coming from anywhere until the back of the stove caught my eye and the flashlight confirmed.

Thoughts?

Also are Midwest stove thermometers considered decent? I bought one and compared temps to my laser thermometer. My laser thermometer kept showing that it was 50-100 degrees difference (lower) than what was being read on the midwest thermometer. It wasnt until the stove top thermometer hit about 500 degrees that they both agreed within 25 degrees. I put a pot of water on the stove, waited a bit then tested the pot of water at 161 degrees with a very accurate insta read digital meat thermometer (gotta have for good brisket), and my laser thermometer - they both read EXACTLY 161 degrees, so my belief is that the Midwest thermometer is off until it hits around 475-500 then it seems accurate after that. But that doesnt serve me well to be that far off below 500 degrees.

View attachment 298945
Is this happening right at the start of the fire? With warm weather and marginal draft? It looks like smoke from the picture
 

GrumpyDad

Minister of Fire
Feb 23, 2022
553
Champion, PA
Is this happening right at the start of the fire? With warm weather and marginal draft? It looks like smoke from the picture
No, it was about 3 hours into a fire. I let the stove fall down in temps to around 400, then I loaded the stove up with about 4 medium splits I believe, and I left the primary open until things caught a bit. Then I noticed the smoke which is impossible to see unless you happen to be standing right there at a certain angle or have a flashlight held low to see it clearly as in the picture.

Once I flipped over to secondary burn the smoke went away and the stove took off to 550, I then backed it down to almost the lowest setting, and the smoke did not return then either.

As I will be burning in secondary for most of the burn cycles, Im not SUPER worried about it but if this were something that's going to happen all the time when I have the smoke running through the primary, then Im not going to be happy with the stove even though most of the time it isnt an issue. Smoke just shouldnt be coming into the house, aside from reloads and start up to some degree.
 

Diabel

Minister of Fire
Jan 11, 2008
3,660
Ottawa, ON
No, it was about 3 hours into a fire. I let the stove fall down in temps to around 400, then I loaded the stove up with about 4 medium splits I believe, and I left the primary open until things caught a bit. Then I noticed the smoke which is impossible to see unless you happen to be standing right there at a certain angle or have a flashlight held low to see it clearly as in the picture.

Once I flipped over to secondary burn the smoke went away and the stove took off to 550, I then backed it down to almost the lowest setting, and the smoke did not return then either.

As I will be burning in secondary for most of the burn cycles, Im not SUPER worried about it but if this were something that's going to happen all the time when I have the smoke running through the primary, then Im not going to be happy with the stove even though most of the time it isnt an issue. Smoke just shouldnt be coming into the house, aside from reloads and start up to some degree.
Is the stove a new install? If so, dealer should look at it.
 

GrumpyDad

Minister of Fire
Feb 23, 2022
553
Champion, PA
Is the stove a new install? If so, dealer should look at it.
Very new, few lower test burns and a handful of normal although shorter burns. Whereas I get it going for a few hours then let it go out eventually. One time I packed it 3/4 full then went to bed as an 'experiment'. I couldnt sleep though worrying about it. So I was up every 30 minutes or so for the next 3-4 hours checking it. I didnt let the wood catch before closing the primary and lowering the air flow. So it just basically smoldered all night before going out.

Dealer is 2 hours away, but would be willing to send someone they said. (at least they said that when I bought it, if they would service my area).
 

Diabel

Minister of Fire
Jan 11, 2008
3,660
Ottawa, ON
Hm, that smoke in the picture did not look right. We have several very knowledgeable members here hopefully they will chime in. Can you send that picture to the dealer?
 

GrumpyDad

Minister of Fire
Feb 23, 2022
553
Champion, PA
^^^^^ this I would try not to do!
Agreed. I thought everything was just going WOOSH catch like when I add a couple of splits. That's me trying to make this too appliance like. These are not on/off appliances, these are pieces of art that take art to run.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,202
Long Island NY
I'd contact the dealer sooner rather than later. He'll get more and more busy when fall progresses.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,254
South Puget Sound, WA
A question for Dauntless owners and Corie. Is there a catalytic thermometer port in that area?
 

GrumpyDad

Minister of Fire
Feb 23, 2022
553
Champion, PA
A question for Dauntless owners and Corie. Is there a catalytic thermometer port in that area?
So that little area you see in the photo that looks like some sort of exhaust area. There are two of them one on each side. I had smoke coming out of both. Not a ton as you can tell it requires a flashlight to see, but enough to worry for sure.
 

Todd

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
9,786
NW Wisconsin
This time of year draft is pretty sluggish and can create problems, I think I’d wait for colder weather, maybe things will improve.
 

GrumpyDad

Minister of Fire
Feb 23, 2022
553
Champion, PA
This time of year draft is pretty sluggish and can create problems, I think I’d wait for colder weather, maybe things will improve.
Whenever I buy something because of a season, the opposite usually happens. So it wouldnt surprise me if I dont get to use this in colds temps until like Jan.

We had a year like that recently, maybe it was 4 or 5 years ago. The local ski resort had to close between the beginning to Dec to the beginning of Jan. The year prior, I was skiing in 80 degree weather, which was TERRIBLE. I remember weather like this when I was a kid. And then what followed was years and years of super cold and tons of snow. I'm hoping for both this year.