Q&A Vent Free Stove sooting our house

QandA Posted By QandA, Oct 5, 2001 at 2:20 PM

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  1. QandA

    New Member 2.
    Staff Member

    Nov 27, 2012

    We purchased a non-vented gas wood stove--Vermont Castings and had a lot of problems with the pilot light not staying lit. Our supplier worked on the stove on several occasions, replaced the gas tank, replaced the entire firebox, replaced the pilot light and still the stove would not stay lit.

    Then we noticed that there was soot on the top of the walls and ceilings. We had an adjuster from the suppliers insurance company come in a look at the damage and they told us that these stoves burn clean and do not leave soot. They blamed the soot on candles that we burn in the house which I disagree.

    For one thing we only burn candles on occasions and I have burnt candles for 20 years and never, have we had such soot on the walls or ceilings. We replaced 2 of the ceilings 2 years ago because of damage from the Ice Storm we had and these ceilings now look worse than the original ceilings that have had nothing done to them since we built the house in 1987. We would really appreciate any information you have on this subject. Our supplier has since taken out the stove and replaced it with a vented Vermont Castings gas stove at no additional cost. They have set up the old stove in their showrooms and have had no problem what so ever with the pilot light. We have a 28' x 36' cape and the rooms are wide open and there shouldn't be a problem with a lack of oxygen. Please let me know. Thank you


    Okay, so the pilot won't stay lit and was replaced. It still doesn't work at your home. Was reinstalled in the dealer's shop and works fine.

    So, that tells me that something is contaminating the air, affecting the propagation speed to the extent that it is affecting the ODS System and it's ability to allow gas to flow.

    You claim to have open rooms (no doors), so there shouldn't be any restriction of oxygen. That rules out it being installed into a confined space. However, if I were the dealer, I would open a window near the stove in the same room to see if there was a need for an outside air source, and rechecking the flame appearance just to rule this avenue out.

    If I were the dealer, I would also begin to investigate anything nearby that may supply airborne products into the room----vents, kitchen (cooking), window, garage. Anything that is airborne will be pulled into the firebox and burned. You didn't mention anything about odors,but I would think that if there were you'd know it and say so. So, it would almost have to be something that could be burned yet does not give off an odor, and would affect the indoor air quality.

    That would account for the sooting on the walls & ceiling, yet you didn't mention anything about soot inside of the stove. If the stove were still hooked up in your house I would ask if the tips of the gas flames were black. That's an indication of poor combustion. Sooting in the house, and the ODS shutting down ties in together.

    The bottom line is that I'm not totally sure myself what is the exact cause. The stove is no longer in your house and question about it's performance while there is not possible. If I were to give my first impression, I would say that something in your house or just outside of it (airborne products are drawn inside through windows and doors), is affecting the product's ability to operate, and operate cleanly. These stoves do work, and work well.

    I have used a VC VF25 Pinnacle model in my home for 5 years without any problems whatsoever. No sooting. No shutting down. Period. VF products are terrific and completely safe. However, they are not for every home, conditions, and lifestyle. That's where vented product come in.

    In your case, the VF stove did not work, but you are fortunate to have a good dealer who was willing to take care of you. Home Depot may not have been so willing. Support your local dealer! And, best wishes.
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