Whitfield Advantage (1990) II / III smells smoky when running low....

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Feb 21, 2015
New England
Troubleshooting a few things on our freestanding Whitfield Advantage (1990) II or III T (?).
This stove is secondary to our main pellet stove, a Harman Allure50.

We live in a drafty mid century house, in New England with walls of glass. Yeah. We know. We have forced hot air (propane) thru ducts in a slab - prob collapsed after all this time - thus pellet stoves. The Harman is on a raised hearth, faces a wall of glass (26' ceiling in that room). Behind that stove is the other part of the house (it's an L). (we are looking at a Big A$$ Fan for the peak as this room is chilly, even when that Harman is roaring). That's where the Whitfield is.

Whitfield questions (mostly smoky smell):
smells smoky on very low (no visible smoke), fixed by turning it up a bit
smells smoky when it runs out of pellets (we usually shut it down before that, but if it runs out, it smells)
smells when it's lit cause unlike the Harman, it doesn't have auto ignition (is this normal?)
fire brick is getting worn - would that contribute to smell while running low?

(husband says we need a new ash door gasket ordering one tonight)

The Whitfield is a workhorse. We looked briefly at new pellet stoves, but we just finished paying off the Harman. :)
Are there others out there running an older stove like this? It's not our everyday stove, it will be used more when our daughter is home from college for Thanksgiving/Christmas breaks (that's her part of the house). It's where we bingewatch Netflix when she's not home cause it's the warmest spot in the house when the Whitfield is running.

Sorry for the long post.

Thanks. Kara
When you say low, do you mean running heat output knob at 1 or two? That would slow down the combustion fan and auger timing. Less negative pressure in the burn chamber might allow smoke to escape through leaky gaskets. That might be why it's only notable on low output settings.

Gaskets worth checking for this troubleshooting path are the main glass door, the ash pan door, the exhaust blower and maybe the combustion blower.

You can test for air leaks with a smoke pen, an incense stick, a match(matches), you're looking to see if smoke gets sucked into the stove from around the doors and such.

The state of your flame can help you narrow down air leak as well. If you see good response to damper rod adjustment, then it's buttoned up pretty good. If there is no real difference then you have extra air being introduced into the system somewhere. If your flame is more lantern or candle like, there is not enough air passing through the burn chamber. A flame more similar to a blow torch, with pellet embers jumping out of the burnpot show excess air passing through the burn chamber.

Your exhaust piping could also be where a smoke smell is coming from. Fire rated silicone and a couple screws attach an adapter to the exhaust port on the back of the stove, some piping interlocks with gaskets, some needs each piece to be screwed together and joints taped with a fire resistant sealant. Inspect each joint between pieces of the system. Run the smoke stick along any exposed exhaust piping and see if the smoke is blown away from it.

I have a late 90's Advantage III that we picked up cheap because the previous owner believed it to be broken, turns out they were misunderstanding the cool down timer relay. After swapping out cheap aftermarket parts for factory spec, I have it running good enough but am also trying to figure out issues as I go. I've only had it for about three seasons and have zero experience with pellet stoves outside of learning this one and it's installation in my house.
Thank you! I ordered the ash pan gasket (my husband says that def needs to be replaced). We will go from there. Nice and cozy. Yes, I mean 1/2 on the knob. I appreciate your response - I'll relay it to the house technician! Good luck with your Whitfield!