Wood Burning Stove Questions - Newbie

Heathcliff Posted By Heathcliff, Dec 7, 2017 at 10:27 AM

  1. Heathcliff

    Heathcliff
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    Dec 7, 2017
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    First, thank you, in advance, for reading this post. I've read this site over the past two years and finally joined.

    Have a wood stove, which is running efficiently. Many tips on these forums have helped me succeed in optimal operation. Actually, would have likely burned the house down without this forum. THANK YOU.

    But my question is this: is there any way to prevent the smell of burning wood in the house, and if so, is a minimal amount of this bad?

    When reloading in cycles, I rake the coals to the front, open the air intake for a minute, slowly open the side door, etc. But, for some reason, the smell (not smoke, but the smell...) of wood burning escapes the stove some of the time (maybe 3-4 times per week). And it's mild...just a little puff.

    It's not smoke. It's just that mild smell. We have high ceilings and it rises to the second floor of the house. To the untrained nose, it smells "toasty." It's not a bad smell at all.

    I just want to make sure I'm not doing anything bad or potentially harming my family. From what I gather on these boards, it's almost impossible to avoid some smell escaping when reloading.

    So I guess my concern here is health. Again...no smoke, just that light smell of..."there's a fire going and I can smell a trace of it burning."

    Any words of wisdom would be more than appreciated. With little ones running around, I just worry I guess more than I should.

    Again, thank you for your time.
     
  2. jetsam

    jetsam
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    Sounds borderline normal. If you want to reduce or eliminate it, try opening the door very slowly.

    Improving your draft (possibly by adding height or eliminating 90 degree bends) can also help.

    When I was experimenting with draft, I put a temporary $7 section of 6" galvanized HVAC duct from home depot on top of my stack to see if more height would help (answer: yes).

    The guys are going to ask for stove type, pictures, and a description of your venting setup!
     
  3. Heathcliff

    Heathcliff
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    Dec 7, 2017
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    Thank you for the reply. Here is my setup.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. begreen

    begreen
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    Pics help, nice looking Efel. Is there a 6" stainless liner in the chimney or tile lining? If tile, what is the ID? Approximately how high is the chimney from the thimble to the top?
     
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  5. Zack R

    Zack R
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    Sep 27, 2017
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    I recently started to get some smoke spillage during reload and it turned out the chimney cap was coated with creosote. Once I cleared that off the draft pulls all smoke inward, even if it crosses the lip temporarily.

    Note this is after only three months of full time operation. How long have you been running the stove?
     
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  6. Heathcliff

    Heathcliff
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    Dec 7, 2017
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    Yes. There is a 6" liner in the chimney. I believe the height from the thimble to the top is 35'.

    I will add that I had it swept last year in the fall as well as this year in the fall. Last year, I was a novice, so I attributed all of the actual smoke and smoke smells to learning experiences. This year, I've really smartened up on a lot of things, took a lot of advice from this board, and for whatever reason, can't get that smoke smell out.

    It actually happened again just now, but the fire was not fully burned down to the coals. It was almost there, but it should have been enough to not have a burning wood smell escape. It's like a catch 22. If I let it completely burn down, restarting the fire is difficult. If I go almost to completely burned down, then there's a smell.

    Thank you for your reply, by the way!
     
  7. Heathcliff

    Heathcliff
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    Dec 7, 2017
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    The creosote buildup on the cap is something that has crossed my mind - interesting you mention that.

    I've been using the stove this season since early the early part of November. When we had it swept, the company we used didn't make any mention of creosote buildup verbally or in their inspection report. I would think this is something they'd look for. Although they did not go on the roof, they did inspect from inside the house, and did an outside visual inspection from the ground.

    Thank you for replying. Let me know if you have any thoughts. I would think what you mentioned would have or should have been brought up by the chimney company.
     
  8. Beer Belly

    Beer Belly
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    I thought Raking the Coals to the back before reload was the way to go ?....raking to the front puts it right there at the door when you open it.
     
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  9. Zack R

    Zack R
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    For comparison when the chimney cap was clogged up I would get smoke spillage anytime I opened the door, no matter the fire size. Now its the opposite, no smoke irregardless of what the fire is doing. During a hot full throttle fire it now pulls the door closed against the gasket if I leave it cracked open a half inch or less (these single digit temps also help with a strong draft).

    upload_2017-12-7_22-18-4.png
     
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  10. Heathcliff

    Heathcliff
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    Dec 7, 2017
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    Thank you for the photo and explanation. I am hoping that the chimney sweep we used checked for something like that. I certainly am not confident enough to get on our roof due to its height, shape, and incline.

    I know this sounds like a ridiculous question, but shouldn't the sweep check for that, and shouldn't that be one of the main things they check for?

    They're a fairly large company and I know I can call them and ask, but I'd rather ask here because this is really the only place online that has sensible, knowledgeable people talking about these topics.
     
  11. Heathcliff

    Heathcliff
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    Dec 7, 2017
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    I have a front door and a side door. I read numerous posts on this site where folks were saying to push the coals to the front of he stove. I think it has something to do with the location of the air intake, and the air being drawn in and distributed.
     
  12. Zack R

    Zack R
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    I've been raking my coals to the front of the stove so they they are even. My stove burns from front to back since the air intake is in the front.
     
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  13. Heathcliff

    Heathcliff
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    Dec 7, 2017
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    Question for you, Zack R. Do you load through the front or the side? I just loaded through the front for the first time, and no smell. Granted, very small sample size, but off to a good start.
     
  14. Zack R

    Zack R
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    Mine only loads from the front, but its a north south design so the firebox is deep.
     
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  15. Heathcliff

    Heathcliff
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    Dec 7, 2017
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    I wanted to pop back in here to update anyone that was following this thread or anyone that may see it in the future. This board has been a big help to me over the last two years, so I'm hoping that I might be able to help someone else.

    I have resolved the problem. I've given it a large sample size of 30 days to ensure what I'm saying is accurate given my situation.

    Pushing the coals to the front of the wood stove did *not* work. What did work was spreading out the coals and making sure I had better kindling. Now, there is no smoke in the house. While most people say to rake the coals to the front, that just didn't work in MY situation. When I'd do that, even with good kindling, some smoke and that wood burning smell would escape.

    So, when the fire burns down to the coals, I rake them evenly, load through the side door, make sure to use good kindling and voila...no smoke, nor the smell of smoke, in the house.

    Took a lot of trial and error, a lot of reading, and a lot of help from this board.
     
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  16. HomeinPA

    HomeinPA
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  17. Heathcliff

    Heathcliff
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    Dec 7, 2017
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    Not sure I understand the question. If you're referring to one of the photos in the thread, that's not mine.
     
  18. HomeinPA

    HomeinPA
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    Oh, that's good.....

    Did you notice the smoke smell all the time or have you just started smelling it again? If it's recently gotten stronger I'd say that your cap or flue need cleaned as it's slowing down the draft. If you smell something smokey then you're getting smoke in the house, probably when you open the door to load or check the fire. OR air/smoke is coming out of the stove somewhere. It's just not enough to make the room appear smokey.
     
  19. saewoody

    saewoody
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    Thanks for the update. Glad you got the issue worked out!


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