Bad smell from Vermont Castings Gas Stove


We have had a direct-vent Vermont Castings gas stove for about 5 years now. It has produced a bad smell throughout the house whenever we use it ever since we got it. Originally a contractor did the installation so we got the local dealer to reinstall it completely replacing the piping and the vent. This has not helped the problem. The dealer doesn't know anything else to try. We have over the years run it for long periods of time to try to burn it in. This doesn't seem to help either. I am about to totally replace the unit since it still is not working properly for us. The smell is similar to what we got when we first got the unit but not quite as acrid. We have also had the gas company out with a CO2 detector to make sure it wasn't carbon monoxide that we were smelling. Does anyone have any ideas of anything else we can try before we scrap and replace it?
Thanks
Eric
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What are you burning?

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Anything produced inside the stove should go up the chimney and be removed from the house. Anything on the outside of the stove would offgas into the inside of the house where you would smell it. Have any cleaners, sealants or other products been used on the exterior of the stove or piping? Is there anything close to the stove that is heating up and offgassing? These are the areas that I would look into for a cause.

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Eric Mackie wrote:

...
CO (monoxide) is odorless and CO2 (dioxide) are while not odorless isn't a very strong odor, so, not them. Not bad idea to check for combustion products, however. One must assume the CO2 detector for CO is a typo/dyslexia of the keyboard and would hope the check was better than the description. :)
If it isn't as strong, sounds like whatever it is is probably on way out. What is a "long period" and have you approached the manufacturer directly? I'd expect resolution from them (but wouldn't have waited five years to force the issue). Don't know the particular stove/brand, but would hazard a guess it is outgassing from the paint or perhaps some sealant or other material used in manufacture. Possibly something was spilled on it at some time in shipping/storage/installation? Surely this can't be generic problem or they wouldn't still be around.
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You should have your own Co alarm , a Nighthawk digital unit could show you if any amount is present by pushing the Peak function. Co alarms wont alarm till fairly high levels are present for hours to not give false alarms. Nighthawk also has a Co-Ng alarm. Does it smell constantly in winter, because after sitting all summer it will stink for hours from dust and oils burning off. Maybe your chimney is not drawing properly.
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What is the smell like? Skunky/sulfury/rotten eggish? If so, it's probably a gas leak. NG and propane both have a mercaptan compound (similar to eau du skunk and the H2S smell of rotten eggs) added to them so you can smell leaks.
The gas company would probably have detected it if the stench was active at the time they were there. Was it?
Otherwise, it might be oil (packing oil) or paint baking off. Hot metal sometimes stinks.
A good hard scrub with, say, a TSP&water mixture of all the external parts that get hot might help.
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Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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We have a Vermont Castings direct vent stove too. For the first two years it smelled too. the dealer came out and applied silicone sealer to each joint of the stove pipe, saying you have to completely seal it or the burned gases will escape into the room. that solved the problem, and it never smelled again. I manufacture the Elm wood stoves by Vermont Iron Stove. www.vermontironstove.com, good luck. Steve Chris Lewis wrote:

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On Wednesday, October 18, 2006 5:32:55 AM UTC-4, Steve wrote:

What sealer did they use? I have a Victory insert that smells no matter what I do. It seems to get a little better at times but it doesn't totally disappear. It would be nice to know what they sealed and what did they use.
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Vermont Castings makes a good fireplace, and I can't imagine, unless your unit is somehow contaminated (as suggested by other posters), that it's the fireplace that's stinking after all of this time. Usually these things burn off in no more than 6-8 hours. You must be heating something adjacent to the venting or the fireplace that's causing the smell. I can imagine it's not pleasant, but you may not solve the problem by replacing the fireplace with a new unit, since that unit will likely heat up the same material. I'd closely examine any surrounding materials, perhaps even remove the fireplace and check behind it and all of the venting materials. If it's venting through an old chimney, make sure the chimney is free of debris. And make sure that any sealant used by the installers is still intact - if it's scorched, they may not have used the correct material, and that might be your problem.
Good luck!
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Eric Mackie wrote:

Looking at the Vermont Casting web site, I assume you are talking about a vent-free propane unit. If so, they burn "mostly" clean enough that they do not require outside venting. I have a vent-free propane space heater, and being unvented, it leaves an odor when used. Not a strong odor, but noticeable after the unit has run a while. I have been in older homes that had the similar heaters and you could smell them also. I think that odor is pretty standard for unvented propane heaters. Being unvented does not mean it is totally safe. After burning for 6-8 hours, mine will auto cut off due to CO buildup in my cabin. The digital CO detector on the wall will show a CO buildup also, but under the danger point. Because of this, I use my space heater to take the chill off but do not burn it for more than 1-2 hours.
Bob
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