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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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