acrid smell from vented gas insert fireplace stove


  #1  
Old 01-25-05, 10:46 AM
lentzinfo
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Question acrid smell from vented gas insert fireplace stove

In 1990 we had a vented gas insert fireplace stove installed in our living room. When we turned it on, it gave off a very unpleasant smell, similar to burning paint. We were told to run it a few hours and the smell would go away. Fourteen plus years later the stove still gives off the acrid smell. I have turned on the stove and let it burn on high many times with no reduction in the smell.

Any ideas of how to get rid of the smell? That is besides not using it or replacing it.
 
  #2  
Old 01-25-05, 11:04 AM
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lentzinfo,

The last part of your question I can't comply with...............Don't use it.

There is a chance that the burner is not burning correctly and is venting something harmful into your home.

If this unit is unvented, meaning no chimney, and dumps products of combustion into your home you must seriously look into the hazards of this type of device.
If you look at some recent posts there has been a lot of discussion on this.
If there is a chimney then you could have a backdraft that is drawing flue gas in.
Also, there is a possibility that there is a clearance problem and something is melting.

After the installer told you to "run it a few hours", did you call them back?
Get someone who knows what they are doing and is licensed to check this for you!
 
  #3  
Old 02-04-06, 04:53 PM
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Question gas stove smell

I have a similar problem. We installed a Hearthstone Stowe model decorative gas stove (direct vent) about 5 years ago. The contractor (who is long gone) said that the smell would burn off. It has not. We have a CO detector in the room and the smell does not set it off. We tried contacting the manufacturer but they have been no help. They suggested cleaning the outside of the firebox with denatured alcohol. We did this but it did nothing. Then they said to get a technition with a gas sniffer to try to locate the source of the smell. I can't seem to locate someone who is willing to tackle this problem. I don't want to get rid of this stove but we can't use it. Any ideas????
 
  #4  
Old 02-05-06, 06:22 PM
lentzinfo
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Update

I can happily say this was a frustrating problem. (And yes, the stove was/is properly vented.)

This year it's not creating acrid smells -- so the contractor was right, it did burn off, but it took hours of burning and airing out the house. There had to be something that was in there. I think it was a manufacturing defect.

As an aside, my brother-in-law had a wood burning stove he installed (and he is a builder), and it gave off acrid smells also. He gave up and replaced it.
 
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Old 12-08-07, 09:25 AM
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I am having the same problem with acrid smells continuing 5 years after the installation. It smells almost peppery. And it doesn't go away, no matter how long we do a "burn off".

The fireplace is a top-vented Heat N Glo. Top of the line model. The smell comes ONLY from the louvered gap above the sealed metal firebox. There's the interior firebox, then an exterior metal box - with a 3-4" gap between the two. The vent pipe runs up out of the top of the interior box, and through the exterior box, then up and out of the house at an angle.

It's vented properly, and it's sealed properly. We've had 3 different people come to look at it and they can't find any faults with the unit or the installation. They did CO2 test (and some other tests for toxic fumes) and found nothing.

The suggested that the smell might be from the OUTSIDE of the fireplace unit - that something might be touching the exterior metal box and melting/burning. However, as I said, the smell is not coming from outside the fireplace unit. I opened up a hole in the drywall framing, and there is NO smell coming from there. It's sweet, clean air.

The only place the smell is coming from is that louvered gap above the glass fireplace window, between the interior box and exterior metal box. There is often dust accumulation in there at the beginning of the winter season, but I use a long-handled feather duster, spritzed lightly with water, and thoroughly clean the surfaces where the dust collects.

But still no luck. Heat n Glo has been no help whatsoever (they say to contact the installer or the company we bought it from - but our contractor is long gone, and we don't know who he bought it from), and we've had 2-3 independent people here who say there's nothing wrong. They've all said we should probably rip it out and start again. Sheesh.
 
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Old 12-08-07, 12:09 PM
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When you say that you had "someone" come out there to work on your unit, were they NFI certified? Tracking down odors can be a hard job, even for someone that has many years of experience. There are so many variables involved that we could not even scratch the surface in this forum.

Are there candles or other aromatics being used in the home? Was there any recent construction or painting in the home? Pets? New carpet? Sheet rock dust can get everywhere and be difficult to remove completely.

Heat naturally rises and draws air in from the bottom of the unit. If there is anything floating in the air, it will become heated by the internal firebox and when you heat something, you change the chemical composition and the odor as well.

Some manufacturers suggest that you burn the unit for 4-6 hours on high to bake in the paint and lubricants used in the manufacturing process. Yes, it will put off some odors, but crack a couple of windows and turn on your ceiling fans to circulate the air.

Locating a service tech that KNOWS what they are doing is VERY difficult. I live in an area of over 1,000,000 people and there are only 3-4 tech here that could find out what your problems are.
 
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Old 12-08-07, 01:34 PM
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Thanks for the reply. The fireplace was installed in Aug 2002 at the time of our renovation. So all the framing, drywall, plastering, carpet, paint, etc. was done at that time. Nothing has been added or changed since then. The smell was there from the first time we used the fireplace in Dec 2002. We did the burn-in - ran it non-stop for 12+ hours. It didn't help. We've done additional 6-8 hour burn-ins pretty much every year since then. I'm doing another one right now.

There are no candles or aromatics anywhere near the fireplace (or even on the same floor as the fireplace). There is a marble surround, but it was installed by professionals, and it is all to the fireplace manufacturer's specs (distance from the fireplace, etc.) They used high-temperature glue specifically designed for this type of installation. Again, that was done 5 years ago.

We did have a moisture problem in the basement in 2003 - in fact, we had quite a bit of water on the floor. It's a concrete floor, with dri-core panels over it (a plywood floor with plastic on the bottom and little nubs that raise it about 3/4" inch up off the concrete), then underpadding and carpet. The water didn't penetrate the plywood; it was contained in once area of the basement and was shop-vac'ed out before it caused any damage. We had the water problem solved by rerouting the downspout outside that part of the basement, and the basement has been completely moisture-free since then. To be safe, we run a dehumidifier year-round to keep the humidity at a constant level.

Are there certified inspectors in the Toronto area? Where would I find one? One of the people who came to check the fireplace was recommended by Heat n Glo; the other two came from our local fireplace specialty store.

Don't know what else I can tell you - except the smell is kind of acrid and peppery...
 
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Old 02-01-10, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by cascade View Post
I have a similar problem. We installed a Hearthstone Stowe model decorative gas stove (direct vent) about 5 years ago. The contractor (who is long gone) said that the smell would burn off. It has not. We have a CO detector in the room and the smell does not set it off. We tried contacting the manufacturer but they have been no help. They suggested cleaning the outside of the firebox with denatured alcohol. We did this but it did nothing. Then they said to get a technition with a gas sniffer to try to locate the source of the smell. I can't seem to locate someone who is willing to tackle this problem. I don't want to get rid of this stove but we can't use it. Any ideas????
A little late in commenting but we had the same problem with a Hearthstone Sterling DV stove which we bought in 2001. Two weeks ago we finally gutted the stove after enduring 8 years of hot metal/paint/acrid stink every time we tried to use it. Dealer stopped carrying Hearthstone stoves two years into our purchase, no other dealer in area for at least 3 years, run-around by Hearthstone, lame suggestions to clean it with denatured alcohol, remove labels on back of stove, no mention of honoring any warranty. After gutting the entire stove down to an empty shell, we inserted a Duraflame electric log fire, which blows heat through the wire grid in the front door. We put a piece of sheet metal on the open back where we had removed all the stove's walls, grids, and pipes, spraypainted it navy with matching heat resistant paint. It gives off 1,500 watts of perfectly safe electric heat. The dealer who now carries Hearthstone only sells the wood stoves. Does not touch gas stoves - too many problems. He smelled ours, acknowledged the stink, but had no remedy. Said it might be the heat exchanger itself, or dust on it. When we took the stove apart, we put the two heat exchanger pieces into our Jennair oven, set it on clean, and cancelled as soon as the door had locked. It took only about 3 minutes for the oven to stink, releasing the same acrid, hot metal/paint smell from the two heat exchanger pieces in the oven. I am firmly convinced there is something in that metal's composition that causes the stink once heated. The stink never ceased, no matter how long we burned the stove. On hearth.com there are three tales of woe under the heading stinking Hearthstone. You were not alone. Now we have a $3,500 Hearthstone shell housing a $200.00 electric log fire. But we are no longer Hearthstone stinking.
 
 

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