Woodstove - first burn - bad smell - NORMAL? What's going on?

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My husband installed a woodstove and it had a chemical smell during our first burn today. This is the first woodstove we've had, so don't know what to expect from it. I'm a little worried about this. We took out a factory installed corner fireplace insert and put in the woodstove thinking it would be more heat efficient. The corner insert was awful. You had to sit within a foot and a half on a 32 degree day to feel any of the heat.

He lined the sheetrock with special boarding (fire resistant), then bricked in over that. I think it is safe. Still uneasy but I know it's because we have 3 young children.

I still want to know what the strong odor is (not a "smokey odor" -- it's different). Should we keep the thing burning for a few days and leave the house vented? chelsey

-- chelsey (chelsey@cyberfieds.com), November 27, 1999


Quite normal for a new stove to give off a burning chemical smell....it's paint! Open a couple of windows and burn a fire as hot as you can to prevent and "extra" paint burning off some other day. I'd get the kids out for a few hours until the smell is gone. Once you have it burned off, it shouldn't do it anymore (unless you blacken it every year (recomended to prevent rusting).

Good luck

-- P.A. (adkins@webbernet.net), November 27, 1999.

Some stink for newly installed woodstove is normal. Vent the stink and then have a fire marshall inspect the installation. For your good!

-- Freedy (meagain@home.now), November 27, 1999.

Chelsey - my owner's manual says... "The first time your appliance reaches operating temperature you will smell the the paint on the outside of the appliance during. This is normal. We recommend that you leave some of the windows in the home open for a few hours during the first fire. Also, you may notice the viewing glass becoming cloudy as the appliance is drying the moisture from the bricks and steel."

-- Brooks (brooksbie@hotmail.com), November 27, 1999.

It is normal for a stove to give off a "stink" for a while. Not real bad, but enough to notice. Like cleaning fluid or something maybe. We've had ours in for a few months now. It goes away. (slowly) If you have smoke at first from cracks, seal with stove cement. Remember to close dampers after fire is burning good. With dampers open most of the heat is going out the pipe. Damp it down then pipe is less hot, but you are. Pretty good I think.

-- MegaMe (CWHale67@aol.com), November 27, 1999.

Please read your manual. Do not burn it "as hot as you can" until you've read the manual.

Mine stated that I was to "break it in" by starting a fire and letting it go ouyt several times before doing a really hot fire.

-- Sally Strackbein (sally@y2kkitchen.com), November 27, 1999.

Boy, thanks you all. That is exactly what kind of info I needed. I lurk a whole lot - since most people say what I'm thinking anyway. Don't have much time to type while working. Thanks again - happy preps. chelsea

-- chelsea (chelsea@cyberfieds.com), November 27, 1999.

Hey folks, don't be "chemical pollys." Burning paint fumes are not good and are especially bad for children. Keep your windows open, run an air purifier (not "air fresheners!"--very toxic products), stay out of the house, etc. As an activist for people disabled by chemical injuries from consumer products, sick buildings, etc, I know that a lot of acute and chronic misery can result from just one exposure to the wrong thing at the wrong time. Do a little research and contact your manufacturer: ask them for a "material safety data sheet" for the paint used on your stove. Then find out what happens when the paint burns--what chemicals are emitted and what are the known side effects? While you're at it, get rid of all "stinky" products in your house--synthetic fragrance chemicals, from perfumes to "fresh pine scent," can be extremely toxic and irritating.

-- Amy (canaryclub@aol.com), November 27, 1999.

I can also confirm what others above have said. We had our woodstove professionally installed and were warning it would smell funny the first couple of times. The first time was the worst - fans on exhausting air, window open, etc.

The second time was not as bad (buring 6-10 hours each time).

By the fourth time we didn't notice it at all.

-- Arnie Rimmer (Arnie_Rimmer@usa.net), November 27, 1999.

Some wood stoves have a rust inhibiter on them for protection in storage. It can take several burns to get rid of it. Ventilate well

-- joe (smokey @ stover.com), November 27, 1999.

Thank you all. Our woodstove is going to be installed on Monday. I appreciate knowing what some of the potential problems are going to be! Thanks again.

-- Dorothy (Hippie1959@aol.com), November 28, 1999.

I would also like to add that when we had our wood stove installed about 11 years ago, the city inspector warned us that it would smell a little with the first few burns. It did and it wasn't a big deal.

-- Bill (sticky@2sides.tape), November 28, 1999.

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