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Pot bellied stove smoking!  RSS feed

 
                              
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Location: Ohio zone 4-5
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DH bought a new wood/coal pot bellied stove. The black paint smoked like crazy the first few firings, setting off the smoke detector each time.
The paint smell phase seems to be past but now we have wood smoke leaking and setting off the alarm.
Could we adhere fiberglass rope to the leaky door where the smoke seems to be escaping, like the box models have?
I should mention that we had a masonry chimney with liners built for this and the draft seems ok on some days.
 
                          
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Have you checked to make sure the flue is clear and not clogged up with creasote or debris?  If there is a channel for a seal in the door by all means put one in.
 
                                
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DRAFT! Is it only happening when the stove is cold? If so get the flue "hot" somehow. If it's happening all the time the chimney may not be "tall" enough, general rule is " 3' higher than any structure or obstruction within 10' from the side of the chimney" (that includes trees, that could be cut down if necessary).
Hope I said that right.
 
                              
Posts: 47
Location: Ohio zone 4-5
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Tinknal wrote:
Have you checked to make sure the flue is clear and not clogged up with creasote or debris?  If there is a channel for a seal in the door by all means put one in.


Not clogged- new flue & chimney, this is first use.
I don't see an actual channel, per say, but bought a seal package anyways.
 
                              
Posts: 47
Location: Ohio zone 4-5
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shaneaaron wrote:
DRAFT! Is it only happening when the stove is cold? If so get the flue "hot" somehow. If it's happening all the time the chimney may not be "tall" enough, general rule is " 3' higher than any structure or obstruction within 10' from the side of the chimney" (that includes trees, that could be cut down if necessary).
Hope I said that right.

Draft was my go-to reflex.
Chimney is the required legal height.
There are trees but they are deciduous and a distance away. We have a fireplace in the room that drafts perfectly. I have it closed so it doesn't present a negative draft.
Bought seals( previous post) and extra stove cement caulk. My project for today. I recently placed a bright light in the stove one evening and did find some points of light that will be sealed.
The stove to pipe contact is back drafting, too, so put a clamp on and that is getting caulked.
Beyond that I am stumped. I have successfully used woodstoves for 30 years so not a novice, by any stretch of the imagination.
 
                          
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OK a wild theory.  Is there anything else going on inside your house that is creating a 'negative' air pressure situation ?

In theory, in a very 'tightly sealed' house devices like furnace combustion blowers, bathroom / kitchen vent fans etc. that draw inside air but ultimately exhaust that air outside can lower the barometric pressure inside the house versus corresponding barometric pressure outside the house.  This in turn can induce an 'outside to inside' draft through any 'open channel' ... including a chimney with a thermal gradient / height that is insufficient to overcome the barometric pressure difference.
 
                    
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Melonie makes a very good point.

Have you tried opening a window when the smoking occurs? It may take a short time for the reversal to happen. I have an outside fresh air duct and that made a very noticeable difference in the way our stove performs.
 
solomon martin
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O.k. I'm trouble shooting here but your problem might be chimney height.  If the top of your chimney is below the peak of your roof, that is a sure recipe for down-drafting and smoke in the house.  Even if your chimney is above the roof peak, adding another 12 or 18 inches of pipe or flue liner may be the ticket.  I have had clients in the past with similar problems as yours, and this seems to fix it most the time.
 
                          
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Closing the flue on your fireplace may be creating the neg air instead of preventing it.  Try opening the fireplace flue until the stove is drawing well.
 
Amanda Stewart
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I know this thread is old, but we had the same problem and I wanted to relay the solution that worked for us. The problem occurred when we switched from a boxwood stove (worked well) to a potbelly so we could burn coal more easily. We are behind in wood cutting, and we are in WV with readily available house coal. We also have a coal furnace in our basement, so coal is nothing new to us. We have used wood and coal fires for YEARS, and got the potbelly---then Super Smoke happened. Hubby was infuriated, thought it was the stove because the other one had worked well. First firing it worked well, 2nd and 3rd were smoke disasters. Weather conditions were unchanged, still air, and we were getting horrific backdraft. I was extremely : ( and being the resident pyromaniac, it was up to me to fix the problem FAST or freeze. We checked absolutely everything--still smoked.

What happened, and I can easily see this as common, was the placement of the damper placed in the flu pipe. The boxwood had a ROUND opening, with the damper as part of the stove just where the smoke pipe attached to the stove. The potbelly has an oval opening and the damper is placed in the actual pipe further up from the stove/pipe attachment. When you squeeze to fit the oval exit, the round pipe will fit---and it gradually returns to round before it attaches to the next piece of stove pipe. The damper was placed about 4" from the next section of round stove pipe. The pipe isn't exactly round, even though it looked it at that spot. What happened was that the damper got stuck after the 1st firing. It appeared to be open, but, was actually shut--thus we weren't getting backdraft at all! It sounds so stupid, but, it appeared the damper was open--yet it was jammed a little and smoke couldn't exit. I decided to wiggle the damper to ensure something wasn't stuck on it (even after new installation I was making sure) and I could feel that it was jammed. A little wiggle more and waa-laa---proper draft.

Stupid self-inflicted issue, but I could see this easily happening to others.

Learn from our lack of attention to basic details! It hammers home the fact that draft/smoky stove issues are rarely caused by the stove--it's the draw/chimney that needs attention.

 
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