House fan and wood stove problem

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by emt1581, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. emt1581

    emt1581 Curious Member

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    ***THIS QUESTION IS FOR WHEN THE STOVE IS NOT IN USE (I.E. SUMMER MONTHS)***


    We use a wood stove to heat our home. Upstairs in the hallway we have a whole house fan that makes it nice and cool/breezy on warmer days. However, we found that when we turn the fan on it makes the house smell smokey from the wood stove.

    Anyone ever have this problem? Is it from the gaskets needing to be replaced?

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

    -Emt1581
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2012
  2. GRD67

    GRD67

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    Sometimes when we start a fire in our wood stove first thing in the morning, cool air in the chimney blocks the air flow. The mfg. recommends to burn some paper to get the air flowing up the chimney before you start burning wood, this could help prevent the smoke from coming back into the house. Also of course make sure the damper is all the way open.
     

  3. emt1581

    emt1581 Curious Member

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    No no...I'm talking about in the warmer months...long after the fire has gone out in the wood stove. It's almost as if the vacuum/suction from the fan is getting into the stove/chimney and bringing that smokey smell into the house.

    Thanks

    -Emt1581
     
  4. Ragin Cajun

    Ragin Cajun

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    We had the same problem.

    What you are smelling is the stuff (including creosote) in the flue, inside the fire box, etc.

    You really need to close things off, But it takes only a little leakage to get the smell.

    We haven't used the wood stove for several years and the smell has lessened.

    RC
     
  5. racer11

    racer11

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    I heat my house with wood,,,before the season I make sure my flue is very clean and void of any build up from last years use,,, ie anything that restricts air flow out the flue.

    During the season the rain cap tends to get some build up and that creates a restriction and then at times I will get a small puff of smoke when I open the fire box door to put in some more wood. So when that happens I get on the roof (weather permitting) and open up the vents on the rain cap.

    Another condition I can sometimes experience with smoke in the house is when I have the air vents and flue damper open and the fire allowed to free burn. When the heat gets to its max I then shut down the vents, If I close the flue damper first and then the air vents on the stove, pressure will build up inside the fire box and I will get a sudden puff of smoke out of the fire box air vents. I have learned to shut the stove air vents first and then let the fire settle down and then partially close the flue damper.

    Also at times the wind currents outside and or atmosphere will not allow the smoke to float up and away from my house. Outside air that enters the house from the outside will seep in and I can smell the smoke.

    When you turn on the fan's that stirs up the smoke from somewhere in the house. If you want to look for a smoke leak around the stove,,,do this,,,At night with the lights out in the house take a flash light and shin it around the stove,,any smoke leaking will show up in the light beam.

    Another consideration is the height of your flue from your roof line,,,the flue needs to be high enuf above the roof line to get good air flow. I must admit that mine is not high as it should be but I ran out of flue pipe and I did not want to purchase any more at the time but it flows fine 99% of the time.

    Most important is getting a good air flow and yes heating up the air in the stove before hand to get the air flowing is a good idea but I have never had to do that myself. When I start burning wood the fire never goes out ( 24/7) until spring time or when I switch over to my heat pump.
     
  6. racer11

    racer11

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    OH,,,, I thought you were talking about the winter time,,,,I have never had that problem during the summer !!

    I would suggest you clean the fire box and flue out,,, That thing must really be built up with cresote and crud to do that.
     
  7. cphilip

    cphilip

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    It is...

    Your going to have to put some sort of a damper in there or close off the top completely in the summer with some sort of cap. The stove normally draws its air from the house so when the house turns around and draws a serious vacuum of air from everywhere in the house, one place it can draw from is the stove and down the chimney. Normally a wood stove damper is not completely cut off when off. No damper is completely tight and it can also be drawn open if its one of those bimetal reactive types of automatic dampers.
     
  8. emt1581

    emt1581 Curious Member

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    No problem. Actually when the chimney was swept last year there was hardly anything built up...same with the firebox.

    Another thing that is odd is that, when we DO have a fire going in the stove, the basement (which has a fire PLACE) smells woody/smokey... I'm thinking it is because the two chimney's are next to each other and the fireplace's chimney is drawing a small amount of that smell/smoke in.

    Definitely some odd aerodynamics in this house though.

    Thanks

    -Emt1581
     
  9. emt1581

    emt1581 Curious Member

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    Any way to seal it off WITHOUT wrapping it in a tarp/plastic wrap?

    Thanks

    -Emt1581
     
  10. cphilip

    cphilip

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    Depends on the stove really. If you can get something in and block the intake perhaps.

    The last Wood stove I had didn't do this because it took its intake air from a vent through its pedestal. This then sat over a vent in the floor that ran out the basement. It was a simple 6X6 inch square duct. The Pedestal of the stove had a similar square tube that then went through the damper. The air went into the stove around the front but there was a door (or plate) screwed over it that could be removed if you wanted to take the air from within the house. When I prepared the floor for the stove I installed this vent and the stove then was sat on top of it. It didn't have to be directly in line but just close. It would then acts as a duct all the way from the outside into the basement and then up into the stove. This stove was rated for installation into Mobile homes. So that was part of its feature was to be designed for a real tight structure. I liked that feature so installed it in my home. The company Earth Stove made it.


    What kind of opening at the chimney is it? If it is a simple pipe cap you could cover that. Bag it or something.

    I didn't repeat the recommendation to also clean it but should have. Completely. Brush the chimney and remove all that and most of the ash.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2012
  11. racer11

    racer11

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    I have been sitting here thinking about the OP's issue,,,at first I misunderstood his condition during the warmer weather.

    He could,, accessing from the fire box,,, take a wad of old towels or something and plug up the flue just inside his stove's fire box eliminating any down flow of smelly air, if that is the cause of the problem.
     
  12. SmokeRoss

    SmokeRoss GTDS Member #49

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    Your house is so tight that you are pulling air into the house through the chimney and stove. My place will do this too when the stove is not in use. Make sure all your vents and dampers are closed on the stove. Either crack a window open or install a fresh air vent somewhere near the stove. You likely need the fresh air intake anyway. They are inexpensive and easy to install, and you can close them when they are not needed.
    I love wood heat.
     
  13. cphilip

    cphilip

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    I would assume he has all the windows open if he is using a whole house fan? Thats the normal use of them...
     
  14. emt1581

    emt1581 Curious Member

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    Correct.

    -Emt1581
     
  15. MLM

    MLM

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    Is there any way to disconnect the stove from the flue/thimble and seal it off there?
    One year I took my woodstove loose and used one of the kids playball to seal it. Just deflated the ball a little bit, insert into flue/thimble and inflated it back up to create a seal.
     
  16. ithaca_deerslayer

    ithaca_deerslayer

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    Sounds like that is exactly what is happening :)
     
  17. yellowlabsrule

    yellowlabsrule

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    Do not use them at same time the fan is so strong it is pulling the air in. I noticed the same thing on my stove fan and my chimney
     
  18. mrdinks

    mrdinks

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  19. Alchemy

    Alchemy Senior Member

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    ^^^^ This. Close the damper as every chimney has one.
     
  20. Luvdux

    Luvdux

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    Open some more windows the air will come in them not the chimney. I had a house that did the same thing.