Bad Sulfer Smell

General energy and coal related topics, news and basic information. If you do not know where to post your topic post it here.
Post Reply
New Member
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun. Dec. 10, 2006 8:28 am

Post Sun. Dec. 10, 2006 8:31 am

We have a Harman Magnum Coal stove which is three years old. The first two years we have had no trouble at all. This year we are getting terrible sulfur smell occassionally IN THE HOUSE that is quite foul. Could anyone offer some suggestions of why this is happening and how we can fix the problem? Could it be that we got bad coal? Or would it be something with our stove? Any help would be appreciated. :)

User avatar
Posts: 7385
Joined: Sun. Nov. 20, 2005 8:02 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland
Location: Michigan

Post Sun. Dec. 10, 2006 9:29 am

Hello Bronze, welcome to the forum, first do you have CO detectors and have they shown any CO?

Take a look at your coal, are there light colored stripes or blotches on the coal?? If so could be some bad coal.

You may want to try a few bags of coal from another source to see if the smell goes away.

Otherwise: when something changes: look for changes. Have you improved the windows or doors in your house making it more airtight?
Any new partitions, enclosed areas around the stove? Anything that may restrict air to the stove so it doesn't draw as well and is letting fumes into the house??
Have you added bathroom or kitchen exhaust fans? A powered vent hot water heater?? Anything else that may exhaust to the outside??

Do you have any horizontal runs in your chimney pipe that may not have been cleaned out and have an accumulation of fly-ash blocking the pipe?

Check the gaskets on your doors, and make sure they are in good shape. Check the chimney pipes, they may have rusted badly over the years and have pinholes letting fumes into the house. Regular steel flue pipe will corrode through in 2-4 years unless they are 'summerized' each season.

That's all I can think of right now. When is the sulphur smell noticed?? After you have been away from the house and the stove was turned down to keep the fire low?? or in the middle of the night with the fire 'crankin'??

Hope this helps Greg L
Burning Pea/Buckwheat through an antique stoker [semi retired SSboiler],
Running an Axeman-Anderson 260M boiler burning Pea, About 150-250#per day
Farming, Fixing, Fabricating and Flying: 'spare time' what's that?

User avatar
Site Moderator
Posts: 1847
Joined: Thu. Feb. 09, 2006 1:25 pm
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Will-Burt Combustioneer 77B
Coal Size/Type: Ohio BITUMINOUS pea stoker coal
Location: Buffalo/Adirondacks, NY

Post Mon. Dec. 11, 2006 4:02 am

if the additional sulfur smell INSIDE the house is due to a higher sulfur coal, that simply means that you can now smell the fumes that have been leaking into the home; high sulfur or not, there should be no smell in the home.
Burning western Pennsylvania Bituminous in WNY using model 77 stoker furnace. BITUMINOUS equiptment: 2 hand fired stoves of my own design, Many Combustioneer Model 77 stokers, stokermatic furnace, Many Will-Burt stokers, & and Two Iron firemen.

User avatar
Posts: 83
Joined: Mon. Dec. 05, 2005 2:56 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman Magnum Stoker
Location: Vestal NY

Post Mon. Dec. 11, 2006 8:43 am

I had a similair problem with my first stove in my previous home. When it ran hot is was OK. When I had a small fire going I'd get that smell. Turns out the flue pipe was clogged up with some fly ash. Has yours been cleaned out in the last few years? Check that too.

New Member
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun. Dec. 10, 2006 8:28 am

Post Mon. Dec. 11, 2006 9:25 am

Thanks for all the suggestions from the forum. We've cleaned the pipe, which seemed clean, cleaned the chimney which was also clean, and restarted the fire. I think the problem was the door was not as tight as I thought it should be. The fire has been going for about a half hour now and no smell, we will see what happens as the day goes on. I'm so glad I found this forum to learn all I can about burning coal properly.

Post Reply

Return to “Coal News & General Coal Discussions”