Sulfur Type Smell From Stove

94Bison
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Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing III
Location: Allegany, NY

Post Thu. Dec. 20, 2012 6:25 am

Hi all,

I just recently purchased an Alaska channing 3 model used. I bought a power venter from Alaska and hooked it up. I have no previous coal burning experience as I have always burned oil unfortunately, so my knowledge is limited to say the least. My question...I notice an odor, maybe a touch of sulfur to it, much worse in the basement where the stove is at. I tried working out in my basement this morning, as I always do, and felt like I couldn't get enough oxygen due to the air quality. I put a Co2 detector upstairs and it has not alerted at all. What could this odor be? Any suggestions how to remedy it would be greatly appreciated. Also, are the stove pipe joints supposed to be air tight? I can feel some air coming out in the connections, want to make sure this is not the problem....if it is, what should I do to seal them? Thank you in advance for any input.

Andy
Last edited by 94Bison on Thu. Dec. 20, 2012 2:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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freetown fred
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Post Thu. Dec. 20, 2012 7:56 am

Welcome to the FORUM andy. Have you used screws at each pipe connection (3 small metal screws You can use permatex RTV high temp silicone from any auto parts store) to seal the connections if you want. Me thinks you just might be burning off stove paint if they painted it to make it look real good & it should go away in a day or so. Keep some windows cracked. I would put a co detector in the stove area

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Rob R.
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Location: Chazy, NY

Post Thu. Dec. 20, 2012 8:09 am

Andy, you should shut your stove down right away until you get this resolved. From your description, it sounds like flue gasses are leaking into the basement. The power vent, draft control, and combustion air all need to be properly adjusted...which requires a draft gauge.

I suggest you call Alaska and see if they have a dealer in your area.

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titleist1
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Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite
Location: Cecil County, MD

Post Thu. Dec. 20, 2012 8:21 am

Andy, Welcome to the forum....now shut it down!!!!! until you get the odor issue resolved. There should be no odor at all when closed up and burning. if you have an odor, then exhaust is getting into your living space.

as stated the combustion fan and power vent need to be balanced out so that you aren't pushing more air into the stove than you are pulling out. otherwise it will look for other places to exhaust than the flue pipe. also, you bought the stove used, was it cleaned thoroughly before you started it up - all gaskets checked / replaced, power vent cleaned? if not I would also recommend doing that to get a clean start with the stove.

regarding your co detector, is it a digital display unit or simply an alarm unit? I prefer the nighthawk digital display because you can get a co reading numerically before the alarm point is hit for an earlier warning. I would recommend a couple of these, one in the room with the stove and one by the bedrooms. this is in addition to the smoke/co combo alarms in the house. the co units should be replaced about every 5 years or so. replace one early at about 3 years then they both won't be getting to end of life at the same time.

once you get it cleaned up and the air/exhaust balanced you will be glad to have moved into the world of coal heat. it is not as hard as it may sound above, just some basic maintenance that pays itself back many, many times over.

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SteveZee
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Post Thu. Dec. 20, 2012 8:42 am

Yep I agree, shut down and see whats up. If you had a hand fed I'd just tell you to leave the MPD open a bit longer after reloading but a stoker, nope.

94Bison
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Posts: 26
Joined: Thu. Dec. 20, 2012 5:31 am
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing III
Location: Allegany, NY

Post Thu. Dec. 20, 2012 8:56 am

Thanks guys! I just called the Mrs. and had her shut it down. I did take the shop vac to it when I got it, but should get an owners' manual from the manufacturer to make sure I know the exact cleaning/maintenance measures to be taken for this particular unit. I will give it some attention this weekend when I have some time. I get the power vent adjustment, but unclear on a few other terms mentioned. Draft control? is that the blower? Combustion air? is that fresh air available in the room? Also, should I invest in a Manometer? I talked to the guys at Alaska and he said if I didn't use one, I would want the barometric damper opened about 1/2". I have it at about an inch right now. If you have any other veteran suggestions I would greatly appreciate them. Thanks again for the heads up and help!

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titleist1
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Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite
Location: Cecil County, MD

Post Thu. Dec. 20, 2012 9:10 am

i would invest in the manometer . you can see by reading it every day if the trend is less draft during normal operation and this will be a clue that cleaning should be done soon, kind of an early warning rather than waiting for the co detector to go off. besides setting the baro weight, it would also be used to take a reading over fire and then on flue pipe to make sure you aren't pressurizing the fire box so the exhaust is looking for alternative escape routes than the flue pipe.

on stokers, there is a fan that blows combustion air to the coal to get o2 to the fire. some have supplied a pipe from the outside to this combustion fan so that outside air is used rather than pulling air from inside the house.

as for cleaning, shop vac is a good start, the holes in the grates should be inspected, reamed with a drill bit if necessary. fans should all be cleaned, the power vent, the combustion blower and the distribution blower. on my comb & dist blower they are a squirrel cage style and the cage "fins" need to be cleaned seasonally with a q tip and air compressor. I have some filter material on the intake which helps keep them clean. I don't have a power vent but others here can give some tips on cleaning that out. gaskets around doors and around hopper / stoker should also be checked and replaced if necessary.

as mentioned, the flue pipes should be screwed together, 3 screws per joint. I seal my seams with flex furnace cement, but they should fit together tightly enough that this is optional.

94Bison
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Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing III
Location: Allegany, NY

Post Thu. Dec. 20, 2012 11:37 am

I just talked to Alaska and he suggested I make sure that the powerventer is caulked and sealed well on the outside wall to make sure it is not drafting back in the wall and also to make sure something didn't get sucked back inside the venter. He also advised to turn the venter on and hold a match to the seams in the pipes, he said if they blow out that something is backdrafting and clogged. I will start there. Thanks for your help!


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Lightning
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Post Fri. Dec. 21, 2012 6:44 am

94Bison, the labored breathing you experienced during your workout routine was likely due to carbon monoxide taking up residence in your red blood cells instead of oxygen. Please be careful and get that exhaust leak fixed...

94Bison
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Posts: 26
Joined: Thu. Dec. 20, 2012 5:31 am
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing III
Location: Allegany, NY

Post Sat. Dec. 22, 2012 8:41 pm

I think I may have solved the problem. I caulked around the powervent plate on the outside wall as suggested by the gentleman at Alaska. It is either working or the super strong wind is blowing the exhaust away tonight, as I don't smell anything. I did invest in a digital CO detector as suggested and have one in the basement where the stove is at and one upstairs on the ground floor just outside my bedroom. The digital one still has a reading of 0, so we are doing good so far. I appreciate all of the input! Next purchase will be a Manometer!

94Bison
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Posts: 26
Joined: Thu. Dec. 20, 2012 5:31 am
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing III
Location: Allegany, NY

Post Sat. Dec. 22, 2012 8:45 pm

Lightning wrote:94Bison, the labored breathing you experienced during your workout routine was likely due to carbon monoxide taking up residence in your red blood cells instead of oxygen. Please be careful and get that exhaust leak fixed...
Thanks Lightning! It appears as though we are neighbors! If you don't mind my asking, where do you purchase your coal from (please pm me if you'd rather not say on the open forum)? I called 2 places on Friday and they are exactly the same price. Do you have a preference in the area as far as quality, price, etc. Also, do you recommend getting the oiled coal for the extra $10/ton. Thanks in advance!

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freetown fred
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Post Sat. Dec. 22, 2012 9:04 pm

Soooo, what's going on with the smell situation???????

94Bison
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Posts: 26
Joined: Thu. Dec. 20, 2012 5:31 am
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Channing III
Location: Allegany, NY

Post Sat. Dec. 22, 2012 9:06 pm

freetown fred wrote:Soooo, what's going on with the smell situation???????
See 3 posts up. :D

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Ed.A
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Location: Canterbury Ct.

Post Sat. Dec. 22, 2012 9:13 pm

Really glad you got it worked out, that is scary stuff.

I've recently set up an old school Alaska in my shop with a power vent. Bought a reostat and it works great at pulling the gases out.

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freetown fred
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Post Sat. Dec. 22, 2012 9:15 pm

ANDDDDD, did that do it? Still not smelling anything?
94Bison wrote:
freetown fred wrote:Soooo, what's going on with the smell situation???????
See 3 posts up. :D


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