New Wood Burning Stove

13 Dec 2007
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United Kingdom
Hi everyone

I'm hoping someone can help us with a problem we are having at the moment with a new wood burning stove.

We had an Aga Much Wenlock fitted a few weeks ago now and have used it 3 times. Our house is joined on to another house and their chimney is right next to ours. We do know that upon testing our chimney with a smoke bomb before we fitted the stove, smoke did seep through their fireplace into their living room which obviously means that their fireplace isn't completely sealed.

We had someone round to fit a chimney liner and we also had our chimney swept. The first time we used our stove, our neighbours said they were experiencing a strange odour in their living room which wasn't a smoke smell. We were all rather puzzled as there was no smell in our living room where our stove is sited.

The second time we used the stove, they said again that they were having a strange smell in their living room. We were still puzzled but did notice that the bedroom which is above our living room (it has an open fire in it) also had a strange smell in it.

The third time we used it, yet again they said there was a strange smell in their house. We went into every room in our house and the only room where we noticed a slight smell was the bedroom above our living room.

Any ideas?

The installer did use a heat resistant spray paint on the register plate. Could it be this? This was the first thing we thought of but as we're not experiencing the smell in our living room we are unsure.

The chimney has never been lined and as we live in an old house, we were wondering whether it could be old soot up the chimney getting hot and therefore giving off an unusual odour? This would explain why the neighbours are experiencing the smell rather than us as their fireplace isn't sealed properly.

There is not smoke smell anyway so we presume the liner isn't leaking but are completely baffled with this unusual odour.

Any ideas would be very much appreciated!
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When you got the liner put in, did you also have the space between the liner and the brick chimney filled with any kind of insulation. If so, then I suggest that the smell is coming from the insulation in contact with the hot liner. :idea: :idea: :idea:
Hi and thanks for your reply.

No, we just had the liner put in - no insulation inbetween the liner and the chimney. We don't have any strong smell in our house unlike our neighbours. We do have a slight smell in the bedroom above our living room though.
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The cast iron needs to cure. Start with smaller fires and increase the heat of it each use.

Ive got the aga little wenlock and it stank the first few times we lit it.

I would try and get the fireplace sealed off from next door too.
The space between the liner and the chimney should have been filled with a vermiculite / cement mix at a ratio of 9:1. This helps to prevent condensation forming, which is acidic and can eat your liner, and also helps to support the liner which is much better when it's being swept. Incorrect installation can invalidate the warranty.

As to the smell, it may be your stove burning in, or it may be the party wall drying out if it's a bit damp. I would have had the wall rendered / plastered on at least your side and preferably both sides after the smoke test failed to prevent any smell seeping through. Your installer should have smoke tested the stove after installing it, so any leaks from the stove or flue would have been picked up at this stage. If he didn't do this (and as he hasn't done the chimney correctly I'm wondering whether he did) then you should get him back to complete the commissioning of the stove

Out of interest, was he qualified to carry out the installation and registered with a body authorised to notify the work, such as HETAS or APHC?
Many thanks for your replies.

The guy who installed our stove did carry out a smoke test with the liner and no smoke was seeping through. It isn't a smoke smell that is in our bedroom upstairs and the neighbours have said it's definitely not a smoke smell that they are experiencing - I would say it's like a sulphur or hot soot smell if that makes sense!

Our neighbours (who are experiencing the worse of this odour) have mentioned before (prior to us moving here) that smoke would sometimes seep through their fireplace which obviously leads us to believe that their fireplace isn't sealed correctly.

Am I right in thinking that creosote and tar substances which are placed in the chimmey from old fires and have been for some time, could be causing a smell as well with the liner giving off so much heat?

We did wonder if it was the newness of the stove and if it needed 'seasoning' as such but we just couldn't figure out why it was our neighbours that were getting the smell and not us!
If your fireplaces back onto each other I suspect your neighbours might argue that it is your fireplace that isn't sealed properly rather than theirs, particularly as your installation is the most recent one.

If it is a hot soot smell then that's probably what it is - hot soot - and getting the chimney backfilled around the liner, as it should have been during installation, should cure this as the chimney outside the liner won't get anywhere near as hot. You should also get the rear of your fireplace rendered or plastered

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