How Long Will My New Wood Stove Smell?

Cameron

Member
I bought a new wood stove this year and lit it up a few nights ago to enjoy a nice fire. After about a half hour, I noticed an awful chemical smell coming from it. Boy did it stink! Does anyone know what this is and how long it will last? I can't imagine that the wood burning stove will smell this bad forever.
 

Newman

Member
That bad smell can last anywhere from one to three or four fires, depending on how hot you burn your stove. If you only burn a few twigs in it for five fires and never get the steel or cast iron up past 200 degrees each time, you won't cure the paint. If you get that stove rippin' hot the very first time and get the metal to 700 degrees, the smell will most likely disappear after one use. So to answer your question, the terrible chemical smell is coming from the brand new high temperature paint the manufacturer applied to the wood stove. Since that paint was never baked on or cured, you're essentially doing that in your home. Like I said, after a few uses, that smell should go away because the fires you make in the stove will bake the paint.

If you've got a new stove though, I suggest you break it in according to the manufacturer's instructions. Basically, you make a fairly cool fire that goes to about 250 degrees the first time. Then, make another fire the next day that reaches 350. And then, on the last (third) day, bring the stove up to 450 degrees and it should be broken in properly. Read your stove manual though, as I'm only throwing out random numbers here. I don't know your specific situation.

If you're using an old stove that's had new high temperature paint applied to it, you'll likely need to go through the same process of curing it. That paint will smell too, but only for a few fires. Also, be aware that if you change your old pipes to new pipes, you'll get the same smell. The stink is not only coming from the wood stove, it's also coming from the black pipe that comes from the stove and goes to the wall or ceiling. The same is true for heat shields that get attached to the sides of a stove. If they're close enough to the steel or cast iron and if they're painted with that black high temperature paint, you'll likely smell the same thing. From experience though, I'll tell you that it gets better every time you light the stove and eventually the smell won't even be there anymore. You'll forget all about it in a few days.

What I did was to light my first few fires on warmer days. I got the stove pretty hot and opened all the windows of my house and used a fan to suck some of the air out. That was much better than lighting the stove on a very cold night and being forced to keep all the windows closed. I didn't want to breath in the smoke that comes off the paint. It can't be good for you.
 
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