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LearnAsIGoHomeowner

01:08PM | 11/10/02
Member Since: 11/09/02
9 lifetime posts
Bvhvac
The house we bought originally had a wood burning fireplace. Previous owners converted this to a gas fireplace, but took their logs when they moved. We've purchased and installed American Hearth gas logs (they call it an "unvented gas log heater or vented decorative appliance").

The problem is that when we use it, an odor is given off that eventually makes you tired/ill. IT IS NOT PROPANE that we're smelling...it's more like when you first light a gas stove, but the smell doesn't disipate. We've had the dealer over to check it out. Everything is installed properly, there are no gas leaks, it just has a "burned gas" kind of smell. And it doesn't matter if we use it vented or not vented.

The dealer suggested that a chemical used in the house (recent painting or carpet cleaning) may be causing it...but none of that has happened. He even suggested moving our extra paint cans to the shed out back instead of the garage, but that hasn't helped either.

Has anyone heard of this/had this problem? Any suggestions to remedy the situation? We're even considering converting it back to wood. Any help is much appreciated!


LearnAsIGoHomeowner

04:22AM | 11/11/02
Member Since: 11/09/02
9 lifetime posts
Carbon Monoxide....those are the words I was looking for all along. We think that's what the problem is. We'll go get a tester today. If that's the problem, the dealer (or manufacturer) should have to repair/replace it, right?

LearnAsIGoHomeowner

07:38AM | 11/11/02
Member Since: 11/09/02
9 lifetime posts
But these are NEW logs. The previous owner took theirs with them when they sold the house. So if the problem is carbon monoxide from a bad flame, wouldn't that be the gas logs and not the fireplace?

LearnAsIGoHomeowner

11:12AM | 11/11/02
Member Since: 11/09/02
9 lifetime posts
New Update...we got a different set of logs from our dealer, and we still get the same smell. So it's not the logs. But they're also installed correctly, so it's not the installation. Any tips on where to go from here? Who should we call to help us...the gas company, a contractor, a handyman? I admit, I'm starting to feel lost.

We thought maybe cleaning the chimney because we don't know when it was done last, but that doesn't seem to make sense because we're not actually using it.

We're also thinking about converting it back to wood. Any thoughts on this?

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP!


that guy ty

01:14PM | 11/11/02
Member Since: 11/09/02
6 lifetime posts
If they are new logs would the smell be from burning off the "newness" of the ceramic/concrete logs themselves? I am a newbie as well, but that is a thought I have. They also make detectors that detect gas, carbon monoxide and oxygen depletion as well. Good luck, Ty.

Curly

06:28AM | 11/14/02
Member Since: 11/13/02
1 lifetime posts
I originally posted this not realizing that your unit is "Unvented". I don't know anything about that however, I'll leave my post anyways, just in case.

Hi, I have the same problem with my fireplace insert. I haven't corrected it yet, however I believe the problem to be that the exhaust pipe diameter up through the chimney is too big for the unit we are using. I also have 2 90 degree elbows in the exhaust to get it to the back of the hearth and up the chimney.
If your exhaust pipe diameter is too big then the gases flowing out will cool too quickly and not escape out but rather down back in to your house. Any type of bend in the pipe will also slow the gases down allowing them to cool down faster and back down.
The fireplace insert I am currently using was moved up from the basement with a 3" exhaust (where it worked fine) to the main floor where there is a 4" exhaust with 2 elbows. My solution, if correct, will be to move the insert back downstairs and purchase a new one with a 4" exhaust for upstairs.
Hope this helps!

[This message has been edited by Curly (edited November 14, 2002).]

Bart

11:11PM | 11/14/02
Member Since: 11/14/02
1 lifetime posts
FYI:
http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/publications/infosource/pub/home/All_About_Gas_Fireplaces_Section07.cfm

7. Not Recommended
In addition to knowing what to look for in an energy-efficient gas fireplace, it is important to know what is not recommended. In the case of gas logs, ceramic logs with gas burners are placed directly into an existing wood fireplace to give the effect of a burning fire. These gas logs provide no real heat to the house and are essentially a waste of energy and money, as well as a potential source of pollutants, although they can provide an attractive fire.
Gas logs can also cause venting system problems, particularly in colder regions. This is primarily because wood fireplace chimneys are not designed to handle the low-temperature, low-flow, high-moisture flue gases generated by a gas fire. If a wood fireplace chimney is not relined to accommodate these gases, the chances of flue gas condensation and chimney deterioration are high. As well, if the fireplace is on an outside wall, there is a risk that the gas burners will not generate enough heat to create a good draft. Under these conditions, the house can become a better chimney than the chimney itself (see "The house as a chimney"), disrupting the flame and drawing carbon monoxide and other combustion products back into the living area.


8. What to Avoid
A type of gas fireplace to avoid in Canadian housing-the vent-free gas fireplace-is available in the United States. As the name implies, these units do not vent to the outdoors; all the combustion gases (including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and large amounts of water vapour) are released directly into the house. These fireplaces can cause serious indoor air quality and moisture problems, particularly in airtight Canadian homes. They are not approved for use in Canada.

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