Odor and/or soot into room when operating Vented Gas Logs
Author: Rett Rasmussen Reference Number: AA-01096 Views: 12727 Created: 2013-11-08 09:50 Last Updated: 2013-11-08 10:06 0 Rating/ Voters

If you are experiencing any odor and/or soot into the room when your gas log set is burning, this is an indication of problems with the performance of your chimney.  You should not have any odor or soot enter into in your room if the fireplace chimney is venting properly.  There are only two places for the soot to go: (1) up the chimney, or (2) into the room.  The reasons for soot going into the room may include:

    - Damper not open or not open far enough.
    - Too small of a flue.
    - Too large of a fireplace opening in comparison to the flue opening (1/10 rule).
    - Obstruction in the chimney.  Bird nest, creosote build-up, etc.
    - Negative room pressure created by kitchen exhaust fans, ceiling fans, etc.
    - Log set installed too close to the opening.
    - Air flows outside the house that do not promote proper draft.  May require lengthening the chimney stack or the installation of a chimney cap.
    - Chronic "smoking fireplace".  Fireplace design related.
    - Chimney "cold block" that inhibits air flow up the chimney.

The log set does not have a “brain” that directs the combustion products to either go up the chimney or out into the room.

The cause of the odor and/or soot entering the living space must be corrected before resuming use of your fireplace.

PLEASE NOTE - If the odor is similar to rotting cabbage, you need to investigate for a gas leak. Gas is odorless, but the gas companies input an odorant (known as mercaptan and methanethiol) so we can easily detect leaks with our nose. 

PLEASE NOTE - A lingering odor, not like that of a gas leak, but more of a diesel or oily smell, may result from the off-gassing of soot and creosote that remained in your fireplace and smoke chamber from wood burning prior to installing your gas log set. The heat from the gas log set causes the release of these odors. Once the gas log set is turned off, there may not be enough heat to promote the ventilation of these odors up the chimney, so they may be noticeable in the room.

PLEASE NOTE - You may experience a slight odor from the pilot light that may not exhaust up the chimney because there is not enough heat to promote the natural ventilation flow. This is not harmful. If annoying to you, please shut off the pilot and relight when you wish to use your gas log set.

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