Pellet stoves are solid fuel burning appliances meaning that fuel in the form of pellets is burnt using a real fire to produce heat.
The combustion process for fireplaces can release a range of particulates, gases and smoke, which can be identified through smell, and so do pellet stoves smell?
Pellet stoves burn their fuel cleaner and hotter compared to wood burning stoves, meaning that fewer by-products can be released with fewer smells. Pellet stoves also vent waste air directly from a home and have sealed doors to help prevent any leaks into the room that would smell.
Our own pellet stove doesn’t smell nearly as much as our open fireplace, wood burning and multi fuel stoves, and gas fireplace.
We’ve explained more about whether pellet stoves smell in more detail below using our own pellet stove as an example, including:
- Whether pellet stoves smell.
- Why pellet stoves may smell less compared to other types of fireplace.
- How pellet stoves are set up to burn the fuel cleanly and smell less.
Do Pellet Stoves Smell?
Pellet stoves create a sealed environment where the fuel (which in the case of pellet stoves is small pellets) is combusted behind closed doors.
Pellet stoves work in such a way that the air inside the stove is kept separate from the air within the room that it’s heating.
We’ve discussed venting requirements for pellet stoves in another article, but both the fresh air and the waste air on a pellet stove can be vented externally using vents and flues. This means that a pellet stove can have a fresh air intake from outside and also exhaust waste air back outside, with the air used as part of the pellet stove combustion process never mixing with the air inside a home.
Pellet stoves also have a number of components that help to ensure that this sealed environment remains consistent. The features and components that help keep a pellet stove sealed and therefore helping to ensure that any smells are either reduced or removed from a home can include:
- A sealed combustion chamber.
- Automated fuel feeding system using a pellet hopper and motorized auger.
- Gasket seal on the glass door.
- Fume extractor fans.
- Pellet fuels are typically very dry and good quality pellet burn very cleanly, with reduce emissions, smoke and associated smells.
- Minimal ash production from burning good quality fuels.
- Ability to vent fresh air directly from outside.
- A sealed flue must take waste air from a pellet stove to above the roof line of the house.
- Electronically controlled combustion system with a range of sensors to always ensure the cleanest and most efficient burn with minimal smells.
Pellet stoves are therefore typically one of the cleaner burning and less smelling forms of fireplace, apart from electric fireplaces which don’t have any real flames and therefore have no by-products that could smell.
We find that our pellet stove doesn’t really have any associated smells while it’s on.
However, our pellet stove is fairly new and so there are no components that have yet deteriorated through use. Deteriorated parts on older models of pellet stove, such as the vents or the door gasket, may start to leak and a pellet stove may start to smell through use as a result.
We’ve explained the main components of a pellet stove that help in reducing smells through use below.
Sealed Combustion Chamber
Pellet stoves created a sealed environment where no waste air from the combustion of the fuel is released into the room.
This is partly thanks to using a door on the front of the stove sealed with a form of gasket.
This door gasket ensures that all air coming into a pellet stove is through the dedicated air vent and also prevent waste air (that can smell) from leaking into the room.
Automated Fuel Delivery
Pellet stoves use an integrated hopper with motorized auger to deliver fuel to the combustion chamber for burning.
As pellet stoves are very automated forms of stove, a benefit to pellet stoves is that the fuel is delivered to the combustion chamber from the hopper when required and so you don’t have to open the door to add more fuel to the fire.
This means that any smells associated with the combustion of the fuel inside the stove won’t leave the stove because as long as there are enough pellets within the hopper then the stove doesn’t need to be opened for the entire duration of a fire.
By-products from the combustion of solid fuels such as pellets within pellet stove can smell.
Pellets stove require a sealed flue to take waste air from the stove to above the roofline in accordance with building codes and manufacturer requirements.
Waste air from a pellet stoves can be vented through a lined chimney, through an internal flue, or an external flue with a pipe going horizontally through an external wall and up the outside of a house.
Sealed flues used with pellet stoves help to remove any smells from a home and prevent waste air from mixing with the air inside a home.
Helping To Minimize Smells From A Pellet Stove
Although pellet stoves have a number of features and components that help to reduce smells through clean and efficient combustion, a pellet stove will still need to be used, cleaned and maintained well in order to keep any smells to a minimum.
The main ways in which to help keep smells form a pellet stove to a minimum can include:
- Burning good quality pellet fuels. Using lower quality pellets that may be higher in moisture content can lead to more frequent cleaning requirements and increase smoke production, potentially increasing any associated smells as a result.
- Changing the door gasket when required. Over time the gasket sealing the glass door to the combustion chamber of a pellet stove can deteriorate and start to leak. Ensuring that this seal is replaced as and when required will help to prevent air from leaking through the door into the room, therefore also helping to reduce any potential smells.
- Cleaning the pellet stove. Pellet stoves should be cleaned regularly in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines to help prevent build-up of ash and other by-products that could start to smell if left. Our own pellet stove requires daily and weekly cleaning.
- Servicing a pellet stove. Seasonal maintenance in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines will help to ensure that a pellet stove is operating well with reduced potential for problems and smells.
- Installing the flue correctly. Incorrectly sealed flues may leak and smell as a result.
New Pellet Stove Smell
A pellet stove may smell the first time(s) that it’s used, typically for a couple of hours.
This can be a result of the heat-resistant paint ‘curing’ and the smell from this process should not be a cause for concern when using a new pellet stove for the first time.
The manual for our own pellet stove explains:
‘The odor which results from the drying of the paint disappears after a few hours. Ventilate the room where the pellet stove is located.’Victoria-05
Pellet Stoves Explained With Pictures
Things To Know About Pellet Stoves
Pellet Stove Venting Requirements
I was being overwhelmed by a burnt plastic smell coming from my pellet stove for a long time when I turned up the blower/pellet feed. The problem was that it was leaking in between two joints from a faulty elbow seam. I fixed it by adding cement where the manufacturer pressed parts together without sealer. I couldn’t see a leak but fumes were getting into the room and much more when I turned up the stove. This should help a lot of people. I see many posts about this.