Table of Contents
- Why Does My New Wood Stove Smell Like Chemicals?[+]
- How Long Will A New Stove Keep Smelling?[+]
- How To Deal With The Smell Of A New Stove
- What If The Chemical Or Paint Smell Doesn’t Stop?
- What To Do If The Smell Persists With High Temperature
- How To Avoid Smells With A New Stove (Not Always Possible)
- How To Avoid Smells Indoors (Not Always Possible)
It’s normal for a new wood stove to smell like chemicals or burnt paint.
This article explains why and how long a new stove will smell this way. We also show how to reduce the unpleasant effects inside your house.
There are rare cases when the smell doesn’t go away, and we lay out what to do in this scenario.
Why Does My New Wood Stove Smell Like Chemicals?
Most new stoves emit smells like burning chemicals or metal when you fire them up the first few times.
The reason is that the paint and sealants applied to the stove are going through a process called “curing” under the heat.
Curing means that some ingredients are burning off which allows the paint or sealant to bond fully with the surface. This hardening is a good thing. It makes the surface of your stove more durable.
The burning metal or paint smell comes from the particles dissolving into the air from this process.
If you think that the smell is more like creosote then this isn’t normal with a new stove and you need to get it checked quickly.
But many people aren’t sure about the difference between these smells. Our article on what creosote smells like should help you.
If it turns out to be a temporary problem that you fix, check out our tips on getting rid of creosote smells from your wood stove.
How Long Will A New Stove Keep Smelling?
The smell lasts until the lit stove creates enough heat to burn off all the solvents and residue in the paint coating.
Your manual may advise you to burn small files at low temperatures for your first three or four fires and gradually increase the temperature. The advice varies with the model (and be sure to read the manual!).
You may find that the smell is gone when your stove reaches 500 degrees. But if you fire it up to 550 degrees the following day, the smell returns.
This is normal when you are gradually increasing the temperature over several weeks. The smell will probably return at higher intervals until you reach 650 or 700 degrees.
At some point, the paint will be fully cured and the smell is gone for good.
By the way, if you find that the odor is hanging on to your tops and jeans, check out our article on how to remove wood stove smells from your clothing.
Small poll of owner experiences
I asked for the experiences of five owners who bought a stove in the last three years (I wanted to be sure they could remember.
Only one owner said the smell was gone after the first use. Several said it took three to four hot fires.
One owner reported that it took two months of winter use for the smell to be gone at 550 degrees.
How To Deal With The Smell Of A New Stove
Some people are very sensitive to chemical smells and will find new stoves unpleasant to deal with.
There are ways to reduce the stink of the initial burning that bakes off the paint.
At the very least, you can open a window in the room. If you have a fan, then put it on the windowsill to increase the ventilation.
If you have two windows on opposite walls and open two fins, then you can get fancy with cross ventilation. This just involves putting one fan facing outward (yes, really!) and the other facing inward.
What happens is that one fan sucks cool air into the room and the other fan blows the smelly air out of the room.
What If The Chemical Or Paint Smell Doesn’t Stop?
If you still smell burning paint or a metallic smell after months, it may be because you haven’t used the stove at a high enough temperature to cure the paint coating.
In general, the paint doesn’t start curing until the stove hits 500 f.
Some people don’t use their wood stoves as the primary source of heat. They only want to light small fires for the ambiance and pleasing look in a room. That’s very understandable!
But if you’re one of these owners, you should fire it up to a higher heat and let it run for an hour at the higher temperature. That should solve the problem.
Just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s manual as to when it’s okay to run a full load. You may need a few runs at a low temperature first.
There is another reason for a continuing metallic or paint smell. This could be due to an error in manufacturing and finishing the appliance. I’ll discuss this rare occurrence next.
What To Do If The Smell Persists With High Temperature
First of all, be sure to have a carbon monoxide detector in the same room as your stove. This eliminates the anxiety that the stove is harmful.
Having said that, let’s look at what to do if the smell hasn’t gone away after ten or fifteen times of burning the stove at a high temperature for at least an hour.
This could be a manufacturer’s error.
Issues have been reported where the paint coating was improperly mixed or the wrong paint formula was used for a single batch.
This can ensure that the paint on your stove never cures or bonds.
Presumably, you’re not going to let the smell persists for more than a few months, so you will be well within the warranty period.
Contact the dealers first. They may act on your behalf with the manufacturer or give you the right contact details.
How To Avoid Smells With A New Stove (Not Always Possible)
If you are very sensitive to chemical smells, then you may want an alternative solution to just dealing with the smell by wafting it out the window.
Some dealers will offer to “pre-burn” a new stove before they deliver and install it.
What this means is that they fire it up on their premises until the paint has baked and cured. When you get the model, you don’t get the smells!
In my local area, I haven’t found a dealer who offers this service. However, you may be in luck depending on where you live.
How To Avoid Smells Indoors (Not Always Possible)
I know that some owners do the initial burn outside their house. Using it in the yard or a garage ensures that the chemical smell doesn’t permeate inside the house.
This isn’t something I have done so I’m reporting now on other peoples’ experiences.
These owners usually transport the unit themselves to their house or cabin rather than have it delivered. So, it’s not such a big deal to move it several times.
They have a forklift or ramp and dolly for moving the stove from their truck to their yard, and then a second time into the house.
If you’re thinking of doing this, check out our article on the typical and average weights of wood stoves. They are very heavy!
As I would always use an installer to set up my stove, this isn’t an option I’d take.