Fume smell in simmering oven of 4 oven oil Aga

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Fume smell in simmering oven of 4 oven oil Aga

Postby Ronspencer on Wed Sep 21, 2011 1:25 pm

Hi At the end of June our 4 oven oil fired Aga went out because the fire sensor had tripped out, which I assumed was because the temp in the kitchen was up into the 30s. So because it was so hot we decided to leave it off for the summer. 2 weeks ago I lite it again and there was a slight smell of fumes coming out of the 2 ovens on the left with the strongest smell emanating from the simmering oven. After a week I decided to switch it off and see if I could identify the problem. The boiling plate was taken out and I applied fire cement to where the barrel joins the fire box and put in a new wick and relite it. The smell this time of fumes from the simmering oven was 10 times worse and after about 3 hours I switched it off. The roasting and baking ovens are fine no smell at all. An engineer mentioned it may be a blocked flue as the burner was burning fine nice all blue flame. I have held a match by the centre air intake and blown it out, the smoke from the match is being pulled up the flue from about 5 or 6 inches away so there is a good draw. Any ideas what may be wrong?
Thanks Ron
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Re: Fume smell in simmering oven of 4 oven oil Aga

Postby john on Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:52 pm

Was the burner wet with fuel when you relit it after the summer "rest"?
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Re: Fume smell in simmering oven of 4 oven oil Aga

Postby AGA man on Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:20 pm

Lift the flue shroud off and get something like a bottle brush and push it up the flue and see what comes down.
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Re: Fume smell in simmering oven of 4 oven oil Aga

Postby Ronspencer on Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:26 am

Hi John The wick was dry after the summer switch off. I have checked if both the inner wick and outer ones are alight and they look good, nice blue flames.

I will get a bottle brush today and push it up the flue to see what comes down. The thing that I dont understand is why after taking the boiling plate off and sealing the barrel to firebox that the smell got so much worse.

Right off to the shops for that bottle brush.

Thanks John and AGA man for the help will keep you posted.

PS the smell from the simmering oven is exaclly the same as you can smell coming out of the top of the flue.
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Re: Fume smell in simmering oven of 4 oven oil Aga

Postby Ronspencer on Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:42 am

Just spent the last hour tided to the chimney taking the Vedette cowl and top 1 m of flue pipe off. Looked down and clean as a whistle inside no sign of any soot either which considering we have now had the Aga for 6 years is good. So there is defiantly no blocked in the flue pipe. I have no idea what to check next, any thoughts anyone?
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Re: Fume smell in simmering oven of 4 oven oil Aga

Postby Ronspencer on Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:12 am

When I took the boiling plate off it sits on a “D” shaped baffle. I put the baffle in with the straight side of the “D” facing the simmering oven. Thinking about it is this not the side where most of the gases will go? Have I put the baffle back in the wrong way?
Sorry to post so much but I am now close to the situation where I call out an Aga engineer.
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Re: Fume smell in simmering oven of 4 oven oil Aga

Postby AGA man on Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:28 pm

When you relit the Aga are you 100% sure the inner wick was burning?
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Re: Fume smell in simmering oven of 4 oven oil Aga

Postby Ronspencer on Thu Sep 22, 2011 5:11 pm

Thanks Aga man Yes the inner wick was alight I could see the 2 rings of flame one from the inner and from the outer wicks.

Another development. I have found out why the smell was so bad when I last lite it. When I put the boling plate back on a small bit of the insulation had got between the barrel and the plate where I guess the fumes were coming from. I have reseated the plate and relite it. The smell is still there but only as bad as it was origanaly, still makes your eyes water though. I have switched it off and was wondering if fire cement to seal between the plate and barrel would be a good idea?
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Re: Fume smell in simmering oven of 4 oven oil Aga

Postby AGA man on Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:03 pm

The plate should not need sealing just packing around it with insulation is all it needs, if the burner is burning correctly and flue is pulling well try taking the metal plate that the fire valve sensor clips into off and see if there is any signs of oil down there.
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Re: Fume smell in simmering oven of 4 oven oil Aga

Postby Ronspencer on Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:34 am

I checked under the plate by the fire valve sensor and that is perfectly dry. I also checked the flow rate and it is 7.2 cc / min which is exactly right for our model, the plate on the Aga says 7cc. I have reseated yet again the boiling plate and it seems to sit well on top of the barrel, I have also smelt around there when I have lite it and there is no sign of any smell escaping. The flame is burning blue and the shells are red, although rather than a cone of blue flame it is 2 separate concentric rings corresponding to the 2 wicks. The thing that puzzles me is it was working fine until it switched itself off at the end of June when the fire valve tripped and why does it take at least 1 hour after being lite for the smell to get into the simmering oven? I am completely lost as to what else I can check or do now. Thanks for all the comments.

This is the burner after about 1hr 20min of being lite, I have put a small video of the burner on Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlhWyySBZME

I have also checked all the flue ways inside the Aga and they are clear.
Last edited by Ronspencer on Sat Sep 24, 2011 8:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fume smell in simmering oven of 4 oven oil Aga

Postby AGA man on Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:32 pm

inside the burner housing is a small panel held on by 4 screws behind that is packing that can fall out(dont worry the cooker would not empty) but if it is packed well hardly anything will come out, carefully take the plate off and smell only it does sound like John pointed at as if there has been oil leaking into the packing and it may not show up but once the cooker gets hot the oil starts to "steam" off which smells really bad.
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Re: Fume smell in simmering oven of 4 oven oil Aga

Postby Ronspencer on Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:51 am

Thanks for all your help but the smell is still there to a much lesser degree though. What did help was to put fire cement into the joint between the boiling barrel and the exhaust manifold where there appears to have been a leak of the gasses. However that has not completely cured it. I have tried 3 engineers who advertise, not on this site I hasten to add, but NONE have replied to my call even if just to say sorry can’t do this, a bit disheartened now as it looks like we will have to contact Aga and pay their inflated service costs.
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Re: Fume smell in simmering oven of 4 oven oil Aga

Postby john on Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:43 pm

The flame picture I see on your video looks good , but not as good as it should look .
One problem is that you cannot really view the flame properly with the door off.
With the door on you should see a clear blue cone of flame disappearing up into the barrel!

It is not uncommon for 4 oven owners to complain of smells.
It can be caused by inadequate flue draught or oil leaks into the lower packing.
Aga have in the past blamed "faulty" packing (not sure whether they mean wrong wool or inadequate packing)
I have known the problem to go away with time!
I have even seen packing burning for a day after the cooker had been switched off ( inadequately packed converted cooker and badly set oil control being the diagnosis)

In theory no fumes go into the Hot cupboard.
It is heated by convection from the barrel via a duct, so kerosine smells should only arise as a result of fumes leaking at the barrel /combustion chamber joint, or from some kind of fuel leak into the lower cooker .
leaks at the upper end such as flue manifold should not be significant and are just likely to permit air to be drawn in.

It is worth attempting to get rods though the chimney before you spend big bucks on Aga's men, just to ensure there is no obstruction you may have missed. Re-check the joint at the combustion chamber to barrel , even sealing temporarily with fireclay to be positive, and then give it a fortnight or so to await the result.

I am not sure about the 7cc rate for your cooker. (sorry just checked you are right) but a higher rate (8cc should not be a problem if it gives better flame and hotter chimney.
Was it an original Aga or "refurbished "?
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Re: Fume smell in simmering oven of 4 oven oil Aga

Postby Ronspencer on Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:30 am

Thanks for the reply John.

The Aga was brand new in Oct 2005. I have been up on the roof and taken the top metre of flue pipe and the vedette cowl off inspected these and they are fine. At the same time I had a torch on top of the Aga shining into the flue pipe and looked down from the roof into the flue pipe which was almost like new no sign of any soot even, which was pleasing.

There is fire clay around the fire box and barrel and around the exhaust where it joins the barrel, I have bedded down the boiling plate by twisting it to make sure its seated nice and tight onto the barrel. The flow rate of 7cc is what is stated on the metal plate attached to the Aga and 8cc appears to be recommended for the boiler version ours is just a cooker. I measured the flow rate at 3 10min intervals and each time is was spot on. The flue pulls well the blue cone rises up about 4 inches above the shells and an extinguished match by the flue on top of the Aga pulls the smoke from about 5 inches away.

I have had an oil boiler man look at the problem and he seems to think that it is burning very very well, he also pointed out that if you take the front plate of the firebox that you don’t get a true picture of the flame as too much air is getting in. I have lite it again and will let it run for a few days providing the smell doesn’t permeate throughout the house. We do have a Digital carbon monoxide detector right next to the simmering oven and it never registers any gas, thinking about it if these were fumes from the combustion gases getting into the simmering oven would you not expect some carbon monoxide to be present?
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Re: Fume smell in simmering oven of 4 oven oil Aga

Postby AGA man on Thu Oct 20, 2011 4:40 pm

Unfortunately everything you seem to say points towards an oil leak of some sort that has got in the packing .
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