How to stop smoke coming out of your stove

Do you have smoke coming out of your stove every time you open the door to refuel? How about smoke lingering around in the firebox instead of being drawn quickly up and out the chimney? It is particularly prevalent during wintry weather, when temperatures drop, as a pocket of cold air becomes trapped in the chimney. It is frustrating and it can begin to cause issues, especially for those with breathing problems, but before you give up on your stove, here are some tips that can help rectify the situation.
cold chimney

Cold Flue

When you come to light your fire you’ll often find that the denser cold air trapped in the flue forces the smoke back down the chimney.

To combat this pop a firelighter on top of your wood. This will put your flame’s heat directly up the chimney with little smoke. This should give your chimney the heat it needs to clear the blockage of cold air ready for you to then light your fire.

Clean your Chimney

Many compact stoves are designed to run on small 125mm (5″) or 150mm (6″) flues. If your chimney has a liner that is not regularly cleaned than this can reduce the diameter of the flue which could be  a contributing factor to smoke coming out of your stove. Have your chimney cleaned at least once per year, twice if you use it regularly.
chimney sweep on a roof
wood stove door open

Open the Door Slowly

You may simply be opening the door too fast. This action can draw the smoke out into the room. When you open the door, leave it ajar for a second or two before opening fully. This should allow for the pressure in the firebox to equalise and continue to send smoke up the chimney.

Burn Drier Wood

Unseasoned wood will produce a lot of smoke. High levels of moisture can cause a build-up of creosote in a chimney, which can be dangerous. The fire’s energy is spent trying to boil the water out of the log, so not only do you get a lethargic, smoky mess rolling around in the firebox, you won’t get the firebox up to a sufficient temperature to shift the cold air blockage. Consider buying a moisture metre, kiln dried wood and bringing logs in from the cold a few hours before you burn them to warm them up and prevent condensation.
wood stacked

Prevent downdraft

Sometimes smoke may be coming out of your stove because of a downdraft. Your chimney not being set high enough above the roof, trees or other buildings. A chimney pot can extend the height of the chimney. Meanwhile, similar to an aspirator cowl, an anti-downdraft cowl prevents a downdraft but doesn’t improve the draw. It is worth figuring out which of this you need before you purchase.

Improve the chimney's draw

A rotating aspirator cowl will assist the draw of the chimneys when it is windy. The rotating cowl will help move the cold air up and out of the chimney. This helps to keep air moving through the house in the correct direction.

Alternatively try a draft-booster fan. Built into a cowl, a draft-booster will suck air up the chimney creating positive pressure and boost the chimneys draught. It is worth noting that this solution will require an electric supply as well as regular maintenance to prevent a build-up of ash deposits. A build-up can cause it to stop working. However it will greatly aid in removing the cold air trapped inside your flue or chimney. Fans can be particulary useful when your flue/chimney is shorter than recommended.

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