Wood Stove 101: 8 Tips to Stop Smoke Coming Out of My Wood Stove Door
Having trouble with smoke when you open the door of your wood stove? Nothing is more frustrating than getting a blast of smoke in your face when you go to reload your wood stove. Unfortunately, smoke will always take the path of least resistance, and in wood burning stoves, an open door is like… well an open door. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to minimize how much smoke comes out of your wood stove door.
How to Stop Smoke Coming Out of a Stove When The Door is Open
- Make sure your bypass or combustion fan is engaged: If your wood stove is equipped with a catalytic combustor (and most clean wood stoves are) you should turn on your stove’s combustion fan or bypass the catalytic combustor before opening the door. This will help to direct the flow up and out your chimney instead of out the door.
- Clean your catalytic combustor: It’s easy to forget this little bit of maintenance for wood burning stoves with a catalytic combustor. It isn’t hard for the combustor to get clogged. Your catalytic combustor can generally be found at the top and back of your stove. If you observe ash accumulated on the firebox side of your combustor, simply gently brush off the ash with a soft brush, or vacuum off the ash with a soft brush attachment. Generally, removing the catalytic combustor is not required to stop smoke coming out of the stove when the door is open.
- Don’t reload when there are flames: No smoke can come out of your wood stove if there is no smoke inside your wood stove! When the wood is first loaded and when there are open flames, there is a large amount of smoke inside your wood stove. But as the fire burns on and reduces down to coals, there is far less smoke produced. Try to limit opening the door to when the fire has stopped open flaming and is only coals to stop smoke coming out of the stove when the door is open.
- Only use seasoned, non-resinous hard woods: Wet or oily wood produces much more smoke in wood burning stoves than seasoned hardwoods. Sticking to seasoned hard woods helps minimize the smoke produced, and is good for efficient burning too.
- Load towards the back of the stove: When reloading wood burning stoves, you should rake the coals towards the front and load your wood towards the back. Wood loaded in the back of the stove is more likely to stop smoke coming out of the stove when the door is open.
- Crack the door before opening: When you first crack the door of your stove, the airflow inside your stove will begin to change. Before opening the door completely, slightly crack the door and wait 10 to 20 seconds for the new airflow pattern to establish. Then open the door slowly.
- Turn off all fans near the stove: Your stove’s blower fan, kitchen fans, and even bathroom fans can create partial vacuums that suck smoke out of your stove’s open door. By turning off these devices, it is easier for smoke to stay where it belongs – inside your stove.
- Check your flue pipe: If all else fails, the problem is usually a result of a draft problem. Your wood stove relies on suction, called draft or draught, from the chimney to draw the smoke up out of your wood stove and out of your house. There are a few things that can cause bad draft in wood burning stoves: a cold chimney, wind induced down draft, or even a clogged or obstructed chimney. If you’re still unable to stop smoke coming out of the stove when the door is open, even after trying all of the above tips, call a certified chimney sweep to come and inspect your stove.
Smoky wood burning stoves can be frustrating, but by changing just a few details about how you operate your wood stove, you can stop smoke coming out of a stove when the door is open easily.