Do you have smoke billowing 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 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.

During wintry weather, when temperatures drop, a pocket of cold air becomes trapped in the chimney, if there isn’t a flow of air. So when you come to light your fire you’ll find the denser cold air forces the smoke back down the chimney. Sometimes a new fire just isn’t hot enough to force the cold air out.

To combat this, pop a firelighter, or roll of newspaper on top of your wood. This will put your flame’s heat directly up the chimney. This should give your chimney the heat it needs to clear the blockage of cold air. Read our blog post and watch the video on this here.

However if the issues persists you can try a few other tips:

Clean your chimney

Clean your chimney at least once or twice a year depending on usage to help the draw.

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.

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.

 

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.

 

Add a draught booster

This new technology sees a fan built into a cowl that sucks air up the chimney. It is worth noting that this cowl will require 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. This is especially relevant if your flue is shorter than recommended.

If smoke is still entering your room please get in touch or comment below.

10 comments

  1. starting to get sore throat the fire seems to burn well the problem seems to be when loading more wood and opening the door can not see any smoke but can smell the fire, any ideas than you

  2. We have had a new which is lovely but, when you open the door to put a log on smoke comes out, which is not very good. We have spoken to the people who put the fire in and they say that the fire is ok. We open the door very slightly get a log and as soon as you open the log wider the smoke comes out. Once the fire is hot it seems to settle. Our logs are kiln dried as we were told these are the best to use for the fire. How can we solve the smoke problem as it is not very nice.

    1. Hi Wendy, This is a common problem that many of wood burning stove owners suffer from. Your doing the right thing, burning kiln dried wood and cracking the door open before opening fully. The reason you do this with the door is to let the air pressure inside balance against the air pressure outside, otherwise what can happen if you pull open the door straight away, is you will pull the smoke out into the room at the same time.

      Smoke coming back into the room, when you open the door to reload at this time, is most likely due to cold air trapped inside your flue prior to you lighting the stove. Once the stove is lit and you have heat rising up the flue from the fire beneath, this will start to displace the cold air trapped inside and once this happens it will minimise the amount of smoke that can come out into the room. How are you lighting the stove, as a strange a question as that might sound, as there are different ways you can light a your stove. We would always choose the Scandinavian way of burning from the top down, rather than from the bottom up, as this way you minimise the amount of smoke produced, help with warming the flue and have enough fuel in the firebox so that you do not need to reload in the first hour. Take a look at this post: https://www.fireplaceproducts.co.uk/blog/start-fire-stove-advanced-method/ there is a video in it showing this method of lighting your stove. Try this and let us know how you get on.

      Reece

  3. We have a log burner every time we have an easterly wind the smoke just pumps into the room and fire goes out the flue does not go above the main ridge of building and was fitted by hetas accredited company could the flue be not fitted high enough

    1. Hi David,

      So with regards to your flue not being above the ridge, this can depend upon how far away from the roof it is. best way to describe this is if you fitted a 2.4m helicopter blade to the top of your chimney, could it rotate without hitting anything? If yes then it should be fine, if not then it should normally go above the ridge, however it is hard for me to comment on specifics without seeing it, and if it was fitted by a HETAS engineer then they know what they are doing.

      Regarding the easterly wind problem, what cowl/terminal do you have fitted to the chimney at the moment? As it could be that you have particularly strong winds coming in from that direction and need an alternative cowling to prevent this downdraft. Anti-downdraft cowls are a good place to start when it comes to protecting from wind coming down the flue, but there are other more advanced cowls also available from H-Cowls to lobster back cowls that move 360° in the wind so that the terminal is never in the same direction as the wind is blowing. https://www.fireplaceproducts.co.uk/cowls-caps-and-birdguards/ Here is a link to some of the different solutions we offer and if you would like to discuss specifics, please drop us an email with some photos of your chimney and we can try and help – sales@fireplaceproducts.co.uk

      Hope this helps, Reece

  4. Ive done all the checks. Chimney is good and clean etc.

    I did find some spiderweb like stuff under the plates in the area that go to the chimney. Cleand it out, and tonight it was back again. Do you know what it is?

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