Common Problems with Wood-Burning Stoves
There has been much advancement in clean-burning technology. The wood stoves of today are both beautiful and efficient, potentially providing all the heat needed for large areas, even in the coldest of temperatures. Wood stoves are still, however, fairly basic heating appliances. In simplest terms, wood is burned inside the stove, heat is generated, and combustion gases move out of the home through the flue. When things don’t work this way, the problem is rarely the wood stove itself. The common problems with wood-burning stoves usually involve the draft, the flue system, or inefficient use of the appliance.
The problem that people with wood stoves most commonly complain about is that too much smoke is entering the home. There are actually many potential reasons for a smoky wood-burning stove, and each has a solution, as follows:
- If there is a cap on the chimney or the flue pipe, it’s possible that it has become clogged. Spark screens on chimney caps do a good job of helping to prevent fires, but they can also become clogged with creosote and with debris from the outdoor environment. The screen can actually become sticky in cold, damp weather and trap more combustion particles than usual. Simply clean the cap, and the problem may be completely solved.
- If the wood stove is vented through a chimney, there is a possibility that the chimney has become obstructed, causing smoke to pour out of the stove. There are various potential causes, such as a deteriorating chimney or an animal, if there is no chimney cap with a protective screen. For help with a possible chimney obstruction, contact our chimney professionals.
- If the door on the wood-burning stove is not airtight, the result could be a problem with the draft. Inspect the door’s gaskets. If the parts are damaged, stove suppliers can usually provide needed replacements. The glass door on the stove may also be the problem; and in that case, replace the door or whatever parts of the door are malfunctioning.
- Because today’s homes are usually well sealed, a problem of negative air pressure often occurs. What this means is that there is an insufficient air supply in the home to provide the needed air for a proper draft in the wood stove’s venting system. Air from inside the home is an important part of achieving an effective draft. A temporary solution is to open a window. For a long-term solution, contact our professionals, who have the needed training and experience to be of help.
- Green or unseasoned firewood can cause a lot of smoke as well as messy soot and creosote deposits in the flue. It’s important to burn only dried or seasoned firewood, to avoid this problem.
When consumers begin burning firewood or wood pellets in their brand new wood stove, the smell of paint sometimes becomes a concern. This is not unusual because the paint on the stove is often still curing. In the vast majority of cases, the odor dissipates entirely within a few days. Contact the wood stove manufacturer or our chimney professionals if the odor lingers for more than four days.
Be aware that if your wood stove does not have self-cleaning glass, it is important to clean the glass correctly. Otherwise, you could cause permanent damage. Avoid cleaning the glass when it is hot. We recommend dipping a cleaning cloth into the ashes when the stove is cool and rubbing stubborn stains with the ashes. Never use cleaning fluids or abrasive cloths on the glass of the wood stove.
These are some of the more common problems with wood stoves. Another is that sometimes grating deteriorates, which may have been prevented by keeping the ashes cleaned out. For any questions you may have about your wood stove, contact our chimney specialists today.