Problems with Wood Burning Stoves: Causes and Solutions

Scott JacksonComment

Modern wood burning stoves are beautiful, efficient appliances and excellent heat sources; but they are not always trouble-free. Many of the potential problems that can arise with wood burning stoves are solved by first having them installed by professionals and then having them inspected and cleaned annually by certified chimney sweeps. Smoking is the most common problem that homeowners have with their wood burning stoves. The following are possible causes of a drafty wood stove, along with helpful solutions:

  • Faulty door. It’s possible that the door of a wood burning stove is not airtight, when there is a problem with draftiness. Check gaskets on the door; if they are broken, stove suppliers can provide replacements. The glass may also need to be replaced, if it is damaged and creating a draft.
  • Unseasoned firewood. It’s important to burn seasoned or thoroughly dried firewood. When you burn green or unseasoned firewood, the result is a great deal of smoke and a lot of messy creosote and soot deposits in the stove and chimney.
  • Chimney obstruction. There are many things that can possibly obstruct a chimney, such as animals, debris as a result of a storm, deterioration of the masonry, and an excess buildup of creosote. When the combustion materials are prevented from exiting through the chimney the way they are supposed to, the result is a drafty wood stove. Contact our chimney sweeps for help removing chimney blockage.
  • A tightly sealed home. Modern homes are well sealed, which means there isn’t a lot of air being exchanged between inside and the out-of-doors. For this reason, chimneys are often unable to operate the way they are supposed to. As the smoke is drawn up the fireplace, there needs to be a source of air to keep the fire going and to keep the air flowing outside. This causes an insufficient air supply. A temporary solution to this problem would be opening a window to keep the air moving. Consult our chimney professionals for help addressing this type of draft problem.

Another problem we often hear about from consumers is the smell of paint. This is a typical occurrence when a new stove is initially fired up; it happens when the paint is still curing. The odor should completely dissipate within a few days. Contact our chimney professionals or the manufacturer of your wood stove if the paint smell lingers beyond four days.

Most stoves today have a feature called an “airwash facility” which keeps the glass clean. The airwash burns soot off the glass while the stove is being used. For stoves that do not have self-cleaning glass, wipe off soot before the glass is hot; it should come off easily. If the glass is hot, the moisture on the cloth will turn to steam, and this should be avoided. When the stove is cool, dip your cleaning cloth in the ashes and rub stubborn stains with them; this should remove the stains. Do not use abrasive cloths or cleaning fluids on the wood stove glass because it will cause long-term damage.

There are many potential problems that can occur with chimneys, such as moisture getting into the masonry and causing deterioration. Contact our chimney professionals for any questions or problems and to schedule a cleaning and inspection.