Wood Burning Stoves: Problems and Solutions
Today’s wood-burning stoves are excellent investments, providing one of the most cost-effective ways to heat your home. These appliances are efficient and beautiful, but they are not always problem-free. The best way to avoid difficulties with your wood-burning stove is to have it installed by a professional. If you also have the stove inspected and cleaned by a certified chimney sweep every year, you’ve taken the best possible preventative maintenance steps.
The most common problem among homeowners who have a new wood stove is a strong paint smell. This happens because the paint is still in the process of curing. The smell should be gone within a few days. If the odor continues longer than four days, it could be indicative of a problem; and you should contact the manufacturer.
A problem that homeowners experience with wood stoves that have been in use for a long while is that the bars or grates become deteriorated. One of the results can be excessive smoking. Several conditions contribute to accelerated deterioration of the grates, including leaving air vents or ash pit doors open for extended periods and over firing the appliance. If the ash pan is not cleaned out regularly, the ashes will touch the bars, which also results in premature damage and drafts.
Homeowners frequently experience drafting problems with their wood stoves, and there are many possible causes, including the following:
- The wood stove must be properly connected to the flue, and the size of the flue needs to meet the requirements given by the manufacturer. If a seal is leaking or if there is a break in the flue, the result could be a smoky wood stove. The joints can be resealed with heat-resistant cement. If the pipe is damaged, however, the damaged section should be replaced.
- If there is some type of chimney or stove pipe obstruction, some of the combustion materials will exit through the wood stove instead of outdoors. A blocked chimney can occur at any time. Some of the causes include debris such as leaves, animals, birds, and bits of masonry, if the chimney is deteriorating. Contact our chimney professionals for help with blocked venting.
- Sometimes when a wood stove is smoking it is because the door is damaged and in need of repair. The gaskets or glass on the doors may be broken, but they can be replaced. Stove suppliers typically carry all of the needed parts for modern appliances. One of the challenges homeowners face with wood stoves is that, over time, parts such as these are no longer available because the appliances have become outdated. In many cases, stoves need to be replaced altogether, which is still less expensive than, for instance, rebuilding a damaged fireplace.
- Burning unseasoned firewood is another cause of a smoky wood stove. Moist firewood does not burn efficiently. It creates a lot of smoke because the heat from the fire is used to burn out the moisture. This type of firewood also causes a lot more creosote and soot to be deposited in the stove and in the flue.
- A problem in modern homes that comes up with wood stoves is that the house is sealed so tightly, it’s difficult for the fire and chimney to get a sufficient amount of air for the chimney to function properly. The result is a drafty wood stove.
Contact our chimney professionals for help diagnosing problems you may be having with your wood stove.
Northeastern Chimney, Inc
37 Cody Street, West Hartford, CT 06110