Your woodstove should be a valued asset each winter. It can make your home warm and cozy, and help lower your home-heating bills. An attractive, well-functioning woodstove can serve as a gathering place for your family and friends on a cold day, providing ambiance and heat.
From time to time, however, woodstoves can cause some problems. Most woodstove problems are relatively common, and can be dealt with quickly to keep your wood stove performing as it should.
A smoking woodstove
Perhaps nothing is more alarming than lighting a fire within your woodstove, closing the door and having smoke come pouring back into your home around the sides of the door or where the chimney connects to the stove. While it is alarming, a smoking woodstove is an incredibly common problem that usually has an easy solution. As woodstoves age, gaskets, seals and connectors can become loose or worn and will allow smoke to escape your stove. Once you have the worn parts professionally inspected and repaired, you should be set to enjoy smoke-free fires once more.
An improper draft can be a frustrating thing. You light a fire, but the fire struggles to burn warmly and efficiently. When your wood stove isn’t drafting properly, it fails to draw enough air in to fuel the fire and force the smoke up the chimney. A bad draft can be caused by an improperly sized chimney, or lack of available air in your home; homes are more air tight now than ever before. An improperly sized chimney must be fixed by a professional, but you might be able to find a solution if the problem is lack of available air. Make sure that all appliances that require air, such as kitchen range hoods and bathroom fans, are turned off when the fireplace is in use. You also can crack a window open near your woodstove to help it draw in more oxygen.
It is important to have your chimney swept and inspected each fall before you begin to use your woodstove for the season. Your chimney can become blocked with debris such as leaves and tree branches or if an animal finds its way in. The terra cotta flue liner may have deteriorated and pieces of the liner may have broken off causing a blockage. If you suspect your chimney is blocked, you will need to schedule a professional chimney sweeping before you burn another fire.
A cold, smoky fire
If your woodstove has never given you any problems and it has been burning well all season, and suddenly you experience cold, smoky fires, check your wood quality! To burn efficiently, woodstoves need dry, seasoned firewood. Without it, fires will fail to reach an ideal burn temperature. Your fires also will create an excessive amount of smoke, which fill your chimney with creosote at an alarming rate. How you build your fires can decrease the problem. Build a top down fire, this technique allows you to place the largest logs at the bottom of the woodstove with ends facing front and back. Stack the smaller logs until the firebox is about half full,topping the wood with kindling.Building a fire this way creates less smoke and also requires less tending.
If your woodstove is giving you problems and you can’t find a solution, call the fireplace and chimney experts at Clean Sweep of Anne Arundel County! We can inspect your stove and chimney to help you identify the source of your woodstove problems and provide the fixes that will have you enjoying your stove again.