Issues With Smoke

Wood burning stove that is smoking back isn't only an annoyance. The smoke also indicates some sort of a problem. But the good news is that there is usually an easy solution. Listed below are the most common culprits of issues with smoke:

- Blocked chimney. If you haven't had your chimney swept for a while, there is a great chance that the smoke is caused by soot and tar deposits preventing it from travelling up the chimney. Have a chimney sweep clean your chimney because the soot deposits don't only interfere with draught but also pose a risk of fire.

- Leaky flue/air intrusion. If your wood burning stove continues to smoke back after having the chimney cleaned, you may have a leaky flue reducing updraught due to air intrusion. Have your chimney and flue inspected for leaks and have them sealed immediately if any are found.

- Poorly maintained stove. In addition to having your chimney swept on a regular basis, you are also recommended to keep your stove clean. Just like chimney, passages in the stove can get blocked by soot and tar deposits as well.

- Poor ventilation. Your stove may not be getting enough air to work properly. To test if insufficient air supply could be the cause of your smoke issues, open a window or door of the room with the stove. If opening the window or door helps, you might have found both the cause and solution for the smoke problem.

- Cool chimney. For the smoke to travel up the chimney, it is crucial for the chimney and flue system to remain warm. Why? Because the smoke will travel upwards only if it is lighter than air. And it can be lighter only if warmer than the outside air. So if you don't have insulated chimney, you can experience smoke issues.

- Stack effect. If you live in a tall building, your smoke issues may be related to the so-called stack effect or pressure differences creating a backward draught. There are several solutions for the stack effect preventing the smoke from travelling up the chimney. You are advised to consult an expert about your options.

- Insufficient height of the chimney. The height of the chimney has a major influence on the draught. If there are any obstructions such as trees or high buildings, they can interfere with the draught which in turn can cause smoke problems.

- Unfavourable weather conditions. If you experience smoke problems only occasionally, they might be related to unfavourable weather conditions such as air inversion (a natural phenomena in which a layer of warmer air is formed above the cool air at the surface), wind and seasonal changes. For example, you are less likely to have smoke issues during winter than during spring and autumn. When the outside temperatures are higher, the difference in weight between the air and smoke is lower.