Shut that door! The importance of closing the door on a wood-burning stove

Shut that door

Something that often causes confusion among wood-burning stove newcomers is the door. Should it be open? Should it be closed?

The short answer is closed.

And in most stoves it’s better to close the door as soon as possible. The reason is quite simple. With the door closed, your stove is up to 60% more efficient than if you have the door open. That means more heat in the room and less expense for you.

The confusion probably stems from people who are used to that instant blast of heat that comes from lighting an open fire. With a wood burner, you’re not supposed to feel the heat from the flames. Not directly, at least.

The flames in the firebox heats the metal panels that make up your stove. They, in turn, heat the rest of the room. It’s a more efficient way of heating your home than an open fire because less heat escapes.

If you think about it, closed is the obvious answer. Otherwise some enterprising company would have stopped putting the doors on and sold them at a cheaper price!

When to close the door

Assuming you’ve set your stove with newspaper and kindling, as soon as you’ve lit the newspaper is usually the best time to close the door. You should already have the air vents open while lighting the stove, so there is still a good air supply.

Some stove manufacturers prefer you to keep the door slightly open during these initial stages of the lighting process. Check your manufacturer’s manual to see if this is recommended for your stove.

You’ll soon learn what works best for your stove from experimenting. Even if you are leaving the door ajar, as soon as the stove is properly lit you should close the door.

For more information on wood-burning stoves, please visit Gr8Fires.

5 thoughts on “Shut that door! The importance of closing the door on a wood-burning stove

  1. As you stated open the doors and the fire will burn very quickly what i do if the fire is dull open for a couple of minuets then shut it tight it will burn hot for anything from 4 to 8 hrs depending on how much as fuel has been put on the fire i have had a stove 3 years now i would not go back to any other form of heating even if it was free

  2. I havent used my stove for over 2 years now ,as, trying to refuel was a nightmare ,the smoke that came out of the open door whilst trying to keep it going,. gave me a bad cough ,now I notice my door has got a crack in the glass as well ,so unfortunately another year without my cheery fire 🙁

  3. I found that leaving the door open when the insert/stove got too hot helps the excess heat to leave the device and to quickly burn away the excess fuel before the great heat causes damage. Is that wrong?

    • Hi Marlo

      Ideally, you want to be managing the stove so that there isn’t any excess heat that you want to leave the stove. Having the door open will potentially damage the internal parts.



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