One of the common issues that wood-burning stove owners contact us about is the appearance of smoke in their room after seeping out of their stove.
This might be a regular occurrence in their home or something that has suddenly happened as a one-off. Either way, it is not very pleasant and something that most people are keen to put a stop to as soon as possible.
So, why is smoke blowing down your chimney?
Possible causes of smoke coming from a woodburner
If the smoke is a one-off problem that you have experienced for the first time, it is worth considering: was the wind particularly strong at the time the incident happened? Sometimes gusty weather can blow smoke back down the chimney and out of the appliance. If it hasn’t happened before and the weather is bad, this might be the cause.
Is your property in an exposed location? If your chimney is particularly open to the elements then the cause of the problem might still be the wind. In exposed properties the problem might occur more regularly and in less gusty conditions than in other properties.
If it sounds like those circumstances apply to your property, it is advisable to fit an anti-downdraught cowl to your chimney. This will reduce the opportunities for the wind to blow down the flue. Buy a cowl now.
Smoke can blow into your room if your chimney suffers from a poor draw. In other words, the smoke and flue gases are not being pulled up the chimney with sufficient strength. This becomes a problem if the wind outside is drawn into or over the chimney in a way the prevents the gases from exiting. In that case, they can be forced back down the chimney and may seep out of your woodburner.
If your property is protected by trees or other large structures that would impact on the air flow around your chimney, that could be the cause of a poor draw.
If your chimney has a weak draw, it is worth investigating if there are any blockages that might be contributing to this. For instance, getting your chimney swept is a good starting point. Another solution is to fit a revolving chimney cowl. This cowl rotates on top of the chimney to assist the draw and ‘pull’ the flue gases out of the chimney.
Lack of ventilation
Another reason for a poor draw – and, consequently, smoke coming into your home – is a lack of ventilation. The draw is created by the movement of air from your room into the stove and up the chimney. If your stove is not able to ‘suck in’ enough air, this could result in a weak draw.
Ventilation requirements are dictated in the Building Regulations, so a ventilation problem might indicate that something went amiss during the installation process. Try opening a window slightly to see if the additional ventilation solves the problem.