Why does smoke come into my room when I light my woodburner?

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Lots of people with woodburners that otherwise function perfectly find that smoke seeps into their room during the lighting process. If you find yourself in that position, hopefully we will be able to help you find a solution by the time you have read this article.

The most likely cause

Does the smoke come out of your woodburner only when you’re lighting it? If so, the most likely cause is that a pocket of air has formed in the flue and is stopping the draw of the smoke up the chimney. With the stubborn air blocking the exit route, the smoke created during your stove-lighting process has no choice but to come back down the flue and out of the vents and/or open door of your woodburner.

How to deal with it

If this is happening to you, one way to stop the smoke getting into your room is to put a sheet of newspaper flat on top of a log inside the firebox and light it in several place. The sudden, intense and even burn of the flat paper will cause a surge of heat up the chimney, which ought to dislodge the air pocket and allow your stove to work properly without smoke escaping into your home.

How to stop this happening again

We’ve addressed how to deal with the problem, but how do you guard against it to prevent it happening again? One way of minimising the risk of air pockets sitting in your chimney is to leave the air vents on your woodburner wide open when it is not in use. This creates a flow of air through the stove and so reduces the chances of air sitting in one position.

This is also best practice when your stove is out of use for extended periods because the air flow reduces the chances of corrosion.

Other possibilities

Is the smoke coming out of your woodburner at times other than when it is being lit? Are you unsure whether air pockets are the cause of your problems? There are other possible causes.

These include:

  • Strong wing
  • Poor draw
  • Exposed property location
  • Lack of ventilation

Click here to find out more about tackling those problems.

2 thoughts on “Why does smoke come into my room when I light my woodburner?

  1. We lit the fire and suddenly it went buff and smoke came out of the vents underneath, I opened the door and it all seems ok now, do we need to get it checked out

    • Hi John,

      Unless you were burning something explosive, it’s likely to be due to a problem with the airflow. Perhaps an air pocket sitting and preventing the flue working correctly, causing a build-up of flammable gases that suddenly combusts. Avoid this by leaving air vents ajar when the stove is out of use.

      Alternatively, it might be due to a poor draw. You could experiment with opening a window and allowing more ventilation in the room if the problem occurs again.

      Thanks,

      Gr8Fires

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