Top flue exit or rear flue exit on woodburners

top flue exit or rear flue exit

Should you use the top flue exit or the rear flue exit on your woodburner?

Many appliances come with the option of having the flue connect on either the top or the rear of the stove body. The woodburner will usually come with a blanking plate to seal the flue exit that will not be in use. Typically a stove will arrive configured with the flue collar on top and geared up for use with the top flue exit, but it is easy to swap to the rear flue exit

But which option is best?

Using top flue exit

Generally, using the top flue exit will create a more elegant look, particularly in the case of freestanding stoves when all of the stove is on display. The straight line out of the appliance and skywards creates an aesthetically satisfying appearance.

The straight flue also gives an easier path for the flue gases, so that can lead to slight performance benefits in terms of the draw up your chimney.

Using rear flue exit

Using the rear flue exit can have benefits, particularly if the stove is being fitted within a fireplace recess. If three-quarters of the stove are surrounded by the fireplace, a lot of heat will go towards heating the inside walls of the fireplace rather than the room. Using the rear flue exit will immediately cause the appliance to jut further into the room and make better use of the fuel you’re burning.

The rear flue exit may provide slight benefits in terms of the amount of heat generated. The flue gases have slightly further to travel before exiting the firebox than when the top flue exit is use, so more of the flammable gases may be burnt as a result.

Downsides of using the rear exit are that it might be trickier to sweep your chimney and also that it might be slightly harder to light your stove when the chimney is cold.

Need more advice before buying your stove? Download this free wood-burning stove guide book.

Sticky, black liquid in woodburners

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Have you found a sticky, black liquid in your wood-burning stove? Perhaps the consistency reminds of tar, and that’s because that is exactly what it is.

You might spotted it running down the inside walls of your appliance or settled somewhere in the firebox.

If you have seen this black liquid, it indicates that you are not operating your stove correctly and, in particular, burning unsuitable fuel.

Usually tar is created as a byproduct of burning logs on a woodburner when the moisture level of the wood is too high. Since energy is being wasted evaporating water, the stove doesn’t get up to high enough temperature, which leads to cooler gases going up your chimney. Since they are cooler, they are prone to condense when they touch the metal of the flue liner.

The condensed gases will either solidify on the inside or the flue or drip back down into the stove in the form of the sticky liquid. Whenever the tar does get the chance to solidify it will turn into creosote. A build-up of creosote in your stove system increases the risk of chimney fires.

How to stop a sticky, black liquid appearing in your woodburner

There are a few ways to stop the black liquid appearing in your wood-burning stove. The first is to ensure that the only logs you burn are ones that have been correctly seasoned and have low moisture content. You can use a moisture meter to ensure this is the case.

Ensuring there is a strong draw up your chimney, operating your stove at full capacity and ensuring your room is well ventilated will also minimise the chance of flue gases condensing in your chimney.

It is also important to get your chimney swept regularly. This will remove any residual creosote that has built up in your chimney and prevent is seeping back down your chimney and into the stove.

Click here to read more about tar condensation.

Help! I’ve melted something on my woodburner

Boiler Stoves

Wood-burning stoves are very hot. This much we know.

But sometimes people underestimate just how hot they are. We hear tales of people trying to dry clothes by draping them over the stove in the same way they would a radiator.

Trainers, plastic cups and toys are among the items that have been melted on wood-burning stoves with some degree of regularity. Whether, as mentioned above, this was done deliberately with the intention of drying the item in question or whether the accidentally came into contact with the stove or was left sitting on a cold stove and forgotten about, the end result is usually the same.

That is that your lovely wood-burning stove body will now have a nasty blemish in the form of a melted and charred piece of fabric or plastic.

If you find yourself in that position, you will no doubt be keen to find a way to restore your stove to its former glory as soon as possible. That may or may not be realistic, but you can certainly have a go at getting it looking as good as possible.

Follow these tips to attempt to remove the melted material from your woodburner and get it looking like new again.

Removing melted plastic or material from a woodburner

The best way to remove the foreign object from the surface of your wood-burning stove is to rub down the affected area with wire wool. This will hopefully ensure that the melted item is worn away from the surface.

Of course, it is likely that you will also remove some of the stove paint in the process. That leads to the next step, which is to touch up the area on which you’ve used the wire wool with some stove paint.

Click here to buy stove paint.

Smells from wood-burning stoves


There is nothing nicer than the smell of a wood-burning stove in use, particularly if you’re burning a particularly fragrant wood.

But if your stove starts producing unusual or unpleasant smells it an become a bit disconcerting.

In this article, we will seek to pick out some of the more common unusual woodburner smells to help you to diagnose that pong and determine whether or not it is something you ought to be worrying about.

Egg smell from woodburner
If your stove is producing an eggy smell, that could be due to the sulphurous content of whatever you are burning. For instance, some coals contain relatively high levels of sulphur. This smell might be particularly obvious when you’re clearing out the ashes.

Chemical or paint smell from woodburner
A chemical smell from your wood-burning stove is normal when the appliance is new. This is because the stove paint still needs to cure. Curing is when liquids within the paint start to evaporate when the stove is first heated to the extreme temperatures required for a wood-burning stove. This causes the chemical structure of the paint to change, leaving just the desired finish on the stove, but also creating a paint smell. This smell should go away after the stove has been used three or four times.

If a chemical smell continues beyond that, it could be that something – most likely paint or oil – is burning off further up the stove and flue system.

If you’re burning treated wood, which is not a good idea, that is another possible cause of a chemical smell.

Smoke smell from woodburner
Given that a wood-burning stove involves burning fuel, a degree of smoke smell is inevitable. If you feel the smell is getting stronger or is seeping further into your home it could be indicative of a problem. It could mean that your chimney needs to be swept, that there is a leak in the flue or chimney, or that there is a problem with the draw, which could be caused by conditions outside your home or by a lack of ventilation within your home.

Soot smell from woodburner
As with a smoke smell, a smell of soot from your woodburner could indicate a need to have your chimney swept. It might also suggest that the wood you’re burning is not sufficiently seasoned and has a high moisture content. The soot smell is indicative of a creosote build-up in your chimney.

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