If you own a wood-burning stove, you may have experienced blowback at some point. This is a common issue that can occur when the stove gets a “breath of fresh air” from a down draft or when there is an area of wood in the stove that is just about ready to flash over. When it ignites, it can quickly increase the pressure within the stove, causing a backdraft of smoke and gases to be released into your home.
There are several causes of blowback in a wood stove. One of the most common is a poor draft, which can be caused by a number of factors such as a dirty chimney, improper installation, or a lack of ventilation. Other causes include wet or unseasoned wood, a cold stove, closed or blocked air vents, and a buildup of creosote in the chimney.
If you’re experiencing blowback in your wood stove, don’t worry there are several solutions to this problem.
First, make sure your chimney is clean and free of any obstructions, you should also check that your stove is properly installed and that your air vents are open and functioning correctly.
Additionally, using dry, seasoned wood and keeping your stove at a consistent temperature can help prevent blowback from occurring.
Common Causes of Blowback in a Wood Stove
One of the most common causes of blowback in wood stoves is improper drafting. If the stove is not drafting properly, it can cause smoke and gases to back up into your home. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- A chimney that is too short or too narrow
- A chimney that is blocked or obstructed
- A stovepipe that is too long or too narrow
If you suspect that improper drafting is the cause of your blowback problem, it is important to have your chimney and stovepipe inspected by a professional to determine the cause and find a solution.
A clogged chimney is another common cause of blowback in wood stoves. Over time, creosote and other debris can build up in your chimney, blocking the flow of air and causing smoke and gases to back up into your home. Regular chimney cleaning can help prevent this problem.
Moisture Content in Wood
The moisture content of the wood you burn can also affect the performance of your wood stove, wet or green, or as they say, unseasoned wood can cause more smoke and gases to be produced, which can lead to blowback, make sure you are using properly seasoned wood with a moisture content of 20% or less.
Finally, improper fueling can also cause blowback in wood stoves. Overloading the stove with too much wood at once or not allowing enough air to flow into the stove can cause smoke and gases to back up into your home, so make sure you are following the manufacturer’s instructions for proper fueling and use.
Solutions to Prevent Blowback
Regular Chimney Cleaning
One of the main causes of your wood stove back puffing is a dirty chimney. Creosote buildup can restrict airflow, leading to a backdraft. To prevent this, it is important to have your chimney cleaned regularly. The frequency of cleaning depends on how often you use your stove and the type of wood you burn. As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended to have your chimney cleaned at least once a year.
Proper Wood Selection and Storage
The type of wood you burn also plays a significant role in preventing blowback. Using very dry wood, like pallets or kiln-dried wood blocks, which burn very rapidly, emitting too much combustible gas too quickly, can increase the risk of blowback. Using wood that is split very small can also cause blowback. It is best to use seasoned hardwood that has been properly stored. Wood should be stored in a dry place, off the ground, and covered to prevent moisture buildup.
Proper Fueling Techniques
Another cause of blowback is improper fueling techniques. Avoid overloading the stove with too much wood at once, as this can cause a smoldering fire that produces more smoke than heat. Instead, add small amounts of wood at regular intervals to maintain a steady fire. You should also avoid shutting the air controls down too far after a new loading, starving the fire of oxygen.
Installation of a Chimney Draft Inducer
If you have tried all of the above solutions and are still experiencing blowback, you may want to consider installing a draft inducer. A draft inducer is a fan that is installed in or on the chimney that will increase airflow and prevent blowback, or as they say, back puffing. This can be a more expensive solution, but it may be necessary if you live in an area with frequent backdrafts or if your chimney is not properly designed.
In summary, blowback in wood stoves can be caused by a number of factors see more here, including poor ventilation, improper fueling, and lack of maintenance. It is important to properly install and maintain your wood stove to prevent blowback and ensure safe and efficient operation.
To prevent blowback, make sure your wood stove is properly vented and that the chimney is clean and free of obstructions. Use only dry, seasoned wood, and avoid overloading the stove. Keep the stove door closed and do not open it unnecessarily, as this can disrupt airflow and cause smoke to enter the room.
Regular maintenance is also important for preventing blowback. Inspect your stove and chimney regularly for signs of damage or wear, and replace any worn or damaged parts as needed. Clean the stove and chimney at least once a year to remove creosote buildup and other debris. If you experience blowback despite taking these precautions, it may be necessary to consult a professional chimney sweep or stove installer. They can help identify the cause of the problem and recommend solutions to ensure the safe and efficient operation of your wood stove.
Remember, proper installation, fueling, and maintenance are key to preventing blowback and ensuring the safe and efficient operation of your wood stove. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy the warmth and comfort of your wood stove without worrying about the risk of blowback.