Why Does My Wood Burning Stove Smoke?

Wood smokers are a great tool for cooking some delicious dishes. They can also be used to dry wet clothes, make wonderful memories with your family, and provide heat during the cold winter months. But what happens when you notice smoke coming from the chimney? This is very dangerous because it indicates that there is not enough airflow in your stove. This could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning or even fire!

Wood-burning stoves can be a great way to heat your home, but there are some factors that may cause the stove to smoke. In this blog post, we will explore three reasons why your wood stove may have excessive smoke and what you need to do about it.stove

Why Does My Wood-Burning Stove Smoke?

There are a number of different reasons why your wood-burning stove might be smoking. This article will discuss the top three causes as well as offer solutions for you to consider if this problem arises with your appliance.

The first reason that your wood-burning stove might smoke is that it’s not getting enough airflow. When the firebox of a wood stove becomes too hot, less oxygen can get in through the air intake to feed the flame. This results in reduced combustion and poor heating performance for you as well as an increase in soot production due to incomplete burning of fuel within the appliance itself.

The best way to prevent this problem from occurring is by ensuring that you keep all doors on your unit closed while there are always fires present inside it; additionally, be sure that these doors fit tightly without any gaps around them when they’re shut.

This brings us to our second cause: leaks. If there isn’t a tight seal between each door and the firebox or flue, combustion byproducts such as smoke and soot can seep through these gaps. This usually happens because the stove isn’t level; sometimes it is enough to simply reposition your unit slightly for this problem to be resolved.

If you already have a perfectly flat floor around your appliance but are still unable to prevent leaks from occurring, you may need new gaskets for each door on your wood-burning stove in order to solve this issue completely.

Finally, there are times when insufficient draft occurs within the chimney of a wood-burning appliance that results in excessive smoking during operation. As with the previous two reasons we’ve mentioned, this comes down to issues with airflow rather than just air intake alone.

An Un-swept or blocked chimney

Blocked or un-swept chimneys cause a build-up of creosote. Creosote may ignite, which causes the wood-burning stove smoke and can lead to an unsafe situation in your home.

When you start your fire, be sure that there is no buildup of soot on the inside walls of your fireplace. If soot builds up too high it will clog the flue and prevent heat from leaving through the top venting hole (called a damper).stove

This will also cause smoke to fill up into your living space when trying to light a fire. You should always sweep at least once per week for best results and clean out any debris leftover after each use during colder months if not more often.

Always be sure there are no creosote buildups inside by using a metal brush on any remaining soot around the firebox, flue, or outside walls after cleaning up ashes from burning logs. Read below for more detailed instructions. Follow this step carefully as failure to do so could result in serious consequences such as carbon monoxide poisoning, which can cause death if not treated immediately!

We strongly recommend hiring a professional chimney sweep company who will know how to safely complete these tasks without risking damage or injury. If you choose to attempt them yourself, be sure to follow these instructions carefully and if you are not comfortable with doing this yourself please contact a chimney professional.

Poor Drafting

The draft is the primary cause of smoke coming from your stove. Poor drafting occurs when there isn’t enough air flowing into the fire to support it and draw gases away through chimneys or flue tubes. A poorly burned fuel also creates excess creosote, which has an oily texture and can fill up a combustion area quickly if not removed by proper ventilation.

The result is all kinds of problems: poor heat output, extremely high emissions levels in some cases (which means you’re basically breathing toxic fumes), unsafe operating conditions for your family—and even worse smells emanating from inside your living space!

A faulty or poorly adjusted intake damper also can contribute to poor drafting. If the damper is set too closed, not enough air will be allowed in for proper combustion; if it’s open too wide, all kinds of problems may develop with downdrafts and smoke spillage into your home.

You really need both a good draft and an adequate supply of oxygen entering the fire at the right rate (the kindling has burned down fairly thoroughly before you begin building up to larger pieces).

There are several ways to improve drafts: installing cleanouts around chimneys where creosote buildup occurs frequently, repositioning stovepipes so that they more directly meet roof lines—and adjusting dampers on stoves/chimneys.

Unseasoned Or Wet Logs

Your logs may be unseasoned or made of wet wood. Not only does burning these types of logs produce more smoke, but they also give off very little heat and can sometimes even put your fire out completely. To avoid this problem we suggest that you use seasoned hardwood instead to ensure the best possible burn rate and efficiency.stove

  • If your chimney is blocked, your wood-burning stove will likely produce smoke.
  • Wood logs that are unseasoned or made of wet wood can cause issues in the home when burned because they give off very little heat and put out the fire completely. To avoid this problem we suggest using seasoned hardwood instead to ensure a good burn rate & efficiency.

Poor Ventilation

One of the most common reasons why a wood-burning stove might smoke is because of poor ventilation. If you have your stove in an enclosed space, such as a small alcove or room with no way for air to circulate around it, then this can cause serious problems for you and those living nearby.

This causes pressure inside the house to build up, which forces smoke particles out into the home through cracks and crevices – not ideal! You should always ensure that there are vents open somewhere nearby so that hot air from your fireplace does not get trapped inside with anywhere to go. Poorly ventilated chimneys are another reason why stoves will sometimes produce black smoky emissions too.

See also
What To Look For When Buying A Wood Burning Stove

Inadequate Chimney Liner

One of the most common reasons a wood-burning stove will produce smoke is if it has an inadequate chimney liner. The stainless steel liner should be high enough to clear any obstructions in your chimneys, such as bird nests or other debris. If you have a flue that does not reach all the way up into your roofline, this can also interfere with how well heat from the fire rises through the pipe and out of your home’s fireplace opening.

In addition to being too short or failing to extend far enough upward into your roofing system, another reason for poor draft could be because there are holes in areas around where important parts connect together on top of the pipe itself. This means air leaks between sections instead of going up and out of your chimney, which is necessary in order to create a draft.

If you’ve already tried these two things and the smoke persists, there could be another factor involved: no air intake control or damper installed on your stove itself. This means that hot exhaust gases are escaping through the flue without being drawn outside by our natural method for venting fireplaces; when this happens, it creates backdrafts down into the inside of your home where you might see sparks (or even flames) spitting out from little cracks around doorframes or near wall areas where vents come into play.

These signs should serve as a warning that an open wood-burning fireplace must have an opening somewhere else up high so combustion gasses can escape properly.

Why Does My Wood Burning Stove Smoke When I Light It?

First, make sure that the stove has been properly cleaned and is not filled with ash from a previous burn. If there are heavy deposits of ashes in the firebox of your wood-burning stove, it can cause incomplete combustion as well as poor draft. Incomplete combustion produces smoke that leaves black streaks on the glass door of the fireplace insert or other appliance.stove

You will also notice an extremely unpleasant odor when you light up your wood-burning stove for this reason – do not ignore these signs! After cleaning out all the bad ashes from inside your wood burner remove any excess soot debris by wiping down each side panes of glass to avoid overheating concerns later on.

A few reasons why a new wood-burning stove may produce excessive smoking could be due to the following:

  • The wrong type of wood is being burned in your stove.
  • Not enough air supply when starting up a new fire or poor draft throughout burn time causes incomplete combustion and smoke build-up. This can be caused by having too small of an air inlet vent, for example, opening it beyond what it was designed for, causing backdrafts that pull fumes into your living space instead of allowing them to escape through the chimney flue.
  • Wood not properly seasoned before burning inside your fireplace insert could also cause black soot residue on glass doors as well as excessive smoking issues because green logs produce more tar than dry ones do. If you have been recently cutting down trees around your property make sure to allow the wood to dry out before burning it indoors.
  • If you have been using a fire starter with your new fireplace insert, this may cause too much heat and smoke as well – just use regular kindling or natural logs that are already dead instead of buying fake types which produce carbon monoxide fumes.
  • Ash buildup inside the stove is not allowed to be removed during periods when there has been no burn time because ash can become extremely hot after several hours of being exposed to flame – do not remove ashes until they turn completely cold! Never use water on any type of residue build-up either, only handle what you can safely brush off by hand if possible. Small amounts should be disposed of in metal bins outside away from combustible materials.
  • The damper or chimney flue is not open. In order to have a good draft up the chimney, you need to keep these areas clear at all times – use gloves and a special brush for this job so as not to burn your hands if it becomes too hot which causes more smoke in the house! You can also buy compact extensions that attach onto existing fireplace inserts with screens, allowing better circulation of air from outside into the inside area where the wood-burning stove insert is placed.

What do I do If My Wood Burning Stove Keeps Smoking?

There are several steps that you can take right away before calling an installation service company:

  • Make sure to use the proper fire starter material inside your new wood stove, typically one that is made of compressed sawdust instead of chemical-containing starters which can produce dangerous fumes.
  • Check for drafts around exterior walls and windows on your house where the installation took place, if you notice too much heat coming out or even smoke then this means there are leaks allowing cold air into living areas.
  • If possible move furniture away from fireplace inserts so as not to block airflow – also ensure the area is clear before lighting up a new fire! Also, make certain all damper doors are fully open when trying out different methods to decrease the smoking of wood-burning stoves. Ensure flue/chimney meets local building codes at all times!

How Can I Stop My Wood Burning Stove From Smoking?

You can follow these steps in order to avoid too much smoke from filling your living area:

  • Keep the stove clean at all times, especially after shutting down for a period of time when no fire is lit. When you need to do this place a screen over the top so as not to allow ash or residue build-up onto flooring areas.
  • Make sure that wood being burned inside the fireplace insert has been properly dried before use and only burn small amounts of kindling at a time which will produce less tar overall during start-up procedures.
  • To create a good draft open damper doors fully then leave them open while lighting up new fires but be sure they shut tightly once the flame is lit – also keep the area free of any household objects that might block access to the chimney flue or firebox.
  • Do not use fire starters which can produce harmful chemicals when burning inside a wood stove! Only burn natural kindling materials such as twigs and dried leaves for start-up procedures. Ensure all areas where you are placing your fireplace insert installation are clear before actually lighting a new blaze!
See also
Best Creosote Remover (Buyer’s Guide)

How Can I Make My Wood Burning Stove Less Smoky?

It may take some time but keeping your newly installed fireplace insert clean with small amounts of residue build-up balanced will be most effective in controlling excess smoke during burning times, try these steps:

  • Always make certain a proper size log is used by measuring it against the firebox opening after cleaning out ashes from the last burn.
  • Burn a small number of kindling materials to create a good draft before adding new logs, also do not overfill the fireplace insert with wood at any time! Make certain damper doors are open fully for this procedure.
  • Keep area free of furniture or anything that might block access to chimney flue or firebox while burning, if smoke continues then remove all objects and allow a few hours cooling down period in order to decrease high heat build-up inside the stove.

What Causes Wood Burning Stove Smoke?

There are several causes for excess smoke during burning times which can cause dark residue to build up on walls around your newly installed fireplace insert:

  • Fireplace Insert Damper Doors are not fully open or shut during start-up procedures.
  • Improper size logs are being used inside the wood-burning stove!
  • Blaze is too large for fireplace insert, only burn a small amount of kindling at a time to create a good draft before placing a new blaze into the firebox opening.
  • Use only natural materials such as twigs and dried leaves for starting fires, do not use chemical products when lighting up your wood stove!
  • Ensure the area is free of any furniture blocking access to the chimney flue while burning, if smoke continues then remove all objects from around the fireplace insert installation. Allow some hours cooling down period after removing any heated items since high heat build-up can occur in these types of areas.

Cold Air Trapped Within The Stove When It’s First Fired Up

Cold air will fill the combustion chamber when a new stove is first fired up. When cold, fresh oxygen has to mix with the carbon monoxide and hydrogen already in there. This can cause smoking as it doesn’t burn easily at this point. Over time, as you continue using your wood-burning stove, it should become easier for your burner to ignite properly without smoke or creosote buildup!stove

Smoke can also indicate a reduced air supply. This is more likely to be caused by the chimney being too short, or if it’s blocked in some way. If your stovepipe isn’t open all of the way up into the combustion chamber, smoke will slowly build up during use causing you to get less heat from your wood-burning stove and potentially have an unpleasant smell!

If you are getting smoke when using your woodburning stove for long periods at a time then this could mean that there is excess creosote building on these parts of your appliance:

The areas where most smoking happens are often found around doors/windows, flue liner joints & bends as well as dampers. Creosote build-up in these areas can cause a fire so it’s important to clean them thoroughly. This will keep your stove running at its best and also reduce the risk of you being exposed to dangerous fumes when using your wood-burning stove!

Smoke from an appliance is never normal, but if you just need some help with getting rid of creosote then this article provides advice on how to do that: How To Remove Creosote Buildup From Your Woodburning Stove.

How To Light A Wood Burning Stove to Stop Smoke

  • If the wood is too dry, it will burn too quickly. This can cause smoke as there isn’t enough time for all of the gasses and creosote to be burned away. If your firewood was cut less than a year ago, you may need to let it sit in an unheated area so that it properly dries out before using or burning inside your home. You could also try to split larger pieces into smaller ones (which would allow them to rest longer) instead of buying kindling wood from the store which has been kiln dried already.
  • Make sure that the damper is open. If you have a stove with an airtight door, it can cause smoking as if there isn’t enough oxygen getting into your firebox or flue to keep the fuel burning completely. Make sure that you are opening this vent when lighting and maintaining your wood fire so that no smoke escapes through here.
  • If all else fails, try starting with newspaper instead of kindling wood. Since paper burns much more easily than larger pieces of wood, it should help get rid of any residual smoke at the beginning while letting nice flames grow before transitioning to bigger logs later on in your burn cycle. Just be careful not to let these embers go out during their visit!

Waiting For The Flames To Go Down

If the wood is still smoking after it’s been burning for about five minutes, you may need to adjust your air intake. If there is too much oxygen in the firebox, smoke will keep coming out of the stove and into your home. Check that all vents are open properly and try closing them a bit more if this doesn’t help.

You could also check with the manufacturer how much fresh air should be entering through their specific model – most can tell you by what size/length of pipe they recommend using as well as whether or not it needs an external chimney liner (a metal tube installed inside an existing masonry flue). Most owner’s manuals contain these details so don’t forget to read thoroughly before purchasing!

How to Open a Wood Stove Door To Prevent Smoke Coming Out

If you want to open the door of your wood-burning stove, then here are some great tips that will help you do it.

  • Start by making sure that your door is properly closed. If it’s not, then open the firebox and close the stove again before continuing to read this article.
  • Make sure that you have a screen in front of any window near where you are opening or closing your wood-burning stove so no smoke escapes through there when you do it. The last thing anyone wants is their neighbors calling 911 because they think something’s on fire!
  • When you open a wood-burning stove door, make sure to use the handle and not any other part of it. This could damage the flue piping.
  • Make certain that your fireplace screen fits tightly against your wood stove so no smoke escapes from under or around it when you’re opening or closing the door on your firebox. If there are gaps, then fill them in with cement caulk before attempting to close the door again if this is what caused smoke to come out! It will also help prevent sparks from flying into areas where they aren’t supposed to be going off next time a hot ember jumps out onto something else during operation too!
  • Use common sense while doing all these activities and remember one very important thing: if you don’t want to breathe in any more smoke, then make sure that your wood-burning stove has been properly installed before using it for the first time.
  • If these tips didn’t help resolve this problem with a smoky chimney when opening or closing a firebox door on your appliance, then I would recommend reaching out to an authorized dealer of yours and asking them about their services. They will be able to come to inspect what caused all of this so you can use your fireplace again without worrying about inhaling too much smoke!
See also
How To Control A Multi Fuel Stove?

Safety Tips

  • Keep a window open when using your stove. This will help prevent dangerous levels of carbon monoxide from forming inside the home or cabin. If you cannot keep a window open then it would be best to have an alternate heat source available just in case. It is also important that flues remain clear at all times so you don’t run into any problems during usage, especially if they are not being used for long periods of time where dust and other particles may build upon them.
  • Make sure to use seasoned wood which has been dried properly before using as well as keeping proper airflow through logs by stacking them correctly with air gaps between each piece of wood inserted into the firebox. Ensure there isn’t heavy smoke coming out either, as this may indicate too much oxygen is being drawn in.stove
  • Properly operating dampers are essential for the prevention of smoke issues so it’s important to keep them closed when not needed, especially on older stoves that were made before automatic draft control systems and other modern updates to stove design.
  • You can tell if there isn’t sufficient airflow by checking that flames aren’t coming out around the edges of the door glass or from inside near where hinges sit along with any signs of blacking occurring wherever these two areas meet up at seams between pieces/components within firebox designs. Another indication you might have too much air would be seeing a yellow flame rather than blue and heat escaping through cracks found in castings instead of staying within the firebox.
  • It is important to understand how the stove works and be able to use it properly so you can prevent any issues or problems arising, especially if your unit wasn’t made very recently as many manufacturers now produce more efficient designs which burn with less smoke than older units did.
  • Ensure that there isn’t too much air getting into the system by checking for yellow flames instead of blue ones where two surfaces meet together at seams along with areas around door glass seals; also look out for signs of blacking found wherever hinges are located on these pieces/components within firebox design. This may indicate there isn’t enough oxygen flowing through logs burning inside the fireplace insert, meaning proper airflow needs to be reinstated before trying again in the future.


What should I do if my wood-burning stove starts smoking?

If you notice your fireplace is emitting smoke, first try to open an exterior window or two. This can help minimize the amount of smoke inside. Next, turn down the heat on your burner so that it only maintains a low flame instead of exploding into flames. Then check your air quality in another room and see what changes occur once there are more windows opened up. Finally, call one of our experts for advice! We love talking about this stuff all day long (but we’ll be happy to stop after hours).

What is the best way to use my wood-burning stove?

Always make sure that your firewood has been dried, cut, and split before you burn it. The moisture content of fresh-cut wood can be as high as 45%. Wood with this amount of humidity will produce more smoke than seasoned (dried) wood that contains 20%-25% moisture content. Furthermore, ensure that only dry fuel is added into the combustion chamber whenever possible because wet or damp sawdust logs release large volumes of unburned carbon particles when burned at low temperatures (200 degrees Fahrenheit). Our experts suggest starting slow! Burn your coal for a few hours per day until you see how much heat output you’re actually getting from these logs. It’s better to be patient than not receive any heat at all!

What should I check if my flue pipe is blocked?

First, make sure that your wood-burning stove door is closed and the air controls are open. Then take a flashlight up into the chimney or even climb on top of an elevated surface (like a ladder) so you can see inside through the smoke chamber opening located near where your firewood gets loaded onto the grate. If no light comes out from this space then there might still be some blockage in here somewhere – it could either be stuck down below with ashes or too high for you to reach without climbing equipment). Lastly, try vacuuming out any debris that may be stuck inside your flue pipe. Make sure that you purchase an attachment that fits the size of this chimney!


Your wood-burning stove smoke is your first indicator that something has gone wrong with the burn process. If you have a good clean fire, then there should be very little or no visible smoke coming out of the chimney at all. Wood burns in three stages: preheating, ignition and finally combustion (burning). When these three steps are followed by well-seasoned logs it’s not uncommon to see almost nothing leaving the top of your flue stack apart from some light steam as water vapor leaves with any remaining gases.