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Any tips to avoid smoke on reload?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Johnpolk, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. Johnpolk

    Johnpolk New Member

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    We seem to get a lot of smoke if we open the door to add an extra split. Any advice? So far we have tried opening air up to improve draft before opening, and opening door slowly. Neither seem to help. Any other tips?

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  2. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    Try closing the draft just before opening the door. I know it sounds strange, but there are times this helps with my stove.
  3. Bret Chase

    Bret Chase Minister of Fire

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    to avoid smoke, I have to leave the left door closed on my old smoke dragon... I don't know why, but it will only let smoke out of the left door...
  4. Johnpolk

    Johnpolk New Member

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    I will try closing Down before opening. Seems counter intuitive but doesn't hurt to try
  5. ohio woodburner

    ohio woodburner Feeling the Heat

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    I crack the door open a little for a few seconds before i slowly open door.
  6. sailor61

    sailor61 Burning Hunk

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    What model are you burning and door configuration? Different brands/models react differently. With my Woodstock Fireview the only time I get any smoke is if I've let the fire simmer very low and things don;t burn out completely. With an old Vermont Castings that I had it always worked well if I opened up the draft and then loosened the door a bit, waited about a minute and then opened it up. Just cracking the seal on the door seemed to let the natural draft build enough that there was very little smoke.
  7. Johnpolk

    Johnpolk New Member

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    Stove is an isle royale. Double doors in front. Have tried to open door a crack and then proceed slowly but maybe leave it cracked longer?
  8. topoftheriver

    topoftheriver Member

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    I'm with Ohio. When the door is opened, wait a few seconds for the draft to take and open it slowly so you don't create a vacuum when opening it too fast and causing a virtual downdraft. The thing is with the door, don't disrupt the flow. You'll generally get a puff but after that the draft will acclimate to the situation.
  9. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    I've tried every trick in the book, but for me, if I open the stove door in X point in the burn, there will be smoke spillage into the room. Never much, but I don't like any.

    I have zero smoke smell smell in the house so long as I don't open it about 1/4 to 1/2 of the way through the burn, so I simply live with however I loaded the stove from the get-go and if it's not great, I'll do better next time.

    pen
  10. fredarm

    fredarm Minister of Fire

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    Reload on hot coals. Then there's no smoke to escape. Don't add a split at a time, let it burn down and then add several splits. Open the draft, crack the door, then open it slowly.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    John, are you only front loading or does this happen with top loading too? How tall is the chimney system on the stove? If there is a flue cap screen, that would be the next suspect. Check for plugging. If not, when was the chimney last swept?
    northwinds and WidowMaker like this.
  12. Johnpolk

    Johnpolk New Member

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    We front load. Chimney has been checked twice this winter but is due for another look. Cap doesn't have a screen, I don't think it's related to the chimney. It's about 15 ft tall approximately.
  13. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    I have your stove...my wife freaks if smoke comes out...a couple of things to try...of course open the bypass for 30 seconds or so before opening the front doors....I am sure you do this already....then crack the front doors for at least 30 seconds or a few beats longer.....this equalizes pressure...I also try to not reload unless it is down to about 300 with coals only....by doing this I have got it down to no smoke.....When things are flaming in the box it will smoke unless temps are over 475 or so..now for me I believe smoke is due to low flue temps and thus a poor draft...but then I have a stranger than normal flue setup where it takes a hard 90 degree turn to go out the wall at about 5 feet up and then a long run to the eaves on the 2nd story......anyhow....try it and let us know how it goes.
  14. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Do you have anything in the house like the clothes dryer, bathroom fan, or range hood running?
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Maybe or maybe not. The chimney height is just barely adequate. However this can be compromised by the chimney and house location relative to the surrounding landscape and prevailing winds. Another thing that can affect draft is negative pressure in the house. Have you tried opening a nearby window a few seconds before opening the stove doors? If that helps, you are fighting negative pressure.

    http://www.woodheat.org/wind-chimney.html
  16. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    As Don mentioned, opening the bypass will help if you're adding wood during the middle of a burn. Otherwise, the smoke has to fight to get past the two part baffle to get to the flu, after you've opened up the front doors.

    I have to confess that I stopped using the bypass door when I stopped adding wood during the middle of burns. I'm not even exactly sure where I put the handle.
    At the end of the burn, there is no smoke to escape. If for some reason I open the door during a burn to move a split or something, I open one door just a crack,
    wait a few seconds, and then slowly open the door. If I have to open both doors, there's a bigger chance of a little smoke coming out, but not enough that
    is noticeable to anyone in my family after a minute or so.

    If you've noticed a change in how much smoke is escaping, it's definitely time to look at chimney or cap buildup.

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