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Best Fix for Cold Chimney Syndrome

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by PA Fire Bug, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. PA Fire Bug

    PA Fire Bug Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2010
    Messages:
    268
    Loc:
    Blair County, PA
    This year I've had more problems than ever with cold air flowing down the chimney when the stove is cold. For our upstairs stove, installing and outside air intake resolved the problem with smokey starts. In our basement stove, without an OAK, I've filled the room with smoke at least four times. I've tried burning newspaper on top of the baffle (works for mild cases but not with strong downdrafts) and using a hair dryer to warm the stove pipes (not bad, but too slow) but still watched the paper die out and smoke roll out of every air vent and crack.

    Last year, I recall someone suggesting burning some loose newspaper in the chimney clean out. I had the clean out blocked with wood last year and couldn't test this until this year. For me, this worked better than anything else I've tried. When I placed two burning pieces of loose newspaper in the clean out, I could hear air rushing up the chimney. Before the paper burnt out, I ran back inside and lit the newspaper in the stove. The good draft continued and I didn't fill the room with smoke.

    If you have the cold chimney syndrome, this is well worth your time to try. Thank you to the people who suggested this and good luck to those who try it.

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  2. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    I've wondered about lighting perhaps half of a super cedar. That would burn for quite some time and perhaps take care of the problem.
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    46,066
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    I've had that trick work on some balky fireplaces as well. Some folks use a hair dryer or heat gun to get draft started.

    I'm curious, is there a reason why there's no OAK on the basement stove? Is this an option?
  4. PA Fire Bug

    PA Fire Bug Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2010
    Messages:
    268
    Loc:
    Blair County, PA
    The setup in the basement would make an OAK more difficult than my limited skills could handle. The stove is several feet below ground level and I would have to pass through cement block. I haven't used any Super Cedars this year but even loose newspaper won't burn when the downdraft is bad without opening the door and letting all of the smoke into the room.

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