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Puff of smoke coming out of closed door on our wood furnace occasionally...why?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Jud7, Jan 8, 2010.

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  1. Jud7

    Jud7 New Member

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    Hubby and I have a new Ashley wood stove in the basement which is heating our home wonderfully. Every now and then I see a puff of smoke come out of the door way around the edge? Not often...sometimes it won't happen all week. Why is this? How do I stop it. The house is a little smokey smelling at times.

    Thanks, Judy

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  2. Jotulf3cb

    Jotulf3cb New Member

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    Sounds to me like you have a leak .... check the gasket around the door with the dollar bill test
  3. soupy1957

    soupy1957 Minister of Fire

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    Yep, that'd be MY guess.......the gasket around the door is not keeping a tight seal anymore, somewhere along it's surface. Time to replace it.
    -Soupy1957
  4. Jud7

    Jud7 New Member

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    Thank you for your help...I tried the dollar bill thing...it was very hard to pull out so I don't think the gasket is the problem...especially since we just bought this brand new and have only been using it for 2-3 months.

    This problem doesn't not happen often. It is only a "puff" of smoke occasionally. But I know when it is doing it because I can smell the smoke when I am upstairs. Something inside the furnace forces air (smoke) out. Air pressure? Would too many burning embers... I bet it is 1/3 full right now cause any problems....should I shake them down (furnace comes with a handle for the ash tray that you can wiggle so the ash comes down).

    Is it because I don't have the dampers set correctly?

    How full should a wood stove be? Our last one was smaller and harder to control. We love this one. It maintains itself most of the night and has burning embers hot in the morning making it easier for me to get started.

    Should I keep the ash tray emptied? Just wondering...I empty it in the morning just before I add more wood for the day.

    Would burning paper cause any problems. We own a hardware store and our appliances come with heavy cardboard spacers which just fits in the stove. We have lots of these to burn. We mix them with the wood.

    Thanks for all your help....Judy
  5. rkymtnoffgrid

    rkymtnoffgrid New Member

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    Are there any sounds in conjuction to this puff of smoke? Like gas suddenly igniting in there creating a minor explosion... Does it only happen when the air control is throttled all the way down (on low)? It sounds like gas igniting due to combustion imbalances, my stove would do it under certain conditions. Could be an easy remedy if so, with mine, it simply needed a tad more air with some types of wood at the lowest settings...
  6. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum Judy (my wife's name too).

    Incomplete combustion. Sometimes this "puff" will be very soft and at other times you'll definitely hear it! When this happens you will get some smoke smell in the house but it is not because gaskets are leaking. It is an actual explosion. One thing that can cause it is if the draft is set low and the smoke is barely moving in the chimney, causing it to cool and actually stop moving up. Pretty soon, something has to happen and that is when you get the "puff" and smoke smell.

    Usually leaving the draft open a bit further will take care of this but realize that it can and will vary with the weather. Prior to and during a storm can be the worst. I suspect it is because of low pressure in the home combined with the low pressure of a storm system. Let the higher pressure move in and all is well.

    That, I realize, is not a scientific explanation, but I hope it helps.
  7. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    do you notice this more often if your dryer is running? especially if its located close or reasonable so , to the wood furnace? may be a bit of negative pressure , sometimes it can increase slightly and cause this then releave and the flue will pull normally again
  8. Jud7

    Jud7 New Member

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    Thank you for all your help. We believe it is a damper or air control problem. So we are being more careful of where it is set. It is so hard to decide. If it is open too much you burn everything up quickly and have a hot fire...if too low it simmers and doesn't heat the house as well. If I have any more wood stove problems I will check back with this forum. Everyone here is great. Thanks, Judy
  9. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Ja, I had a stove with a bi-metal thermostatic control that would sometimes close the air off too much causing pulses. I cured it back then by sticking a bent nail in the opening preventing it from closing too far.

    If you burn a lot of paper and you have a screen in your cap, it could be partially plugged.
  10. rnman

    rnman New Member

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    Good morning all.

    Judd7 i have had the same problems at times. If it's not the gasket, then i agree it's a negative pressure issue. as was mentioned, if it happens when anything makes the air inside the house have a sudden or ongoing "vacuum" it could cause this. in our home we found that the construction was so tight when we would be lighting the stove and the furnace would come on at the same time that the room may fill with smoke until there was enough draw from the stove heat that it would overcome the negative pressure of the furnace. i could easily see what some else wrote about the dryer (if it's vented outside), the damper being closed too much, the furnace coming on (like our problem), or the sudden opening of a door in a tightly constructed room or house causing the problem as well. I will be getting a fresh air intake for mine so the interior pressure in the house won't affect the stove "draw".

    Stay warm,
    robert
  11. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

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    Thats a common problem with woodfurnaces. Some of the newer ones are solving this problem with adding secondary combustion. That way you maintain a fire that burns cleanly for a longer period. Lack of combustion, weak draft or heavy winds will cause it. We always ran a barometric damper on our furnaces and we never had that issue.
  12. matt701

    matt701 Member

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    I use to have the explosion issue for about 5-10 minutes after I reloaded the wood furnace but only sometimes and never knowing exactly why. Like I said the only common theme was it only happened right after I reloaded it making me think it was incomplete combustion, followed by the "explosion" when it finally had enough oxygen. Anyhow, this season I have a barometric damper installed and have yet to have this happen and I've been burning 24/7.
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