How to Fix Chimney Draft Problems

Dealing with a drafty stove, but don't want to call a chimney sweep? Read these tips for analyzing and solving your woes.

| January/February 1986

  • 097-046-01i1
    Follow these tips to pinpoint and solve problems with a drafty chimney.
    ILLUSTRATION: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • 097-047-01_01-01
    The National Fire Protection Association offers these guidelines for chimney height.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

  • 097-046-01i1
  • 097-047-01_01-01

Does your woodstove have the hiccups? Does your house smell of smoke much of the time? Do you have a heck of a time getting a fire started? If you have one (or all) of these problems, don't blame the heater. Your chimney is the most likely culprit.

There are actually two distinct (though related) factors affecting chimney performance: draft and capacity. Draft is the force behind flow, while capacity is the capability to handle flow. In most cases, more draft will equal more flow, but it's conceivable that you could have lots of draft but inadequate capacity if the diameter of your chimney is very small. The important thing to remember is that you'll get nowhere if you go after the wrong problem.

The object of this article is to help you diagnose and solve chimney problems related to airtight wood-burning heaters — without worrying too much about the physics of chimneys. (Open appliances, such as Franklin stoves and fireplaces, are separate matters.) Just pick out the symptoms you're suffering from on the list that follows, move on to the numbered problems included with your symptom and then proceed to the lettered solutiona mentioned with each problem.

Symptoms of a Drafty Chimney

Fire is reluctant to start and smoke spills into room at start-up. Some chimneys perform adequately only after the first 30 to 60 minutes of burning. See problems No. 2, 5, 6 and 7.



Stove back puffs powerfully on windy days. If this is the only time you have chimney draft problems, see problem No. 8.

Smoke spills to some degree under all conditions. If there is periodic (or even consistent) smoke spillage under almost any burn condition, see problems No. 1 through 7.

darrylmueller
1/14/2019 10:56:18 AM

I have a new epa certified Regency F5100 this has been a total disappointment from day 1 startup. It’s 80,000 btu. 4.4 cf fire box. Takes 1 hr to get burning good. The second disappointment is the glass. If you cut the sir back the glass will get dirty. The 3 disappointment is fire wood consumption. Yes it eats it up! An 8 inch chimney 18 ft good draft. Since I heated with wood before I would say it’s just bad. Longest time well it’s out in the morning. Regency says it’s chimney and must have outside air. I say that built a stove to pass a controlled eps test that does not work as advertised. It says up to 30 hours burn time? That would be a smolder that would dirty up my chimney and blacked the glass. Do your home work before you buy or disappoint awaits. The new stoves are made to pass epa not fo a good job heating.


deborahbeattie66
12/31/2017 4:08:09 PM

Recently got the chimney rebuilt. It had just one pot on it before it was rebuilt. It now has two pots on. Chimney not drawing the way it did before the rebuild. Does anybody know if having two pots would cause this problem? Thanks.






Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters

click me