Unfortunately, solving common problems with your woodburning stove can be an exhausting process due to the high amount of problems you may encounter along the way. However, by following a set of general problems and solutions, you should be able to have your woodburning stove up and running in no time. Below are a set of the most common woodburning stove problems and their respective solutions.
If you start a fire and you notice heavy smoke and a heavy odor in your home, then the solution is to open the windows and use fans. However, you'll want to put the woodstove fire out first just in case. The smoke will begin to decrease after you get the air circulating. Another common problem with woodstoves is failing to get the flame to start. The first solution to this predicament is to open the damper and air controls. Then, you can begin to apply additional paper or fire starter to get a flame going. Also, you may be using insufficient tinder or wet kindling, so be sure to that your kindling is dry and store it in a dry area.
Regarding the wood itself, there may be excessive wood or the wood could be too large or dry. Use smaller split wood that is well-seasoned. This would be wood that has been split-covered on the surface for at least 6 months to a year. Also, there may not be enough air spaces between fuel pieces. Position the kindling and wood for air movement. Try to keep from packing the wood into too tightly as well. If your chimney is not pre-heated, use ignited rolled newspaper at the throat to start an upwards movement. If there's smoke in the dwelling, check the damper. Have the chimney inspected if it worked previously. Pre-warm the chimney, turn off the exhaust devices and crack the window just a bit.
If the tinder and wood don't burn, remember to use more kindling and fuel. Or, be sure it is dry enough and well-spaced. If the kindling ignites but the fuel doesn't, use additional kindling or smaller, dryer wood. If the fuel ignites but doesn't burn well, leave the damper and air controls open longer, stand by to turn the blower on and set at a low speed. Use enough well-seasoned wood, cut the exhaust fans, open the window a bit, and clean or replace the combustor.
Many people also lose the flame when the damper on their woodstove is closed. You should look to see if the chimney has enough draw. Appraise it to determine whether it should be cleaned as well, and ensure that the ash door is shut and sealed. Finally, you may notice that creosote accumulates rapidly. Allow the furnace to reach the optimal temperature for operation. Is it built at the right height? Is the fuel you are using the best option? Green or damp wood can cause the creosote to build up quickly. Ensure that the chimney clean-out door is sealed as well. Finally, be sure to close the bypass when the furnace hits the operating temperature!