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What can cause a poor draft?

The most common factors for a poor draft are:

  1. Atmospheric pressure and air supply:

    Atmospheric pressure and air supply pressure affecting the draft from a chimney can be either outside the home, inside the home or both. Outside the home, a high-pressure day (clear and cool) generally creates a better draft in the chimney than a low-pressure day (overcast and damp). Inside the home, normal household appliances, such as clothes dryers and forced air furnaces compete for air resulting in inadequate amounts of air available to fuel a fire in the wood stove and create a condition known as negative pressure.
    Under extreme conditions of negative pressure, the combustion by-products can be drawn from the chimney and into the house. This condition is commonly referred to as down drafting. There are several factors that impact the amount of air available in the home. If you are in doubt about whether or not there is sufficient air in your home for your stove, refrain from using those appliances known to consume the air where possible, or open a window or door to allow air to enter the home.

  2. Environmental conditions

    High trees, low lying house location such as in a valley, tall buildings or structures surrounding your house and windy conditions can cause pool draft or down drafting.

  3. Cold chimney temperature

    Cold Chimney Temperature Avoid cold chimney temperatures by burning a hot fire for the first fifteen to forty minutes, being careful not to over fire. If any part of the chimney or parts of the stove starts to glow, you are overfiring the stove. Where possible, install a temperature gauge on the chimney so temperature drops can be seen.

  4. Poor chimney installation and maintenance

    Avoid using too many elbows or long horizontal runs. If in doubt, contact a chimney expert and/or chimney manufacturer for help. Clean chimney, rain caps and especially spark arrester regularly, to prevent creosote build-up, which will significantly reduce chimney draw and may cause a chimney fire.


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