Effects of smoke from wood burner

In our house we rely on a wood burner that has a horizontal before vertical flue. This means that more often than not, when adding wood, smoke comes out of the wood burner. I am a little concerned about the health implications and wonder if there is anything we can do to minimise any issues - maybe an air purifier filter? Does anyone else share the same concerns and considered any solutions? Thanks.

We never add wood when we can see any burning and only add wood when we can see a pile of red embers, that way we never get any smoke from opening the door.
Our fire has a fantastic draw on it but if any wood is still burning we still get some smoke when opening the door, so we wait, if there are embers most of the combustion has already taken place so no smoke.

Well, I’m not sure if that’s the same with ours - in fact the best time I find to avoid smoke coming out into the room is when the fire is going strongly as that’s when there is most draw. Even when there are just embers, we get smoke coming in. The stove is a fairly modern one with recirculating air and it has a grate rather than a flat bottom - and before anyone mentions it, it is definitely a wood burner and not designed for coal - according to the manufacturer (Invicta).

As I said, the problem is the flue that goes horizontally first. The stove has a very large door, which doesn’t help. I’ve used burners with vertical flues and smaller doors and not had problems with those at all.

Try opening the door just a millimeter, wait for a few seconds for it to draw more strongly and then you can open it enough to load more wood.


It must be completely different from ours as we can completely open the door when there is just embers and there is no smoke whatsoever, try it when it is burning and you would smoke the place out.
Ours is large with recirc air as well, it must as you say be due to the horizontal flue

Yes, I already do that but I have to be very quick! Sometimes the logs need rearranging a bit and that loses the time advantage.

Before opening the large door… I open the air vents to give a strong pull… everything glows/flames and the door opens without any smoke…

Generally, if I’m getting/seeing smoke inside, it is when the air vents are not opened sufficiently. If the wood is damp and/or the flu is cold… too little draw can cause smoke.

Air vents are Full open when first lighting, then closed down a little, once the wood is crackling… and when there’s a good, steady burn going I reduce the airflow yet again. Took me a bit of trial and error to get into the best habits …but I could do it with my eyes closed now :wink: :+1:

and, I repeat… I increase the airflow for a moment, before opening the door…

We are lucky insofar as the top vent opens automatically when the door is opened.

It may not be possible for you to correct the flue but you obviously know what the problem is. There isnt a magic fix other than realignment of the flue.

1 Like

We have a short, horizontal flu, which then goes vertical, up, up and away.
Our horizontal bit stays lovely and clean as it has a trap/catch-it-all fitted.

I’m wondering if your horizontal bit of flu is slowly filling with ash/debris/whatever and that this is reducing the airflow/pull… smoke is one visible symptom of a blocked flu (I believe)

1 Like

assuming you have cleaned the flue at least once a year, do you have the option of reducing airflow to the underneath of the fire tray?

I’ll check the flue elbow access cover tomorrow - something isn’t right.

You could try a different flue terminal, some create a better updraft which can help with drawing the smoke up.

1 Like

Well this evening I ran the fire hotter than I previously dared and that seems to have improved things. I’m burning denser wood than usual so it may not have been burning hot enough. I’ll still check for residue in the flue elbow when it’s cooled down tomorrow. (Sorry for some very odd typos - now corrected!)

1 Like