Invicta Bradford log burner - need advice!

Our traditional but renovated stone house has two log burners, one in the kitchen (a retro-style) Evergreen Maple ST1020 in the kitchen and an Invicta Bradford in the living room.

I’ve really mastered the Maple - I can light it easily and control the burn with ease - it’s never smoky.

The much more expensive and modern Invicta Bradford is another kettle of fish. Once it’s going it really does belt out the heat, but I can’t avoid smoking out the room when lighting it. It even leaks smoke through the seal at the top of the door until the fire is established. I changed the rope seal and it really didn’t make much difference.

I think the problem is that the flue goes horizontally through the thick wall before heading upwards, so it takes longer for the draw to be established. In the mean time it’s smoky.

I can’t leave the door ajar to give the fire more air and if the door is closed the initial fire goes out. The venting controls are nowhere near as effective as the old-style Maple.

If anyone has the Invicta Bradford, I’d really appreciate your suggestions for making it less smoky!

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We had a fire that sounds a bit like yours in the UK.

Are you sure your fire is getting enough combustion air - either getting the room or (better) the outside?

Have you tried adding some easily combustible material to your starter fire - lots of crumpled-up newspaper for example? This creates a big enough initial fire to establish a draw through the system.

We have the same issue with our big Godin, fabulous once going but takes a few minutes! The best thing we have found is with one of those gas weeding wands we heat the flue pipe (making sure to keep the canister above the end), luckily it is also next to the back door so we can open that as well which works quite well too.

Two French stoves who would have guessed?
Best suggestion is the top down method of lighting,
Oo er misses.

I’m going to try that!

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We have a very short horizontal exit flue which then takes a rightangle and shoots straight up the chimney… yippee.

However, there is a need to keep the horizontal bit free from ash/clinker/whatever…
thus there is a removable plate from the T-piece and just taking that off the bottom, lets whatever drop into a handily placed tray… down below… ready to be put out with the ashes.

After our first week of the winter, there was a small amount of black bits which dropped out. OH did the weekly checkup this morning and there was nothing at all…

We check it weekly as I’m a bit of a safety freak where fires are concerned… and the check is for my peace of mind.

If the fire isn’t pulling and there is a horizontal exit… maybe the exit is reduced and needs emptying/cleaning.

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The issue is that you have air flowing in the wrong dirction down the flue, possibly caused by temperature variations, possibly by wind direction.

We had this issue with our Stockton stove for a long time, and although we could use a hot air gun to help, it was never a solution. The fix has been to open either the front door or a window on the opposite side of the house to allow air to flow into the room, forcing the airflow in the right direction as soon as the fire has been lit. the door or window can be closed after a couple of min, but it needs just enough time to start the system in the right direction.

Ah… we don’t open doors/windows on lighting… but we do fully open the airflow thingamies at the from of the woodburner… fully open (half moon) x 2 = the same size of airflow as the exit pipe…

These are brilliant, best flue cowl yet, works the same as the top of an oast house, always faces the wind to create a draw.


This is an interesting point. There is an access point at the flue elbow bend on the other side of the wall, but I haven’t looked at it. The flues should have been swept in the Spring before we took possession of the house, but it’s possible something may have fallen down since. On the other hand, the fire works very well once it’s established so I’d be surprised if there was a blockage - I’ll certainly update here if there is anything found.

We are normally fully open (and door too for lighting - just vents is not enough for a conventional stacked wood arrangement) but it doesn’t make a difference because the air is travelling in the wrong direction, and the stove can’t generate enough draft to overcome it. We often have air coming back down the chimney when the stove is not alight, especially if the weather has changed from cold to mild, probably due to the stone of the chimney chilling air inside relative to the exterior and creating a syphon effect.

Not every house will be like this, and some may never have the issue, but if smoke coming back into the room is a regular problem then it’s an easy fix and something that can be tried as a no-cost one off experiment.

I’m doubting it has to do with wind - in fact it was quite still last time Iit the fire. I had to open the windows because it was so smoky (at least I know the smoke alarm works…) and noted that there wasn’t any breeze to clear the smoke.

But I’m sure it’s an issue of cold air in the flue. The challenge is how to get the flue up to temperature without generating smoke.

The Invicta Bradford has a complex baffle system designed to re-heat the air inside the compartment and I’m sure this makes it difficult for the initial air flow as well.

This does sound logical but bear in mind our other stove works perfectly with the minimum of fuss.

Interesting but may be a last resort!

Opening a window doesn’t make any difference. The room is quite large, too.

Are Evergreen stoves French as well?

I understand the theory, but newspaper and cardboard generate a lot of smoke. I’m trying good quality kindling and that is better but still not perfect.

That would seem likely. Does it happen if you light the problem stove first?

No its a secondary air intake to burn the creosote gasses, it will increase the air into the stove and wont alter the initial lighting. If the chimney is cold and doesnt draw well the cowl will make it draw. A proper stove fitter will have anemometer to test the draw when cold. Suggest you contact one.

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If you can, get hold of last year’s grapevine cuttings - they make great kindling.