A Wood Stove, How does it work?

Here is a walk through of a Non-catalytic wood stove. I took a picture of a cutaway display model stove so I can show you what the inside looks like.

We will follow the path that the air takes for combustion. First the air is drawn into the stove at the bottom. This is where the damper controls how much air is allowed to come into the stove.


Wood Stove Primary combustion air


Next the air travels up along the air chambers on both sides of the stove and gets preheated before it comes into the firebox.

Path that combustion air travels to get into the wood stove.

Each manufacturer does this next part a little differently, with varying degrees of success. I would talk to an experienced salesperson or see the fire burning before you buy. This picture shows the “Air Wash” which is where the air comes into the firebox down past the glass. This keeps a “curtain” of air moving between the glass and the fire to keep the glass staying clean.

Picture of the air wash system in a wood stove.

Next your main combustion happens which is burning up all but roughly 100 grams per hour of fuel.

Location of main combustion in the wood stove.

That unburnt fuel hits these “Re-burn Tubes”. There is a little bit of secondary combustion are drawn in from another location outside the stove. When that fresh oxygen mixes with those unburnt particulates and the temperature is hot enough they will re-ignite. This secondary combustion is what makes the stove EPA certified and have an average of about 3 grams per hour of emissions.

Reburn tubes in this epa certified wood stove.

Lastly the air flows forward in the stove then back past the top plate to pick up the absolute most heat it can before it exits up the chimney system.

Air exiting process in the wood stove.

This is how an EPA certified wood stove functions.

The cutaway that I walked you through here is a Country Stoves Striker 160, made by Lennox Hearth Products.

Yours Truly,

The Stove Guy

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5 thoughts on “A Wood Stove, How does it work?

  1. Pingback: Vermont Castings Aspen Wood Stove Review - The Stove GuyThe Stove Guy

  2. We have a regency wood stove, medium size, about 14 yrs old.
    For about a year we have found that the stove will not shut down totally. I would estimate it shuts down about 50%. We’ve checked for air leaks but can’t find any.
    I feel that the damper is the problem and that it does not completely shut down the
    fire. Problem is, there is no way to get to the damper. I’m wondering if you might have
    a suggestion for this problem.

    Yours Truly, Robert Nagle

  3. Hi Stove Guy, my name is Cecil palmer I bought Englander stove last year and have enjoyed it this year but I’m not sure how it works. Do you have a cut away of the Englander wood burning stove, I think it’s a model 13 or 17. My wife and was gone for 2 days and came back and there was a dead bird in it. My question to you can a bird come in through the chimney on these type’s. Thank you sir .

  4. My stove has a control to open or close the reburn tubes. Should I open or close the tubes when I li ght the stove? How long shoiuld I wait to change the setting?

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