Stove smoke coming back into house, why?

“I have only burned my stove a few times this year and I am getting a bunch of wood stove smoke in the house? What is wrong with my stove?”

This is a question that I hear all the time around fall about stove smoke in the house. A lot of people do all the maintenance they are supposed to do, have the chimney and stove completely cleaned and inspected in the summer. They have cured wood and have burned stoves for years and yet for some reason are getting the stove smoking back into the house. The answer is simple but sometimes hard to figure out.

Here is the typical scenario.

The nights are starting to get chilly but it is still getting warm during the day. So I say to my wife why don’t we start the wood stove for the first time, we could build just a little fire to take the chill off and let it go out. So we do that and enjoy a loving evening around the first fire of the year. (At this point all the wood stove smoke goes nicely up the chimney)

We may do this another time or two, or maybe even just this once then the next time we try to start the stove it is really hard to start and we get a bunch of stove smoke back into the house every time we open the door. So we think there is something wrong with our stove, and call our stove guy!

So the solution to all the stove smoke coming back into the house is pretty simple. What is happening is that when you are burning a “cold” fire the chimney is not getting “charged”, or hot enough. Also the secondary combustion (reburn tubes) are not getting hot enough to ignite the unburnt smoke. So all of this “cool” smoke goes up the chimney and ends up condensing or hardening on the first cold thing it touches. Both on the inside of the chimney and also the reason for your stove smoke coming back into the house, the “spark arrestor” that is in the chimney cap (pictured below).

Spark arrestor that cause stove smoke backup

Simpson DuraVent Chimney Cap w/ Spark Arrestor

The spark arrestor is their so that if a live ember flew up the chimney the spark arrestor would catch it before it hit the trees or the roof of your house. The solution to the stove smoke coming back into the house is to get up on the roof with a screwdriver and bang on the spark arrestor screen a few times. This will break loose enough of the condensed creosote to let your stove draft properly. I always recommend to my customers to check their local codes and then completely remove the spark arrestor, if code permits of course. Because I think they are a bigger pain than they are worth.

I hope this helps you get off to a succesful burning season with a little less frustration. And as always if you have any specific questions shoot me an email and I will try to answer all questions and maybe we can all learn from them.

Your Truly,

The Stove Guy

Hearthstone Tribute Wood Stove Review

Hearthstone Tribute Wood Stove Review – The Hearthstone Tribute is the smallest in the Hearthstone lineup of soapstone wood stoves. I think it is a beautiful stove. It comes in a few different casting colors so you can suit your tastes. It is a little small for me to consider it as a heat source for your home unless it is like a 600 square foot completely open floor plan. I think this stove has a place in your living room because it is like having another piece of beautiful furniture.

Hearthstone Tribute Wood Stove - Brown Enamel

Hearthstone Tribute Wood Stove - Brown Enamel

Hearthstone Tribute Stats:

  • Up to 1000 Sq. Ft. Heating Capacity
  • Up to 5 hour burn time
  • 16″ Log Size (more like 14″ is realistic)
  • EPA Emissions – 2.9 grams per hour (Non-Catalytic)
  • 6″ Flue Collar
  • 313 lbs
  • More Specs Here

Hearthstone Tribute Top

Hearthstone Tribute Top

Hearthstone Tribute “The Bad” –

  • It is a very small stove with short burn times. This is not necessarily a “bad”, but because of those two items I would not buy this stove in order to heat your house. I would recommend it to take the chill off the front room that it is in and have a beautiful piece of furniture when not in use.

    Hearthstone Tribute Firebox

    Hearthstone Tribute Firebox

  • The enamel is beautiful but can chip easily. Inspect it closely if you are getting a floor model so that you know what you are getting. And make sure you or whoever is delivering it is extremely careful when moving it. Do not scoot it on the ground, that is the most common way it gets chipped on the feet.
  • No ash drawer, but again if you are just using it once in a while to take the chill off and have a little fire this won’t be that big of a deal.

Hearthstone Tribute Latch

Hearthstone Tribute Latch

Hearthstone Tribute “The Good” –

  • The heating properties of soapstone are amazing. I promise to write a post just on soapstone wood stoves in the very near future. The soapstone banks up the heat and releases into the room a lot more evenly/comfortably than any other type of stove.
  • This stove has very little man made material in it. The soapstone is quarried, cut, polished then assembled into the cast iron framework.
  • On the back of the stove the person in charge of assembly actually signs his name into the stone. Almost like a piece of art. All assembly is done in Vermont.

Hearthstone Tribute Back

Hearthstone Tribute Back

Overall I think the Tribute is beautiful, but it is not something I would recommend to heat your home. Give you some nice ambiance and make the front room feel cozy, absolutely. So figure out why you want a wood stove and how you are going to use it before your purchase this little guy.

Hearthstone Tribute Retail Pricing:

  • Black Matte – $1799
  • Brown, Blue Black, Seafoam Enamel Colors – $2249

Here is a link to the manufacturer’s site.

f you own or have owned a Hearthstone Tribute Wood Stove then I would love to hear any comments or suggestions you have for our other readers!! Even if it is an older model, let us know what you thought of it.

Your Truly,

The Stove Guy

Lennox Montage Pellet Stove Review

Lennox Montage Pellet Stove Review – This stove is sort of a cross between the old Whitfield technology and the Country stoves technology. Lennox Hearth Products (LHP) purchased both of these companies and this stove is sort of a hybrid that came out of the merging of those two brands. I think it is a good value for what it is. Not the nicest pellet stove on the market but not the most expensive either. These are manufactured in Auburn, Washington State.

Lennox Montage Pellet Stove

Lennox Montage Pellet Stove

 Lennox Montage Stats –

  • Heating Capacity 800 – 1900 Sq. Ft.
  • 55 lb. Hopper
  • 3″ Flue Exhaust
  • 82% Efficiency
  • Weight: 285 lbs
  • More Specs Here

Lennox Montage Pellet Hopper

Lennox Montage Pellet Hopper

Lennox Montage “The Bad” –

  • It is noisy. This is one of the items at the very top of my list if I would be shopping for a pellet stove. This thing is going to be sitting in my living room running almost 24 hours a day during the winter time to keep my house warm. The last thing I want is something I have to yell over the top of to have a conversation. I would not say this is the loudest pellet stove I have ever heard run, but it is too loud for me to put into my home. Make sure any pellet stove that you buy, that you hear it running BEFORE you purchase. And remember that it will sound a lot louder in your home then it will in a dealers larger showroom.
  • Fit and finish is not perfect. Play with the side doors and the hopper lid and you will see what I mean.

Lennox Montage “The Good” –

After I was kind of negative on the noise issue, there are a lot of good features that actually make this a very attractive stove for the price it is.

  • Extremely easy access to both sides of the stove, as well as mostly all plug and play components. So it is very easy to service and clean. Both a big plus in my book.

Lennox Montage Pellet Right Side

Lennox Montage Pellet Right Side

Lennox Montage Pellet Left Side

Lennox Montage Pellet Left Side

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • It has a double door latch. This is a pretty unique feature that helps the door gasket last a long time and make it really easy to close the door.

Lennox Montage Door Latch

Lennox Montage Door Latch

  •  Also the mirrored glass is a really neat and unique feature. When there is not a fire inside the front window turns into a mirror so that you don’t see the dirty inside. Once there is fire/light behind the glass it looks like it turns clear so that you can see the fire.
  • The burn pot liner they use actually works really well to get complete combustion of the pellets and not have to take the liner out and chisel out the “clinkers”. So this actually cuts down on the maintenance you have to do by quite a bit

Lennox Montage Pellet Firebox

Lennox Montage Pellet Firebox

  •  Ash pan is HUGE so you will not have to go dump that but once or twice a year most likely.
  • You can feel comfortable buying a Lennox product, in my opinion they have hands down the best warranty and service in the industry.

Lennox Montage Pellet Stove

Lennox Montage Pellet Stove

Lennox Montage Retail Pricing –

  • Stove with Gothic Trim Kit $2542

Here is a link to the manufacturer’s website.

If you own or have owned a Lennox Montage Pellet Stove then I would love to hear any comments or suggestions you have for our other readers!! Even if it is an older model, let us know what you thought of it.

Yours Truly,

The Stove Guy

Hearthstone Shelburne Wood Stove Review

Hearthstone Shelburne Wood Stove Review – This is one of those stoves that I don’t think get’s quite enough attention in the hearth industry. I used one in my store as a display model  for a season and have sold quite a few of them. I think that it is a great value for the price it is and has quite a few great features. I owned a Hearthstone Craftsbury in my own home which was the smaller version of the Hearthstone Shelburne and absolutely loved it. It is manufactured in Spain which is a real plus because of the flood of Chinese castings onto the market. A lot of Canadian and American stove companies are using Chinese castings. Also just this year they revised the stove so that it comes with soapstone instead of the traditional firebrick, with a lot of benefits to that.

 Hearthstone Shelburne Wood Stove

Hearthstone Shelburne Wood Stove

Hearthstone Shelburne Stats:

  • Up to 1800 Sq. Ft. Heating Capacity
  • Up to 8 hour burn time
  • 20″ Log Size
  • EPA Emissions – 2 grams per hour (Non-Catalytic)
  • 6″ Flue Collar
  • 400 lbs
  • More Specs Here

Hearthstone Shelburne “The Bad” –

  • I have to say the “burn times” that are quoted in the literature of wood stoves are basically an educated guess. There are so many variables such as, (elevation, type of wood, moisture content of wood, flue length and other installation factors, etc, etc.) But with all that being said in my experience the burn time of the shelburne is a little short for this class/size of wood stove.

Hearthstone Shelburne Brown Enamel

Hearthstone Shelburne Brown Enamel

  • The ash drawer mechanism is a little finicky. Sometimes it is a little rough out of the box. By that I mean that it can kind of get stuck and hard to open. I don’t think that this part of the stove meets the standard of engineering that the rest of the stove is. I would play with this in the store a little if you are shopping for one of these and see for yourself.
  • Most wood stoves call for a “non-combustible surface” to install on, also called the “hearth”. There are just a few stoves in the industry that call for a specific R value that the pad be rated for. The Shelburne calls for a pad with an R value of 0.8. That is not a crazy large number but the problem comes in when you have an existing hearth or want to build your own. If you have a picky building inspector it will be very hard for you to prove to them that your homemade or existing hearth pad meets that R value requirement. So that makes it a negative in my book

    Hearthstone Shelburne Side

    Hearthstone Shelburne Side

Hearthstone Shelburne “The Good” –

  • Spanish Castings, which means cast in Spain, not China. You never know how pure the cast iron will be when it comes out of China, which in turn means how well the casting will hold of to a wood fire over the years. Big plus in my book.
  • Glass stays very clean when you are burning an efficient fire.
  • Soapstone fire brick is very unique and I think adds a ton of value to this stove. The soapstone will help hold the fire longer, last longer, and help be more efficient in getting the heat out into the room. (The shelburne’s that I used did not have the soapstone firebrick so that may help the burn time, over what I experienced.)

Hearthstone Shelburne Back

Hearthstone Shelburne Back

Overall, I think the pricing of the Hearthstone Shelburne is very competitive. If I had the extra funds I would step up to the Vermont Castings Encore myself, but I would not hesitate to own a Shelburne if that is where my budget landed me either. I would lean to the Vermont Castings Encore for two main reasons the TOP LOADING feature, and the 2-n-1 catalytic modes. You can read my Vermont Castings Encore article for more details.

Hearthstone Shelburne Retail Pricing:

  • Matte Black Unit is $2099
  • Brown or Basil Enamel $2679
  • Blower Kit, $329
  • Rear Heat Shield, $125
  • Outside Air Kit, $164

Hearthstone Shelburne Firebox

Hearthstone Shelburne Firebox

Here is a link to the manufacturer’s website.

If you own or have owned a Hearthstone Shelburne Wood stove then I would love to hear any comments or suggestions you have for our other readers!! Even if it is an older model, let us know what you thought of it.

Yours Truly,

The Stove Guy