Are Wood Burning Stoves Airtight? (And How To Check Whether Yours Is)

In Indoor Fireplaces, Multi Fuel Stoves, Wood Burning Stoves by James O'KellyLeave a Comment

Wood burning stoves allow you to control a fire in your home more easily by providing a sealable door and air vents, but are wood stoves airtight?

With both the door and air vents on a wood burning stove fully closed, a wood stove will be fully airtight from your home as long as the door gasket is in good condition and there are no other leaks or cracks within the body of the stove.

I’ve explained below how our wood stove is airtight, why it needs to be airtight and how to check whether your own stove is airtight or not.

Are Wood Stoves Airtight?

All forms of stove including wood burning stoves and multi fuel stoves help to burn fuel in your home more efficiently to produce more heat.

In order for stoves to produce more heat the airflow to the fire needs to be controlled. I’ve explained how wood burning stoves work in more detail here, but essentially heat will be produced from the stove more efficiently when the amount of oxygen getting to the fire is restricted.

A fire is more efficient, and will produce more heat from every piece of wood, when the air supply is being controlled and the temperature of the stove isn’t running too high.

If a wood burning stove wasn’t airtight, too much oxygen would be getting to the fire, would be burning too hot and would be burning through the wood at a much faster rate.

Wood burning stoves are therefore typically airtight and have one or more controllable air vents that allow you to adjust how much air is getting to the fire.

Wood Stove Closing Vent
The air vent(s) on a wood stove should be the only way for oxygen to get to a fire, while the rest of the stove remains airtight

For the air to be controlled only using the air vents, the rest of a wood stove must be airtight. The body of the stove won’t have any way for air to get the fire other than through the door when it’s open.

To help ensure that the whole stove can be airtight, the door on a wood stove can typically be found with a seal around the inside edge of the door.

The seal around the inside of the door on a stove (the door gasket) helps to keep a wood stove airtight

This seal, also know as the door gasket, helps to provide an airtight seal when the door is closed. The door needs to be on the latch to ensure that the door seal is pressed against the body of the stove in order to provide an efficient barrier for air from getting to the fire through the door.

[Image] door closed

When the door to the stove is opened, air is provided to the fire at a vastly increased rate. It’s recommended not to leave the door to your wood stove open during a fire, as it can cause the fire to burn inefficiently due to too much oxygen getting to the fire.

On the other hand, with the vents and door closed on a wood stove, it will be airtight as long as the components are in good condition.

If both the vents and door are fully closed during a fire, then that fire will eventually go out due to lack of oxygen. Closing the air vents on a wood stove and ensuring that the stove door is shut is the main way to put a fire in your stove out.

Wood Stove Smoking
Fully closed vents and stove door will cause the fire to go out as long as the stove is airtight

Is My Wood Stove Airtight?

Having a wood burning stove that is airtight will help you to have the most efficient and effective fire possible.

You can check whether your wood stove is airtight during a fire by seeing how quickly the fire goes out when the air vents and door are closed.

A wood stove that isn’t airtight will allow air to get to the fire even when the vents are closed, meaning that a fire may not go even go out when both the stove door and the vents are closed.

An airtight wood stove should cause the flames to subside and the fire to go out within a couple of minutes of the vents being shut as the oxygen supply runs out.

The most common area for there to be leak in your wood burning stove can typically be the door gasket. These seals are usually made of fiberglass (it looks like rope) and can be stuck onto the stove door with heat-resistant cement glue. When the door stove door is closed and latched, the gasket provides an airtight seal between the door and the main body of the stove.

The door seal on our wood burning stove
The door gasket on our multi fuel stove

The door gasket can weaken and break through use over time, but they can be replaced to help keep your stove airtight.

Older models of wood stove may also start to have cracks form around the body of the stove as a result of extended use and old age.

To help identify where there may be a leak on your stove, you can use a lit piece of newspaper (or other form of smoke generating item such as an incense stick) and move it around the stove when having a fire to see where smoke from the newspaper is being sucked into the stove.

A lit piece of newspaper or incense stick will help you find any leaks in your stove

If your wood stove isn’t airtight, you’ll see smoke entering your stove where the leak is located.

Further Reading

Parts Of A Wood Stove Explained

How A Wood Stove Works

How To Use A Wood Burning Stove

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