The aim of a wood burning stove is to burn wood more efficiently to produce more heat, but in some circumstances a wood stove can be burning too hot.
A wood stove can give you a lot more control over how strongly a fire is burning compared to an open fire, but can also allow you to have a fire that is too hot if not used in the right way.
So why is my wood stove burning so hot?
- The air vents are open by too much.
- Too much wood has been added to the fire, and also in relation to the size of the stove.
- The wood stove is oversized for the amount of space it’s heating.
- The stove door isn’t closed properly.
- The draft is too strong.
Burning a wood stove too hot for extended periods of time on a regular basis can damage some components of the stove in the long run, while building fires too small for your stove can lead to an inefficiently burning fire.
I’ve explained the main reasons why your wood stove is burning so hot in more detail below, and what you can do to prevent your stove from running too hot.
Why Is My Wood Stove Burning So Hot?
1. The Air Vents Are Open By Too Much
A wood burning stove helps to burn wood more efficiently compared to open fireplaces by allowing you to control both the amount of wood on the fire and the amount of air getting to it.
Burning wood at high temperatures leads to an inefficient fire. Although more heat is being produced, the fire is burning through the wood at a much faster rate and so you’ll be adding more wood to the stove more often.
Our stove thermometer shows that higher temperatures are ‘too hot’ for a typical wood stove:
To help wood stoves burn the wood more efficiently, the air vents on the stove should be closed down in stages as the fire progresses, so that the flames are gently and steadily burning the wood. The air vents should be closed down to a point where the flames aren’t vigorous, but the fire also isn’t smoldering due to a lack of oxygen.
It’s more efficient for a wood stove to be at a lower temperature by partially closing the vents, which helps to prevent heated air from leaving the stove too quickly, as shown by our stove thermometer:
If the vents on a wood stove are left open by too much during a fire, your stove can be burning too hot.
A fire needs both oxygen and fuel to keep going. With the vents fully open on a stove, the fire is being supplied with as much oxygen as possible and will be burning the wood at a faster a rate. A faster burning fire is a hotter burning stove.
To help prevent your wood stove from burning so hot, ensure to close down the air vents on the stove until the fire is burning more calmly, without closing the vents too much causing the fire to struggle due to lack of oxygen.
2. Too Much Wood Is On The Fire
Just as too much airflow to a fire can cause a wood stove to burn too hot, having too much wood on the fire at any one time can be another reason why your wood burning stove is burning so hot.
Although larger sized wood stoves can hold more wood than smaller stoves, you should only put in the maximum amount of wood for your particular model and size of stove.
Increasing the amount of wood burning on the fire by adding another log or two can cause the stove to burn too hot. To ensure that our wood stove doesn’t burn too hot, we like to burn two or three medium to large sized logs in our wood stove at a time.
We also ensure that we don’t put too much wood into the stove that it exceeds the height of the row of air vents located at the back of our stove.
These vents help to provide a fresh supply of air to above the fire to aid in secondary combustion, which helps to ensure that the wood is burnt more efficiently.
Burning too much wood inside your stove too often can lead to damage of the stove through over firing, which is where the temperatures within the stove are higher than what it was designed for.
Over firing can lead damage of components, in particular the baffle plate located near the top of the firebox. (Read more about baffle plate in another one of our articles.)
If your wood stove is burning too hot, ensure that you’re not putting too much wood in for the size of your stove.
3. The Stove Is Oversized
The size and heat output of your wood stove can be dictated by the size of the area it needs to heat. If your stove is oversized for the space it’s heating in your home, it can be generating so much heat that it can be uncomfortable.
If you’re finding that your stove is running too hot, leave any doors to the room open, or leave a window open to help cool the room down.
If your wood stove is too large, it’s not recommended to build fires that are too small for the stove.
Building and maintaining a fire that’s too small for the size of your wood stove can lead to a stove that’s underperforming and not reaching operational temperature. A stove that isn’t hot enough can cause the fire to burn the wood inefficiently, and more smoke can be produced as a result.
Our stove thermometer shows that a stove operating at too low of a temperature can lead to more creosote (tar) being produced:
Increased creosote producing due to an inefficient fire can line the inside of your flue more quickly, and lead to needing to having it swept more often.
4. The Stove Door Isn’t Closed Properly
If the door on your stove is left slightly open for the duration of the fire, it can be another reason why your wood stove is burning so hot.
An open stove door means that the airflow to the fire can’t be controlled as all the air won’t be going through the air vents. Much like leaving the air vents fully open, leaving the stove door slightly open will cause larger amounts of air to get to the fire, and can lead to the fire burning hotter as a result.
It’s recommended that you close the door to the stove as soon as possible after the fire has been started. We close the door to our wood stove as soon as the fire has been lit. With the air vents fully open, enough air can get to the fire through the vents to ensure it gets going well.
If your stove door is closed and excess air is still getting to the fire, it may be that your door gasket needs replacing.
If your wood stove is burning too hot, close the door to the stove and use the air vents to control the fire.
5. The Draft Is Too Strong
If your stove is drawing too well, it can be sucking air more quickly into your stove, leading to a faster and hotter burning fire.
A damper can be installed within your stovepipe to help restrict the flow of air out of your stove, and therefore how fast your fire is burning.
For more information about dampers, including what they are and how they work, click here.
How To Quickly Cool Down A Wood Stove That Is Too Hot
Although leaving the door to your stove slightly open can cause your wood stove to be burning too hot, opening the stove door all the way can actually be one of the best ways of cooling a stove down that is too hot.
Fully opening the stove door will lead to a rush of cooler air to enter the stove and cause hot air to leave the stove up the flue more quickly.
You can also use a stove fan to direct some of the heat away from the stove.
Why Is My Wood Stove Burning So Hot?
Even if your wood stove is burning hot, always ensure that you’re burning wood that is low enough in moisture content. Burning wetter wood may lead to a lower temperature fire, but that’s because the wood is being burnt very inefficiently.
Wet wood is more likely to cause the fire to smolder, produce more smoke and release more creosote as a result of inefficient combustion.