Stove Glass Clean

Why Your Wood Stove Door Won’t Close (And How To Fix)

In Wood Burning Stoves by James O'Kelly

The door on a wood burning stove allows more fuel to be added to the fire when open, but when closed also creates a sealed environment where air only enters through the air vents.

Through use and over time you may find that the door to your stove becomes stiff, or may not even close at all.

Wood burning stoves are designed to burn with the door closed, and so ensuring that the door to the stove can close is important for efficiently burning fires.

So why won’t the door close on a wood stove?

The most common reasons why a wood stove door won’t close can be due to the door gasket wearing out the door handle/hinges moving out of place. To help fix this, either replace the gasket or adjust the door latch to allow the door to provide the right tightness of seal.

We have a number of stoves in the family and, although rare, we’ve had some issues with the doors to the stoves not closing properly.

We’ve explained in more detail below why a wood stove door won’t close and how to fix it by discussing how we ensured the doors on our own stoves always provide a tight seal and can close properly.

Why Wood Stove Doors Won’t Close

Wood burning stoves are metal-bodied appliances that by design get extremely hot during operation to help transfer heat out into the room.

In order for a wood stove to burn firewood as efficiently as possible, and to extract the most heat, a controlled environment must be created.

We’ve explained in more detail here how a wood stove works, but ensuring that all of the air is only going into the stove through the air vents means that the fire can be more easily controlled.

The door on a wood stove acts as a means to add more fuel to the fire and to be able to enjoy the flames through the glass.

In the vast majority of situations, the door to a wood stove should remain closed to help prevent excess air from getting into the stove.

A wood stove door should always be closed during fires, but if the door won’t close then it will impact on the efficiency and heat output of the fires

Over time and through use, the door to a wood stove may become unfit for purpose through either general wear and tear or damage.

If a stove door can’t be closed during fires then it can impact on how efficiently the wood is burning. Too much airflow can lead to faster and hotter burning fires that are burning too quickly for it to be an efficient source of heat.

The main reasons why a wood stove door won’t close can include:

  • The door gasket has hardened.
  • The door latch has moved positions slightly.
  • The door has become damaged or warped through excessive use, old age or as a result of having fires too hot for the stove.

Door Gasket

When a stove door is closed, the door gasket provides a seal between the door and the main body of the stove.

This helps to prevent excess air from getting into the stove around the sides of the door, and helps keep all of the airflow going through the controllable air vents.

A new door gasket should look like the one on our (new-ish) model of multi fuel stove:

The door gasket seal on our multi fuel stove. Over time this seal can wear out and prevent the door from closing properly

However, through normal use this gasket may wear out and prevent the door to the stove from closing properly.

Door Latch

The door handle and associated latch on a wood stove is set up to provide a tight seal when the door is closed.

This latch may move place over time through normal use to a point where the door either won’t be able to close or the door will be too loose to provide a tight seal.

Wood Stove Handle
The door handle and latch should be in the right position to allow a tight seal to be provided with the gasket

Damaged Door

It may be the case that the door to a stove has become permanently damaged and is no longer fit for purpose.

This can simply be a result of a stove that has exceeded its life expectancy, or has been subject to damage at either the hinges or the latch.

A damaged stove may be the result of over firing, which is where temperatures exceed normal operating temperatures for frequent and prolonged periods.

High temperatures can be a result of over loading the stove with too much firewood and/or allowing too much air into the stove by opening the air vents too far during fires.

Using a stove thermometer will help to keep your stove fires under ideal temperatures for both efficiency and heat output.

Over firing a stove may lead to permanent damage of key components such as the baffle plate or even the door.

For more information on how to prevent your stove from running at high temperatures, we have a complete guide on how to use a wood burning stove as a well as a guide on how to use the air vents to control a wood stove.

How To Fix A Wood Stove Door That Won’t Close

Depending on the age of the stove and what the reason behind the door not closing is, fixing a stove door so that it closes properly can be relatively easy process.

The main things you’ll want to consider when looking to fix the door to your stove include checking the:

  • Door gasket for signs that it needs replacing.
  • Door handle and hinges to see whether they needs tightening or loosening.

Fixing A Stove Door Gasket

The gasket is the seal found around the inside of a wood stove door.

Stove door gaskets are typically white in color and not so hard when new.

Over time the gasket may change color (but this shouldn’t be a cause for concern) and become hard or damaged as the stove is used.

For our own wood burning stove, the manufacturer recommends that the gasket should be replaced if torn or damaged to ensure that nothing from the fire can enter the room when the stove is in use.

The gasket on our wood stove. Discoloration isn’t typically a cause for concern but look for damage or tears

If the gasket on your stove is old it may need replacing. The old gasket should be removed and a new one applied as per your instruction manual or manufacturers recommendations.

You can find replacement wood stove door gaskets here.

Fixing A Stove Door Handle

On our multi fuel stove we’ve had to adjust the door handle before because the door wouldn’t close properly.

It was a simple case of rotating the door handle to provide a better fit and tighter seal.

The manufacturer of our multi fuel stove states:

Check that your firebox door is closing correctly; adjustment can be made by just revolving the handle through one revolution inwards or outwards.

Clearview Stoves

The manufacturer also states that the door hinges can also be adjusted to help provide a tighter seal and to ensure that the door closes correctly.

Check the instruction manual for your particular model of stove to see how you can adjust the door handle and/or hinges to help make sure that your stove door closes properly.

Conclusion

The main reasons why your wood stove door won’t close can be due to a door gasket that needs replacing, or a stove door that needs adjusting on either the handle or the hinges.

More permanent damage to a stove door may simply be a result of extended use of the stove past its life expectancy, or can be due to the stove being subject to temperatures too high for the design of the stove.

To help a stove door close more easily the door gasket should be replaced if damaged or worn.

Replacement wood stove door gaskets can be found here.

The door handle or hinges may also need to be adjusted to help a stove door to close. See your stove’s instruction manual for more information on how to adjust the door to provide a tight seal.

Further Reading

How Long Does A Wood Burning Stove Last?

Are Wood Burning Stoves Airtight?

How To Clean Wood Stove Glass