Starting a Wood Stove - stone cold
If you're starting a wood stove when it's cold, sometimes it can be a challenge, especially if the stove is located in the basement and it has a long flue that extends well above your roof.
What's the challenge? It's all of that cold air stacked up in the flue. This has to be pushed out before the stove will get the kind of draw necessary to support a good fire. The cold air might even be entering your living space simply by sliding down the flue after the stove goes cold.
If you try to start a fire in a cold wood stove, you might find the first few minutes a bit challenging as the heat from the infant fire has to push out all of that cold air from the flue.
It's even possible that starting a wood stove when it's cold will cause some smoke to back up into the house. I've had that happen before, and it's quite extensive if there is any "icing over" on the top of the flue.
To address the cold stove and flue issue, the best thing to do is to loosely crumple up one or two sheets of newspaper and toss them into the stove. Light them and give them a little draft to allow their intense heat to get the cold stagnant air in the flue moving in the direction that's most suitable for starting a fire - up!
After you've burned some newspaper, then you should be ready to start the fire as usual. If you're still having trouble, then go outside to take a look at the top of the flue. Chances are it's obstructed with heavy snow or ice. This can happen during conditions of freezing rain or wet snows in high winds.
If you're still having trouble, then you might try using a fan to create high pressure inside the stove to force air flow up the flue. Just be careful not to create your own personal ash storm right there at the opening of the stove.
Done with Starting a Wood Stove, back to Heating with Wood