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Do you want to reduce the heat in a wood stove that is burning too hot? Is the installer coming to check the flue and it’s a little hot for comfort?
This article gives you our six top tips for cooling down your wood stove. We also add some precautions and advice on what not to do.
Tip 1: Turn Down The Damper
To cool down your wood stove, choke down the damper until it is almost closed. This greatly reduces the flow of air to the fire.
Note that it’s important not to close the damper completely. That will generate smoke and give you an unpleasant experience.
Tip 2: Turn Up The Blower
If you have a wood stove blower, then the tip is to turn it up to full power. This disperses the heat away from the stove faster, which ensures it also cools faster.
If you don’t have a blower, then you may be wondering what it is and how it can help. Read on…
A wood stove blower is an external fan that usually sits on top of a wood stove. It’s used to distribute heat evenly around a room.
This is an additional accessory and is rarely included with a stove purchase. These blowers are metal and operate through the heat of the stove. So, they are not standard electric fans.
Tip 3: Create Drafts
Create a draft to allow warm air to circulate and disperse away from the stove and out of the room. The easiest way is to roll up the blinds and open the windows and doors to the room.
If you don’t have a blower, then you can still use a standard electric fan to help disperse the heat faster.
You can place the fan to the side of the stove (at a distance) and set it to the highest power.
Note that stove blowers are metal so that they can be safely close to the stove. Most electric fans have a plastic casing and a plastic-covered cord. Keep these units well away from the stove.
If you’re using one to help cool the room, tap the cover periodically to make sure it’s not too hot. Don’t leave the room if the plastic fan is closer to the stove than the recommended manufacturer guidelines.
If you’re wondering about the distance, check out our article on how close furniture can be to a wood stove.
Tip 4: Open The Door Wide (With Precautions)
The tip here is to open the door of the stove fully to allow the air in the room to flow into it. However, you should take some precautions which I’ll cover after I explain why this works.
This may be counterintuitive. Doesn’t the airflow make the wood burn faster and hotter? The answer is yes if the door is slightly open. The key point here is to open the door wide.
The reason this works is that the secondary burn of smoke is eliminated.
If you’re not sure of that term, here’s a quick explanation of primary and secondary burns. The primary burn is the wood burning in the stove.
This emits gases (smoke) that usually flow upward, being pulled by the chimney and vents. Secondary burn is the burn of this smoke.
You will probably see an increase in the visible flames by allowing so much air in the door. However, the cool airflow breaks the draft vacuum and stops secondary combustion. This decreases the overall heat.
For all the time that the stove door is open, you must remain in the room. You want to be sure that embers and sparks don’t jump out.
If you are burning wood like mulberry that produces a lot of sparks, then you might want to skip this tip. Alternatively, use a screen in front of the door.
One final important point. I’m assuming that there is nothing actually wrong with the stove that you want to cool down. If you think there is a problem with the chimney, then do not open the door.
Thanks, now I stink of smoke
Did a sudden puff of smoke permeate your favorite sweatshirt? Sorry about that! The trick is to approach the door from the side.
Check out our article on how to get the smell of wood stove smoke out of your clothes.
How fast can you expect the heat to reduce?
To prepare for this article, I cooled down my stove last night by turning down the damper and opening the door wide.
My flue thermometer was reading about 900. I opened the stove door wide, stepped to the side, and carefully checked that nothing was falling out.
That monitoring took about ten seconds. When I looked at the thermometer again, the temperature in the stove pipe had dropped to 300.
However, six hundred degrees is still too hot to touch! Check out our separate article on how long wood stoves take to cool down completely.
Tip 5: Absorb Some Of The Heat
You can place open pots of cold water on top of the stove to help cool it down a little faster. This isn’t going to have the same impact as our earlier tips, but it can help.
It works because the cold water pulls in heat from the stove and warms the water. Keep an eye on the pots so that they don’t boil over.
Here’s a tip that I personally don’t recommend but it can be effective. Some stove owners will advise you to put some damp wood into the stove.
I don’t like the smoke and noise from this solution.
Tip 6: Remove Some Fuel
If you can safely remove some logs from the stove to a metal bucket and transfer them to a secure area, then this will help.
If your stove is burning too hot, you probably won’t be in a position to do this.
However, you may have a situation where the stove has cooled down to a warm state and you want to cool it further. In that case, this tip is useful.