Why It's Important to Have a Wood Stove Outdoor Air Source

Phoenix1

Member
I've run wood stoves for years with no outdoor air source. Everything seemed to be okay, but the more I thought about things, the more I wanted to set one up. I know there's some controversy around this topic, but I'll offer my own thoughts and experiences below. But just so you know, I think it's a good idea to set up a fresh air source for just about any wood stove.

Okay, here it is. Houses are being made quite well these days. They are tighter than tight. When you use a wood stove, air from the living area is consumed. If a house is built very tightly, not enough air may enter the house to allow for it to be burned. That's going to reduce the amount of draft you have going up your chimney.

Conversely, if you have a house that's drafty, you most likely have what's referred to as chimney or stack effect going on. This is when the air that enters your house on the bottom floor is sucked out by the top floor. Your house effectively becomes a vacuum that's got negative pressure, just like a giant chimney. If you open your wood stove front door down on the bottom floor, guess where the top floor is going to draw its air from. That's right, your chimney, which is going to create a negative draft. You certainly don't want that.

Do you have a whole house fan? If so, then you may create huge problems if you turn it on when you've got a fire going in your wood stove. Want to talk about negative pressure? Those whole house fans pull air from anywhere they can to blow out into the attic. If you've got a fire going in your wood stove and if you don't have an outdoor air supply, the fan is going to get its air from your chimney, which will fill your house with smoke. Terrible experience.

It's very simple to install an outdoor air source for your wood burning stove, so there's no really good excuse not to. And even if you subscribe to the controversy surrounding this topic, you can't hurt anything by installing a fresh air source. So just do it.

I recently set one up for my own wood stove, so I thought I'd share a few photos. If you've got one, please do the same. I'd love to see it. And if you've got any thoughts or comments about this topic, please let me know down below.

This is the fresh air source connection to the wall. I first cut the hole in the wall and then put a piece of cut PVC drain pipe (at the proper length) through the hole. I cut a piece of 3/4 inch plywood to fit the pipe into. Then, I screwed the wood to the wall and attached some foil dryer vent hose to it. To tape it up, I used foil tape. That's some awesome stuff. Oh yeah, I also used some clear silicone caulk to seal the PVC pipe to the plywood.

wood-stove-fresh-air-wall-connection.jpg


This is the outside view of the same pipe. I pretty much did the same thing as inside, but I didn't attach any dryer hose, obviously. I also put some rabbit fencing (screening) over the open pipe, so no critters could get inside.

wood-stove-fresh-air-inlet.jpg


This is just a view of the foil dryer hose leading to the stove.

wood-stove-fresh-air-tubing.jpg


Now this is the fun part. I had to connect a four inch hose to a three inch opening at the wood stove. I found a website online where I could make a pattern for a cone. I made the pattern and then used it to cut a piece of aluminum flashing to make the cone. Then I used some more foil tape to connect everything together. I've already made a few fires and it works great!

wood-stove-fresh-air-stove-connection.jpg
 

CaptainDan

Member
An outside fresh air source also helps when lighting the stove. If you've got negative pressure in your house and you try to light your stove, you'll end up with smoke filling your room because the vacuum of your house will be pulling the air down your chimney as opposed to up. While the fresh air source won't solve all your lighting problems, it may help. It'll at least alleviate a bit of that negative pressure by pulling some air in from outside. You can also open a window while lighting the stove to accomplish the same thing. You can read this post to learn more about smoke filling up your house while lighting your wood burning stove.
 
Why It's Important to Have a Wood Stove Outdoor Air Source was posted on 09-21-2020 by Phoenix1 in the Home Forum.
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