How do you stop wood stove smoke from entering a home?
I am very sensitive to dust and smoke. We use a wood stove for winter heat. Just the small amount of smoke from opening the stove door causes throat irritation. The stove itself does not leak. Using an air purifier, but wondering if air exchange would help. Home is pretty air tight, built in Maine in 1986. Humidity is 50 per cent or less. Don't want to give up the wood stove. Don. Topsham, ME.
You do have a few points here to address, but the first thing I would say is that any reasonably airtight home really should have an air exchanger to protect indoor air quality. Don't count on air purifiers to do much about indoor air quality, they aren’t that effective. Without running ducts around your house I would suggest looking at ductless ERVs as they don’t require a lot of demolition to install compared to the work you’d need to do to install a ducted HRV or ERV. Have a look at this page and you will see what I mean –
DIY air exchanger installation video
This page will also help a lot, about how to balance indoor air pressure -
House air tightness - why balancing air pressure is essential for indoor air quality
The air pressure in your house may also be a factor, if there is negative pressure when you open the stove door it is more likely you will let smoke enter. I heat with wood myself so I know the challenge of ensuring you don’t contaminate indoor air with smoke from the wood stove.
So my tips – Make sure you don’t have a stove hood or bathroom fan ever running when you open the door. They depressurize the house and will draw air and smoke from the fire. You could also open a window on the main floor when you do it, that may help by offering a some makeup air to increase the draw up the chimney. Also as I’m sure you know, opening the door slowly, as little as possible and for as short a time as possible will help.
And how is your wood stove fed? They need constant oxygen to burn, so if you have a direct cold air feed from the outside that may help keep the indoor air pressure balanced.
Thank you for your response, great information! I looked at the video on ERV's and the one on balancing air pressure. There is negative pressure when I open the stove door. The stove uses inside air, no fresh air. We only heat part of the first floor of the house, about 600 square feet. I experimented yesterday with keeping a window cracked and the stove hood on low. I think it was better. Will look further at an ERV solution. I also thought of buying a heat pump for the 600 square foot area and cut back on use of the wood stove. Any further suggestions are appreciated. Thank you for your response and for this forum. Don.
As I look at more info, it looks like the exhaust fan may be counter productive?
Hi Don, I'm really glad those tips seems to have helped! The heat pump would for sure cut down on your wood consumption, we have a few pages on heat pumps (see here) that may help you. In our demo houses we have used mini-split heat pumps as well as a heat pump water heater and we've been very happy with the results. For a 600 square foot space you would be well served by a small mini-split heat pump, it would also give you cooling in the summer.