The Cause Of Too Many Coals In A Wood Stove

Excess coal builds up because you do not allow the wood to burn down fully.

In other words, you reload the stove with more firewood sooner than needed.

Normally folks do this to keep the temperatures high – for example, during a period of more-intense-than-usual cold.

How to combat it

Work the air intake

The key to reducing your coal bed to a minimum faster is by allowing more oxygen to enter the log burner.

How do you do that? By opening up the air intake, of course!

A wood stove with some firewood burning in it.
Wood Stove” by Tyler Karaszewski is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Letting more air into the stove allows the coals to heat up and finally burn down quicker. Simple as that.

This may be all what’s needed to fix your issue. If that don’t cut it, check the tip down below.

Use more softwood

Softwood is known to make hotter fires, albeit the kind that doesn’t last as long.

So if your goal is to really push the heat to its limits, giving softwood a try can be of huge help.

I’m not saying that you should forget hardwoods like oak and birch entirely, but mixing in some pine or such here and there not only will increase the temps, but also allow the wood to turn to ashes quicker.

If that sounds like too much at first, what you can try is this: when the hardwood you got inside the wood stove has burned down to coals and you are eager to put another load in, chuck in some softwood splits and let them take care of the coals.

The softwood will light up easy and get rid of those pesky coals soon enough. Now you are ready for another armful of wood.

In general, if keeping high stove temp is important to you, its best to stick to using softwood, though I do understand that it may not be possible in your particular case.

In a perfect world, using up your softwood supply for daytime heating and hardwood for keeping the stove alight during night is best of both worlds.

Another possible reason

If trying out the aformentioned methods did not yield much result, it may be the case that the firewood you’re using is just not seasoned enough.

It does make sense. Wood that contains too much water content will have a harder time, if any, turning to ashes.

Finding whether that is indeed true or not is easy. Just get a moisture meter and you’ll be set.

But don’t throw them out

I’ve read of more than one person who supposedly, when the firebox gets too full of coals, dump them in a metal container and call it a day.

I think that is just a plain waste of heat really.

There is still loads of BTU left in those coals, don’t waste your fuel.

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