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Make up air for a Wood Stove in a tight, but not PH, house?

calum_wilde | Posted in General Questions on

Hey guys,

I’ve been reading a lot about the troubles of using a wood stove in a house that is well sealed. Namely the troubles of ensuring proper makeup air to avoid back drafting, and ensuring a proper burn. Of course, it gets easier the more the house leaks, with passive house being very prone to issue with a wood stove. My trouble comes from the fact that the articles seem to treat houses of either PH, or not. That seems to leave a lot of shades of grey that aren’t being discussed.

While I don’t live in a passive house, I’d hazard that it’s tighter than a typical house, with an ach50 of 1.62. So, is this house tight enough to worry about make up air? We don’t have fans in our bathrooms, just the HRV vent, and the range is electric so the range hood doesn’t draw from the outside, but, there is of course a typical dryer pulling air out of the house.

Thanks for the help.

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    The typical answer is: operate your wood stove and see if you have a problem. Typically, this problem is manifested by back-puffing. If the back-puffing is eliminated by opening a window, your stove needs more outdoor air.

    The solution can be as simple as remembering to open a window when you first light a fire. (You can usually close the window after a half hour or an hour.) More complicated solutions involve outdoor air ducts with big valves or dampers.

    For more information, see All About Wood Stoves.

  2. calum_wilde | | #2

    Thanks Martin.

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