Sunday, November 29, 2009

Woodstove Smoke Blow Back Solution

November is very windy here in Coastal BC. Storms tune up in the Gulf of Alaska and march down the coast with very little respite in between. One blustery evening, Wayne and I were talking about improvements to our float cabin that have increased our quality of life. Little surprise, the top two relate to storms. One was the shock absorber system John invented for our anchor cables. The other was our woodstove chimney cap.

Last December, I shared a solution to our wood stove smoke blow back and downdraft problems. Our friend John found a wind protection chimney cap at RONA. As long as the wind was less than 15 kph (9 mph), our wood stove worked fine. But if a stiff breeze came up, especially a southeast wind, smoke was forced back down the chimney and into the cabin. It sometimes got so bad we had to stop using the stove (hard to do if there was wood burning) and start up our Big Buddy propane heater.

The solution was a GW Metal (Item #90142) 6" Revolving Weather Cap. GW Metal is a Canadian company and the Rona shelf name is Cap B Vent High Wind. The cost is $51.99 CAD plus taxes. Check your local home hardware store for a similar version.

Last week we had strong 24 kt (47 kph/29 mph) winds during a passing weather system. The result was much different than our previous chimney cap. After about six hours of strong, gusty winds, there was only one small blow back of smoke through the wood stove door. Here's a video of our new chimney cap in action.

The only problem we've encountered is some smoke escaping from the stove while lighting a fire during light breezes. Sometimes we use a long pole to manually move the cap to point into the wind. If it's a very light breeze, burning a twisted piece of newspaper under the smoke shelf before lighting the kindling is enough to start a draw up the chimney pipe. That usually does the trick.

So, if you are looking for a solution to a smokey woodstove, try a new Revolving Weather Cap. -- Margy


  1. Glad you were able to resolve the woodstove problem! Hows the weather over there?

  2. Hi Margy, Love your video.
    My sister had the same problum in Parhump and had to have us send her a cap from here they did not have any in the Las Vegas area any where. We found one for her and it worked very well.

  3. Anonymous8:06 PM

    Hi, tried doing a search for GW metal, but there are so many companies with that name. Also tried looking for it through RONA's website, cannot find that wind directional cap. Can you get me more information, was there an instruction manual with some phone numbers and website?

  4. For Anonymous - The GW metal chimney cap was just loose on the shelf at RONA. There was no manual or anything that came with it. It just attached to the top of the chimney pipe with a few metal screws. I also tried a web search and could not find it available online. A similar model I did find was more expensive but a similar design. There is a link within my post. If you have a local store that carries stove products I would try going in and asking what they have to offer. Maybe you can find a similar product for less. Sorry I can be more helpful. - Margy

    p.s. We had to go up and clean the cap this week. Creosote had gathered on the swivel pivot and it stopped turning freely. Other than that it has worked perfectly, in both light and heavy winds.

  5. Anonymous10:19 AM

    It was very interesting for me to read this article. Thanks for it. I like such topics and everything that is connected to them. I definitely want to read a bit more soon.

  6. Thanks for the compliment Anonymous. Just an update for other readers, last night we had a tremendous wind storm. After almost a year in operation it is still working great. Not a bit of blow back so we could keep the fire going with no smoke in the cabin. What a difference from last winter! It has really improved our quality of life up the laike. - Margy

  7. Love your video, and glad you could resolve the woodstove problem..