Can I use my stove with the door open?

Stoves are more efficient than open fires – but only when the doors are closed. We receive the question of whether or not a customer can use their stove with the door open on a regular basis, and the answer is always the same – no.

The issue here is that the door is designed precisely, in order to control the amount of air going into the fire. The body of the stove gets hot and eventually radiates heat in the room. Some people believe that they will enjoy the heat better with the door open, which defeats the object of owning a stove.

By opening the door, the air flow is no longer under control. The fire will hungrily draw all the oxygen it can get, increasing the draught and sending much of the heat up the chimney. Also, the increased oxygen will cause the fire to burn at much higher temperatures than it should, tearing through your fuel reserves and running the risk of over-firing your stove.

Stove manufacturers only test and approve their stoves with the door shut, and so firing your stove with the door open goes against the manufacturer’s instructions, potentially voiding the warranty.

The only exception to this is a stove with an eight inch flue, designed to become a kind of hybrid between open fire and stove. With the door open, you are able to use the stove as an open fire as it has been tested for this kind of operation. An example of this type of stove is the Stovax Regency. The doors are not fully air tight when closed, acting more like a spark guard. With the doors open you should consider using a spark guard to catch any sparks leaping out of the stove. However its efficiency is quite low compared to other stoves on the market.

191237RegencyMainImage
The Stovax Regency burning with the doors open

Many modern stoves have beautiful, panoramic views of the flames so you won’t miss the views of an open fire. The control capabilities of a stove far exceed that of an open fire, which is what makes them such an effective and efficient means of warming your room. There is no valid reason to use the unapproved stove with the door open.

27 thoughts on “Can I use my stove with the door open?

  1. You wrote, “There is no valid reason to use the unapproved stove with the door open”. This is false. There are two valid reasons. #1 it heats the room faster. It uses more wood, but it is definitely faster. (I tried it both ways and checked the temperature rise over 30 minutes). #2 it is more fun. With the door open you get a nicer view, and you can also cook marshmallows on the fire, and you can hear the nice crackling and popping noises. For safety use a screen, and do not leave unattended.

  2. Hi John, thanks for the comment, we love hearing from readers!
    In regards to our statement “There is no valid reason to use the unapproved stove with the door open”, we believe that if you intend to run a stove with the door open you would be much better off purchasing an open fire instead. That is, stoves are designed to be a “closed” appliance rather than an open one, for a couple of reasons:

    #1 You can control the air supply, but only when the door is closed. This is the major benefit of having a stove, allowing you to regulate the burn and get a more prolonged heat compared with an open fire (which burns hot and fast).

    #2 Because stoves are designed to be run with the doors shut, the flue diameter can be reduced down to 6″ or even 5″ diameters. Typically, open fires have to be installed into an 8″ (200mm) chimney. This ensures that smoke does not “spill” back into the room and is taken away up the chimney (8″ is typical, it depends upon the size of you opening and your fire, sometimes it’s more, but never less).

    #3 Air vent regulations. No-one likes putting an air vent in the room, but on some larger stoves it is needed to ensure a regular supply of oxygen is supplied to the room. It is also vital for open fires that an air vent is fitted in the room. Some situations are permitted to have a stove with no air vent, however, if you run the stove with the door open, you have negated the air vent exception as the fire will burn more oxygen per hour as an open fire than it would with the door shut.

    You’re right that it will definitely feel hotter sooner burning it with the door open, this is because the fire is simply pulling as much oxygen as it can to fuel the burn. CRUCIALLY using a stove this way will use much more wood, and produce heat greater than the stove was designed to cope with, meaning you will eat through firebricks and other stove components much more quickly than usual, resulting in greater repair costs. Closing the door also removes the risk of a spark jumping out of the fire over or through your guard and singing your carpet/flooring.

    Thanks for your comments John, always good to discuss matters like this.
    Reece – Fireplace Products

  3. I think you are underestimating the value of flexibility which gives consumers a choice. For me the whole point of choosing a stove where the doors can be folded back (for example a Dovre stove) is so that occasionally I can enjoy the ‘open fire’ experience, while still having a functioning stove. Saying a categoric ‘no’ to this type of use is not really offering the customer good advice.

    1. Hi Carol,

      Thanks for your comments, we do understand that flexibility gives consumers a choice, that being said we feel responsibility to point out the problems and pitfalls that choosing to use a stove with the doors open can cause. To clarify we are not saying that you no stove can be used with its doors open, only those not designed to do so. There are some stoves (including Dovre as you rightly say) that are designed to be run as an open fire with their doors folded back. All of these stoves do however have a larger 8″ (200mm) diameter flue pipes to cater for this, rather than the more regular 5″ or 6″ flue diameter which can cause smoke to spill into the room if used in this way.

      We really appreciate your comments Carol, and always welcome discussion on matters like this.
      Reece – Fireplace Products

  4. Great article. I have a quick question: my wood burning stove has a broken latch — meaning, the door does not “latch” when I close the door. But it does “close” so to speak, just not fully and not “locked” in place. There is about a centimeter gap, if that. Is that okay? I just want to know if I absolutely need to have someone repair it, which I hope I do not have to due to strict money restraints I have.

    Thanks for any help!
    Tad

    1. Hi Tad,

      So the big issue you will have is that the stove will over fire, meaning it pulls more oxygen in from the room meaning the stove will burn hotter and faster than intended. I would suggest that running your stove with the door like this will do damage to the internal firebricks and great meaning that will most likely need replacing sooner than otherwise required, and the cost of replacing those items may actually cost more than fixing the door latch. If you let us know what stove model you have we might be able to assist with the parts you need.

      Thanks
      Reece
      Fireplace Products

  5. So we have a wood burning stove and my husband decided to leave the door open for a while with lots of nice hot orange coals. Our carbon monoxide detectors started going off eventually. How come some people are saying they choose to leave the door open ..looks prettier, warmer, roasting marshmallows, etc….but no one else has their carbon monoxide detectors going off? Why just us and no one else? Feeling confused

    1. Hi Lisa, thanks for getting in touch. I would say that it is probably down to your chimney draught. Closed door stoves are designed to work on a narrow flue diameter such as 5″ or 6″. An open fire to prevent spilling (smoke and CO coming back into the room) typically need a minimum of 8″ depending upon how large the opening is. Also to take into account is the baffle plate that is fitted to most stoves. This angle plate at the top of your stove has many benefits when the door is closed, but when the door is open you are giving the smoke a choice between escaping up a small slot, or out of the door. So depending upon how strong your chimney draught is, as to if the smoke spills into the room or is drawn up the chimney. I hope this helps.

      Reece
      Fireplace Products

  6. Jotul for example shows in many promotional videos that they introduce some of their wood stoves with separate and removable protective grille.
    They do not say, however, whether this is also suitable for long-term use.
    My chimney has a cross section of 20cm, the stove pipe approx 15cm square ,and it works perfectly with open door.
    No smoke coming into the room. But if i use my pipe-reducer-flap only a bit then the smoke start to fill the room.
    With closed door the flap only reduces the “too much” draft from my 8″ and very high chimney.
    When I start the fire in my Jotul F3 CB i leave the door completely open for the first minutes. After a few minutes i always close the door completely. With the door always open the wood consumption is doubling or more !
    But with closed door use:
    The more air flows through the oven, the cooler the internal temperature remains. Fire burns faster but i think not hotter.
    By shutting all air “intakes” to a minimum ,the internal temperature increase > very hot secondary burn starts and wood consumption is reduced to a minimum of 2Kg per hour !

  7. Hello,

    We recently installed a double sided double hunter 6. Multi fuel burner. In addition to this we had the chimney re-lined and tested. The tests result proved successful with no leaks and a good drag.

    Unfortunately the stove does not warm up sufficiently to heat our room up. The room is c13 mars by c4 mtrs in dimensions. The fire is positioned centrally in the room.

    We have dried all types of wood and coal but no heat it thrown out into the room. In fact you can put your hands in front of the glass doors and leave them there without the risk of them getting hot.

    The stove looks and sounds great but simply does not do the intended job it was purchased for!

    Any advice would be good please.

    Kind regards
    Michael

    1. Hi Michael,

      So, if i understand you correctly you have a room 13m x 4m and you have the stove centrally located in the room? Assuming you have a standard ceiling height of around 2.5m and average insulation levels you would need about 9-10kW to heat that space to an ambient temperature.

      The Herald 6 double sided, double depth which is the model i think you are saying you have purchased has a 8-13kW output range with a 10.5kW nominal output, so should be suitable to heat the space. I suspect the problem is fuel related, do you have a moisture meter so you can make sure your logs have a moisture content less than 20% ? If possible try burning kiln dried wood rather than netted hardwood logs. Another consideration is the amount of fuel that you are burning. The double sided double depth model has a large fire chamber, that requires a large amount of fuel in order to achieve the outputs stated.

      Annoyingly having just spoken with Hunter they do not release their test data surrounding how much wood they burnt and for how long to achieve the outputs stated. However, based on other double sided manufactures data, that achieve similar output results i would suggest you should be burning around 3.5KG of wood per hour in order to achieve these results (this is an estimate based on similar models). Try getting a set of bathroom scales and weighing out the wood to around 3.5KG and see how that compares against the fuel you were burning before.

      As a model the Hunter Herald Double Sided range are popular, so i would be very surprised if there is something wrong with the stove, 9 out of 10 times problems relate to fuel or the flue. If you need some kiln dried logs to try you can get them from us if you are unable to source them locally.

      You can contact me directly through reece.toscani@fireplaceproducts.co.uk if you have any further questions relating to this.

      Hope this helps, Reece

  8. Hi ,
    I have just purchased a Clearview Pioneer 400 and have a query re optimal running temperature. The manual suggests optimal running temperature between 400-550 F. However, when I burn a steady clean fire the temperature jumps to 600F. If I adjust the air slide control to get the temperature down, the fire no longer burns clean. Any suggestions on how to get the balance between optimal temperature & a clean burning fire. I am using kiln dried wood only.
    Thanks you.
    Philip, Wales.

    1. Hi Philip, Clearview is not a brand that we offer and so i am not as familiar with this brand. When you talk about temperature are you talking about surface temperature of flue temperature? Make sure you are measuring the same against the recommendation, Surface temperature of the stove will vary in different places of the stove and can also vary against the flue temperature.

      With regards to air controls, typically the top control is the secondary air supply and is the airwash system that helps to keep the glass clean, try leaving this one open and adjusting the lower air control which is the primary air intake supply, this should help to regulate the flame height/speed of the flames and should effect how hot/fast your fuel burns.

      Hope this helps

      Reece

  9. Dear Reece, you have the patience of a saint.
    However I was wondering if I can leave the door of my stove open so I can roast an ox in the living room.
    Our flue is only 6 inches wide and we use a mix of coal wood and cat hair.
    Any advise appreciated.

    1. Hi Dave,

      Thanks for the question, I would suggest that running a stove that has a 6″ outlet with the door open is always a risk of smoke coming back into the room. Combine that with the smell of burning cat hair and roast Ox and im not sure it makes for a great combination. 🙂

      Reece

  10. Hello,

    Just wanted to say thank you. Might be ironic from your perspective. Thanks to the article and comments I have been saved the trouble of figuring out if opening the door heats up the room faster than closed. Here in Ontario Canada, it’s -17C outside (and inside initially). Sitting here with the stove door open feels much better, until it’s hot enough to bear closing it to save fuel!

  11. I burn with doors closed but then there are times that the orange embers are so numerous that it begins to interfere with wood being put in (in one day..I empty ashes daily). I then leave door open to burn down the embers so there is more room for wood. Is this not a good idea?

    1. Hi Jan, So it sounds like you are getting alot of ash and embers left over from the burning. What wood are you burning? Have you tried other types of wood fuel. Typically there are three variables with a stove:
      1) Fuel
      2) Flue
      3) Air Supply

      So trying a different type of wood, will help us establish if its the fuel or not. Kiln dried wood is by far the best type of wood to burn, so if you do not already have this i would defiantly suggest using that. If we still have the issue after the fuel, then it is likely the flue is not pulling the smoke up as it should, or that the stove is not getting enough air into the firebox to burn completely. Do you know what stove you have? If you do not, maybe you can email us a photo and we can help you identify it. With regards to the vents on the stove, this can depend upon the model for the correct operation, but try running it to start with all vents open, it will burn hot and fast, but while you are troubleshooting this is okay, as once you have a good fire established, you can then start to close the vents down and see what effect it has on the flame. Depending on the model and how sophisticated the air controls are as to how much control you will have. Remember the price of a product is a good indication as to how much control you have of the fire, and how clean burning the stove is, and by clean burning we mean both emissions in the smoke, and waste ash left behind. Hope this helps. Reece

    1. Hi David,

      Contact our sales team sales@fireplaceproducts.co.uk and they will be able to advise you. We do not offer worldwide shipping as standard on all of our products as we have territory agreements with some of our suppliers, and some products are not suitable for other countries due to the models we buy/sell being suited to UK regulations. We have the ability to ship worldwide, but also the responsibility to make sure we do so correctly. Thanks, Reece

  12. Hi! I recently bought and installed a Regency F5100 stove in my house. This thing is a beast and I love it. It has an 8 inch pipe all the way out, can I safely use this particular stove with the door open? (For the same reasons as everybody else: rapid heat, and ambiance).
    Thanks!
    Steve

    1. Hi Steve, im not familiar with the Regency F5100 stove, i suspect it is a North American model? in the UK with solid fuel you need a minimum chimney of 8″ to have an open fire, keep in mind if the size of the opening is too large it can dictate that you need a 9″ or 10″ chimney in order to prevent spillage back into the room. As i say im not so familiar with this model, so its hard to say for sure without knowing how large the opening is with the doors open, or how the baffle system works. Likewise if the stove is installed outside of the UK i am not sure if the same rules apply. What i would say is make sure you are burning clean dry wood, and that you have a CO alarm fitted near to the stove if you intend on running it with the doors open. Thanks Reece

  13. I have a Stovax Regency stove and would be interested to know if anyone produces glass doors as a replacement for the existing folding metal ones.

    1. Hi David, I have never seen the regency with glass doors. The Regency is based on an old Benjamin Franklin stove design, and they have been many imitations over the years, some of which with glass doors. Let us know if you manage to find any. Best of luck, Reece

  14. I have a fireplace insert with a glass door in my house. I found whenever I close the door the fire goes off. It seem like the door should always open when fire is burning. After some search I found this blog and another article here: https://www.brick-anew.com/articles/fireplace-doors-open-or-closed
    So I’m really confused. Sorry I never used a fireplace or wood stove before. Are they different? Should I keep my fireplace insert’s door open when it’s burning? Thanks

    1. Hi Alex, thanks for the link, that is a good read. So in the UK, we typically have either open fires which are designed to be open or glass fronted fires or stoves which are designed to be closed. My understanding in the US and North America is that many fireplaces are installed open and can have doors added to them. I suspect the regs are quite different regarding the installations as well. Everything we have stated is based on UK regs and may not apply. Fire needs a fuel source (wood), oxygen to burn (air flow) and something to start to process (matches, firelighters, kindling – spark). If you remove the fuel or the air or restrict the air flow by placing glass doors infront of a fire that is not designed to have them, then this will likely have an impact on the burning of your fire. I assume the doors are there to prevent drafts when the fire is not in use, which makes sense but also explains why you are having this issue. Therefore based on what you have described its probably best to keep the doors open on your fire when it’s burning, and closed when it’s not. Hope it helps. Reece

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