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close this book Boiling Point No. 17 - December 1988
View the document Fault finding and fixing
View the document Stove Problems - Causes &: Solutions
View the document Is It "Fixed" ? Test It.
View the document Solving Potters' Problems
View the document Clay Properties & Formulations for Ceramic Charcoal Stove Manufacturing In Thailand
View the document "A Watched Pot Never Boils"
View the document Appropriate energy stoves - for residues plus charcoal
View the document Village Biomass Energy Needs and Tree Planting
View the document The Mesquite Tree
View the document Stove profiles - Magan Chula
View the document Subsidies: Why, Who, When, Where, How ?
View the document Supply of Metal for Jikos (Stoves) in Kenya
View the document New Stoves In Zimbabwe
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Stove Problems - Causes &: Solutions


Extract from "Improved Wood, Waste and Charcoal Burning Stoves", "A Practitioner's Manual by ITDG, 1987, pp 230, 9..95 from IT Publications Ltd.

Repair Guidelines for Use in the Field

The first step is to check that the stove to be repaired has been constructed according to the original plan(s). If the stove does not follow the original plan this will most probably be the reason for unsatisfactory performance, given the same operating conditions (pots, fuel, chimney height, etc.) for the original stove and the stove being repaired. Determine whether any modifications have been made and the reason why.

The next step is to discover, by interview, what problems the user may have with the stove, and to observe a fire burning if possible.

The common problems which will be encountered, their causes, and the various solutions available to remedy them, are tabled below.

Table 1: Multi-Pot Chimney Stoves




Always slow to cook

Firebox too deep and names not touching first pot.

Reduce firebox height by raising the floor.


Low draught and very little flames.

Increase tunnel size*


High draught and flames flaring straight out without good pot contact.

Increase baffle gap


Increase chimney height.


Reduce baffle gap


Decrease back tunnel size


Decrease front tunnel size


Decrease chimney height.

Slow cooking problem developed after a few hours use.

Clogged chimney chimney cap or tunnel

Clean out chimney chimney cap and tunnel.

Burning too much fuel and burning it quickly

High draught

Reduce baffle gap


Decrease back tunnel size*


Decrease front tunnel*


Decrease front door area*


Decrease chimney height

Smoke always coming out of the front door

Low draught

Increase tunnel size*


Increase baffle gap stove


Increase chimney height

Smoke coming out of front door of stove when windy

Poor chimney placement as wind is forced down chimney

Change chimney position

Not enough heat to second pot

Baffle gap is too great and flames do not have good pot contact

Decrease baffle gap


First tunnel is too small and total power output is low

Enlarge first tunnel


Baffle gap is too small and total power output is low

Increase baffle gap slightly


Baffle angle is wrong

Change angle*

Too much of total heat going to the second pot

High draught

Reduce baffle gap


Decrease back tunnel


Decrease front tunnel


Decrease chimney height

High fuel consumption

Draught too large, or small

Increase or decrease the height or position of baffles


Check diameler/height of chimney


Increase or decrease fuel entrance or air entrance*


Pots wrong design or size

Check pot with stove design recommendations.


Combustion chamber too large, or too small

Check combustion chamber shape and size in design recommendations.

Cooking performance poor ie. Slow to cook

Power output low

Check moisture content of fuel


Poor heat transfer

Increase fuel load Increase draught, reduce baffle height, increase chimney height


Check draught

Difficult to ignite

Cold or wet stove

Light fire with as much paper and kindling as possible


Blocked chimney or flue

Clean stove


Wet wood

Use drier wood to start, adding wet wood only when stove is well alight

Difficult to burn wet wood

Insufficient draught

Increase chimney height


Decrease baffles


Clean stove

Stove very smoky

Insufficient draught

Increase chimney height


Decrease baffles


Fuel load too large

Reduce fuel load

Excessive soot deposits

See 'Stove very smoky'

Clean stove and chimney

Insufficient heat to second pot

Insufficient draught

Increase chimney height


Decrease baffles


Baffle wrongly positioned or wrong size

Check position and size of baffle

Excessive heat to pots

Too much draught

Increase baffles


Decrease chimney height

Smoke exits from the fuel entrance or fire burns back out from the entrance

Wrongly positioned chimney - wind blows down it.

Re-locate chimney or cover with cowling


Insufficient draught

Increase chimney height




* These solutions not applicable for all pottery stoves

+ These solutions not applicable for pottery stoves not surrounded by mud