I’m a huge fan of Duraflame logs because they’re compact and I don’t have to lug huge piles of firewood with me when camping.
They’re also popular because they burn cleaner than regular firewood and produce less smoke. They are easy to light and one log can last you hours.
However, there can be certain instances where your Duraflame log smokes a lot which is one of the few problems associated with these logs and something that shouldn't be happening.
If your Duraflame log is smoking a lot it’s usually because it's wet, it doesn’t have enough airflow or the wrapper wasn’t intact when lit. It could also be that you didn’t stack your Duraflame logs correctly or your chimney has a weak draft or the flue is blocked.
Burning a Duraflame log with regular wood or other items can also create a lot of smoke and Duraflame logs are designed to be burned by themselves except for the Outdoor Duraflame Logs which can be stacked.
Duraflame logs don’t typically smoke a lot but when they do, it’s because they are not being used as they should or you have some other issue with the log.
In this case, consider putting out the log to stop the smoking and either fixing one of the common issues that cause smoking or try another log and see if that solves the problem.
1. The Log Is Wet
Duraflame log wrappers are water-resistant (not waterproof) and if your unburned firelog has been out in heavy rain for a long time, there’s a good chance the firelog is wet.
Duraflame logs are made from a sawdust and natural fibers with a plant-based wax inside. Any moisture that the log is exposed to can therefore easily seep into the sawdust-plant fiber layer.
As the wet Duraflame log burns, the moisture vaporizes and depending on how wet it is, it will produce smoke. This is similar to how regular firewood smokes a lot more when it's wet and why people cover their firewood to stop it from absorbing moisture from the rain.
Top tip: you can keep your Duraflame logs dry when camping by taking them out of the box and placing them in large ziplock bags.
2. There Isn’t Enough Airflow Around It/Underneath It
Duraflame logs need oxygen to combust and burn efficiently and if you restrict the airflow by placing them against a wall or the side of your fireplace, it may smoke and smolder.
You can easily fix this by moving the log to the center of your fireplace or pit.
Duraflame logs should ideally be raised off the ground and placed on a grate where airflow can reach it from underneath.
This will allowing the log to burn more evenly and get more oxygen and should reduce the smoke.
3. The Wrapper Wasn’t Intact When Lit
Image Source: Real Ale Craft Beer
I’ve encountered Duraflame logs where the wrapper was torn or broken (which likely happened on the journey to my campsite).
If your wrapper isn’t intact it’s worth checking if any moisture has crept in and for signs of mold.
If you store your Duraflame logs outdoors or on a covered patio and the wrapper isn’t sealed, moisture can enter resulting in mold or mildew growth. As the mold burns off, it can release a lot of smoke (not to mention nasty spores that you wouldn’t want to breathe in).
4. You Didn’t Stack Your Outdoor Duraflame Logs Correctly
Unlike other Duraflame logs, you can use 2-3 of the Duraflame Outdoor Logs at once. However, you need to stack them in an X or criss-cross shape so that they burn effectively.
Packing them too closely together restricts the airflow around them and prevents them from combusting properly. This can cause some of the flames to go out resulting in smoldering and smoke.
5. Your Chimney Has a Weak Draft or a Blocked Flue
If your chimney has draft issues or the flue is blocked, it may not be the Duraflame log that’s actually causing all the smoke.
Chimneys are designed to allow the hot air and smoke from the fire to flow easily out of your home. This is replaced by cooler air from the outside.
A weak draft in your chimney can prevent the outside air from entering and also the hot smoky air from leaving resulting in a build-up of smoke.
A blocked chimney flue is a common cause of a weak draft. Blockages result from:
- Soot or creosote accumulation along the inner walls
- Bird nests in the chimney
- Twigs and leaves stuck in the chimney
- Collapsing flue lining
If you suspect that your chimney is an issue, it’s best to have a professional inspect it before using the fireplace again.
6. You’re Burning It With Regular Wood or Other Items
Duraflame states that you shouldn’t use their logs with regular wood but I sometimes add some on cold evenings when I need more heat or if my current log is almost burned out. This has never caused excess smoke for me.
However, if you use unseasoned wood (which still has moisture in it) or random twigs or branches it can produce smoke as the moisture vaporizes and creates steam.
Burning other items with your Duraflame log (like paper or trash) can also cause lots of smoke.