Each stove will have primary and secondary air controls to easily regulate the heat output.
Keeping the air flowing correctly through a wood-burning stove is essential for safe and efficient operation of the stove. Fresh air needs to enter the wood compartment to provide oxygen fuel for the fire; as the fire burns, the smoke must be allowed to rise through the stove pipes, and exit through the chimney. To regulate air flow, there are damper devices built into the stove, flue, and stove pipes.
By opening or closing the dampers, air flow can be increased or decreased, which can fan the fire in the wood compartment, or “dampen” it by restricting airflow and reducing the flames. The dampers can usually be accessed by turning a knob or a handle attached to the damper, found outside the stove or stovepipe. One of the uses of the dampers is to increase airflow into the wood compartment to raise flames and thus the temperature of the stove, to temporarily create a high heat for cooking.
High heating efficiencies on closed appliances can only be attained by controlling the supply of air to the fire chamber (operating the air control correctly). It is not recommended to leave the air control fully open, except when helping the chimney/flue heat up initially. A fully open air control will lead to more heat being sent straight up the chimney rather than into the room (which reduces efficiency). The biggest problem with leaving the air control fully open is “overfiring”. Overfiring is caused when too much heat is generated within the fire chamber, which will lead to warping, buckling and general damage to the stove and its internal components.