Means a old regular wood stove is what 50 or 60? percent efficient , based on how you run it.
a newer secondary burn, 70 percent range?
a down draft, gets into 80 percent range?
So, when you cut it back, and don't burn the smoke, you just droped your 70 percent to 50 percent.
Now, a old stove, running it more wide open , you bank it down, you drop from your 60 to 50, or a little less.
NUMBERS are just hear say, for sake of example. should be close.
So, you might burn a little more by loading it, and it being hot.
Try running it a little hotter, can you run it semi banked down? check your smoke output at chimney, to see where your spot is to not smoke neighbors out.
I run a downdraft , hot coals, I cut it back, and they wash smoke out, But I don't choke it off, It took me a few nights to figure my sweet spot,
I also have it in the basement, so even if that room gets hot, it takes a day to overheat the first floor.