Wood stoves are no longer rustic heating alternatives meant just for log cabins and hunting lodges. Instead, modern wood stoves are energy efficient appliances that can produce enough heat to keep your home’s living areas warm and cozy.
While one of the draws of wood stoves is that they often require less upkeep than wood burning fireplaces, they still need to be regularly maintained. Below are some tips for cleaning and maintaining your wood stove.
One of the best things homeowners can do to maintain their wood stoves is to regularly remove ashes. Depending on frequency of use, ashes may need to be removed as often as every few days or as little as a few times per month. Ashes should always be removed before there is an excessive buildup, especially around the startup air housing or loading doors.
When removing ashes, wait until the fire has died down and the ashes are completely cooled. This allows any remaining ashes or coals to extinguish before the ashes are removed, minimizing the risk of burns from any remaining hot embers. Ashes should be stored in a metal container with a tight fitting lid and should never be dumped into cardboard or paper containers or mixed with regular trash.
To improve the startup for your next fire, leave ½ to 1 inch of ash on the bottom of the firebox. Doing this creates an insulating layer that allows for a more uniform burn than occurs in a completely clean firebox.
Never clean the glass while the stove in is use. Instead, wait for the stove to cool down to room temperature after use; depending on how long the stove was operating, it may take several hours for the stove to cool down.
The interior glass of your wood stove can be cleaned using a soft, clean cloth and fireplace glass cleaner. Allow the cleaner to dry completely and buff away any excess cleaner before closing the door. Regular household cleaners should never be used when cleaning the interior glass; because they are not designed to be heat safe, the chemicals in regular cleaners may ignite, damage the glass, or release toxic chemicals when the wood stove is in use.
Minimizing creosote buildup
Creosote buildup is the leading cause of chimney fire; because of this, it is important to minimize creosote buildup in your wood stove. The following burning and usage tips can help you minimize the amount of creosote produced by your wood stove.
- Burn the stove with the draft control completely open for 10-15 minutes each morning during the burning season.
- Whenever new wood is added to the fire, open the damper to the full open position for 10-15 minutes.
- Never burn wet or green wood.
- Instead of a large, low fire burn a smaller, hot fire.
- Do not allow fires to smolder for long periods of time.
- Have your chimney professionally swept and inspected.
For more information on wood stoves and wood stove maintenance, contact The Cozy Flame today!