Extend the Life of Your Wood Stove
When you invest in a wood burning stove, you want it to last. You should be able to use your wood burning stove as an effective, alternative heating source for decades. Like any wood-burning appliance, it may need to be replaced or repaired prematurely if it isn’t taken care of properly. There are 5 basic care and maintenance rules you should follow to prolong the life of your wood stove.
Rule #1 – Have Your Wood Stove Professionally Installed
Professional installation for a wood stove is essential for optimal operation and safety. If the venting system is not properly set up by a chimney and stove expert who knows the right fit requirements, your wood burning stove will not burn efficiently. The venting system may also be more susceptible to water intrusion which can cause significant damage.
Along with diminishing the operation of your wood stove, poor installation can be a serious safety risk. If it is installed without the proper hearth material or too close to combustibles like walls, flooring, and furniture, using your wood stove could easily result in a house fire.
Rule #2 – Only Burn Seasoned Wood
Freshly cut firewood is filled with moisture. Its high moisture content reduces the fire’s heat output and produces a dark, heavy smoke that will stick to the lining of the venting system and turn into creosote. Creosote is a highly flammable substance that is the leading cause of chimney fires. The best way to prevent large amounts of creosote from clogging the venting system and enjoy fires with a good heat output is to use seasoned wood. Seasoned wood is firewood that has dried out for 6 to 12 months after being cut.
Rule #3 – Don’t Overload the Stove
There is a common belief that you can clean out the stovepipe by creating a super hot fire that burns away creosote deposits. Overloading your wood stove to produce a hot enough fire is an extremely dangerous method to clea
n the venting system. If it works, it can cause an explosive fire in the stovepipe that can seriously damage the venting system or ignite a house fire. Overloading your stove can also damage the firebox and turn your stove into a serious household safety risk. To protect the safety of yourself, your loved ones and your home, do not overload the stove with too much fuel.
Rule #4 – Schedule an Annual Cleaning and Inspecting
Having you wood stove and chimney cleaned and inspected once a year—either just before or right after the burning season—is the best way to maintain your stove. A chimney technician can safely remove creosote buildup and will check to make sure that no water is entering the venting system. He will also look for other signs of damage and make sure that the door gaskets are in good condition. Many technicians will also add a new layer of stove paint to give your stove a fresh look if you would like them to.
Rule #5 – Periodically Check the Door Gaskets
In between professional inspections, it is smart to check the door gaskets yourself. The door gaskets insure that the doors stay tightly closed which helps the fire to burn more efficiently and prevents smoke and carbon monoxide from leaking into your home. An easy way to check the door gaskets is to open the stove door, slip a dollar bill into the frame and tug on it. If you can’t pull the dollar bill out when the door is closed, the door gaskets are in good condition. If you can easily pull the dollar bill out of the door than either a new gasket needs to be installed or the doors need to be adjusted.
When it is time to have your wood stove cleaned and inspected, give us a call! We are the chimney authority in Southwestern Wisconsin, Northern Illinois and Eastern Iowa. Our experts are here to answer your questions if you’d like to know more about wood burning stove maintenance and operation.