Process of Maintaining a Stove or Fireplace

Published On:
February 4, 2020

Maintaining a stove or fireplace

To ensure the best performance from your wood-burning stove it should be cleaned regularly, particularly if you plan on using it frequently as colder weather approaches. Before cleaning, make sure that any excess ash, soot and debris is removed. As well as the interior of the stove, you should also ensure that the glass window is clean and scratch-free. Make sure the appliance is off and cool before cleaning with a damp cloth and standard cleaning agent.

A stove performs best when the flue baffle and chimney are as clean and debris-free as possible. The end of the summer is the perfect time to arrange for your chimney to be swept as you’ll be using your wood-burning fireplace or stove more in the winter. A qualified specialist should inspect and sweep the chimney once a year to ensure that there are no issues. Although, if used frequently throughout the year then checks should be carried out more often. Never use the stove if you believe that it could be damaged in any way, speak to one of our specialists today for more advice and guidance.

The best way to use a wood-burning stove

There’s no need to worry about cleaning your stove after each use, as wood burns better on a bed of ash. To light the stove, build a small stack of kindling roughly in the shape of a hash, with a firelighter in the middle and a single log placed bark side down on the top.

Leave the air vents fully open after lighting the fire. This provides an ample supply of oxygen, which helps the fuel catch. Once the first log is burning well, add a second log and close the primary air vent to halfway. This gradually decreases the oxygen and controls the size of the fire, keeping your fuel burning longer.

A fire that has nearly gone out can be revived. Simply add more kindling, open the primary air vent, and add a new log after the kindling has caught. If you find your stove getting too hot, close the primary air vent so that the fire gradually dies down.

Maintenance for wood burning stoves

If your wood-burning stove is not used frequently, it won’t require much maintenance to upkeep. A stove used only a few times a month will require less upkeep than one which is used multiple times a week. Inspecting and caring for your stove regularly will keep it safe, clean and easy to use. Always wait for your stove to cool down completely before attempting to check, clean or maintain it.

Although wood burns better with a bed of ash, allowing it to pile up can cause problems. For this reason, it’s a good idea to remove ash every few days. You should also check the baffle plate (sometimes known as a throat or deflector plate) for soot deposits, cleaning it weekly to keep your wood burner efficient and safe.

When cleaning the glass, use a ball of wire wool or a piece of damp newspaper dipped in the ash. Take care to avoid the rope seal around the edges of the glass. Finally, ensure the product in your stove has dried completely before lighting your fire.

One of the most important things you can do for your wood-burning stove is to hire a professional chimney sweep twice a year. This will prevent creosote and soot from building in your chimney, potentially causing blockages and chimney fires.

The best fuel for wood-burning stoves

Choosing the right kind of wood for your stove will prevent it from becoming damaged, and reduce the amount of maintenance required for it to work efficiently.

Always season (dry out) your wood for at least a year before use. Freshly felled wood comprises up to 60% water. Burning it in this state isn’t only less efficient: it also releases more pollutants and causes creosote to build in your stove and chimney. Only burn wood when the moisture content is below 20%, with bark that comes away easily in your hand, and a “ready to burn” label. You can also purchase a moisture meter to read your wood.

Some of the best fuels to burn in your wood-burning stove include ash, birch, hazel and oak. So long as they are properly seasoned, these woods burn slowly, split easily and create fewer sparks than other kinds of wood, making your wood-burning stove more environmentally-friendly.