Woodstoves provide an excellent source of heat for your home. They’re incredibly efficient, the wood to fuel them is cheap – sometimes as low as the cost of your labor – and they add beauty and ambiance to your home. On top of all of that, woodstoves are also very low maintenance. With regular cleanings and care, your woodstove can serve you well all winter long.
Cleaning and inspection
The most importance piece of maintenance for your woodstove is an annual cleaning and inspection with a certified chimney sweep. Your chimney sweep should not only clear away creosote and debris from your chimney; he or she should check all of the components of your woodstove to make sure they are in good repair and working properly. During your annual woodstove cleaning and inspection, your chimney sweep should be checking gaskets, blowers, catalysts, vent pipes, castings and door glass. Make sure that if your chimney sweep recommends any additional maintenance or part replacement, it is crucial to the safe operation of your woodstove that you have those repairs taken care of before you burn any more fires in your woodstove.
Between your annual woodstove servicing, you can keep your woodstove in good working order by burning the proper fuel. You know that a woodstove is intended to burn wood only, and burning fully seasoned firewood will keep your woodstove burning hot and efficiently and prevent creosote from building up too rapidly in the chimney. Avoid prefabricated logs, and never put paper or cardboard in the stove, as they can cause the fire to burn too hot, which can put your woodstove in danger of a chimney fire. Never burn garbage or treated wood, as they can emit dangerous chemicals into your chimney and into your home.
One of the most basic pieces of woodstove maintenance you’ll have to perform is ash removal. How frequently you remove ashes from your woodstove will depend on how frequently you use your woodstove. While ashes will need to be removed regularly, avoid the temptation to over clean your firebox; a bed of ashes an inch or so thick can insulate the fire and help you to build a hotter, more efficient fire. When you do remove ashes, use a metal ash shovel and scoop the ashes into a metal bucket with a tight fitting lid.
While most woodstoves are designed to create an airflow that clears the glass of soot, the glass can become cloudy from time to time. Cleaning the glass on your woodstove is relatively straightforward: When your stove is completely cooled, use a wet cloth to wipe the inside of the glass. You can dip your rag into the ashes of your fireplace; the ash will serve as a gentle abrasive to clear away difficult spots. Never use a harsh abrasive on your fireplace glass, and never scrape at difficult stains with a razor or other hard object; that can permanently weaken or damage the glass.
And remember that when it comes to caring for your woodstove, the FireSide Hearth & Home fireplace experts are always here to help.