Wood Burning Stove Maintenance and Cleaning Tips

If you want to keep your wood burning stove in top condition and function properly, it is of utmost importance to follow the maintenance and cleaning tips that can be found in the stove manual. But just in case, let’s go through the basics of wood burning stove maintenance and cleaning which will help you keep it running smoothly and keep you warm for many winters to come.

Before we get to wood burning stove maintenance and cleaning tips, let’s briefly take a look at wood fuel because it plays a very important role in stove maintenance. Although some wood stoves are designed to burn coal as well, most are intended to burn exclusively wood fuel. And wood fuel does not necessarily mean any kind of wood. You are highly recommended to burn only seasoned wood. Why? Because unseasoned wood contains high amounts of water which can cause problems with smoking, odour, creosote build-up in the flue system and chimney, and dirty glass and fire bricks. Also, never burn treated wood, driftwood, plywood, MDF, chipboard and all non-wood items because they can cause damage to the stove and release potentially toxic fumes.

Wood burning stoves are not as convenient as gas and electric heaters, however, their maintenance does not require much time and effort if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and burn seasoned wood only. Wood burning stove maintenance and cleaning mostly consists of regular removal of the ashes which also boosts the stove’s efficiency, occasional cleaning of the internal surfaces with a wire brush or scraper and keeping a close eye on potential problems such as holes in the ash pan, cracks, spots of rust on the finish and other unusual signs that may indicate damage. It is also advisable to clean the glass on a regular basis because the longer you postpone the cleaning the harder is gets to remove the tar deposits. Always leave your stove to cool completely before you carry out any maintenance or cleaning chores and make sure that the ash is completely cold before you dispose it.

In addition to keeping your stove clean inside and outside, be sure to have it inspected by a licensed professional at least once a year to make sure that everything is working perfectly. If there are any signs of damage such as cracks, leaks or warping, or if you have any problems with the stove have them repaired immediately. You are also highly recommended to have your chimney cleaned and checked by a chimney sweep at least once a year or more often if you use wood burning stove on a regular basis. Poorly maintained or blocked chimneys pose a serious safety risk because they can cause carbon monoxide poisoning and chimney fires. Outside the heating season, it is recommended to leave the air inlet or the door of the stove slightly open in order to prevent condensation build-up in the stove and chimney.