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How to Maintain and Clean your Wood Stove

- Tuesday, February 08, 2011

If you own a wood stove, then you know it can be a wonderful addition to a home. There is something comforting about radiant heat in the wintertime, plus a stove will save you money on your heating bill. Along with the benefits of heating with wood, though, comes the extra work of maintaining your wood stove. Here are some tips to help you maximize its safety and efficiency.

First, make sure the stove door closes tightly. It is easy for the door latch to work loose since it is opened and closed frequently. Test the seal by sandwiching a dollar bill between the opening and the door. If you can slide the bill out while the door is closed, it's too loose. Adjust the latch and inspect the gaskets for wear and tear, replacing as necessary. If your stove features a separate door for the ash pan below the grate, be sure to check it too, using the same dollar bill method.

Next, inspect the firebrick liner inside your stove if your particular model has one. These bricks can crack over time and affect your stove's efficiency. There are two types of bricks: conventional firebrick, and a special low-density firebrick. Consult the owner's manual for your stove to find out which type you need. While you're looking inside the stove, check the baffles. Not all stoves have them, so look for a series of plates and chambers toward the top or back of the stove near the flue opening and inspect them for cracks and distortion.

Many wood stoves have transparent doors made of ceramic or glass that tend to build up soot quickly. Keep them looking good by burning only seasoned hardwood and avoiding choking off the air supply with the damper adjustment. An economical way to clean it is to use wadded up newspaper dampened with water and dipped in wood ashes as an abrasive.

Keep the outside finish of your stove clean. If it has a matte finish, you can paint it with stove paint and even change the color to your liking. Be sure to let the stove cool off completely before you apply paint. Wood stoves with glossy finishes are enameled and can't be repainted, but you can touch up nicks in the finish using color matched paint from the manufacturer. Contact us today to learn more about wood stoves or any of our other fine heating products we offer.