Today’s wood stoves make elegant and useful additions to any home. They’re efficient and beautiful and give you years of performance. You can enhance the performance and safety of your wood heating stove by following these seven tips.
1. Burn dry wood
Dry, or seasoned, wood burns far more efficiently than green, or unseasoned, wood. This means less smoke and more-complete burns. Less smoke means less flammable creosote in your stove pipe and firebox
2. Don’t use these items to start a fire
Free-standing wood stoves are designed to burn wood logs. The only other material you should use in your stove is crumpled-up newspaper as tinder when starting the fire.
The following items should never be used in your stove:
• Wood that’s been painted or “finished”
• Material including clothing and fabric
• Gasoline, lighter fluid and any other fire-starter
• Packaging material
• Christmas trees
3. Smoke detectors & carbon monoxide monitors
It’s very important to have working smoke detectors and a carbon monoxide (CO) monitor when using any kind of fire-producing heating appliance. Smoke detectors will alert you to excess smoke and possibly a fire. CO monitors placed in the vicinity of the stove will tell you if unacceptable levels of this deadly gas are somehow entering your home from the stove. The danger with CO is that it’s invisible, odorless and potentially fatal to people and animals.
4. Maintaining your wood stove
The primary maintenance job with a wood stove is to periodically clean out the firebox. Wait 12 or more hours since the last fire, then scoop out the ashes and place them in a metal container prior to disposing them in whatever safe way you choose. Use a wire brush to scrape creosote and soot (too much of which could create a fire hazard) from the interior surfaces of the firebox. Finish with a thorough vacuuming.
5. Removing creosote
Over time, creosote will build up inside your stove’s vent pipe and must be removed. The safest and most effective way to accomplish this is with the services of a certified chimney sweep.
These technicians have power brushes, solvents, scrapers and other tools designed to do an excellent job in removing built-up creosote from any kind of heating appliance vent system.
6. Removing debris
Any kind of debris that makes its way into your stove pipe will create an obstruction that will hinder the drafting of smoke and gasses. Leaves, twigs, small-animal nests or anything else from the outside world that infiltrates your vent pipe can lead to unsafe operating conditions. Skilled chimney sweeps can remove any venting obstructions.
7. Regular inspections
A final way to ensure the safety of your free-standing stove is to schedule yearly inspections from a certified, licensed chimney and stove inspector. This assessment will spot early signs of damage so they can be fixed quickly and save you the cost of extensive repairs.
Fluesbrothers Chimney Service of Kansas City, KS, provides complete vent system cleaning, chimney sweep services, fireplace and stove repair and thorough inspections of all supplemental home-heating appliances. Schedule an appointment or get your questions answered by calling (913) 236-7141.