A wood stove is such a great addition to and focal point of a room. There’s nothing quite as cheery as watching flames dancing behind the glass door. Not to mention sitting by the stove, soaking up the warmth while you read a book or watch a movie. Now that summer is here, you’ll want to make sure that your wood stove is clean and in great working condition. Why? So when the brisk, cool breezes of autumn come, you’ll be ready to start a fire and get cozied up!
It’s important to know that you should have your wood burning stove and stovepipe professionally inspected and cleaned annually. More importantly, by a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified inspector! There are some things that you can do yourself to make sure that your stove stays clean and safe between these annual inspections.
Keeping the Interior Clean
Do you allow your wood stove to get too full of ashes between uses? if so, the fire you build won’t burn as efficiently as you might like. If you burn a hot fire, you shouldn’t have as many ashes. However, over time, you may get an ash build-up. Using a metal scoop, simply scrape the ashes out of the stove and place them carefully into a metal container. You’ll want to wait until the ashes are cool to do this. Take the ashes outdoors and put them on your garden. This can actually have a beneficial effect on the plants you grow!
Another thing that can help keep your wood burning stove clean is using the correct fuel. Never burn coal in a wood burning stove. Always use hard woods that have cured thoroughly, as this will burn hotter and will leave less ash build-up and contribute to less creosote build-up. Use wood that is properly sized for your appliance. It’s tempting to use a larger piece of wood so you don’t have to restock it as often, but smaller chunks of wood have more surface area to burn, which means you’ll have a hotter burning fire.
Cleaning the Exterior
Cleaning the outside of your wood burning stove isn’t as important for efficiency and effective burn. However, you will want to make sure to keep your stove looking nice on the outside, as well as on the inside. You can use a simple vinegar, water, and soap solution to clean the outside of your stove. Do you have a cast iron stove? Simply brush it down as liquid might cause streaks on the surface.
Keeping your stove cleaned and well maintained throughout the year is important. Remember though, it doesn’t take the place of having your stove inspected and cleaned professionally! CSIA certified professionals like those at Old Dominion Chimney Service know what to look for in terms of deterioration or damage. They will be able to do a thorough cleaning using tools specially designed for the task.