How to Reduce and Clean Black Glass on Your Wood Stove

One of the main benefits of owning a wood stove is enjoying the mesmerizing beauty of a rolling, powerful fire. However, when glass becomes black with soot, the glow of your fire is hindered by creosote build-up. Luckily, the soot (or creosote) that discolors your wood stove's glass is not only simple to remove but you can also reduce how much shows up when you follow these tips and tricks.

Continue reading to learn how to enjoy the roaring fire of your wood stove all season long.

What is Creosote Build-Up and What Causes It?

Creosote is a byproduct of cooled smoke from burning wood that attaches to the interior of a wood stove and its chimney. Because stoves, especially Forge & Flame stoves, burn wood at a high efficiency, there is less room for air within the controlled space of a firebox. Naturally, smoke will then adhere to the glass (the coolest part of the stove), thus creating discoloration. Keep in mind that the more moisture wood contains, the more smoke it will produce. The more smoke, the more creosote buildup on your glass.

How to Reduce Black Glass

The key to enjoying the view of your fire all season long is properly maintaining your wood stove. With these tips and tricks in mind, black glass can be the thing of the past.

Invest in the Right Size Stove

First and foremost, ensure your stove is the correct size for the space you are heating. If your stove is too big for the space, you’ll often find yourself building a smaller fire than what your stove is equipped for or running the stove on low continuously. When a stove is cooler than it should be, it will not draft well, thus creating black glass. Ideally, you should be running your stove on a medium to medium-high setting throughout the day, and only turning your wood stove to the low setting while sleeping.

Investing in the right sized stove is key to preventing unwanted glass discoloration. To ensure that you are investing in the right stove, read this guide. Furthermore, Quadra-Fire's certified dealers are well-versed in helping homeowners select the right stove for their space. You can find a dealer near you here.

A wood burning stove with stacked wood storage

Properly Install a Chimney

To minimize the effects of soot accumulation, increasing the draft is important. To do so, consider increasing the length of the pipe attached to your wood stove. If you own a wood insert, run the liner all the way to the top and wrap the first five feet with an insulation blanket designed for chimneys. Keep in mind, Quadra-Fire wood stoves and inserts require a six-inch diameter chimney of at least 14-16 feet in height.

Just like your stove or insert, your chimney requires regular maintenance to ensure longevity and safety. By cleaning your chimney and hearth product, you will minimize creosote build-up within your stove and the walls of your chimney. Explore this in-depth maintenance guide to ensure your stove is cared for properly.

Use Dry, Seasoned Wood

The more moisture wood contains, the more it will smoke, thus creating discoloration.

To minimize smoke, invest in a moisture meter and only use wood with 18-20% moisture content. When testing wood, make sure you’re testing moisture in the right spot. Take a split piece of wood and insert the probes ¼-inch down, in the middle of a split side. Another tell-tale sign your wood is too wet is if you see steam or bubbles coming from a log while it is burning.

To learn more about seasoning and storing firewood, check out this article.

Stacked firewood outdoors

How to Remove Creosote Build-Up

Since a clean stove is a happy stove, it is important to clean the glass often. The more often you clean the glass, the easier it is to remove soot.

To clean the glass, first ensure your wood stove is off and cooled. Dip a soft, non-synthetic cloth into the cool ashes of your stove, then wipe down the glass, using the abrasion of the ashes to remove the soot. If you choose to use any glass cleaner, opt for a water and vinegar mixture or glass cleaning solution.

Visit our catalog of cleaning and maintenance videos on our YouTube Channel.

Next Steps

With these tips and tricks as part of your wood stove maintenance routine, enjoy relaxing by the stunning, clear view of your fire. If you continue to experience glass discoloration, reach out to one of your certified Forge & Flame dealers to ensure your stove is the correct size for your space. To find a dealer near you, click here.

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