Wood Stove Maintenance Tips by Week, Month, and Year
Spring has sprung and for many, it brings a desire to freshen up every inch of your home. If you have a wood stove, now’s the perfect time to make sure to check your wood stove’s maintenance protocols to ensure it is running efficiently and safely for the next heating season. Read on as we dive into how to clean a wood stove and validate its components run and function at their best.
Why Maintaining and Cleaning a Wood Stove is Important
So, what can you do to keep that fire burning brightly and warmly? A clean stove is a happy stove.
Weekly, monthly, and annual stove maintenance is vital to preserving your stove’s beauty and function. A little investment in time can go a long way with your wood stove. Spending time on specific tasks each week and every month can preserve the longevity of your wood stove far into the future. Believe it or not, proper maintenance and cleaning can keep your wood stove burning for up to 20 years. (Of course, the frequency of use significantly contributes to its longevity, too.)
How to Maintain a Wood Stove: In Steps
Whether you’re new to burning wood stoves or need a quick refresher on what to do when, here are some tips on how to maintain a wood stove. By sticking to our recommended steps and methods, you can safely and efficiently heat your home with a sensible yet striking stove for years to come.
Weekly Wood Stove Maintenance
Set a calendar reminder each week to do the following:
- Remove Ashes: Ash is a natural by-product of burning wood, but ash debris can build up and cause your stove to burn less efficiently. Sweep and dispose of the ash each week into a fire-retardant container like a metal ash bucket. If you have a specialized ash vacuum, you can use that too!
- Inspect Firebricks: Firebrick protects your stove’s firebox and creates a more intense heat by allowing the stove to burn properly. After removing the ashes, inspect the firebrick and replace crumbling, cracked, or broken pieces. Make sure to leave a one-eighth to one-quarter-inch ash bed on the bottom of the firebox to insulate the stove naturally.
Test the Stove Door and Gasket: A gasket flattens and fills space between the stove door and its frame for an airtight seal. When a gasket hardens over time, unwanted air enters the stove. Subsequently, wood burns too fast, and fire can get out of control. To test the gasket, place a dollar bill between the appliance and the door. Then, shut the door. If you can pull the dollar out, remove one washer from the door handle behind the latch cam. Repeat the process a few times. If you can still pull out the dollar bill, replace the door gasket.
Contact your authorized Forge & Flame dealer to order a replacement.
- Check the Door Handle: Check the door latch to make sure it’s adjusted properly. This is important after the gasket has formed to the appliance face. This task is easy. For more information on how to tighten it, review your installation manual.
- Inspect the Glass: Next, check the stove’s glass frame for loose screws and cracks to avoid air leakage or cracked glass. To clean your stove’s glass without any chemicals, dip a damp rag in ashes and, in circular motion, remove the soot by hand.
- Keep your Chimney Clear: To prevent cap blockage and build-up, always burn dry wood and burn a hot fire first thing in the morning to circulate unpacked debris out of the chimney and burn soot off the glass.
Monthly Wood Stove Maintenance (or After Every Cord of Wood)
- Inspect the Baffle and Blanket: Baffle and blanket placement is crucial to a stove’s heat output, efficiency, and overall life expectancy. To this end, make sure the baffle is at the back of the firebox and the blanket underneath lies flat. (Use caution: The blanket is fragile.) Then, inspect the baffle for cracks. When you do so, make sure to protect your hands by wearing gloves.
Yearly Wood Stove Maintenance (or After Every Four Cords of Wood)
- Clean the Vacuum Fan: Dust accumulation can not only make your stove smell but can cause the motor to become unbalanced resulting in fan noise. To avoid this, vacuum the fan kit using a shop vac. Remember to unplug the blower from your power source prior to cleaning. Electrical safety is critical!
- Inspect the Chimney: Yearly inspection of your wood stove’s chimney will prevent pipe blockage, poor draft quality, and even chimney fires. If you’re wondering how to clean a wood stove chimney on your own, know that this step requires a love of heights and following fire safety guidelines. To do it yourself, check a piece of the pipe or inspect the chimney from your rooftop. As you inspect the chimney, look for excessive buildup or pipe shrinkage. We recommend hiring a professional to do this. A certified chimney sweep from the Chimney Safety Institute of America will look for cracks, leaks, warping, baffle gaps, creosote buildup, or other obstructions that could lead to chimney fires or carbon monoxide leaks.
- Check Smoke Detectors: Chimney fires are dangerous and can cause major damage to your home – or worse. Thankfully, you can avoid a mishap by checking your smoke detectors each year. Ensure they have working batteries. Then hit the “test” button to confirm the detector’s alarms work.
Put in the Work and Reap the Benefits
Spending just a little time on stove maintenance will help guarantee your wood stove performs its best. And a little spring cleaning before the off-season means less work when fall arrives.
Yet, spring isn’t the only season you should consider the efficiency of your stove’s parts. As the weather warms, you may want to consider properly shutting down your wood stove for the summer season.
Have you Learned How to Clean a Wood Stove? If Not, We Can Help
The amount of maintenance can be dramatically reduced depending on the type of stove you have. If you want a stove that warms your heart and home – but with a little less maintenance and cleaning – consider a Forge & Flame pellet stove. It uses the latest technology to simplify the heating and cleaning processes for you – all while creating an efficient and beautiful fire. Our nationwide network of authorized dealers is available to help start the process. Find one close to you by entering your zip code.
If you already own a stove, your owner’s manual is also a great resource for maintaining your stove or insert. It reviews fundamental tips for ensuring your wood burning investment lasts. If you’ve misplaced your Owner’s Manual, you can access the information online.