Caring for your Wood Burning Stove
Regular preventive maintenance is essential to ensure safe and efficient operation of your appliance. It is also a requirement of the Extended Warranty of many manufacturers.
Before the start of the heating season strip, inspect and clean the appliance. This is also important especially in periods of heavy use such as the winter heating season Looking after your stove on a daily basis will extend it’s life and maximise it’s performance when you need it.
- Before undertaking any cleaning or maintenance operation, make sure that you wear protective gloves & allow enough time for your wood burning stove to cool fully.
- Do not clean hot glass.
- Use a damp cloth before applying a cleaning agent to your wood burning stove.
- Soot can often contain acidic particles that can cause corrosive damage to printed glass. Therefore, before applying the cleaning agent, remove any dust and loose soot with a moist cloth and buff dry.
- Always use the right cleaning product for your wood burning stove.
Top Tips on caring and maintaining your solid fuel appliance:
- Ash and Soot removal
Before you begin using your heating appliance more regularly, ensure that you clean any remaining ash, soot, and debris from the inside of your heating appliance.
- Check your appliance regularly
Check the internal parts of your stove for damage and obvious build-up of ash or debris, paying particular attention to the firebricks, glass and rope seals. we can help to replace any damaged components before you re-use the appliance.
- Check debris above the flue baffle(s)
If there are any signs of a build up of debris above the flue baffle (s) (these can be found in the upper part of the firebox and use a torch if necessary – you can find details of how to remove and inspect the baffle system in your product instructions)
- Refresh your appliance’s paint finish
To touch up your stove finish from minor scratches and blemishes, you can purchase touch up spray paint. Before you proceed with this, it is important to speak to your retailer for further advice and information and you should quote the serial number found on the appliance’s data badge. Find out more about locating your appliance’s data badge. It is also important to note that we do not recommend that you use a touch spray paint for enamel appliances.
- Ash and Soot removal
For wood burning stoves with printed glass, it is advisable to use a less aggressive cleaning agent such as Glass Cleaner – spray. Otherwise, if you have a heavily stained, clear glass wood burning appliance, Stovax’s gel cleaner, Stove Glass Cleaner – wipe-on, would be more appropriate.
Please note that the gel cleaner is slightly abrasive and is therefore only suitable for stoves with a clear glass door.
- Once you have decided which is the appropriate glass cleaner to use for your wood burning stove, apply a little to a soft cloth and rub it over the surface of the glass.
- Apply cleaning fluid carefully.
- Ensure that cleaning fluid is applied carefully and not excessively as it is important that it does not come into contact with the rope seal around the edge of the glass.
- Please note that if the rope seal does absorb excess cleaning agent; it is advisable to replace the rope as soon as possible to preserve the printed finish of the glass.
- Make sure the wood burning stove is dry before relighting.
Please note that this article is only a guide, the steps may not apply to all Stovax wood burning products. Some wood burning products may be cleaned differently depending on the type of model. If you are unsure please check with your manufacturer.
Burning wood for heat, when burnt responsibly on a high efficiency your wood burning stove, offers a natural and sustainable off-grid solution to home heating.
What is seasoned wood?
Seasoned timber refers to wood that has been left to dry for 12-18 months or more to achieve a moisture content that is below 20%.
Why choose seasoned wood?
Seasoned wood increases the efficiency of combustion, which means more heat is generated from each log. Burning dry wood on your stove will warm the room up faster and you’ll also find you need less logs – particularly if you are using an Ecodesign Ready high efficiency appliance.
In contrast, burning green or wet wood takes much longer to produce usable heat. This is because much of the heat is lost burning off the excess water contained within the logs. Wet wood will result in poor quality combustion, increased smoke and the production of tars and creosotes that will block your chimney and blacken the glass of your wood burning stove.
Buying wood that has the Woodsure Ready To Burn label is certified to have a low moisture content, so you can be sure you are burning the right wood on your DEFRA exempt stove, and taking full advantage of this virtually carbon neutral heat source.
It is also important to consider buying your wood from well-managed woodlands as they improve biodiversity, support jobs in forestry industry and of course ensure that there is enough timber to meet the future demands in years to come.
Collecting and seasoning your own firewood
Firewood should be left to dry for a minimum of 12-18 months before being used.
To dry wet logs, split logs into smaller pieces and leave logs into a suitable wood store to accelerate drying process. Make sure the top of wood store is covered to keep moisture out. Keep sides open to promote air flow and speed up the drying process. Do not store your wood against a house as this slows down drying and may cause pest problems.
Check your product instructions for the optimum size of wood you should be using.
To identify well-seasoned wood, check the ends of the logs. If they are dark in colour and cracked, they are dry.
Dry seasoned wood is lighter in weight than wet wood and makes a hollow sound when hitting two pieces together.
If there is any green colour visible or bark is hard to peel, the log is not yet dry.
It is recommended to purchase a wood moisture meter, to help you see when your wood is ready. Take a selection of logs from your seasoned wood pile and split them, so that you can take moisture readings from inside the log as well as the outside. If the moisture content is 20% or below, the wood is seasoned and ready top burn.
There are many different types of wood that all burn differently and have various qualities. For example, softwoods like cedar and pine create shorter burning, more intense flames whilst hardwood such as oak and cherry beech burn slower longer and are more effective for colder evenings.
Never burn construction timber, painted, impregnated / treated wood, manufactured board products or pallet wood. These can release harmful fumes and may also damage your appliance.
If you are not confident in any of the above steps, contact Stovecare UK and we would be more than happy to assist you.
- The best time to have your chimney swept is before you start using your heating appliance more regularly (often before the start of the autumn/winter period.).
- To maintain safe and efficient use of the appliance, the chimney/flue must be inspected and swept at least once a year by a qualified chimney sweep. If the appliance is used continuously through the year, or it is used solely to burn wood, more frequent sweeping is recommended.
- Please take note to regularly clean your chimney, any connecting flue pipe and the appliance flue ways.
- Ensure adequate access for cleaning is available where it is not possible to sweep through the chimney.
- If the chimney is believed to have previously served an open fire, it must be swept a second time within a month of regular use after installation.
StoveCare UK recommend that you always use approved chimney sweepers such as ourselves. We can be found by visiting the following websites: NACS (The National Association of Chimney Sweeps), APICS (The Association of Master Chimney Sweeps Ltd) and The Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps.
StoveCare UK uses a wide range of cleaning & maintenance products and accessories to keep your appliance in good working order.
Our Stovecare UK engineer can advise you on suitable items for your stove and provide genuine spare parts such as door sealing rope, firebricks, cleaners and sealants for all makes and models. In addition, an annual service by a competent engineer is recommended to keep your stove in the best possible condition. This is a requirement for most manufacturers warranties.