One of the main considerations when it comes to investing in a wood burning stove is often the time it takes to keep it cleaned, maintained and working properly. Although wood is a brilliant fuel source for generating heat efficiently, there can be no getting around the fact that it does require some additional maintenance.
A dirty stove can potentially make your room messy, but not only this, keeping it clean will make it more efficient and can increase the lifetime of your stove, saving you money in the long term. Before we begin, here are essential tips:
Table of Contents
Cleaning Your Wood Burning Stove:
- Develop a regular cleaning pattern – fortnightly or monthly would be recommended.
- Clean more regularly as you use the stove – as you use the stove more frequently in winter, you should clean it more regularly.
- Only burn dry wood in your stove – avoid using painted or varnished wood as it’s often been treated with chemicals, and avoid the temptation to throw that empty crisp packet into the stove.
- You’ll need to be ready to clean the exterior, the interior, the flue and the glass door of your wood burner – each of which will require a slightly different plan of attack.
- Some essential equipment you’ll need includes newspaper (to cover your floor), gloves, a small brush, a small ash shovel, metal ash container (preferable over a bucket), and a spray bottle (more on that later).
Cleaning The Interior Of Your Wood Burning Stove
Let’s start with cleaning the interior of your wood burning stove. Always make sure that you wait for the fire inside the stove to cool before you empty the ash, and wear protective gloves.
With your gloves on, use a small spade to move the ash from the fire into a metal ash container, or a metal bucket (DO NOT use anything plastic to store the ash). Be careful moving the ash (slide the ash off the spade at the bottom of the bucket, don’t just dump them in) and placing it in its metal container as you want to avoid spilling any ash. Whatever you do, don’t sneeze!
With the ashes in the bucket, take it to a safe place outdoors and keep it contained there. A safe place generally means away from any bushes, trees or other materials that might catch fire.
REMEMBER – Do not keep ashes stored in the bucket (or other metal container) inside your house. Storing it inside, especially if you keep adding to the ash without emptying it, can cause carbon monoxide to build up and eventually spread through your home. For this reason, it’s very important you take the ashes outside before disposing of them.
It’s probably best to leave the ash over 24 hours before you dispose of it in your garden. Just remember that wind can cause embers to reignite, so be careful when disposing of your ash in these conditions.
Cleaning The Glass Door On Your Wood Burner
There are two options here, and the first is to use something produced by your stove that means you don’t have to spend any extra money on fancy chemicals.
As you well know, when you burn wood it will at some point become charcoal. As it passes past the charcoal stage and becomes dust, it becomes quite useless – but if you can snare some in the charcoal stage you will be left with something that can clean you stove door.
Grab a COLD piece of charcoal from your stove, very carefully – you might need to extract it when it’s warm then leave it somewhere safe to cool. Dampen it using water, then rub it on the inside of the glass focusing on any areas that are dark or blackened.
All you then need is a piece of kitchen roll to wipe away the excess moisture from the stove glass and you should have yourself a perfectly clean glass window so you can clearly watch the roaring flames.
Cleaning The Exterior Of Your Wood Burning Stove
This is generally quite a simple job, and can be easily managed with a standard household hoover and using any soft brush attachments to removes and traces of dust or ash. If you can do this quite regularly it will prevent any build up that might potentially damage the exterior of your stove.
While you can use a dry cloth to clean the exterior, never use a damp cloth. Over time, this can cause rust.
Cleaning Your Stove Flue/Chimney
This is arguably the trickiest job, but an important one as a buildup of soot in the chimney can mean that the smoke isn’t expelled properly. And, though rumour has it that an old way of cleaning the chimney was to drop a goose down attached to a rope, we thought we’d share some of the more up to date methods.
The first thing we recommend is that, especially in the winter, you burn your stove hard for at least 30 minutes every day. This will help keep the flue clear, however you will also need to clean the excess soot from the chimney.
To do this, you can employ the services of a chimney sweep, which is rather simple using this tool from the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps:
Or if you’re a more practical person you can try to do it yourself. One of the most common methods is to use a drain rod with a brush attached to clear the chimney. However, drain rods are not flexible so if your flue has any 45 degree bends in it then this won’t work very well. It also means you’ll need to work on your roof – so if you do choose to do this then be very careful.
Want A Wood Burner To Clean?
If you’re interested in a wood burning stove, and this post has helped put your mind at ease around some question when it comes to maintenance, Direct Stoves has a huge selection for you. If you have any additional questions about cleaning your stove, then please get in touch with our expert team today and they’d be happy to help.