Maintaining your wood stove doesn’t require much effort. Below are some of the maintenance tips you can follow to ensure that your wood stove operates safely and efficiently.
- Only use seasoned wood that’s been allowed to dry for at least one year.
- Avoid burning plastics, rubbish or any other non-wooden material.
- Make sure to clean the flue pipes weekly and chimneys twice a year.
- Keep the chimney cap free from any debris to ensure proper airflow.
- Clean the wood stove internal surfaces with a wire brush or scraper occasionally.
- Get into the habit of cleaning the wood stove glass regularly to remove any tar deposits.
- Regularly inspect the wood stove door seals for any cracks or warping. Replace them, if necessary.
- Consider having your wood stove inspected by a licensed technician once every year.
Following these maintenance tips can help to ensure that your wood stove provides reliable heat for years to come.
Common wood stove problems
A wood stove adds the warmth and atmosphere to your home and is a comparatively a cost-effective way to keep you warm during cold weather, instead of heat pumps or furnaces.
However, a wood stove is still a basic heating appliance, and these devices aren’t trouble-free. You’re likely to encounter problems from time to time with your wood stove. Knowing some basic maintenance and cleaning tips will help you to keep your wood stove running efficiently for many winters to come.
Use this handy guide to learn about some common wood stove problems and how to troubleshoot them. Also, find out the signs that indicate you should be seeking professional help to fix your wood stove.
Fire keeps going out
One of the main things that can prevent a wood stove from firing is insufficient air. Oxygen is necessary to generate fire, and the wood stove gets it from the inlet air valves. Check these valves for any blockages and ensure that they are open and free from any obstruction.
Using incorrect wood can also lead to wood stove going out. Make sure that the wood you use for burning is dry and seasoned, as unseasoned wood will have moisture and will take time to burn properly.
Other possible reasons that can keep your wood stove from producing fire continuously include a poorly drafted chimney, dirty stove or the stove being too cold. Take the necessary steps to clean the stove by removing the ash regularly. If you suspect that the issue is with the chimney draft, get your system inspected by a technician.
Stove generates less heat
The amount of heat that a stove generates also depends on its size. If you’ve selected a correctly sized wood stove but still experience a lack of heat inside the room, the possible reason could be that your stove isn’t receiving enough air. Try adjusting the airflow first to see if there is any change in the heating levels. If that doesn’t help, the wood quality might be preventing the stove from generating enough warmth.
A weak chimney draft can also lead to ineffective heating. In this case, a service professional can help you with the sizing and can also inspect the stove for any potential problems that might be leading to low heat output.
Stove generates too much heat
A wood stove that produces too much heat can not only make you uncomfortable but can also damage the system itself. If your wood stove is correctly sized as per the manufacturer’s recommendations, too much heat generation might be possible due to excess air supply. Try adjusting the airflow to see if the temperature drops.
However, if the overheating problem appeared recently, the issue could be with the gaskets that seal the stove door. These gaskets may have worn out and aren’t sealing the door properly. A professional can help you with this fix.
Smoky wood stove
A smoky wood stove is one of the common problems that most homeowners face. Several possible causes can lead to a smoky wood stove.
A clogged chimney cap or flue pipe can prevent the smoke from escaping. Cleaning the cap and the chimney can solve the issue. Any obstructions in the ventilation passage can also lead to excessive smoke formation. If you suspect that there is a blockage somewhere, have your system checked by a qualified technician.
Excessive smoke can also result if the stove door isn’t sealed correctly or the glass is damaged. Consider calling a professional to help you with the glass and seal replacement.
Another reason could be the wood quality. Unseasoned wood will produce smoke in higher volumes along with generating creosotes and smoke deposits across the chimney and the vent pipe. Consider using only seasoned firewood.
Cloudy stove glass
Many homeowners may see that their wood stove glass becomes cloudy, particularly at the bottom of the frame. This opaque glass is a result of incomplete combustion due to poor quality firewood. The acidic residue left behind settles at the bottom of the stove and etches the glass gradually.
To prevent this, make sure to regularly clean the glass from inside and avoid using firewood with high sulfur content. However, if the glass has turned completely cloudy, it is time for a replacement. There are even wood stoves available today with self-cleaning glass.
Paint smell when the stove gets hot
A brand-new wood stove, when used for the first few times, is likely to emit a slight paint smell. However, this is completely normal as the paint on the stove is hardening, and the smell should go away within the first few days of use.
If you’re uncomfortable with the smell, you can ventilate the room frequently. But, if the paint smell lasts for more than 5-6 days, it is better to contact the manufacturer or have the system checked by a professional.