Keeping It Clean

Wood-burning stoves are top-notch mood-enhancers, but they also have plenty of practical benefits — they’re great zone heaters, and the units on the market today are highly efficient, too, giving off much more warmth and wasting much less fuel.

Owning a woods stove does require a certain amount of work to keep the system running properly and as safely as possible, though. There’s the work involved with any wood-burning unit — cutting and stacking wood, building fires — and then there’s the regular upkeep that keeps your stove clean and prepped for regular use. Aelite Chimney Specialties can help with a big part of your regular wood stove maintenance, removing creosote and other deposits from your flue during chimney sweeping appointments . (For a regularly used wood stove, it’s recommended to have the chimney swept twice a year.)

Ash removal is a critical step in maintaining your wood stove at an optimum level.

Ash removal is a critical step in maintaining your wood stove at an optimum level.

In between chimney sweeping appointments, though, there are a few things you can (and should) do to keep your wood stove clean.

Keep on top of ash removal

Ash builds up every time you use your wood stove, and it’s important to keep on top of cleaning it out. If you’re using the stove regularly, it’s a good practice to clean out ash every few days, before it’s allowed to build up to the level of the loading doors.

To remove ash, make sure to wait until the fire has completely died down — if any burning embers are still present, they add a potential danger to the process. Scoop the extinguished ash into a non-combustible container with a lid so you can dispose of it properly and safely, but leave about a half inch to an inch of ash on the bottom of the stove. That layer helps insulate, and will make it easier to start your next fire and achieve a nice uniform burn.

Clean your wood stove door

Keeping the door of your wood stove clean will lengthen its life, and just help you enjoy looking at your fire and your appliance. It’s also easy to do. Aelite technicians can recommend a good fireplace glass cleaner, which you’ll apply to the door when the stove has had time to cool completely, and wipe with a clean, soft cloth. Buffing after the cleaner has dried (again, with a clean, soft cloth) helps it shine and sparkle.

Make cleaning easier by using the right fuel

Always use seasoned or kiln-dried hardwood in your woodstove — green wood leads to a cooler fire that produces more creosote and more waste. Other materials — like trash or brush — have their own issues, from more mess to potentially giving off toxic gases (treated wood and plastic are a particular worry with the latter).

Start off with a wide-open damper

When you start your fire, open the draft control as wide as it will go and leave it that way for 10-15 minutes. It’ll help you achieve the kind of small, hot fire that’s optimum — large, smoldering fires lead to more creosote build-up.

With a little bit of diligence and effort, your wood stove should provide warmth and ambiance for years to come. And Aelite Chimney Specialties can help you enjoy your stove and chimney system as efficiently and safely as possible — just give us a call whenever you need us!