Cleaning Wood Stove & Inspection
It was not that long ago that all homes in the United States were heated with a wood stove. With a central location within a room can provide very efficient heat and warmth. Wood stoves today are very decorative and used and with a little care and maintenance can provide many years of enjoyment. A quick inspection of these things before you use your stove for the colder season can help with heating efficiently and safety:
- Make sure that your wood stove is installed properly and meets all modern building codes for safety. All joints and seams of the chimney need to be properly sealed.
- Make sure the door latches properly and flue is installed and flue is clear from debris.
- Ensure there are glass doors or spark screen to keep stray sparks from flying out of the stove.
- Make sure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors work in the home and have fresh batteries.
- Remove the stovepipe and inspect the chimney for creosote buildup.
The last step is the most critical. Chimney fires can happen without warning if the chimney is not properly maintained and cleaned on a regular basis. The rule of thumb is that the chimney needs cleaning if there is ¼” of creosote in any area of the chimney. Of course it can be cleaned earlier as a clean chimney will be more efficient in keeping smoke exiting the home safely and keeping the fire most efficient. If not cleaned, the creosote within the chimney can get hot and catch fire. The heat can then start fire elsewhere in the home.
During usage of a wood stove, follow these steps to keep your home safe and warm:
- Always burn dry seasoned firewood. Wet or non-seasoned firewood creates more creosote and will not burn as hot or efficient.
- Keep the damper open when there is a fire, even with embers still smoldering.
- Dispose of ashes regularly in a metal container with water.
- Never burn coal or other products that may contain toxic chemicals. Only burn wood.
- Never use gasoline, kerosene, lighter fluid, or other chemical accelerant.
- Always keep the screen door closed while a fire is going
- Keep the area clear around the woodstove and monitor children around the woodstove.
Follow these steps and you will have a long lasting wood stove that will be warm, safe, and inviting and can be enjoyed for years to come.