April 17, 2024

politics of law

Politics and Law

Looking After Your Woodburning Stove

4 min read

Some simple care and maintenance will keep your woodburning stove in good condition, excellent working order and your heating costs down. Many stove owners look after their own stoves – but calling in a chimney sweep for some of the jobs can save time, mess and money.

Maintaining a woodburning stove in good working order has two main aims:

• Fire safety – keeping a chimney clean and clear cuts the risk of a fire

• Tightly sealing the stove – this ensures your stove lights easily and burns wood efficiently

Your woodburning stove care checklist

Not much can go wrong if you check your woodburning stove every now and then – and to help, here’s a checklists of points to watch out for:

• Sweep the chimney at least once a year. Sweeping stops tar and soot deposits from building up and catching light if embers from your fire go up the chimney.

The other danger that can lead to fire is a blocked flue. Sweeping also rids the airway of any debris – especially from nesting birds. Time your sweep’s visit for early summer – any bird’s should have left by then and are not likely to return until the following spring.

• Replace cracked or damage firebricks. The firebrick lining protects the stove from hotspots caused by uneven wood burning that can crack or distort the metal

This is a check you can make when cleaning out the ashes.

• Check the fire rope, which is the white cording that seals the doors and any glass. Replace any frayed or missing rope as and when you notice by gluing in place with a special adhesive.

• Keep an eye on the grate and ash pan. If you notice any splits or distortion, replace.

• Clean stove door glass with a specialist product rather than a household cleaner. Household cleaners are sometimes flammable and may include chemicals that do not react well with intense heat.

Specialist stove glass cleaners do not run like other products and have additives that melt any tar and soot clinging to the glass Other suggestions include rubbing in ash as an abrasive or washing in vinegar.

• Keep the outside of your stove looking good with stove or grate polish. If your stove rusts on the outside, rub down the affected area with a wire brush and repaint with heat-resistant stove paint or grate polish

• Grout the seal between the woodburning stove and the flue with fire cement. Watch out for any tell-tale smoke escaping

• Don’t ignore your stove in the summer. Let air circulate in the flue by leaving a vent or door slightly open

• If your woodburning stove stands on slate, spray a cloth with a short squirt of WD40 and rub in to reinvigorate and restore the clean shine. The spray will also remove marks and spills from the stone as well.

Not every stove is the same – some of these points will apply to most stoves, but check the maker’s instructions to see if any special checks or maintenance are needed for your stove.

Products for your woodburning stove care kit

• Specialist cleaner or vinegar – for cleaning stove door glass

• Wire brush – for removing rust

• Grate polish – for blacking up your stove

• Dustpan and brush – for clearing up around the hearth

• Long-handled, small brush – for dusting the inside of the firebox when cold to remove ash building up around fire bricks and tight corners.

• Stove gloves – for protecting your hands from ash and cleaners

• Ash bucket or metal bucket – for removing hot or cold ashes and embers

• Fire cement and rope glue – for touching up seals

• Cloths or paper towels – for finishing glass cleaning and shining up any vitreous enamel flue pipes

Smoke escaping from your woodburning stove door

If smoke blows back in to your room from when the stove door is opened or from any vents, the problem is the chimney’s draught. The draught is the flow of air from your stove up the chimney that takes away smoke and gases when the fire is lit. A good draught pulls fresh air in to aid combustion as the waste is expelled up the chimney. If the draught is too low, the fire is difficult to light and smoke lingers in the stove instead of the flow of air clearing the chimney. The problem is often down to poor maintenance – but other factors like low temperatures or the wrong height chimney can affect the draught as well.

Personal safety when caring for your stove

Always wait until your woodburning stove has cooled down after use before following any care or maintenance procedures. Touching a hot stove, even when wearing protective gloves can cause discomfort and burns. Never use chemicals, cleaners or sprays near a hot stove as they might be inflammable.

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