The Importance of Proper Wood Burning Stove Maintenance

With the increasing natural gas and fuel oil heating costs, many homeowners are keeping their homes warm using wood stoves. Although you save money, you also run the risk of a home fire. That's why it's important to complete proper wood burning stove maintenance!

Tips for Wood Burning Stove Maintenance

Wood burning stoves are auxiliary home heating devices that require care and attention in their purchase, installation, and maintenance. Adhering to the following tips can reduce the possibility of a fire or injury.

  1. Keep the area clear around the heating unit and flue.
  2. Keep a fire extinguisher in a central location known to all household members.
  3. Place smoke detectors throughout the house, specifically one in the room containing the wood stove. Test regularly.
  4. Other household venting appliances (down draft exhaust fans) can diminish proper venting of your wood stove, causing possible smoke damage.
  5. It is important to have a certified chimney cleaning service clean your chimney regularly, especially with regular use.
  6. Wood stoves should be inspected by a CSIA certified chimney sweep.
  7. Burn dry seasoned wood, which produces more heat and also prevents soot (creosote) buildup.
  8. To start a fire in your wood stove; crumple up a small amount of paper on the stove floor and cover with kindling. Open the draft fully and light. Hold the door slightly open for a few minutes and then close tightly. Once the wood is burning brightly, add additional dry seasoned wood to the fire. Use the draft control to adjust the burn rate. Never light or rekindle a fire with kerosene, gasoline, or charcoal lighter fluid.

Specifically for this warmer winter weather, it is common to feel the need to reduce the air control on your stove to reduce the heat output. However, this can lead to an increase in creosote build up. Rather than starve the fire of air, try using less fuel with enough air for complete combustion. This is both better for the environment, and helps reduce the risk of a chimney fire.

Keep these tips in mind when keeping your home warm this winter. Remember, a clean chimney is a safe chimney.

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