Wood Burning Stove Maintenance

The Importance of a Clean Wood Burning Stove

If you have a wood burning stove it is very important to keep it clean for safety reasons as well as cosmetic.

Wood Burning Stove

It is important to have your Chimney swept from time to time because creosote can build up and this can cause fires in your Chimney, furthermore keeping your firebox clean will help it burn more efficiently and help airflow thus making it easier to light.

A chimney takes away the by products of combustion – Smoke. (Tar, water vapor, wood particles, hyrdocarbon etc). Smoke can condense on the relatively cooler surface of the chimney and sticks to the sides forming the creosote.

Creosote is black or brown, crusty and flaky and tar-like. It can be drippy and sticky or shiny when it hardens. Creosote is highly combustible so if there is a big enough build up and if the temperature is high enough it can catch fire. About a third of all house fires in rural areas are caused by wood fires.

It’s best to get a certified chimney sweep out to clean your chimney.

Chimney Sweep Steps

Here are the steps a chimney sweep will take to clean your wood burning stove’s chimney:

1. The chimney sweeper will put down a drop cloth in front and around the chimney that is to be swept to catch any debris.
2. The sweep will clean out the ash from inside the stove using a shovel to scoop the ash into a metal bucket with a metal lid.
*Note: To be sure that no hot embers remain, ashes should sit in the bucket for at least 48 hours.
3. The sweep will remove firebricks that are in the way of the stove pipe.

4. Up on the roof, the sweep will remove the stove pipe top / cap using a screwdriver or wrench.
5. The sweep will use a brush of the same size diameter of the pipe. The sweep will pushed the brush down the pipe and then will vigorously plunge it up and down to loosen the soot and creosote so that it falls down into the firebox below.
6. A knife or scraper tool is used to clean the top before it is put back on.
7. The sweep will remove from the firebox and place it in a metal bucket with a metal lid.
8. Firebricks are put back if they were removed.
9. Seals, edges and ledges are vacuumed or gently brushed to clean out any dust that has collected.
10. The sweep will clean the glass on the firebox door assuming that you have one.
11. In addition, If there is a catalytic converter on your wood burning stove this will be cleaned also by removal of the cells and using a can of compressed air or pipe cleaners the sweep will gently clean out the dust.

Helpful Cleaning Tips

If you are cleaning the firebox door you should buy a product specifically designed to clean it. You could make your own by combining Vinegar, water and soap into a spray bottle and spray it onto the glass. You can use paper towel or old news papers to clean the gunk of the glass. It may take a little effort to get it nice and clean. Do not use any flammable products to clean your stove.

Here are some other tips that you might find helpful
1. The gunk on the glass might come off easier if you carefully scrape it with a razor blade first.
2. Some people suggest wetting the newspaper, dipping in some ash (make sure no embers) and then rubbing that on the glass to take off the residue.

What to burn

Seasoned, dry wood.

Firelogs (Like duroflame)

What not to burn (Some Examples)

Paper (Can be used to start a fire, but do not use a lot).
Treated wood.
Painted wood
Varnished wood
Evergreen branches
Lighter fluid

Click here for a very helpful page that suggests fire safety tips

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