Maintenance of your wood burning stove

Here you'll find a basic guide for maintaining your wood burning stove. A good and regular maintenance of the wood burning stove will ensure you a better firing process and a stove that will last longer. Cleaning doesn't have to take that long and the more often you do it, the easier it'll be to clean.

Author: Line Nederby
Published: 18. November 2015
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Before summer draws to its close and you feel like using your wood burning stove, you should take some time to get your wood burning stove ready for the season.

Before you clean the stove, you have to make sure:

  1. …that the stove is off.
  2. …that all the stove’s parts are cold.
  3. …that there are no embers.
  4. …only to use appropriate tools.

When everything is off and ready, you should start inside the stove and work your way out.

1. Basic cleaning of a wood burning stove

The insides of the wood burning stove can be cleaned through the door or alternately through an opening in the flue pipe. The baffle plate which is the uppermost fireproof tile in the stove can be removed so there’s free access to the top of the stove.
The inside cleaning and the cleaning of the flue should be done once a year or more often depending on how often you use the stove.

2. The flue-pipe

The flue-pipe must be fitted tightly to the wood burning stove in order to ensure an optimal smoke passage which will limit the amount of soot on the stove’s surface. The wood burning stove’s flue-pipe can be cleaned through the door or alternately through an opening in the flue-pipe. The flue-pipe can be removed from the stove in order to make the cleaning easier.

3. The fire box

To ensure a steady and even operation, the stove needs a regular and light cleaning. You can use a fireplace ash vacuum. A cleaning every third day depending on how much it’s used is good for the fire box. 
The yellow plates in the fire box are naturally worn and should be replaced when cracks of more than 5 milimetres appear. The durability of the plates depend on how much you use the stove. You can replace the plates yourself. You can also buy whole plates so you can copy the worn plates.

4. Glass window

Firing with moist wood can create soot on the window. You can easily remove it with a moist cloth which you dip in ashes from the stove and rub on the sooty glass. You can find cleaning products at the local DIY centre.
You can clean very stubborn spots with Sidol which you typically use for cleaning ceramic stoves.

If you’re having problems with sooty glass, it might be because you’re firing with moist firewood. The moisture content of firewood should be below 18 %. Poor draught in the chimney can also cause sooty glass. It might also be because you haven’t emptied the ash pan, because of low combustion air or a disfunctional chimney.

Problems with sooty glass might be caused by one of the following things:
  1. Secondary air inlet control hasn’t been opened enough
  2. You’re firing with moist firewood
  3. There isn’t sufficient draught in the chimney
  4. Lighting a fire is not done correctly. Make sure to heat up the stove so the chimney will be warm from the beginning and let the door be slightly ajar the first 5-10 minutes.

5. Tight doors

If the packings in the door are worn, the stove might be sucking in too much air. It’s inefficient and it will be hard to control the combustion process. Wear and tear is unavoidable but you can clean them once a week in order to maintain them. You can just use a cloth which has been soaked in clean water.

6. Convection pipes

When you clean the stove’s convection pipes, you have to pull and push the cleaning rod. This way the ashes and soot are scraped free from the pipes and you’ll get an efficient heat transfer. You have to make sure that you clean the convection pipes completely and you can use a little brush or a fireplace ash vacuum to get everything off.

7. Aspirotor

The wood burning stove’s aspirotor should be cleared of ashes since soot and ashes from the convection pipes fall down and settle on the aspirotor.

8. Air wash control

Air wash in a wood burning stove is heated air which runs down the stove glass and minimise soot on the glass. When using the air wash control function it is important that the door is built in a solid material which fits tightly into the frame. Air wash facilitates cleaning.

9. Ash pan

The ash pan should be emptied twice a week depending on how often you use the stove. You have to open the door to access the ash pan. Remember to clean the ash pit too since there’s a risk that ashes accumulate in the back. This can prevent the ash pan from sitting where it’s supposed to and the door from shutting tight.

Note: Always leave a layer of ashes in the bottom of the stove. It insulates the firebox and makes it easier to light a fire.

10. Outside regulation of the automatic control device

To ensure optimal and eco-friendly combustion in your wood burning stove, the air supply should be regulated precisely every few minutes. Many wood burning stoves have an automatic control device which regulates the air supply. As with everything else, it works best when it’s clean so when you clean the stove you should also wipe the automatic control device. Make sure to remove ashes which might hide behind the handle.

11. General cleaning of the wood burning stove

The wood burning stove’s surface has been painted with heat-resistant paint which can endure up to +600 degrees. The paint will look its best if you vacuum the stove with a brush nozzle or dust it off with a soft, dry cloth. Do not use spirits or other solvents as it will remove the paint.

Wood burning stoves will look their best if they are well maintained and cleaned regularly. The better you take care of your wood burning stove, the better the firing will be and the happier you will be about your stove. 

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