A wood-burning stove is an excellent and pocket-friendly way of keeping your home warm and cozy during winters. Before purchasing the stove, many homeowners like to consider its efficiency, how to clean it, and the best way to maintain its functionality. Without proper care, even the best wood-burning stoves could turn into a potential home-wrecker that changes furniture color and appearance while causing breathing and visibility issues around the home.
Some important tips to keep the stove clean include:
- Frequent cleaning
- Use only dry wood
- Avoid adding unnecessary fuels to the wood
- Clean all parts
How to Clean the Interior Part of the Wood Burning Stove
You will be quick to notice that the wood-burning stove is not sophisticated equipment, unlike modern digitalized heat regulation devices such as infrared space heaters. The stove has four major parts which require frequent cleaning for maximum efficiency. The inside of your stove is perhaps the most important as it houses the wood and ash before and after burning, respectively. The first thing is to ensure that the fire is completely out before taking out the ash. Wear gloves to protect your hands from sharp wood and other objects like metal and hard plastic that may have remained after the fire burned out.
The second step is to gather the ash and use a sizeable metallic spade to move the ash from the stove into a metal bucket or bin. It is crucial to remember that it is un-advisable to use a plastic container to store the ash from the stove, as even the slightest fire could damage the plastic’s integrity. Avoid spilling the ash by being precise when removing the ash from the spade to the storage container. Use your hand to slide off the remaining ash for maximum efficiency.
Once the ash is safe in the container, rush it out of the house and store it far away from places that could easily catch fire. After the wood burns out, there is the likelihood that some small pieces of wood might still be hot even when the majority of the ash has already cooled off. It means that proper disposal of the ash goes a long way to avoiding unnecessary fires and smoke around the home. Most importantly, never forget that as frequently as an open ash trash can stays indoors, the higher its accumulation of carbon IV oxide, which causes breathing difficulties or worse respiratory failure .
If anything, rather than pour the ash outside, it is recommended to keep it enclosed for a minimum of 24 hours. To be safe, you can consider recycling the ash to serve other home purposes. An important note to keep in mind is that if you decide to empty the ash can immediately you are outside, you risk a possible fire ignition because of wind. Fire embers can easily move from one location to another on a windy day, causing fire to break out most unusually.
How to Clean the Wood Burning Stove’s Glass Door
The glass part of the stove may appear hard to clean but in the real sense, it is the easiest because it has several methods of ensuring its cleanliness.
Remove the most stubborn stains on the glass door with the help of a scraper. They come in different sizes and prices but they are affordable and multipurpose. Stains like tar can be hard to remove, and without the proper equipment, they might stick forever. However, when using the glass scraper, be careful not to be too hard on the surface, as you may cause a scratch which eventually leads to breakage.
Use ammonia and water.
Ammonia is a corrosive chemical agent that dries off wooden and metallic surfaces within a matter of seconds. When used for cleaning purposes, ammonia is effective despite its smell. Avoid getting in direct contact with the ammonia and instead use small standardized amounts with the help of a spray bottle. If the stains have overstayed or stuck on the glass, spray the ammonia and water mixture, then give it a few minutes to set in. Wipe with a dry cloth for maximum efficiency.
Add more fire
Intense heat can be used to curve glass into any shape that you desire. Using the same analogy, intense heat in the stove can automatically clean the glass and remove the most stubborn of all stains. While other homeowners may argue and criticize that excess heat seems to beat the core purpose of a wood-burning stove, the fact is that glass does not become dirty due to efficient heating but because of its insufficiency. The smoke that discolors the glass door results from incomplete combustion on some of the wood in the stove.
Use newspaper and ash
It has already come out evidently in the previous section of this article that you can store your ash and recycle it for other home purposes. This is where the value of the ash comes in, merging with some slight newspaper to do the magical cleaning for you. Even though the ash and wet newspaper process may be timely, it is effective and pocket-friendly. Once the ash is clean from the newspaper scrubs, wipe off finally using a damp cloth.
Use commercial cleaning commodities.
In the real sense, there are two major methods of cleaning the glass door—using recycled energy or chemicals. If you choose to go traditional and use the above-highlighted methods, the result is still the same as using fancy cleaning chemicals. The best part about a chemical glass cleaner is that it is multi-purpose and does not just clean the glass door. The versatility and reasonable prices for the cleaning equipment and chemicals make it for wood-burning stove owners to consider them the first option.
How to Clean the Wood Burner Stove’s Exterior
Many wood-burning stoves come with in-built ash pans to improve burning efficiency and the storage of the sand and ash after the fire burns out. Before cleaning the external parts, you want to ensure that all of the ash is out and stored safely to minimize unprecedented fires within and around the home. However, you must not always empty the in-built ash pan as, during winter, wood is cold and may take a long to light up due to a lack of adequate insulation. If the ash were present, it would have made it easier to set the wood stove on fire to provide reliable insulation.
The outer sections of your wood-burning stove are the easiest to clean because the structure is made of cast iron. Iron is the best material for making multi-fuel stoves as its composition enables the metal to resist high heat and last longer. For these reasons, experts recommend a simple hard brush that you can use to clean the inner parts before finalizing with the outer sections. Remember to avoid using any form of damp cloth or even water as this could cause rust over time. The strength and resistance capabilities of the wood stove begin depleting when rust continues to take its toll.
If you have the stove longer, the paint could also begin scratching off due to friction caused by putting several wood pieces into the stove at once. This can be an ugly site, especially when soot and rust set in to worsen the combination. Scratches on the paint may appear easy to solve on the surface, but you may worsen the situation without using the right tools. Use heat-resistant paint and brushes for maximum efficiency. Heat-resistant spray paint is not highly flammable and lacks any oil, unlike typical home paints.
An important tip to keep in mind when doing external cleaning of the stove is that the surface must be clean and dry. If the surface has become a bit rough over time, use home sand to create an even platform before applying the paint. Always keep flammable liquids and equipment far from the wood stove when cleaning. Observe that the surface is also free from grease or oil, which could compromise your safety. Look for open holes in the most unusual places on the external parts of the stove as this could be inlets for water and outlets for unnecessary soot from the stove.
You are almost done but do not forget the gaskets. As time goes by, the gaskets become worn out, and if you do not change them on time, they may cause permanent damage. When cleaning, check to see if they are too tight or too loose to let in third-party substances. Replace exhausted gaskets with new ones that last longer. Tighten all the loose parts for maximum wood stove performance.
Do these steps and enjoy a shining warm, and cozy winter.
How to Clean the Chimney
You are about done with the major parts of the stove but the final one is the axis of all operations. Without the chimney, the wood burner stove would have otherwise caused soot and too much heat in the home. The chimney is at the center of all burning and exhaustion activities as it gets rid of the smoke and excess carbon IV oxide produced during the combustion. Hands down, this is the trickiest of all parts to clean. This is why you need to save it for last.
The first cause of action is to mind the chimney during the cold season. When winter comes, wood hardly burns. This means that a lot of soot ends up forming at the edge of the chimney, which, when neglected, could cause irreparable damage to the flue. The idea is to ensure that the wood stove should have burned for not less than half an hour by the end of each day. This will prevent unnecessary soot from forming at the edge of the chimney. Many are privy to the stereotype that throwing a goose down a chimney does magical cleanliness but in this case, the only way to physically remove the accumulated soot from the chimney.
Use a chimney brush to make the work easier for you. In the absence of one, you can always improvise or use easily available materials to get the job done. Use the combination of a drain rod and a long brush to scrub off the soot and push it down the drain. If the inner parts appear too clogged, consider pulling the cobwebs and soot out rather than stuffing them back into the chimney. The only downside is that you must climb to the roof to see for convenience. It is also the only way out.
What to Consider before Purchasing a Wood Burning Stove
No one wants to buy a wood burner that is too big for their house, it beats logic.
Consider the resistance ability of the type of cast iron used to make the stove. Its rust resistance also counts.
You want to buy a stove whose maintenance cost is within your budget. The best part about a wood-burning stove is that there is no extra maintenance cost unless they break.
Before buying a stove, allocate enough space for its heat and smoke to affect the closest person when it burns minimally.
Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers)
How do you clean the outside of a wood-burning stove? Before cleaning the outside part, ensure that it is dry, greaseless, and smooth. During cleaning, use warm clothing, avoid wet materials as they could cause rust.
1. How do you clean a black wood stove?
Black, colored, or white, the first step is to remove the ash after ensuring the fire is completely out. The second step is to clean the inner part, outer parts, then finish with the chimney.
2. How do you clean the enamel on a wood-burning?
Use non-abrasive soapy substances to clean at first. Wipe off with a damp cloth before finishing off with dry clothing to keep the stove cool and dry.
3. How often should I clean ashes from the woodstove?
Once or twice a month is perfect. Remember that you do not want to leave the stove with no ash at all during winter. The ash fosters insulation which in turn facilitates the combustion of cold wood.