Burning wood during the cold winter months is the perfect way to lower your heating bills, while still providing warmth throughout your home. Whether you use a wood stove to heat your entire house, or just specific areas, they provide a touch of charm and create an ambience in the home. To keep it functioning safely and properly, it needs to be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis. The following few suggestions are designed to boost the efficiency of the wood stove and keep it operating smoothly.

Clean Operation

Each wood-burning stove has a specific fuel limitation. Most those are designed to burn only wood, and others coal or wood. Never burn other materials including artificial logs, treated wood, driftwood, trash, or materials that contain lead, sulfur, plastic or zinc. Anything other than wood (and/or coal) can cause significant damage to the catalytic combustor.

Burning any type of trash in your wood stove can cause serious and potentially dangerous problems should a fire start in the chimney. Burning plastic and other materials can create harmful gases that can easily emit into the air.

The ideal fuel for your wood-burning stove is seasoned wood. It will release maximum heat, and reduce the buildup of creosote in the flue or chimney. Never burn any unseasoned, green wood. Typically, Greenwood has more than half its weight as moisture that will have to burn away before it can begin to heat your home.

Removing Ash or Debris

Part of maintaining your wood stove is making sure the flu stack thermometer is running efficiently. The optimal range of the fire in your wood stove should be between 300 to 400°F. Keep the air intake vents of your stove completely clear, by removing any built up excess ash or debris. This will help lower the oxygen level needed to optimize the combustion. Should you notice any significant amount of smoke emitting from the chimney, you will need to clean the stack.

Annual Inspections

The wood stove and it is chimney needs to be inspected annually by a professional stove cleaner, or chimney sweep. The inspection will reveal any sign of deterioration including warping, baffle gap, creosote buildup, or cracks. Regular inspections can significantly reduce the risk of fires in the chimney and help to identify existing issues.

The maintenance required on your wood stove is in direct proportion of how and when you use it. Heavy use will require more maintenance, but the effort be offset by the cost savings of using wood to heat your home on cold days.