How to Clean Your Wood-Burning Stove
The weather is getting colder, and it will soon be time to start lighting up your stove.
Having a wood-burning stove in your home is a luxury, but when it comes to cleaning, it might not feel like it. However, it’s crucial that you clean your stove regularly. According to EPA, 30% of home heating fires happen due to dirty chimneys and stoves.
In this article, we’ll tell you exactly how to clean wood-burning stoves and in turn, keep your home and family safe.
1. Make Sure it’s Cold
Before you attempt to clean wood-burning stoves, it’s absolutely essential that you make sure it’s not hot. Otherwise, you could end up burning yourself.
It should be cold enough for you to touch with your bare hands. Bear in mind that even if it’s cold on the outside, there could still be hot coals or ashes inside that could burn you.
If it’s been used recently, carefully inspect all of it to make sure it’s cold before digging in. Then, you’re ready to get started.
2. Clear the Fire Box
The fire box is the central part of the stove, where you load and burn the wood.
Clear it out using a shovel and an ash bucket, making sure to remove all ashes and any clutter left behind. Once it’s empty, you can take a good look inside and see whether or not there are any broken parts. If anything looks amiss, you may need to buy some replacement parts.
3. Empty the Indoor Chimney
If possible, you should dismantle your indoor chimney and clean out T regularly in order to make sure it can be properly cleaned out.
This is because they usually have a buildup of creosote, which is a dark, tar-like residue that is a byproduct of burning wood. If it is left for too long without being cleaned out, creosote can cause chimney fires.
To remove as much creosote as possible and get your indoor chimney as good as new, use a wire chimney brush.
4. Clean the Door
One of the most satisfying things about having clean wood-burning stoves is being able to watch the logs burning. However, if your door isn’t clean enough, you won’t be able to do that.
When wood burns inside the stove, it causes the glass to become smudged and fogged, and a layer of film starts to build up. In order to get rid of that, all you need is a cloth and some glass cleaner. After a wipe down, it should be crystal clear again.
If that doesn’t do the job, specially-formulated cleaners for stove doors are also available.
5. Empty the Ash Box and Tray
You may think you’re done cleaning ash once you’ve tackled the fire box, but there’s still more!
At the bottom of your wood-burning stove, you’ll find a little drawer that slides out. That’s your ash box. This is where ashes go when they overflow from the fire box, so as not to make a mess on the floor.
Pull it out and empty out the ashes inside.
If you have a garden, you can throw your wood ashes there to enrich your compost. If you want to get a little more creative, there are several ways you can recycle the ashes, instead. They can be used to unclog drains, clean jewelry, or even to make soaps and detergents.
6. Clean the Outdoor Chimney
This is the dangerous part, because you’ll have to get on the roof.
It’s not advisable to try to get up there to clean your outdoor chimney alone. If possible, have another person with you to hold the ladder and make sure you can get up and down safely.
Once you’re up there, pull the cap off the top of the chimney and use a wire chimney brush to clean out the inside. Run it down as far as you can, scraping the inner walls to remove as much soot and creosote as possible. Then, it will fall down to your wood stove, where you can either let it burn up next time you use it, or clean it out completely.
7. Clean the Spark Arrestor
A spark arrestor may be combined with your chimney cap or completely separate, depending on the design of your wood-burning stove.
Its purpose is to stop embers from escaping and causing flammable materials on your roof to catch fire. They let gas out of the flue, but make sure anything else stays in.
In order to work properly, they need to be completely clear. Any debris could cause a blockage, which could be potentially dangerous. If any foliage, or even small animals, have become caught in the mesh, be sure to remove them.
8. Back to Base
After you’re done on the roof, you’ll need to come back down to where you started. You may be disappointed to find that what you left as a nice, empty fire box has become dirty again after everything fell down from the chimney. That means you’ll need to give it another clean.
You can either use a brush and shovel or a vacuum to do this part.
9. Don’t Forget the Seal
Lastly, clean the seal around the door. Brush any ash off the surface, then use a cloth and cleaning solution to wipe off any residue.
After that, all you need to do is grab a broom and sweep the floor around the stove, which is sure to get dirty in the process. Clean wood-burning stoves still need to be kept completely clear. That way, you won’t have any issues the next time you fire it up.