A wood stove is a great way to add character to your home while reducing your heating bill at the same time. Wood stoves can be part of your home's design or can be added easily to your home after construction.
You'll need to treat a wood stove with respect, however. The outside of a wood stove can reach 400 degree while it's burning. The interior temperature of a wood stove can reach 1000 degrees. In the case of a wood stove chimney fire, the temperature in the pipe can reach a whopping 2000 degrees.
A wood stove chimney is responsible for carrying smoke and toxic gasses out of your home. As you operate your wood stove, exhaust materials and unburned wood particles can collect on the inside of the wood stove chimney pipe. This buildup, called creosote, can lead to a potentially costly wood stove chimney fire.
Careful operation and routine maintenance can help prevent expensive repairs or damaging accidents down the road.
It Starts With the Wood
When operating your wood stove, always use dried wood for your fire. Green or wet wood not only burns less efficiently, it also creates more of the materials that lead to creosote formation in your wood stove chimney.
Air dry (or "season") fresh cut wood at least six months before burning. Store seasoned wood away from rain and snow or cover the wood to keep it dry.
Burn Hot and Fast
A small, hot fire generates the least amount of creosote. Avoid overloading or crowding your wood stove, as these types of fires tend to burn cooler and slower. Read the manufacturer's instructions for your stove and learn how to use the damper system to keep your fire burning at maximum efficiency. An efficient fire will limit the buildup of creosote on the walls of your wood stove chimney pipes.
Regular Maintenance Is a Must
You have your wood stove chimney cleaned and inspected at least once a year or if creosote buildup reaches a quarter inch. If you regularly burn green or wet wood, consider having your wood stove chimney cleaned twice a year as creosote buildup will be heavier.
It's important to clean your chimney after a long winter of using your fireplace. If you don't want to have it done professionally, you can buy your own chimney sweep brushes and do it yourself. There are a few things you need to consider before you buy these brushes.
It happens about this time every year, the first cold evening and you want to build a nice roaring fire in the wood stove to warm up the house. Completely forgetting you never cleaned the chimney at the end of the heating season last year, that nice thick coat of creosote has had all summer to dry out.