Getting Your Wood Stove Ready

Ah! The ambiance of sitting next to your fireplace or wood stove on a cold wintry night. The snap, crackle and smell of a wood fire. There is truly nothing like it. Well, the kids are back to school and fall is just around the corner. The time to enjoy your wood stove or fireplace is just around the corner. The last thing anyone wants to experience is waking up to the roar of a chimney fire or chirping of a carbon monoxide detector. Safety must come first when you have these items in your home. Avoiding these unpleasant experiences, requires preparing your unit for use. And the time is now before you need or want to operate your wood burning unit. Below is a listing of required maintenance you should perform on your wood or coal burning device. If you are unsure about performing any of this maintenance yourself, you are encouraged to contact a reputable chimney sweep to review your system and perform any require maintenance.

  1. First thoroughly clean your unit so that you can properly perform a visual evaluation.
  2. Review your unit for any cracks or other physical damage. If any are present contact a reputable technician for further evaluation and repair needs.
  3. Replace any damaged firebrick or damaged grates present.
  4. 4. Ensure any doors are in good order, and have proper gaskets affixed. Replace any damaged or missing gaskets. Clean glass doors with door cleaner or ammonia.
  5. Check the damper area for any damage. Repair or replace as needed.
  6. Check the connector pipe for damage or repair needs. Replace any damaged areas. Ensure the male and female ends of the connector pipe are in proper order. Many times we find these reversed. Connections should be screwed fast to avoid disconnection. Clean the connector pipe as well.
  7. Clean the chimney flue. Remove all soot and creosote build up. This is a major source of flue fires. If you are uncomfortable with this aspect, contact a chimney sweep.
  8. Do not use the flue if the unit is unlined, cracked, or physically damaged in any way. Also ensure tree limbs are cut back from the top of the chimney.
  9. Inspect the chimney cap / crown area for cracks and deterioration. Seal all areas to avoid water penetration and ultimate damage to the flue.
  10. Ensure all manufacturers minimum clearances are adhered to.
  11. Make sure you have a proper fire-proof hearth area in front of your unit.

For the proper operation of your unit burn only good quality seasoned hardwood. Never burn paper, pressure treated material, trash etc. Periodically inspect and clean your flue and connector pipe several times throughout the fire burning season. Maintain properly operating smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. We also recommend keeping a fire extinguisher close by your unit for emergency use.