How to Maintain and Care for Your Wood Burning Stove
Snuggled up on the sofa reading a book under the warm, flickering hue of the log burner is one of my favourite ways to spend my evening. There’s just something about that gentle crackle of burning wood that feels incredibly homely. Installing a log burner is without a doubt the best decision I made when it’s come to renovating my home. It’s transformed my little two-bed house into a home, adding character and depth to what otherwise was a plain-jane front room.
When it comes to owning a wood burning stove, you need to make sure you know how to best take care of it. Log burners most definitely require maintenance and TLC to keep them in top working (and safe!) condition. If you’re the proud owner of a super cosy log burner you’re going to want to give your stove a long and happy life. By following these simple steps, you can be sure to keep your log burner burning bright and warm.
Disclaimer: This blog post features gifted items from White Horse Energy. However, all words are my own. Please drop me a message if you have any questions.
Burn seasoned and high-quality wood
There’s a few things you need to consider before throwing any old wood on your wood burning stove! Firstly, all wood should be well-seasoned before burning to ensure you get an even, clean burn. It’s recommended that firewood should have a moisture content of 20% or less before burning.
The difference between hard wood and soft wood for log burners
There are two types of firewood: hard wood and soft wood. Hardwoods are generally more dense than softwoods, meaning they will give off more heat and burn for longer. Soft woods may offer a pleasing flame but they’ll burn quickly meaning you’ll go through wood pretty fast if you’re solely using softwoods in your log burner. As hard wood can be difficult to burn when cold, it’s recommended to use soft wood kindling and eco-friendly firelighters to help get the fire started and giving off a decent heat output before you add your hard wood.
It’s worth knowing that different densities of wood can take different lengths of time to season and burn. Oak, for instance, is a really dense wood and can take up to 2 years to season so if you’re planning on burning oak, you’ll need to plan ahead to make sure you’ve got a healthy, well-stocked log store!
Finding the perfect kiln-dried firewood
If you can’t wait for your firewood to season, you always have the option of buying kiln-dried firewood which is ready to burn from the get-go. My small home doesn’t leave much room for a large log store so kiln-dried wood is the perfect choice for my situation.
White Horse Energy offer kiln-dried wood that offers a glowing flame and a high heat output. In fact, they state that kiln-dried wood burns 22% better than seasoned wood. The firewood by White Horse Energy is always dried to a moisture content percentage of less than 20 percent and you get a choice of different wood types including ash, birch and oak. The best part? This firewood comes from a guaranteed sustainable source so you can have peace of mind knowing that you’re supporting a sustainable company.
For £30, White Horse Energy offer a firewood bundle that contains 3 boxes of kiln-dried birch firewood, EcoBlaze kindling and EcoBlaze natural firelighters. It’s the perfect firewood parcel for ensuring your log burner has a clean, even and bright blaze throughout the cold months.
Clean the ash tray frequently
A small bed of ash in your log burner can help the firewood burn better so there’s no need to worry about cleaning your wood-burning stove after each and every use. With that said, it’s best practice to frequently clean the ash tray to ensure it doesn’t overflow or block the air flow. If the grates become blocked by overflowing ash, it can restrict air flow and damage the log burner.
Your log burner should have a riddling mechanism that allows you to move the burner’s grates so ash drops through into the ash tray for removal. Be sure to let the ash cool before emptying the ash pan to prevent risks of fire, accidents or carbon monoxide poisoning.
As well as cleaning the ash tray, make sure you periodically clean the inside of the stove with a metal dust pan and brush, clean the glass and clean the flue pipe to prevent a build-up of residue.
Check the log burner components for damage
For optimum safety, you should look to get your wood burning stove serviced at least once a year at the end of the cold season. In between servicing, you can do some small routine checks to ensure all of your log burner’s components are in good working condition. If anything is looking worn or damaged, be sure to contact your log burner manufacturer, or call a specialist, to order replacement components.
The checks you can carry out on your log burner includes checking the grate, baffle plate and flue for deterioration, cracks, warping or soot build-up. These signs of wear can have dangerous implications. For instance, soot build-up in the flue is at risk of recombusting and starting a fire at the top of flue system… something that you definitely don’t want to happen!
You’ll also want to check the stove fire bricks, ash pan, door rope seals, bodywork and carbon monoxide alarm. For an extensive list, I recommend referring to this stove maintenance check-list by Stove Spare Parts.
Get the chimney swept
In true Mary Poppins style, it’s always advisable to get your log burner chimney swept. Although, don’t be expect chimney sweeping to look like a scene from Mary Poppins or you may be left feeling pretty disappointed…
You should get your chimney swept once a year at least. If you tend to burn softwood or woods with lots of residue, it’s worth getting your log burner swept more frequently. Chimney sweeping can be done by a registered chimney sweep or HETAS approved installer so be sure to do your research and find a suitable person to carry out the work.
By following these simple steps for maintaining your log burner, you can increase the usable life of your wood burning stove and be certain you’ll get a clean, even and bright burn every time.