Here is what your wood stove requires to give it a good thorough cleaning.
We are approaching that time of year in which your wood stove will not be used very often, but that does not mean it should be forgotten. This is the time of year you should think about cleaning and maintaining your unit. What your wood stove requires is a good thorough cleaning and here is how to get it done.
Why Clean the Stove at the End of the Season?
Wood burning stoves do an excellent job of keeping you and your family safe and warm all winter long, and after such a long winter working hard for the family, they need a little care. The best time of year for cleaning and maintaining is spring or early summer as the unit will not be used for quite some time and with such a long stretch until cold months once again, you want to ensure it is free of debris. Dust, soot, and even creosote deposits and build up that can sit for any length of time in your stove will be much harder to clean effectively when the time comes again to light it.
This is also a great time of year to have your unit inspected for any possible leaks or issues that could arise at the start of the new burning season. Maintenance professionals may also offer discounted rates for servicing your unit during this time as this is the start of their slow season. Most people tend to concentrate their wood stove maintenance needs at the beginning of the colder season or when something ultimately goes wrong. A good cleaning and maintenance can save you time and money.
What You Will Need
The tools for the task of cleaning your wood burning stove are very straightforward. You will need a stiff brush for cleaning out any stubborn soot and if you also intend on cleaning the flue. Flue cleaning can be accomplished by a professional during the annual inspection, but with a long handled flexible bristled brush, it is simple to get the job done yourself. You will also need a sponge or washcloth for cleaning the firebox after it has been brushed out.
Remove Large Objects
The first thing to do when cleaning your wood burning stove is to remove any large pieces of partially burned logs. This should also be done between burning as partially burned logs can inhibit your new fire from producing a strong flame.
Brush Out Excess
Once all larger objects are removed from the unit, begin to brush the interior walls of the stove including the roof and floor. Scrub out around the base of the flue and remove any excess creosote deposits or soot from the surface. Use a bucket at the opening of the unit to brush everything into and cut down on any impending mess.
Scrub it Clean
Upon removal of soot and debris, use a sponge or washcloth to clean the surface of the interior of the unit. Pay special attention to the areas around the flue, and ventilation ports as these can easily become clogged. Ensure that every surface receives attention to remove any excess soot from the unit.
Clean the Glass
The first place you may notice soot buildup is the unit’s glass. Glass can become cloudy making it difficult to enjoy the glow of your stoves roaring fire. Clear glass ensures you can also keep an eye on the wood and know when to add extra logs to the fire. A damp cloth will take care of most of the glass surface, but never use steel wool as this will scratch the glass doing permanent damage to the look of the unit.
Interior cleaning is truly necessary for producing a high quality flame, but it is also important to take care of the exterior of your unit as well. Most wood stoves have a smooth exterior and therefore it is easy to clean with a damp cloth. Pay special attention to the base of the unit as this will have the most soot buildup. Use a toothbrush or other small brush to get deep into the creases of the unit.
Cleaning your wood stove is an essential part of ensuring it lasts for many years to come. Units that remain well maintained throughout their life have fewer maintenance problems and therefore are more useful to the homeowner and family. Remember to have your unit annually inspected and clean it 2 or 3 times throughout burning season. Happy cleaning!