Making the Most of Your Wood Stove

Wood stoves and how to make the most of them

It’s November and if you’re like most wood stove owners, the cordwood is stacked, seasoned and ready to go. Depending on where you live, perhaps you’ve already stoked your stove for those first highly anticipated fires of the season. Make the most of your wood stove’s efficiency by ensuring it’s up to snuff and ready for the season ahead.

There’s more to maintaining a wood stove than removing ashes and cleaning the glass. Your stove is a heating workhorse and deserves a close look now, as well as periodically during the winter months. Here are a few wood stove maintenance tips for inspecting areas of your stove crucial to efficiency.

  • Stove Pipe – your stove pipe endures high temperatures and if corrosion develops, it should be replaced. Examine your stove pipe, especially where it connects to the chimney.
  • Fire Box – periodically inspect the inside of your stove. Look for cracks in the brick or damaged baffles. If anything needs attention, consult your stove dealer for parts and/or a service call.
  • Door Gasket – a tight door seal creates good draft and prevents smoke leakage. Test if the seal is still tight by inserting a piece of paper or crisp dollar bill in the door and shutting it, then try to pull the paper out. If you are able to pull it out anywhere around the door, the gasket needs to be replaced.

Also have a chimney sweep or professional stove dealer inspect your wood stove’s chimney. They will check for leaks, cracks, warping, baffle gaps, creosote buildup and other issues that could hamper your stove’s performance or worse, lead to chimney fires or carbon monoxide intrusions. This should be done at least annually.