Signs to Look Out For
The average lifespan of a wood-burning stove is 10 to 20 years, but taking care of your stove and keeping a close eye on it can mean that you can extend its lifespan to the better half of the number above. But, experts like Burning Log warn that if you are noticing the signs listed below pertaining to your heat appliance, it might be time to consider investing in a newer, safer model. Read on to find out how to spot the signs that your wood stove is ageing.
Signs Your Wood Stove Needs Replacing
Warping and/or Cracking
The steel on the top of your stove, as well as on the sides of it, should be flat and smooth. If you notice a warp that shouldn’t be there in any part of your stove, it is likely a sign you need a new stove since this will dramatically reduce its efficiency. When the steel is warped, more (or less!) air is allowed into the stove which makes it more dangerous to use.
Too Much Smoke
If dark smoke venting from your stove becomes a regular occurrence, that is a clear sign that your stove does not have an efficient combustion system. The dust in your house may dramatically increase when you use your wood stove because of how much smoke and soot it produces. Newer stove models are designed to produce significantly less smoke and have a more efficient combustion system. These systems burn more parts of the wood so that fewer particles and gases are released into the air.
Lots of wood comes with creosote on it now to protect it from awkward burning in a fire, but it can build up and cause damage and blockages to your stove and chimney. The best way to control creosote buildup is to maintain a briskly burning fire with dry, well-seasoned wood rather than creosote wood. If you are considering a new model, look for more efficient stoves that deliver more heat to the room than an open stove or fireplace to prevent creosote condensation from becoming a regular theme in your
You’re Using More Wood Fuel Than Before
If you’re finding that you need more wood to fuel the fire than you have before, this is not a good sign. Read the clause below on poor performance. Needing excessive wood fuel might mean that your stove’s structure is beginning to cave and can no longer sustain the heat.
Like the clause above, you might be struggling to light the stove or find that you’re smoking out the house whenever you do get to light it. The baffle is located at the top of the firebox inside your stove, and it is meant to cope with the high temperature. Your stove’s poor performance could indicate that it is caved in, or as mentioned earlier in this article, other welded components have warped.
Ways to Extend the Life of Your Wood Stove
Perform Regular Maintenance
Routinely servicing your stove gives it a great chance of maintaining its power. This is what you should check for in regular maintenance: check your stove yearly for rust, cracks, gaps, or separations. If you see any of these, address them automatically. If your wood stove provides many doors for loading and also ash dump, they all have to be checked. Neglecting to repair damages to the wood-burning stove means it might not work correctly. Furthermore, not dealing with damages will also simply cause them to worsen further and may damage the credibility of your investment.
Have it Professionally Installed
Professional installation upon purchase usually means that corners weren’t cut, and there’s a better chance that your stove (or any other product) will have a healthier lifespan. Companies like Burning Log hire maintenance to install stoves and other heating systems every day, and their positive reviews indicate they know best when it comes to installation. A personal installation may be enough to get the job done temporarily, but as time passes, it can reveal some issues that could’ve been avoided with proper installation.
Schedule an Annual Cleaning and Inspection
Like maintenance, you need to thoroughly inspect and clean your stove at least once a year. Consult an expert to ensure your wood stove or fireplace looks great and is in working condition for the fall. Inquire if companies like Burning Log provide such services to ease the process, but you could get started on cleaning your stove by following these cleaning steps:
- Remove ashes, wood chips, and debris from the stove with a shovel, and vacuum out all the leftovers.
- Mix the household cleaner with warm water in a bucket and use a sponge or towel to clean the face, hearth, and sides of the fireplace. Then clean the top and floor of the firebox.
- To remove hard-to-clean soot buildup, mix a solution of warm soapy water, and use a natural-bristle brush that can scrub the soot off.
Prevent Low Burning Fires and Over-firing
It can be harmful to your stove’s health to burn a fire at considerably higher temperatures than what the producer recommends. Low-heat fires are also harmful because until a fire reaches a particular temperature, combustion is never complete yet, and the levels of creosote will be increased. As mentioned earlier in this article, creosote buildup needs to be avoided for optimal wood stove health. Ensure that you are burning your fire at the most favourable temperature range, so you keep the investment that you designed for your home as safe as possible.
Parts of A Wood Stove Are Normal to Wear Out
Wood burning stoves won’t become useless after just a few fires and can last a long time with proper care and maintenance. But, there are a few parts that normally wear out at a faster rate than others:
The baffle plate is located at the top of the firebox and helps to burn firewood more efficiently. It does this by retaining waste gases from the combustion of wood inside the stove to increase the temperature. Since it is right above the fire, it may crack or warp over time. In optimal conditions, you will need to replace this part every five to ten years, depending on the frequency of use.
The Door Gasket
The door gasket is basically the seal around the door of the stove and it helps keep the stove closed properly and ensure no air is coming in through that opening. With use, this gasket wears out and air can be let through even if the door is shut. As we learned above, more air than what the stove was designed for is a big no-no.
Quick Tips On How To Avoid Rust
Rust is also one of the “sicknesses” a wood stove can suffer from. And with rust comes corroding the metal and pretty soon you will have a wood stove no more. That’s why it’s important to:
- Apply stove polish to cast iron surfaces
- Install a chimney cap to keep rain out
- Don’t place wet objects on or in the stove.
If you are experiencing any of the above, it’s time to invest in a new stove. Just remember, once you do get a new stove (or if you have recently bought one in the past few years and want to turn back time), take the measures to ensure it lives a long and happy life. Wood stove experts in Ottawa are here to help you keep your stove efficient and working properly.