How do I maintain my wood fire?
Wood-burning stoves and fires require relatively limited maintenance. With a good installation, few problems are to be expected. However, good maintenance is an important point for attention when using a wood-burning fire or stove.
Maintenance of a wood fire: do it yourself or have it done?
You can carry out many jobs that require regular maintenance of a wood-burning fire yourself. Other things are better left to an expert.
Remove ash deposits
You can clean the fireplace and the ventilation grilles relatively easily with a special brush. Clean the ash drawer when the fire or stove has cooled down and clean the windows. If the residue is limited, it can be cleaned using hot water and newspaper. For more stubborn deposits you can use a special maintenance product. If burning damp wood and when combustion is incomplete, a creosote deposit may occur.
Creosote is a combustible, tar-like substance and is caused by a build-up of soot. Creosote is sticky and has a strong odour, but is also dangerous. Creosote is flammable at a temperature of 500 degrees, and this temperature is reached in many contemporary fires and stoves. An accumulation of creosote can eventually result in a chimney fire, which can cause very dangerous situations. Is your fire or stove regularly covered with residue after burning? Then reread the instructions for safe burning and check if you are using the right type of wood. Proper burning prevents frequent and intensive cleaning and maintenance.
Sweep the chimney
The chimney should be swept regularly by a professional. Soot particles can accumulate in the flue. If there is a build-up of soot particles or of debris that has entered the flue from outside, you run the risk of a chimney fire. Even if such a fire is quickly extinguished, the damage can be significant. Do not economise and have your chimney swept by a professional company.
Do you only use your fire or stove for supplementary heating? Then sweeping once a year is usually sufficient. If your wood-burning fire or stove is your main source of heating, it may be necessary to have the flue pipe cleaned more often. Choose a reliable chimney sweep; the dealer can undoubtedly recommend companies with whom they have good experiences.
If you have a fan, clean it on time
Is your wood-burning fire or stove equipped with a fan? It also needs to be cleaned regularly. This prevents wear and irritating noises. In addition, you also extend the life of the fan.
Check the seal on the door
A good seal on the door of your fire or stove is vital. A defective seal will reduce the combustion temperature. As a result, combustion is less efficient, so replace the sealing cord on the door in time or have it replaced during annual maintenance.
Check the flame plate
Is your stove or fire fitted with a flame plate? Then check occasionally after the fire or stove has cooled down, whether you can still remove the plate and whether there is any room to turn off when heated.
Inspection and renovation of the chimney
After many years of heating it may, despite regular sweeping, still be necessary to pay more attention to the chimney or the flue. Chimneys can start to show cracks and chimney problems can often be solved by fitting a flexible stainless steel tube.
Maintenance of a pellet stove
There are a number of specific points for attention when maintaining a pellet stove. A pellet stove creates relatively few ash residues. For good performance and maintenance of the mechanical elements in the pellet stove, however, it is important to keep the stove dust-free.
The fire chamber and the burner rack can, in many cases, be removed and cleaned. A special ash vacuum cleaner can be used to keep the inside of a pellet stove clean. It is also advisable to have a pellet stove checked by a professional company every year. This promotes the life of the stove.