Dec 2, 2014
Wood Stove Maintenance Checklist
Wood stoves require an added amount of maintenance from the homeowner. There’s a big reason for this. Burning wood is a dirty business. It produces ashes, and creosote at a greater amount, when compared to burning most fossil fuels. So, here are some yearly items to examine regarding your wood stove. This checklist should be reviewed prior to the start of the regular heating season, in late summer or sometime during the autumn.
You Can Still Use Your Non-EPA Certified Wood Stove
Check for a label on your stove. If it was manufactured since 1988, it’s probably certified by the United States (U.S.) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The label on your stove will indicate if it is EPA-certified. If you own a non-EPA-certified wood stove, you’re fine. Contrary to comments written online, the EPA isn’t out to stop you from using your wood stove. There are 9 million out of the 12 million wood stoves used in the U.S. that don’t have EPA certification. The EPA is just updating standards on the sale of new wood burning stoves starting in 2015 to make them burn 80 percent cleaner than existing stoves. The key point is to realize that all wood stoves require regular maintenance. An added emphasis to maintenance should be addressed if you own a non-EPA-certified wood stove.
The Nitty-Gritty Wood Stove Inspection
Once you know the certification of your stove, here is the heart of your stove’s inspection:
- Gaskets – Every wood stove is built with a door through which you insert your wood fuel. Doors come with a braided, rope-like gasket. In time, this gasket becomes loose, or completely burned off. Poke at the gasket. If it easily comes loose, buy a replacement fiberglass gasket and some gasket cement. Pull out the old gasket, cut new gasket material to the proper size, apply the cement and pop your new gasket into place.
- Hinges – Check all hinges on these same doors. Usually, the hinge is nothing more than a pin that the door swings on. If they’re severely worn, replace them with replacement hinges from the wood stove manufacturer, or from a hardware store.
- Glass – Tempered glass is used in wood stove doors. Inspect it for cracks. If cracked, replace it with tempered glass from the manufacturer. If the glass is black, clean it. Glass that blackens in one day indicates poor fire conditions, such as burning green firewood, or not allowing enough oxygen into the firebox during combustion.
- Metal Fatigue – Check the structural integrity of the metal in the stove. This is especially important for a non-EPA-certified wood stove that is probably of a pre-1988 era. Look for cracks, especially in welds and seams. To do this, place a trouble light inside the fire box of the stove. Close all air vents. If you see light, you might have a crack. Inspect even further, if you see light. Your stove is not rendered useless with cracks, especially if the stove manufacturer is still in business. Often a quick online check can result in parts to rebuild a wood stove, thereby eliminating unwanted cracks.
- Fire Bricks – Most wood stoves use fire bricks in the fire box. They crack with excessive heat. Sometimes, it’s just their time to crack. A cracked fire brick allows heat to penetrate metal beyond the brick, which can lead to metal fatigue described above. Fire bricks are cheap compared to the price of a new stove. Loosen the fire brick retainer, remove the old broken bricks and replace them with new fire bricks. Never replace them with building bricks. Always use new fire bricks.
- Air Controls – Carefully turn or slide adjustments and watch to make sure all air control mechanisms are free from wood chips, ash or residue. Fix any fatigued parts to ensure that air controls work freely.
- Secondary Air Holes – Check secondary air holes built into your stove to allow air flow. If necessary, clean all of the air holes with a wire brush. When secondary air holes fail to allow air through, secondary combustion is limited and chimney creosote builds more easily.
- Baffle Warp – Most wood stoves employ a metal or cast iron baffle above the fire box. Check to see if the baffle is warped. If so, replace it with a new baffle from your stove’s manufacturer.
- Thermostat – If your wood stove uses a thermostat, make sure it operates freely and works properly. If you suspect an issue, replace it. Preventative maintenance is wise, especially with an old wood stove.
- Stove Pipe & Damper – Inspect your stove pipe for rust. Steel wool will clean minor rust. If you find major rust, replace the pipe. Disassemble the stove pipe sections and clean soot and creosote from its interior with a stout wire brush. Inspect the damper for warpage and replace, if necessary. When reinstalling stove pipe, place a bead of high-temperature silicone caulk on each joint. Secure each stove pipe joint with three or four sheet metal screws once the pipe is lined up in a straight fashion.
- Chimney – Clean the chimney at the start of every fire season, no matter how clean you think the chimney is. Creosote always builds up inside chimneys. Animals and birds might have made a nest inside. Always perform chimney cleaning. Inspection and cleaning should be performed regularly throughout the burning season, too.
Enjoying the thorough warmth of a wood burning fire from your wood stove is extra warming when you possess the peace of mind knowing the stove is safe. The only way to ensure safety with your wood stove is by performing an annual inspection. Be safe and accomplish a thorough inspection each year of your wood heating appliance.
About the Guest Author: This post was written by the good folks at Wood-Furnaces.net, who are resellers of MagnuM wood stoves, as well as a host of replacement parts and accessories.
Aug 21, 2013
While it may be tempting to “just burn whatever” in your fireplace, you want to get the most out of your appliance. It goes without saying that you should not burn anything besides wood in a wood burning fireplace or stove. Furthermore, you want quality wood/fuel.
So how do you select the best wood to burn in your fireplace?
Quality wood means well seasoned wood. If wood is too new/wet it doesn’t make good fuel. If wood is too old and full of mold/mildew, it can pose health hazards. Well seasoned wood is wood that has been chopped, stacked and stored properly for about two years. Almost any variety of wood will burn fine in your wood fireplace or stove, as long as it’s seasoned and dry. Hard woods like ash and oak are top choices for longer burn times in your appliance, but most soft woods will burn fine too. Most types of wood produce the same BTU’s of heat per pound, so it is a matter of how fast you burn up the wood in the appliance that dictates how hot the unit will be and how much heat is produced. Of course your hardwoods will last longer and produce less ash that most soft woods.
The length of time that a wood fire will last and how much heat that it will produce is mostly dependent on the design of the appliance. The MagnuM Model 02 wood burning fireplace insert and the Inglenook wood fireplace are designed for high efficiency and are a top choice for homeowners looking to heat their home with wood.
Check with your local city or county forester to see if certain wood in your area is best not to be used. Some woods can produce excessive creosote and cause chimney problems.
Do you have a question for our heating specialists? You can call us toll-free at 1-800-495-3196 today!
Jan 29, 2013
If you own a wood burning fireplace or stove you know that there is a fine line between running your stove efficiently and wasting some energy and money. So we’ve assembled some helpful resources, ideas, and wood stove tips right here because we want you to get the most out of your wood burning experience.
For fireplace maintenance tips, read “Maintenance Tips for Your Wood-Burning Fireplace.”
For ideas on how to build the best fire in your stove or fireplace, read “How to build the perfect fire in your wood burning fireplace or stove.”
For a simple, yet great idea for making wood chopping a little easier, watch this video. The use of an old tire helps keep wood in place while chopping.
For technical questions about your Magnum Countryside or Country Flame stoves or fireplaces, consult your manual, search our YouTube Channel or contact Techcenter1 at 320-227-2902 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have a tip or link to a great resource, please share it in our comments section. We love hearing from you.
Oct 16, 2012
If you have questions about buying a wood fireplace, you’ve come to the right place. According to Census data, over 2.4 million homes heat with wood and the rising percentage is “faster than any other heating fuel,” as published in USAToday. More people every day begin researching whether this alternative heating option is right for them. With foreign oil prices high and the economy struggling to rebound, it’s understandable that Americans are looking for less expensive ways to heat their homes.
People explore wood fireplaces for a variety of reasons, but the common include:
An ample supply of wood for fuel. If you live in an area where wood is readily available and abundant, a wood fireplace or wood stove may be a good option for you. Not all wood is the same, and it’s not all the best for burning in your home. Learn more about kind, quality, and condition of wood you should burn in a fireplace.
Saving money on heating bills. This is another driving force for most people. Wood burning stoves and fireplaces are not the same as they were years ago. They’ve come a long way in technology, heat efficiency, and esthetics. Heating with wood can save you plenty of money, put out more heat than an older, traditional furnace, and “exceed expectations” as one owner puts it.
Inclement weather. Living in an area with frigid weather, frequent storms, and cumbersome power-outages is often another reason people seek out the reliable heat of a wood fireplace. Wood fireplaces and inserts can keep your house or business warm during a power outage, and we’ve posted more details here.
Whether you want to join the ranks of other American families who are happy with their choice in heat or simply want more information on the differences in fireplaces, American Energy Systems is your “go-to” place for information. You can speak with a heating specialist about your specific questions or concerns, or post them here and we’ll respond.
Jan 26, 2012
Gone are the days of inefficient wood burning stoves that create more smoke and ash than heat! American Energy Systems has spent considerable time over the past three decades taking the “work” out of wood burning, freeing up your time and maximizing your heat.
The MagnuM and Country Flame wood burning fireplace, stove and fireplace insert lines are state of the art in high efficiency clean burning technology. We squeeze every BTU possible out of each log that you place into our product. Many areas of the United States require clean burning technology from wood burning appliances; something we’ve worked hard to provide in our modern day appliances. The result is less ash, less chimney cleaning, less hauling in wood and taking out ash.
Need to understand BTU’s a bit better? Check out, “The Truth About Heat Efficiency”.
Do you have a question we can help answer? Leave a comment below or contact us directly.
Jan 15, 2012
Yes. Our Country Flame Model BBF wood stove is approved for mobile home use with back-wall clearances of 3″ (using double-wall black stove pipe), outside combustion air, and 8″ flue. While it’s a relief that mobile home owners have wood stove options, it is necessary to have your wood stove properly installed. Local codes will govern mobile home installations.
Complete our “Great Discounts” form telling us a little bit more about how we can better help you save on heating NOW!
Quick Question: Can I use my Country Flame wood stove or fireplace insert in case of a power outage?
Dec 9, 2011
Yes. Our complete line of wood-burning stoves and fireplace inserts are designed for use in cases of power outage… when you need them most. Our wood burning appliances offer the benefit of non-interrupted heat in the event of a power outage.
If you believe a wood stove or fireplace insert is the perfect alternative heating solution for your home and live in an area where power outages are a possibility, talk to us about getting an appliance on order that is right for you. If you haven’t requested your free Buyer’s Guide to Finding the Best Alternative Heating Appliance yet, you will find it helpful in your shopping process.
Do you have another question we can answer? Post your question in the comments below or visit us on Facebook.
Nov 20, 2011
The featured product this week is the Ovation 2100 Wood Stove, a non-catalytic wood stove for the modern family. The Country Flame Ovation 2100 wood burning stove is a high quality, dependable means to heat your whole home or supplement your existing heat source. The Ovation 2100 wood stove is one of three appliances currently featured in our special $250 savings offer through November 23, 2011.
If warmth, tradition, romance, and efficiency is what you are after, the Ovation 2100 wood stove is ready to install and priced for any budget when you combine the $250 savings with our offer to pick up half of shipping costs through 11-23-11. Get yours on order today – there’s only a few days left to take advantage of these great savings!
Nov 5, 2011
Jumping for Joy
For all the deal seekers looking for big savings on pellet stoves, corn stoves, or wood stoves, we have a brand new savings to share with you starting now through November 23, 2011. The best part is that you can combine three different offers for maximum savings; something couponers know is the best deal.
This is one match-up deal you don’t want to miss if you’re shopping for a pellet or wood stove, considering a switch from traditional heating to alternative heating, or wanting to add a pellet stove or wood stove to your heating mix.
Deal Two: Save $175 on shipping costs. That’s 50% off freight! Combined with the $250 off of the pellet stove, corn stove, or wood stove mentioned above, that’s a $425 savings.
But wait, the savings don’t end there!
Deal Three: Before the end of 2011 you can take advantage of a Tax Credit incentive that will provide you with additional savings when you select an appliance that qualifies.
Take advantage of these special alternative energy savings today, and be sure to pass this information along to anyone you know may be interested. This deal ends November 23rd, so don’t wait. Be sure to hit the Facebook “Like”, Google+ button and Tweet this post to your friends.
Oct 12, 2011
- What is a catalytic wood stove?
- What is a non-catalytic wood fireplace?
- Which kind of appliance do I want; a catalytic or non-catalytic?
The term catalytic and non-catalytic are types of combustion used by stove and fireplace manufacturers.
Catalytic Wood Stoves and Fireplaces
A catalytic stove typically offers higher efficiencies and longer burn times. The exhaust (smoke) is drawn from the fire and sent through a honeycomb shaped converter (catalyst) built into the appliance. The ceramic coating causes a chemical reaction that allows the smoke to burn when the stove’s surface is only 500°F. The smoke gases and particles when re-heated and allowed to burn, result in a cleaner fire, longer burn times and more even heat. Catalytic appliances, because of this exhaust “recycling” emit less pollutants and increases overall use of the fire’s energy producing a higher efficiency (73% or more) appliance. Catalytic appliances cost a little more than non-catalytic appliances and require a little more maintenance. The catalyst must be cleaned regularly, and garbage or dirty wood burned in a catalyst appliance will result in faster degradation of the internal parts. With proper care, catalytic stoves or fireplaces can last for many years.
Non-Catalytic Wood Stoves and Fireplaces
Far more common and less expensive, non-catalyst appliances are typically a little less efficient but simpler to maintain. A non-catalytic appliance will have a large baffle system that results in a very hot flow of gas which brings the smoke up to 1200°F to burn off the pollutants. Unlike a catalytic appliance, the smoke is not cleaned by a combustor, resulting in slightly higher pollutants and less even heat. Burn times are typically 10% less than a catalyst appliance resulting in a little more fuel being burned.
Choosing the Right Stove or Fireplace
If you’re not sure whether to choose a catalytic or non-catalytic appliances, consider the amount you’re willing to spend and how much maintenance you’re willing to do versus the type of fire efficiency you want. Those who are interested in maintaining their stove or fireplace and like the idea of efficient fires with little waste and less pollutants will want to invest in a catalytic appliance. Those who appreciate the roar of a good fire but don’t want to spend as much should lean toward a non-catalytic appliance. Either way, make sure that the stove or fireplace you choose is of good quality and is designed to meet all emission standards. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established emission standards to ensure pollutants are not emitted into the environment resulting in cleaner air for all to breathe. The EPA along with the American Lung Association is currently promoting action to strengthen these emission standards which may result in manufacturers providing only catalyst appliances to be sold in the future.