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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Fall Wood Stove Prepping

The signs are all around us.  The air is cooler, the leaves are falling, and the farmers markets are bursting with fresh local prrocuce!  That's right, it's Fall which means Winter is right around the corner.  As a matter of fact, many of us have probably already burned a fire or two in the wood stove on a particularly cool night.


Since we are so close to ussing ouur wood stovves on a more regular basis, let's take a look at some important items on the to do list.




  1. Clean Chimney - either DIY or call a professional, but DO NOT omit this step.  Even burning only dry hardwood in your stove can deposit dangerous amounts of creosote in your chimney which can ignite if left unchecked.  Despite the claims of numerous products on the market, there is no substitution for a thorough chimney sweeping.  Sweep the chimney in the fall before heavy use, and a second cleaning on a warmer winter day can't hurt either.
  2. Check and replace Door gaskets.  Loose or overly compacted door gaskets can cause too much air flow to enter the stove causing excessily hot fires and essentially disabling dampers.  Replacement gaskets are inexpensive and come in a kit with heat resistant glue for a simple DIY job.  Many stove owners replace gaskets every fall as a preventative measure.  If your stove has a window in the door, check and replace that gasket too.
  3. Check and replace fire bricks.  Look for cracked or broken fire bricks and replace as needed.  If a broken brick falls out of place, it can cause a hot spot on the stove and increase the fire risk in your home.
  4. Physically clean and inspect your stove.  Dust settles on stoves and needs to be removed.  Clean every inch of your stove front to back, top to bottom removing any dust or dirt and looking for cracks or open seals on the stove especially around the seams.  Try putting a light source in your stove and checking for light escaping on the outside.
  5. Clear the area around your stove of clutter.  Ensure that all flamable materials are a safe distance away. 
  6. Ensure that a fire extinguisher is close by and has been inspected.  Call your local fire department for information on what size to have and where to get them inspected.
  7. Use creosote preventing products.  As mentioned in item 1, these are NOT an alternative to proper sweepings, but can help lessen the amount of creosote that deposits on the chimney walls.
Have a happy and safe winter.

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