A wood burning stove is a focal point of any home, that pleasant smell of burning wood and the ambience it creates is hard to beat. A wood heater can provide a large amount of heat to a space, whilst being a source of entertaining and in some cases even cooking! Just like any other appliance in your home a wood heater needs to be cared for to prolong its life and enhance its operation.
- Always use good firewood. When it comes to choosing wood for your wood burning stove you need to be selective. In Australia we burn hardwood, the best fire wood ideally contains less than from 18% moisture otherwise the fire may not burn hot enough and can then produce creosote. Check the moisture content before purchasing and burning!
- When loading your wood heater fill the stove leaving air gaps around the timber for good combustion. Remember to ensure all timber in your stove is ignited before attempting to reduce the air or slow down the burn rate.
- Keep your wood dry. Don’t store wood under a tightly closed tarp or on the ground. The best way to keep your wood dry is to store it off the ground and shielded with a roof-like structure to protect it from the rain. When stacking your wood don’t pack it tightly together, in order to stay dry wood must have access to free-flowing air. Don’t store excess wood inside your home. Only store what you need to use that day.
- Burn your fire properly! A fire in a slow combustion wood heater is different to a fire in your backyard fire pit. Never allow smouldering slow fires to bloom. These fires only create more creosote which can become a fire hazard. Slow combustion fires should not be burning on high the entire time, they are designed to burn on high and to then be turned down to maintain heat in a home. Burning on high constantly is ‘Over firing’ and can cause premature fatigue of parts in your wood heater. The best fires are those with moderately-sized flames with very little smoke within the stove firebox.
Cleaning – all wood heaters and wood stoves should have their flue cleaned thoroughly, at least once a year, maybe twice a year if you use your stove a lot. The actual stove should be well maintained and cleaned using the recommended procedure in this article:
Maintaining Your Wood Stove