The temperatures have dropped
and it is freezing outside! At
least it is where we are. This is
when it is especially important to optimize your wood stove, to get maximum heat
and enjoyment for minimal wood usage.
- The pipe needs to be clean.
- Chimney cap (if you have one) needs to be free from obstruction.
- Combustor needs to be
clean. Vacuum all sides. If you have a stainless steel combustor, you
can spray the combustor with
a solution of 50% distilled water and 50% white vinegar. Let it drain,
then rinse well with clear distilled water
and let dry completely before putting the combustor back into your
stove. Using the vinegar solution may help to clean baked on fly ash.
- The ash pan should be clean, and the bottom of the stove should not have too much ash.
- Wood should be dry. For the best heat output from your stove, wood should be well seasoned. Most wood will take one to two years split and stacked, and covered on the top (tarp or other protection) to dry properly. If your wood is not dry, you will find much of the heat your stove is generating will be absorbed by burning off the moisture in your wood. If your wood is not as dry as you would like, mix it with kiln dried, or with compressed wood chip logs (available at most hardware stores, lumber yards or home/garden centers in the heating season), or you may need to leave your air setting open a bit more for more heat in the firebox.
- Check your gaskets (when the stove is not hot). If you think your stove is getting too hot, check your gaskets for leaks. This is a primary cause for your stove to overfire. The paper test is an easy test to check the door gaskets. Simply take a strip of regular paper, put it into the side of the door. Close the door. If you can easily slide the paper out, you need new door gaskets, or perhaps you need to adjust the door latch.