Looking after your solid fuel stove
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Sun May 14, 2017 at 10:36am

Top tips for using a wood-burning stove this winter.

Don’t burn water

This is the most fundamental thing to get right when you’re burning wood. It might be surprising, but green wood is around 50 per cent water. That means that for every kg of green wood you add to the fire, you’re effectively adding around 500ml (a pint) of water. This means that you will need to make sure that your fuel has been dried properly. There are a few ways of doing this, but the simplest are:

• Find green wood and dry it yourself – probably the cheapest option, if you’ve got the space to dry your logs properly, but do bear in mind that it will take a while. As a minimum, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve given your logs at least one summer to dry properly (two is better).

• Find a good supplier. The best way of finding a good log supplier is to go through an accreditation scheme such as Wood sure. This is an audit of whether the logs really are as dry as the supplier claims, which gives you some peace of mind that you’re not being ripped off.

• Buy kiln dried logs or briquettes. There can be sustainability issues with this sort of material, as energy has been added to dry the fuel before it reaches you, though some (but not all) suppliers use wood-fired kilns. This is usually the most expensive (but simplest) way of fueling a stove.


Manage the air

As far as your stove is concerned, air comes in two flavours. Primary air feeds the bed of the fire, and secondary air feeds the flames above it. Nearly all the energy from wood comes from burning gases released when it is heated – which means that secondary air is much more important than primary. The golden rules are:

• Never completely close the secondary air vent. Never (I really mean it). It’s the easiest way to create soot and tar and completely coat the glass on the front of your stove with gunk (a technical term).

• Don’t leave the stove door open, unless you have been specifically instructed to by the manual when lighting the fire. You are crippling your stove’s efficiency and allowing all the lovely warm air in the room to shoot off straight up the chimney.

• Remember you’re always looking for a hot, fast burn, as this will be the cleanest, most efficient way of running the stove. A small hot fire is much more efficient than a large slow-burning one.

5 ways to clean the glass on your wood burning stove

There is nothing more frustrating than lighting your stove, closing your door and not being able to see the fire through the glass.

Glass on a wood burning stove gets dirty from one of two ways – burning wet wood or wood with a lot of resin in it. Over time, if not cleaned, you won’t be able to see through it. Glass should be cleaned regularly to prevent build up of soot and tar.

Fear not, with these five useful tips we will have your stove door sparkling again!

  1. DON’T BURN WET LOGS. It’s the number way to keep your door clean. Wet logs produce more smoke, therefore more soot and tar and a blacker glass. The drier the wood, the cleaner your class will stay.
  2. Use crunched up newspaper, dip it in water and then in the ash from your fire and scrub gently until the glass clears up. You may need to wipe with a damp cloth when done to remove and remaining residue. Be careful when using this method that you don’t scratch the glass with any bits in the ash.
  3. Use a ceramic cooker cleaner, such as Hob Brite, with a non scratch sponge. Remove and blackened soot/tar then wipe clean with a damp cloth.
  4. Lemon juice or vinegar, again with crunched up newspaper is also said to help remove stains from your glass.
  5. If all else fails, go for good old elbow grease! If you have left your glass uncleaned for too long you may find you will just need to keep scrubbing until it is clean again.

Don’t forget, if your stove glass isn’t clean, your chimney won’t be clean either. We recommend you get your chimney cleaned at least once a year to prevent any build up. If left uncleaned you run the risk of a chimney fire and damage to your home.

The key point here is burn dry wood. Wet logs may appear cheaper and may seem like you are getting more for your money but you will do damage to your stove and chimney in the long run.

Happy cruising from all the team at Venetian Marina.


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