How To Clean And Maintain Your Chimney And Heating Stove In Time For Winter
A utumn is here and winter is fast approaching, so now is the perfect time to give your stove or wood burner an annual health check. Phoenix Fireplaces has put together some handy tips to clean and maintain your stove and chimney so its ready for winter.
1. Stove health check
Checking your stove once a year can help improve its life expectancy and efficiency as well as making sure it is still safe to use.
Firstly, clean out the firebox and empty the ash pan, using a torch, check inside for cracks or breakages. If there are any cracks or breakages call your original installer to find out if there is anything they can do. Now let the stove air for a few hours by opening the air inlets and keep the door ajar to allow the stove and chimney to fully air, this will ensure the best possible combustion and burn.
2. Deep clean
- Wear protective gloves and a face mask
- Follow manufacturers cleaning instructions if available
- Or wipe the window clean with stove glass cleaner, leave for five minutes, then remove with a damp cloth
- Clean a sooty window on a wood burning stove with ash applied on a damp cloth, then wipe clean
- Remove rust with a wire brush or steel wool. Rub away the rust, then sweep the area clean of dirt with a stove brush or shoe brush.
3. Lining a chimney
Lining a chimney in older properties is recommended as flue wear and tear can make a stove less efficient. This procedure is usually carried out after a chimney inspection has highlighted problems that need to be fixed, or a new fire is being fitted and the chimney is lined to improve the fires efficiency.
If you don't know if your chimney has been lined a chimney sweep or stove installer can carry out an inspection to confirm if it has.
Lining a chimney prevents the flue leaking smoke or fumes, it can prevent tar staining through chimney walls, and help the flue to draw air more efficiently.
4. Using the stove correctly
Do not overload wood burners with wood, it is designed to burn slowly, so adding additional wood isn't going to make it burn faster. Use kiln-dried wood and always purchase the best you can afford from a recommended supplier.
If you want extra heat retention install a soapstone surround or a power stone heat tank, this allows the stove to stay warm for hours after the fire has been extinguished.
Keep rooms aired by opening windows and doors, when possible, to allow for good ventilation and effective heat circulation.
5. Professional Clean
For the safety of your family get your chimney swept on a regular basis, a build up of soot is a fire hazard and should be removed. Always use a professional Chimney Sweeper to clean the inside of your chimney, they will tell you how often you will need to use their services, for someone using a chimney for months on end, all day, every day, you'll need to have your chimney swept yearly. Remember to check if your chosen Chimney Sweep has all the correct certification and insurances before you allow them into your home.
Once the flue has been swept, an integrity test is ideal as it will locate cracks or faults in the chimney which may stop dangerous gasses and smoke from escaping through the top of your chimney, instead coming thorough the chimney walls into your home.
Other winter checks you should carry out are boilers, plumbing and drains, the worst time for them to break is in the winter when you need them the most.
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