Now that we’re in the depths of winter, and as it’s never been more expensive to heat your home, if you have a wood-burning stove then you’re probably relying on it more than ever before.
With that in mind, we’ve put together some tips on how to clean a wood burning stove:
Before you start, remember to consult the maintenance guide from the manufacturer which may contain instructions specific to your particular stove. It is important that you follow these.
If you’ve decided to clean your wood-burner yourself, the most important thing is to ensure that it’s safe to do so before you begin.
It goes without saying, but make sure that your wood-burner is unlit and has completely cooled before attempting any cleaning tasks, and also that you have everything you need to hand.
For an extra layer of protection from materials that could potentially cause irritation, you may also choose to use gloves, a face mask and/or goggles.
If in doubt at any stage, always consult a specialist.
It seems obvious, but how often you need to clean your stove really does depend on how often you use it.
During the coldest months, you’ll probably have it on frequently. If this is the case, the ashes should be removed every couple of days. As a guide, the inside of your wood burner should be fully cleaned every four to six weeks if it’s in use regularly.
If your stove is burning wood alone, it will require cleaning less often - wood burns cleaner and produces less ash than some other fuel sources.
Consistent maintenance may seem a bit time-consuming, but it is necessary. Investing in the right vacuum cleaner can help you save a lot of time and mess here. The Vacmaster Multi 20 wet & dry vacuum cleaner is ideal for cleaning out your wood-burner. You could also consider products in the Vacmaster L and M Class Range.
It's important that the flue pipe is also checked and cleaned regularly. Generally speaking, an annual clean is fine, but more often is recommended if the burner is in regular use to prevent a build-up of deposits.
As for the glass, when you no longer have a clear view of the flames inside, it needs to be cleaned (see below for tips on how to do this).
Cleaning inside the stove
Once the fire is out and the stove has fully cooled, then you can begin cleaning it. Any larger pieces of wood or coal should be removed first.
You can then use the Vacmaster Multi 20 vacuum cleaner to remove any ash and debris that has collected. The ash can either go straight into the tank, or to contain the mess, a dust bag can be used. Vacmaster dust bags come in both standard and fine filtration (fine filtration bags are often preferred by allergy sufferers).
When the ash has been collected, you can even scatter it out across the garden - ash is very good for plants!
Cleaning the glass
There are lots of products on the market that can be used to clean the glass on your stove or burner, but if you’d prefer a method that’s a bit kinder to both your wallet and the environment then we have some suggestions:
A mixture of ammonia and water in a spray bottle can be used to remove soot from your stove door. Simply apply to the glass and wipe with a cloth until clean. For more stubborn areas, leave the solution on the glass for a couple of minutes before wiping.
Alternatively, dip some newspaper in water, then dip again in the ash left in your stove and rub on to the glass. Finish off by wiping down with a damp cloth.
Cleaning the flue pipe
Ensure the fire is completely out and the flue is cold before attempting to clean the pipe. And if in doubt, always consult a specialist.
You can purchase specialist products to assist you with this process, at the very least you’re likely to need a chimney cleaning brush so that you can reach right into the pipe.
Use the brush in a back & forth motion to loosen soot and debris and continue until there’s nothing more coming from inside the pipe.
Cleaning the surface
All you need to clean the surface of your burner is the soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner, and a damp cloth for any surface marks. Easy!
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Posted by David Baird