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Maintaining Your Solid Fuel Stove

Let's face it! There's something inherently comforting about a solid fuel stove. From the comforting warmth it provides, to the mesmerizing dance of flames, and not to mention the cozy ambience it brings to your home. But maintaining this piece of beauty requires special skills and knowledge. Fear not, we’ve got you covered. Here lies a guide that aims to break down the ins and outs of maintaining your solid fuel stove.

Just like any other piece of equipment, regular cleaning is crucial for a solid fuel stove. Why, you ask? Well, soot, ashes, and creosote build-up can lead to a decrease in efficiency, unthinkable problems, and even safety hazards.

Empty the ash pan regularly. Too much ash can restrict the amount of air reaching the fire and impair the efficiency of your stove. Letting the ash build up over the grate can cause it to warp. With no air getting to the grate, it gets too hot and will then have to be replaced.

Gaskets provide a vital role to play in the performance of your stove. An air leak through a faulty gasket can cause over-firing which could potentially damage the stove. When the stove seems to roar away, you have no control and there is probably an air leak somewhere. There could potentially be a crack in the stove that opens when the stove gets hot, this is often very hard to find.

Examine your stove’s door seal by testing its grip with a piece of paper. If the paper slips out easily when the door is closed, it's time to replace the gasket/ fire rope.

Touch up the paintwork on your stove annually to prevent rusting. Once the rust has set into a solid fuel burner, it is very hard to rectify this problem. You need to look out for rust on the collar of the stove where the stove pipe meets the stove. This is a problem area as it is where the moisture from the rain and fuel can sit. This is a common area for rust.

One of the best ways to maintain your solid fuel stove or wood burner is to burn efficient fuel. CPL is one of the better suppliers for smokeless coal, CPL do different types of smokeless coal depending on the appliance that you have. If you have a room heater, they have some very ferocious hot burning, long-lasting smokeless coals to heat your house for long periods. For solid fuel stoves you should use less aggressive coal. Because it can cause a lot of damage inside the solid fuel stove, warping the metal components inside the stove.

Good firewood should be under 15% moisture. You should use a good mixture of hardwood and softwood. Firewood needs to be seasoned for about a year, but even if it has been seasoned and then you leave on your driveway and it's getting rained on, this is still moisture in your wood. You must burn all the moisture out of the wood before you get any heat making damp wood very counter-productive.

Try to burn your stove nice and hot and try not to keep it in overnight, so no banking up before bed. Banking up is a sure way to cause lots of tar up the chimney and inside your wood burner. If you burn your wood burner efficiently, you will minimise tar build up. If your glass is getting tarry this is exactly what's happening inside a wood burner. This is a good indication that your wood is probably not very well seasoned, or that you are not burning it hot enough. Stove thermometers are a good way to make sure you are burning your stove at the correct temperature.

When you are not using your stove. It is a good idea to leave the air vents open on your stove to let a little bit of air run through the stove and the flue. A little maintenance once a week on your solid fuel stove will keep in very good order.

It is also vital to get a professional chimney sweep in regularly to review your stove and advise you on how to keep your chimney smoking cheerfully.

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