Autumn is in the air, and most of us are thinking about cleaning our wood burners to get them up and running for the cold winters. As lovely as the wood burners look once lit, the wood inside them gets sooty pretty quickly, which is not only a health hazard but stains the nearby carpet and furniture as well.
No one wants to clean a sooty, ash-filled fireplace or the soot of the painted bricks in the cold as it snows outside, right? Therefore, we should learn how to clean a log burner beforehand so that our wood-burning stove will be clean and ready to use at a moment’s notice. Ready to learn some excellent cleaning tips? Without further ado, let’s get started!
How to Clean a Wood Burner – Step-by-Step Guide
Before cleaning the wood burner, make sure that it is cold. Never try to clean a hot wood burner at the risk of burning yourself.
Things You Will Need
- Plastic Sheets
- Old Newspapers
- Old Rags
- Dust Mask
- Safety Goggles
- Hard Bristled Brush
- Wire Brush
- Soft Brush
- Stove Glass Cleaner
- Vacuum Cleaner
- Hot Water
- Glass Scraper
- Slate Oil
1. Cover the Surroundings
Protect the floor around the fireplace before you begin. Cover the floor with plastic sheets, newspapers, old clothes, paper towels, etc. By doing this, you will not stain the carpet, furniture, etc., in the surrounding area and create a whole new mess for yourself as you clean the inside of your stove.
2. Empty the Stove
Start by emptying the woodstove. Clean the cavity. Modern wood burners come with a built-in ash pan. This allows you to remove ashes from the burner very easily. Usually, the burners have a riding mechanism as well that lets the ash fall through the grate and into the pan.
Empty the ash pan regularly to keep it from overflowing. If you don’t remove the ash, it blocks air flow to the grate, which gets damaged in the long run.
3. Clean the Interior
Once you have emptied the ash pan, you need to clean the inside of the stove. Clean wood stove when it is cold to not burn yourself due to the high temperature. If there is any debris inside, use a metal dustpan and a hand brush to remove them.
Alternatively, you can use a vacuum cleaner as well. Try to be as gentle as possible to keep the dust from flying around. Ensure that the stove door seal is clean and no ash is trapped in it.
If you want to scrub the hearth, you can use hot water and floor cleaners. However, make sure to mop the water as you go. Thoroughly dry the hearth before trying to use it. Once the firebox is clean, shine a torch to see if there are any broken firebricks. If any, repair them. Leave the glass door ajar for a while to allow air to flow through the chimney.
4. Clean the Flue Pipe
You need to clean the flue pipe as well. The pipe takes the fumes’ waste out of the burner. The firebricks and the pipes get lined with tar and other deposits when the waste passes through it. Wear a dust mask and safety goggles to keep yourself from inhaling harmful dust particles.
Use a wire brush to sweep the flue pipe and remove the residue inside the pipe. Once no residue comes out with the wire brush, use a clean, dry cloth to wipe the inside of the flue as much as possible.
It will take you some time to clean the flue thoroughly. Cleaning the flue once every two months is enough.
5. Clean Glass Door
If your wood stove has dirty glass windows, it means that it is not burning efficiently. Take a damp cloth, and try to remove as much of the soot as possible. Then, with the help of a clean cloth, apply a stove glass cleaner.
Leave it on for 5 minutes. Use a damp cloth to remove it. There are various methods you can use to clean the stove glass. The first choice is to mix equal parts ammonia and equal parts water. Put this solution in a spray bottle and spray it on the glass.
Let the solution sit for a while, and then wipe it away with a clean cloth. If you don’t have ammonia on hand, you can also use a commercial cleaner. Make sure that you follow the instructions given on the back of the cleaner and that it doesn’t harm your burner.
If there is some stubborn tar & soot, build up on the glass and scrape them off with a glass scraper. Make sure that you are scratching the glass surface while doing so. With a little elbow grease, you will have brightly lit chimney fires in no time!
6. Seal the Hearth
Once the hearth is cleaned and scrubbed, you need to seal it. Apply a layer of slate oil over your hearth using a brush or sponge. The oil will repel dirt & wood ash and your hearth will be easier to clean the next time.
Let the oil dry for almost two hours before you think of using the hearth.
7. Check the Rope Seal
The rope seal around the burner door flattens and loses its shape with time. This affects the efficiency of the stove and allows the fumes to leak out. Set a small fire inside the burner and close the door to check if the seal is intact.
Light a candle and move it around the door. If the candle’s flame is drawn towards the seal, it indicates that you need to change or repair the seal.
How Often Should You Clean the Wood Burner
To make sure that your wood burner is performing to the best of its capability, it is very important that you clean it regularly. There is no pre-set time frame for cleaning your wood burner.
However, you need to keep on top of the cleaning. If your wood burner is on all day throughout the winter, you will have to remove the ash twice a week. We suggest that every time you turn the burner on, check the ash pan and empty it.
You have to clean the interior once every two months thoroughly. As soon as you see it getting dusty and murky for the glass, you should clean it. You should know that the cleaner your multi-fuel stove is, the more efficient it will be. Therefore, you have to keep it spic and span. If all the parts of your stove are working efficiently, you will get optimum performance.
Therefore, make sure that all the parts are working correctly. If there are any soot blockages, remove them to keep them from affecting the efficiency of your stove.
A clean wood burning stove doesn’t only look nice but runs smoothly & efficiently as well, keeping you warm in the cold autumn and winter months. We have put together this compact yet comprehensive guide to help you clean a wood-burning stove.
From cleaning the wood burner stove glass to emptying the wood burner’s ash pan regularly, we have discussed top tips regarding everything you need to know on how to clean a log burner. Here’s to warm and cosy winter nights with an efficient and smooth running wood burner! Next project: How to build a log store.