Owning a wood stove is a major benefit to your home. You can provide quality, low-cost heat to your home and enjoy a beautiful, comforting fire all during the cooler seasons and early spring. To get the most out of your wood stove you will want to know just how to use it most effectively. Here are some tips for healthy operation every time you light up a toasty fire.

Clean Your Wood Stove Seasonally

To avoid soot build-up in your wood stove and allow for proper air flow, you will want to have it cleaned seasonally. Creosote naturally builds up within the chimney and interior of your stove and the material is very flammable. Having your wood stove, vents, and chimney inspected at least once a year can identify built-up creosote. You can have a professional chimney sweep expert clean your chimney in the summer months prior to its first use in the fall.

Clean the Firebox Regularly

When ashes begin to build up in your firebox and cover the grate, you know it's time to clean out the area. Ashes can keep oxygen from flowing under your fires, making them weak or difficult to keep warm. To clean your firebox, wait until your wood stove is entirely cool then use a metal shovel to fill a metal container or garbage can with ashes. Keep ceiling fans off and windows closed during this process to keep ashes from blowing around the room while you clean out the firebox.

Burn Your Wood Efficiently

There is a right way to burn wood best to get a hot, reliable fire in your wood stove. You will want to use wood that has been seasoned so it's nice and dry for burning. Hardwood, such as maple, walnut, or willow, burns hotter and often longer than more common softwood (pine, cedar, or fir).

Always place several logs in your wood stove at a time, placing the larger logs on the bottom and smaller logs on top. You can also use kindling to make your fire light more quickly. Modern wood stoves are designed to light from the top down to emit a more consistent heat into the room, so keep this in mind as you build your logs for a warm blaze.

Airflow is essential to a warm and lasting fire, so make sure to crack your fireplace door open until your fire begins to roar. If your fire has issue starting, make sure the vent knob (located in the back or side of your wood stove) is opened fully. Close the vent once the fire has fully been set.

Never use a lighting agent, such as gas, oil, or lighter fluid, to start fires in the home. The flammable liquids can explode, causing bodily injury or even damage to your wood stove. Only use dried wood and a long-stemmed lighter to get your wood stove going safely.

Keep Your Wood Stove Free of Debris

You will want to keep your wood stove free of all debris for safety reasons. Avoid using your wood stove as a decorative piece to house vases and figurines in its off season unless you have a hearth shelf installed above it. Keep the stone and flooring surrounding your wood stove free of wood chips, ashes, and more to prevent accidental fires from occurring when lighting. Your fireplace installation expert can help you design a decorative backsplash or hearth for your wood stove if you want to give this appliance more appeal.

Whether you are installing a new fireplace or wood stove or you just want to get the most out of your current unit, our expert team at Hartman Heating, Air and Fireplaces are here to help. Contact us today so you can be warm all season long.