Because electric and gas fires have become so commonplace now, having a traditional wood-burning stove is seen as something of a novelty. Wood-burning stoves add a lot of character to a room and provide a rustic feel that you just can’t get with gas and electric fires.
Whilst wood stoves have many great benefits, they also come with a downside. When you burn wood, it creates smoke particles that can be harmful when they’re breathed in. How harmful these particles are depends on their size. Particles that are less than 10 micrometers in diameter are particularly harmful since they can get deeper into your lungs. Breathing in these particles over a prolonged period can lead to problems with your lungs and heart.
In order to combat this problem, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in America have introduced new regulations that will ban 80% of wood stoves. This sounds a little more dramatic than it actually is.
Anyone who has an old-style wood stove will still be able to use it legally. It simply means that any wood stoves for sale after the new regulations are introduced will have to adhere to the new standards laid out by the EPA.
As a result of the new regulations, wood stove manufacturers have designed new clean-burning wood stoves that will reduce dangerous particle emissions by 70% and carbon monoxide by 65%.
The new stoves aren’t just better for the environment however, they are also much more efficient. This makes them great for low-income families who might be worried that the new regulations will negatively affect them. The new stoves have a lot of firebox insulation, which means they burn up particles much quicker and before they enter the environment.
Keeping Your Wood Stove Running Well
When you have a wood stove, there are certain steps you have to take in order to keep it running properly. This applies to all wood stoves, even the new, more efficient ones that are being released. Below are some great tips to ensure your wood stove runs well at all times –
- Clean it regularly – One aspect of owning a wood stove is that you have to clean it after every use. Removing the ash and cleaning the firebox will not only ensure that your stove runs efficiently but it also stays looking great too.
- Schedule chimney cleaning – Chimney problems account for a large number of the issues people have with wood stoves. Creosote builds up and sticks to the flue of your chimney over time and when it builds up too much, it can cause all sorts of issues. Because of this, you should schedule a chimney cleaning at least once a year – twice a year if you use your stove regularly.
- Use good quality wood – Using good quality wood is essential. Whilst it might be tempting to collect your own wood, you should only do this when the weather permits. If you use wood that is damp or covered in moss, it’s not going to burn efficiently.
How to clean a wood stove
Since cleaning your wood stove is one of the best ways to keep it running well then it makes sense to cover how to go about doing this. Below is a detailed guide to cleaning your wood stove effectively.
Step 1 – When cleaning your wood stove, there’s going to be quite a bit of mess that’s created so you first want to ensure that your floor is protected by spreading newspaper or an old cloth directly in front of the firebox. You should then open the door of the firebox so you can access it.
Step 2 – For the next step you’ll need an ash shovel and container so you can remove the bulk of the ashes from the stove. Use the shovel to scoop up the ashes and then very carefully move the shovel over to the container and drop the ashes in it gently. You don’t want to be heavy handed when doing this as the fine particles from the ash can easily rise into the air. You should also remove any bricks that might obstruct you from cleaning the stove properly.
Step 3 – The last step is to clean the glass door of the firebox. Before you do this you should make sure the stove itself is free of all soot. You can clean the door using soap and water but it might be a good idea to invest in a cleaning solution that’s specifically designed for cleaning stove doors. Once you’ve cleaned the door you can then see if there are any other areas on the outside of the stove that need to be cleaned and pay attention to them.
Of course to clean your stove properly, the chimney should be cleaned too but this should always be left to a professional.
The author has a keen interest in traditional fireplaces. Her articles cover subjects such as how to maintain a wood stove.