Wood burning stoves aren’t nearly as popular as they were 20 or more years ago, but if you’re lucky enough to purchase an older home with this type of stove, you’re in for a treat. Wood burning stoves can create a sense of nostalgia and can come in handy if your power ever goes out. While some types aren’t allowed in some states and are heavily regulated in others, as long as you meet emissions regulations in your state, you should be fine to use your wood burning stove as needed. Here are a few things you can do to maintain your wood burning stove and keep it in good (and safe) condition.
Install a Stack Thermometer
A stack thermometer is designed to be installed inside the flue of the stove. From that position, it monitors the gases leaving through the flu so you know if your stove is causing too much pollution. To keep volatile gases at a minimum, it’s best to build hot, small fires in your stove. Between 300 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit is generally considered optimal.
Conduct a Smoke Pump Test
A smoke pump tester evaluates the dark particle concentration of the smoke in your wood burning stove. It can measure the emissions being released through your flu so you know whether or not you’re in compliance with EPA regulations governing wood burning stoves.
Have Your Chimney Inspected
It’s wise to have a professional inspect your chimney at least once every year. A chimney sweep should also be conducted at this time to remove soot and reduce the chance of a soot fire. During each inspection, the inspector should carefully look for creosote, warping, leaks, cracks and other signs of deterioration or problems with the chimney.
These maintenance tips don’t require a lot of time, but they will give you significant peace of mind when operating your wood burning stove. If you experience problems with your stove at any time, stop using it until a professional looks at it.