Annabelle Carvell from the Stovax Heating Group outlines the best ways to maintain a stove or fire
If you own a stove or fire, whether that is a wood burner, gas fire or even an electric model, they all require their own kind of maintenance. This short guide will help you with the steps you should take to maintain your appliance, keeping it in good condition all year round.
Wood or multi-fuel stoves
At the end of the heating season, a wood burner should undergo an annual service, which will include stripping and cleaning the appliance.
Your product’s user instructions will describe the annual maintenance that is required for most products, however the basic requirements are as follows.
One of the first things to do is clean the inside of the firebox thoroughly when the stove is completely cool. All of the excess ash needs to be removed, with finer particles vacuumed up – the Stovax Motorised Ashclean is ideal for getting into awkward spots.
Next, remove any grate parts, clean and check for damage, and replace if required. Remove the firebricks and, using a soft brush, these also need to be cleaned and checked. Any broken or damaged bricks should be replaced, but smaller cracks or chips can be repaired. Do take care with this stage, as firebricks can be fragile. Likewise, the door glass and glass seals should be checked for any signs of damage, and the glass cleaned thoroughly with stove glass cleaner. It is important to consider the type of cleaner you need carefully, as printed glass requires a different product than that used for plain door glass. If the glass has cracked, it will need replacing. Ensure that you also check your door rope seal, which can become worn or loose over time, and replace it if required.
If you need to refresh the exterior finish of painted stoves, such as areas where paint has chipped away, most manufacturers can supply a suitable paint for home use.
It is also important to have your stove serviced by a qualified HETAS installer to ensure you see the best performance from your appliance, and maintain your product warranty.
Anything from tar to birds’ nests and cobwebs can get stuck in your flue. The fuel type you burn, how often you use your fire or stove, the moisture content in the wood you burn and what type of chimney you have can all affect how frequently you may need your chimney swept.
Chimneys need to have a clear passageway for the combustion gases to exit your home. Along with obstructions, soot, deposits and tar can build up in your chimney over time, reducing the draw, making the stove run less efficiently and putting your property at risk of a chimney fire.
If you are burning wood, ensure your chimney is swept at least twice a year; this can be reduced to once if you are using a multi-fuel stove to burn fuels other than wood. Your chimney sweep will be able to advise the best cleaning frequency for your fuel and use.
What if I am using a gas or electric appliance?
A gas fire will also need servicing and its door glass cleaning – it is possible to clean the glass yourself, following instructions supplied with the product. It is recommended that gas appliances are safety checked and serviced at least once a year by a registered gas service engineer. You can find a qualified engineer on the Gas Safe website.
Maintenance of an electric fire is easy and simple, and normally just involves dusting and cleaning the fuel effects, plus any accessible air inlets and outlets in order to maintain the optimum heat output and efficiency from the fire. Your instruction manual for your appliance should include further information that explains more.