Wood Stove Cleaning Day

Yesterday was “clean the wood stoves” day.  A wood fire can be highly romanticized but in reality, there are maintenance chores which cannot be ignored.  It’s not too difficult a job for this GramMom, even with these arthritic joints.   I heard that the weather was supposed to be above zero degrees celcius (32F), so it seemed like a good day to get dirty.  When water started dripping off the icicles hanging from the roof, I knew it was time to get busy.   As I already mentioned in a

My cookstove

previous blog,” I Love Wood Heat”, I have two wood stoves in my house:  a cookstove and a pellet stove.  Both stove fires need to be out and ashes cold in order to clean them thoroughly.   So the day’s sunny and 7 degrees C was perfect to go with “passive solar”  heat while my stoves were being serviced.  I began my morning by cleaning the cookstove.  My son Darin sweeps the chimney every fall so I was okay there.  But a cookstove has a firebox for the fire and an oven that the heat and smoke go around before heading up the chimney……and this gets covered in thick soot.  I have a special scraper on a long handle, which came with the stove, to use for removing this soot.  I took off the four cast iron “burner plates” over the oven so I could access the soot on top of the oven and down the sides.  In addition, there is a nameplate below the oven door which is removed to stick in the long handled scraper for removing soot underneath the oven box.  It’s messy, but worth cleaning as the heat can make direct contact with the oven and work more efficiently.  It usually takes me less than an hour to scrape away all the soot, re-coat the cast iron top with olive oil, and wash the chrome and other surfaces.  It looked brand new and was ready to fire up again!

Next I did my mid-season pellet stove maintenance.  I went outside to the chimney of this stove which sticks out my basement wall a meter (3 feet) off the ground.  I have a special little pellet stove chimney brush which is about as big as a baseball, soft bristled, and connected to an 8 foot flexible rod.  After removing the  chimney screen, I easily brushed the chimney in just a few minutes.  I then went back into the house and removed the clean-out cap from the chimney pipe behind the pellet stove, letting the little bit of ‘fly ash’ to drop into a used bag.  Next I just had to rescrew the clean-out cap back on and tape it up with aluminum tape.  While I was down there and dirty, I cleaned the fly ash from the inside of the pellet stove, a weekly chore.

And after these chores were done, I  cleaned myself up with my solar heated hot water, which had been warming up all day in the sun – for free!

So today it’s back to normal temperatures outside (with a forecast of -20 C tonight)…….and nice and cosy inside.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Maureen Sinclair
    Feb 07, 2012 @ 09:40:35

    What a beautiful stove you have. Yes they have to be cleaned out to keep them burning good. We do ours often too. Nothing like wood heat,


  2. Deb Weyrich-Cody
    Feb 22, 2012 @ 22:10:27

    Oh she’s a beauty Linda! (and no wonder, you take such loving care of her; )
    My Mom still has an old Renfrew stove in her kitchen: it’s not quite as fancy as yours and has no warming oven, but does have a reservoir and for sure, there is nothing like the feel of wood heat – and a great primer on maintenance too, thank you!)
    It sounds like you might’ve been getting more seasonal temperatures than we’ve had here (I’m guessing just a couple of hours west of you), but, if there’s one good thing about this weird winter, there’s been no shortage of days to do an ash clean out, eh?
    Oh, btw, I just followed you back over from FarmGal’s blog and have been enjoying your postings – loving your stories immensely: )


    • Deb Weyrich-Cody
      Feb 23, 2012 @ 10:46:28

      Make that +/-3 hours SW of you… My DH was up in Kanata during that recurrent ice/snow weather you described in an earlier posting; which I just read. (Going at this a– backwards, go figure; )


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