How to Clean a Wood Stove and Chimney
Proper maintenance of your wood stove can increase its lifespan and improve the quality of the stove to make sure you're enjoying it for years to come! Depending on how often you use your stove, you should be cleaning the inside every few weeks and the chimney at least once per year. Read on to discover how to clean a wood stove and how to clean a wood stove chimney.
Getting Started: Make Sure Your Wood Stove is Cold
Before you begin, make sure your wood stove is cold to the touch. You should only begin the cleaning process hours after its last use. First, take an ash bucket and scoop out all of the ashes in the stove using the shovel from your fire set. Try to get as much ash out as you can and take this opportunity to look around and make sure nothing is in need of wood stove repair.
Clean Your Stove from the Inside
Next, take your indoor chimney apart to examine and clean it. Even if you have a chimney that goes straight up into the ceiling, it's important to open it and remove the creosote build-up from inside. Too much build-up can cause fires in your chimney. A chimney cleaning tool like a wire brush can help with this part of the process.
Then, make that window sparkle by using a regular window cleaner or even a window cleaner made specifically for wood stove windows. You'll want to see those roaring fires with clarity, after all! Finally, clean out the ash pan at the bottom of the wood stove and empty the ashtray as you likely do on a more regular basis.
Pro tip: Don't toss your wood ashes in the trash. Instead, lightly spread them in the garden! Wood ash fertilizer is actually an excellent source of lime and potassium for your garden.
Speaking of gardens, let's head outside to find out how to clean the rest of your wood stove chimney!
How to Clean the Outside of a Wood Burning Stove Chimney
Once you're up on your roof (with a ladder and a spotter of course!), pull the cap off of your chimney. Then take your wire brush again, and run it down the inside of the chimney to remove the creosote. While you have your wire brush in hand, it's always a good idea to rub it against the outside vents of the spark box to remove any build-up here and clear the vent holes. Place the cap back on the chimney, climb down carefully, and you're good to go!
Once you're back inside, give the floors around your wood stove a good sweeping, load some fresh wood, and clean your wood stove and chimney cleaning tools. You're ready to start another amazing fire! The process isn't very time consuming once you get the hang of it. Top to bottom it'll only take an hour to do a deep clean of your wood stove and chimney. It's worth it because you'll notice the difference!