Not all wood is created equal. While the wood you use for an outdoor fire pit is one thing, you must be selective when choosing wood for your stove. The best firewood contains anywhere from 15 to 20 percent moisture, and is small enough to properly fit in your stove.
2 – Don’t Go Overboard With the Wood
Wood stove experts agree, adding too many wood logs destroys overall combustion and leads to a smaller, cooler fire. By stuffing the stove with firewood, you effectively remove air needed for the ideal combustion rate. The perfect amount of wood fills the stove without blocking the air inlet. It’s best to refuel the stove more often rather than overload the stove and reduce its efficiency while increasing its smoke output.
3 – Keep Your Wood Happy and Dry
While you may have purchased properly dried wood, if improperly stored, moisture can be injected into the wood. Do not store wood under a tightly closed tarp. The best way to keep your wood dry is to store it off the ground and shielded with a roof-like structure to protect against rain and snow. When stacking wood, do not tightly pack wood together. In order to sustain its optimum dryness level, wood must have access to free-flowing air. Do not store an excess amount of wood in your home living areas. Only store wood for immediate use in your home.
4 – Properly Burn the Fire
Running a fire in a wood stove is much different than a camp fire. Above all, never allow smouldering, slow fires to bloom. These fires enhance creosote development, which becomes a serious fire hazard. On the other hand, avoid roaring fires. Large fires produce too much direct heat, which may damage the chimney and stove while also wasting wood as roaring fires send its heat directly up the chimney rather than throughout your home and on the stove.
The best fires are those produce moderately-sized flames and practically no smoke within the stove firebox. The stove thermometer should read between 250 and 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Maintain this temperature range monitoring wood amount and air flow.
5 – Annual Cleaning
All wood stove experts agree the entire system should be thoroughly cleaned at least once a year, maybe twice for heavy-use stoves. A properly maintained and cleaned stove is more efficient and significantly safer than a neglected system. Over time, especially if high moisture wood or improper burning techniques are used, a highly flammable substance known as creosote builds up along the chimney. If left unchecked, this deposit grows and increases the chance of a house fire. Therefore, have the entire stove system professionally cleaned before fall and winter months.