Everyone loves to curl up next to a roaring fire on a chilly night, but the fire isn’t warm and cozy if you haven’t regularly cleaned your stove. Fact: a safe and clean stove is a warm and cozy stove. So, how do you spring clean your stove and keep it maintained? Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide to help make sure you keep your wood-burning or multi-fuel stove and chimney liner or flue in good shape so that when there’s a cold snap, you’re all set to throw in some fresh firewood and light it up.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Spring Cleaning Your Wood-Burning or Multi-Fuel Stove
- Before starting, make sure that you have given your stove time to cool down completely. It is important for your safety that your appliance is cold to the touch as you may need to remove several internal parts of your stove. Always consult your stove’s instruction manual for guidance. If you regularly clean your fireplace after you allow a fire to burn, make sure you wait at least three days because that’s how long the coals stay warm for – warm enough to ignite another fire in fact.
- Begin with the firebox. Start with removing all the excess ash using a dustpan and brush, then disposing safely. Once removed, use a vacuum cleaner to really get the last of all the ash and debris out. Using a brush head attachment can be particularly useful to get into all the nooks and crannies inside and to also clean in and around the grate.
- Wipe down the inside of the stove with a brush or scraper. Vacuum the inside of the stove again to collect any debris you have loosened.
- Use a wire brush to clean the grate and any related parts. This is a good time to check the grate to ensure it is in a good condition.
- Now turn your attention to the firebricks and clean these with a soft brush, this will leave your firebricks looking clean and ready to go. Get inside again with your vacuum to hoover up any leftover debris that you’ve removed. Again, take this opportunity to check your stove’s firebricks for any damage. While everyday wear and tear is common, check for any chips or cracks that may have occurred. While small chips or cracks can be repaired using some Fire Cement, firebricks that are broken or have large cracks will need replacing.
- You can now return each of the internal parts of your stove.
- The inside of your stove has been cleaned and checked over, now you can start to look at the door. Check the door glass for signs of damage by removing it from the door and cleaning thoroughly with some specialist glass cleaner or warm soapy water. This will remove any soot and tar build up that has occurred and leave it looking sparkling clean (some elbow grease may be required here!) Please note that there are two types of stove glass cleaner: one for printed stove glass and one for plain door glass. Please ensure you use the correct option for your stove. If your door glass has cracked, it will need replacing, but if your glass is still in good order, once clean and dry, it can be put back into the door.
- This is a good opportunity to check the rope seal in the door of your stove; rope seals can become worn and/or loose over time. If this happens, then smoke can seep through and out into your room. If it is old or worn, you should replace it. A good way to test your rope seal is to take a piece of paper and shut it in the stove door. The seal between the door and stove body should be tight enough that the paper will not move when pulled and the door is closed. If there is any movement and the paper can be moved or slid out completely, then you should either re-glue the rope seal using a rope sealant or replace the rope seal altogether.
- Check the door catch and hinge pins. If they are stiff, lubricate them with a little oil.
- Finally show some love to the exterior of your stove: Finish with a sparkle! Use a colloidal black cleaner or a dampened soft cloth (for enamel surfaces) to clean and smarten the exterior of your stove.
Extra Spring Cleaning Tips
Sweeping Your Chimney: If you are burning wood, ensure your chimney is swept at least twice a year; this can be reduced to once if you are only using multi-fuel in your stove. We recommend late Spring and early Autumn. You should book your chimney sweep to attend just before you want to begin using your stove on a regular basis again; this is particularly important if you haven’t used your stove for a while. Whilst visiting your chimney sweep will thoroughly inspect your chimney stack and flue before undertaking a good clean with rods and brushes. They will also identify any potential hazards or repair requirements in your chimney or flue. Any recommendations made will be put in writing for you to act on.
Once the sweep has finished, you’ll receive an Industry Standard Certificate of Chimney Sweeping that should be kept for your records.
If you need to find a local approved chimney sweep please visit the NACS website.
Check Your Alarms: If you have any kind of wood burning or multi-fuel appliance in your home, you must fit a carbon monoxide alarm in addition to your smoke alarm. These should be checked and tested regularly to ensure they are working correctly. We highly advise installing a carbon monoxide alarm as this will detect any odourless, and potentially lethal, gasses that may be leaking into your home.