Simplified Stove Maintenance Guide

The foremost thing in any stove maintenance programme is to ensure the chimney is swept on a regular basis. Have a look at our article on: Chimney cleaning for woodburning and multifuel stoves.

Make sure the woodburning or multifuel stove has been fitted properly. You may also want to read our article on: Fitting of woodburning and multifuel stoves.

The second procedure in the stove maintenance programme is to check the stove for poor seals which causes excess air to be drawn into the lit fire chamber resulting in lack of control of the burning fuel, poor combustion and under certain conditions gas leaks from the stove. This is best carried out at the start or end of each heating season or if at anytime the stove burning becomes more difficult to control stove and oven repair altadena.

Before you start please make a quick sketch of the stove.

Simply close all the air intakes of the lit stove, put on a pair of heat protecting gloves and take a cigarette lighter or a gas hob lighter. Slowly move the lit cigarette lighter or gas hob lighter around the stove door where it seals against the doorframe. Best to ensure that there are no major drafts in the room at the time of doing this. If the lighter flame is drawn towards the door seals at any point you immediately know that excess air is being drawn into the combustion chamber at this point. Note the whereabouts of any leaks on the sketch and carry on around the glass where it meets the door to ensure there are no leaks between the glass and the glass rope seal. Some cast-iron multifuel and woodburning stoves are bolted together by a system using iron rods that pass through the stove corners from the top of the stove plate through the insides of the stove to the underside of the base plate where they are bolted…Another method used is with interconnected lugs and bolts inside the woodburning or multifuel stove. All the cast-iron plates 6 in all, the top, base, front, back and two sides normally have grooves so they interconnect well before being bolted together. The grooves are normally lined with fire cement at the time of manufacture to ensure a good airtight seal. Run the lighter slowly along the joints where all the plates meet both vertically and horizontally right around the stove, again noting any point where the flame is being drawn to-wards the stove. Job done, you now know whether or not your stove is still working as it was designed to do or if it has developed a few leaks due to wear and tear.

The next stage in the stove maintenance programme is to sort out any of the leaks that may have been found as soon as possible. Let the woodburning or multifuel stove go out and do not light again until the leaks have been fixed. Poor sealing here under certain conditions can cause poisonous undetectable gases such as carbon monoxide to enter the leaving quarters if poor combustion is taking place in the stove. This is a special concern if smokeless or fossil fuels are being burnt in a multifuel stove. I like to leave the rest of the stove maintenance to the end of the heating season for reasons that will be explained later.

Once the fire in the woodburning or multifuel stove is out and the stove has cooled down, any leaks in the interconnected stove plates can be quickly sorted. In the past I have heard of people breaking their stove apart, re-fire cementing the plate joints and rebuilding the stove. I personally feel this is too much hard work and the same results can be achieved using a much more simplified method. The lid or top plate on most cast iron wood burning or multifuel stoves have a lip, which overhangs the stove body. Check your diagram from earlier to see if you have detected any leaks in this area. Run your finger under the lip where the lower plates are joined to the top plate. You may find excess fire cement that has squeezed out from the joints and hardened at the time of manufacture. I normally remove the excess with a strong flat-headed screwdriver and a mallet, tapping the excess off along the joints. I use a rubber mallet so if I miss I don’t damage the stove in any way .Now smooth off with wire wool. Nowadays you can purchase black high temperature silicon, which is great for this job. Fire cement eventually cracks with heat and falls out so I avoid using it whenever I can. Put the silicon tube into the silicon gun and cut a small angle slot at the top of the tube. Squeeze the silicone into the areas that are leaking or do all the plates, as it will last for a very long time and reduce future maintenance. Any excess you create can be easily wiped off with a small damp sponge.

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