How to Use a Wood Stove Properly

What are the best ways of using wood stove? This question may pop up in your mind as you are either have bought a new wood stove or have an old one that has been keeping your household warm during the winter season.

Although there is the presence of thermostat to heat your family, having a wood stove can give your security as the former sometimes is not reliable. This is probably the reason why many, like you, have thought a wood stove is a must in their home.

Recent studies also support this trend of using wood as renewable energy in many household.

According to recent statistics, there is an increase in popularity and use of wood as their heating source in the past years. More household now are turning to this old reliable, renewable energy as the use of kerosene and fuel oil has, in turn, decreased.

So you have a wood stove and how then can you use it wisely? What are the tips and tricks best observed when utilizing this heating tool?

This article will walk you through the best practices when using wood stove. After you have read this, expect that you can use your wood stove sans the common beginner’s mistakes that can compromise the comfort you should experience during winter season.

Choose Seasoned Wood

The best choice to fuel your wood stove is seasoned dry firewood.

Freshly cut logs, or sometimes called ‘green’ firewood, is usually 50% water. When you burn this type of wood, great amount of heat are spent burning moisture in the log thus results to poor combustion and buildup of creosote.

Seasoned firewood are those logs that have been split and let to dry in the open air, at least for six months – or 1 year for hardwoods. Dry firewood usually has less than 20% moisture left in them that makes them optimal for generating heat.

You can either buy or seasoned your firewood if you have space in your place.

Though it is advisable to get seasoned woods for your wood stove, there are times when this type of log is not available for various reasons. Then you can opt to choose compressed sawdust.

Now that you know what the best fuel for your wood stove, you should also know the things that should not burn in it: garbage, paint, painted briquettes, glossy or colored paper, plastic, rubber, wet wood, green wood, driftwood, cardboard, coal, particle board, plywood.

Clean Your Wood Stove Regularly

Using your wood stove can create a build-up of creosote on which rate depends on what fuel you use in it.

Creosote is usually a sticky liquid or flaky, black deposit or a hard glazed tar accumulating in the interior of your chimney. In order to prevent this from building up in your chimney, make a regular schedule for cleaning your wood stove, at least once a year.

Here are list on what to do and don’t when cleaning your wood stove:

  • You can use a wire brush to clean the chimney and stovepipe.
  • You can also make high temperature but controlled fire in your furnace or wood stove
  • Do not use chains, bricks when cleaning the chimney as they can damage its interior.
  • Do not use salt-based chemical cleaners for you wood stove as this can prevent the buildup of creosote but will not remove everything.

Additional Tips in Maintaining Your Stove

  • If you have a pellet stove, schedule a yearly service since it has electrical parts. The service usually can cost you $200.
  • Remove the ash regularly. But you don’t scrape your wood stove clean everytime you use it. Ash usually helps keep the wood to burn. If unsure on this, check your wood stove manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Keep an eye for distortions, cracks, holes, rust in your wood stove as it can affect its performance.
  • It is also advisable to buy a carbon monoxide detector so you can check whether your wood stove are emitting poisonous carbon monoxide.

How to Start and Maintain a Fire

Here’s a basic technique of starting a fire. (If your wood stove manufacturer has specific technique, you can follow it instead.)

  1. Put crumpled piece of paper or newspaper (avoid using colored or glossy paper) in the stove
  2. Light the paper after opening the air supply vent and airwash controls.
  3. Put finely split kindling over it.
  4. Add the seasoned logs when the fire is already steady.
  5. Use the airwash to manage the burn rate

In maintaining an efficient fire in your wood stove, you should avoid smoldering fire as it tends to produce creosote build-up which can make your stove a fire hazard.

Having a roaring fire is also not a good idea since this can result to damage chimney and stove. Roaring fire can also start a chimney fire, when this happen you are wasting firewood as you heat more the chimney than your house.

For an efficient burning, you must aim for more flame and less smoke from your wood. You can use a magnetic surface thermometer to gauge the fire: it should read in the range of 250 to 475°F.

You can maintain fire efficiently by using regulating and controlling the air supply as well as the wood supply. Ideally, you should add small amount of wood at regular interval and avoid loading the firebox.


With many of the household in the country turning to wood as a renewable energy to heat their homes, knowing the best tips and tricks in using a wood stove means a secure comfortable, warm homes during winter season.

By now, you know that you should only use seasoned firewood in your wood stove. You should also aim for an annual cleaning of your chimney and stove. Starting and maintaining a fire also is crucial for better wood stove use.

If you know all of these, we can’t see any problem why you cannot maximize using your wood stove for the winter season.

Related Articles:

Best Electric Log Splitters For Home Use

Tips On Buying Firewood For Home Use

How To Dry FireWood?

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