How to clean and maintain your stove
For general day to day cleaning of the exterior of your stove then a lint free cloth and a small brush is all you really need. A brush attachment on a vacuum cleaner makes short work of the job and specialist stove wipes are available too that are quite tacky and lift dust away from the stove easily. Despite frequent cleaning your stove paint will start to look faded after a period of time, the best solution in this case is to purchase a tin of touch up paint and give the stove a light re-spray making sure to mask up any unpainted areas well. Some people like to use stove polish on their stoves but be aware this will alter the finish and appearance of your stove and is not something we recommend here at The Stove Site. Only attempt to clean your stove whilst completely cold.
If you have a multi fuel stove then make sure you regularly empty the ashpan, if ashes are allowed to build to the point they touch the grate, then the grate can warp from overheating. Further cleaning of the grate, baffle plate, latches etc can be undertaken with an old paint brush and metal pan or vacuum cleaner, the same applies to wood burning only stoves.
At The Stove Site we believe you should clean the glass every day before you light the stove even if the glass appears clean. Use a dry wiper or old newspaper and simply rub the back of the glass clean and it takes moments. This also prevents dirt really baking onto the glass and means you can largely avoid having to use strong stove glass cleaners. If using a dry wiper the wire wool side of the pad makes short work of stubborn marks. Should your glass become really dirty then a product such as the Stovax Stove Glass Gel is invaluable for breaking down old soot and creosote. Fine wire wool is also effective. It should be added that your glass will be considerably cleaner using properly seasoned wood and making sure there is enough chimney draw and combustion air so that your stove doesn’t smoke. If using solid fuel make sure it is suitable for burning on closed appliances, fuel for open appliances contain binders which can cause a crazing effect on stove glass and this cannot be removed.
As well as regular cleaning a stove needs to be maintained in order to keep it working as it should. Rope seals should be checked periodically, you can do this using the paper test. Take a piece of paper and close the door on it; if you can slide the paper back and forth easily then it’s time to renew the rope seals. Failure to do so means combustion air is getting in where it’s not designed to, leading to loss of control and possible over firing. You should drop the baffle plate down and sweep away and debris on top of it, any restriction here can become problematic. Latches, glass screw threads, air sliders and door pins should be lightly greased using a product called copper grease which is a heat resistant grease used by mechanics, it also happens to be perfect for using on stoves! Apply minimally though to avoid the grease running. Cracked glass should be dealt with immediately, being sure to renew the glass seal whilst doing so. Cracked fire bricks should also be dealt with promptly but you’ll be ok continuing to use the stove until your new bricks arrive as long as it’s only a crack. Should a piece of firebrick come away leaving the part of the stove body exposed to the fire then cease using the stove until you have your new bricks fitted. All seals should be checked visually from time to time, such as where the stove pipe fits into the stove collar or passes through the register plate, any gaps to be dealt with immediately by a HETAS registered installer.
Your chimney should be swept at least once a year by a qualified chimney sweep, this is essential not only to keep your stove running as it should but also from a safety point of view, blocked chimneys are dangerous! Properly seasoned wood is essential for keeping your chimney clear and for efficient running of your stove. Read our article on the dangers of unseasoned wood to understand why this is so important. Products such as Stovax Flue and Chimney Cleaner can be used in between sweeping for further peace of mind. Visual checks of the flue terminal are to be advised particularly prior to the start of a new season, birds have an annoying habit of building nests in chimney pots causing blockages!
Article written by Ryan Brocklehurst
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