Wood Burner Maintenance Ready For Winter

Wood Burner Maintenance Ready For Winter

Did you feel that chill? We did, and we’re getting ready for winter. It's time to dust off the old wood burner, but before you start lighting your fuel, you’ll need to check a few things first: 


Get in touch with your local chimney sweeping service. It’s important to do this at least once a year, before the woodburning season begins. Chimney sweeps professionally remove built up creosote and soot in the flue. If left unchecked, this can be a health and fire hazard. They’ll also check for structural damage that might cause inefficient burning, as well as wildlife nesting in the chimney - so you don’t end up with roasted pigeon after your first fire!  
chimney swept cleaning stove


Deep clean your wood burner from once a month to every six weeks. Wash the interior of the wood burner with cleaning solution and scrubbing brush. Make sure the interior dries completely before the next use, as moisture can impact the fire lighting process and cause an inefficient burn that emits more smoke. Wood burners are made of steel or iron, which is great for handling high temperatures, but must be protected with a heat resistant coating and kept from moisture to that it doesn’t rust. When dusting the exterior of wood burners, use a dry cloth – any moisture will increase the risk of rust. Rust that already exists can be removed with a steel wool brush. Makre sure to remove soot from the glass screen too – you can get most soot off by rubbing the screen with a piece of newspaper that has been wetted slightly and dipped in ash but be careful not to scratch the glass. You can also use a special stove cleaning solution or vinegar mixed with water & lemon juice to get a good shine. 
kiln dried firewood with seasoned logs in the background

Foreground - Kiln dried logs from White Horse Energy / Background - Seasoned logs 


Don’t burn poor quality or damp wood. Not only will this produce excessive smoke, but this will also not be good for the longevity of your wood burner and will cause more incomplete combustion, which leads to more soot and creosote being created. Use fuel with a moisture content of under 20% - a new law introduced in May 2021 states that all firewood sold in amounts under 2m3 must carry the ‘Ready to Burn’ label at point of sale to indicate the appropriate quality checks. Although crates over 2m3 may meet this moisture level, the label isn’t present. All White Horse Energy Fuel contains moisture levels below 20%. If you purchase unseasoned wood, you must air dry it before using it in your log burner, anywhere between 1 – 2 years depending on its density and moisture. Keep firewood away from rain and off the ground in a log store or indoors, with plenty of air circulation to dry the wood out further. 
chimney swept cleaning wood burner


Remove fire remains from your appliance after each use. Burned debris cannot be reused and too much leftover ash can lead to inefficient burning. Let the fire die out naturally - only put a fire out with water in an emergency, as this can cause a sudden drop in temperature and damage the structure of the appliance.  Ash retains its heat for hours. to Brush the ashes into in a fireproof metal bucket and leave it to cool down outside before disposing it. Floating embers and remaining heat could be a fire hazard. You can optimise the burning conditions by keeping a 1cm layer of ash to insulate the wood burner - just make sure to remove this at the end of the winter, because ash can cause structural damage if left over a long period of time. 


Another important thing to consider, is whether your appliance is suitable, depending on air quality regulations in your area. Contact local authorities to find out whether you live in a Smoke Control Zone and if there are other regulations. This law is put in place to monitor air quality in built up areas, ensuring appliances can produce little to no smoke when burning fuel. To burn certain fuels in this area you will need a DEFRA exempt appliance. Visit www.hetas.co.uk/find-appliance/ to find out which appliances are approved by DEFRA and HETAS.  

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