Wood-burning heaters require an annual inspection, and it shouldn’t be delayed. Perform the inspection whilst time is on your side, in late summer and early fall. The following inspections should be carried out on your wood-heating appliance:
- Metal Fatigue – Check the external structural integrity of any metal, especially if you own an older wood heater. Look at seams and welds, and search for cracks. Put a light inside the fire box, shut off air vents, and light seen outside of the heater might reveal cracks. Most wood heater manufacturers sell parts to repair cracked firebox issues.
- Fire Bricks – Inspect fire bricks lining the fire box, because intensive heat often cracks them. Fire bricks with hairline cracks can be left in place, but large cracks allow heat penetration, leading to metal fatigue. Buying a new heater costs more than purchasing some fire bricks, so when in doubt, replace them. Building bricks won’t work. Only replace cracked bricks in your wood heater with new fire bricks.
- Warped Baffle – Look inside, toward the top of the fire box for a cast iron or metal baffle. If it’s warped, the baffle needs replacing. Buy one from your heater’s manufacturer.
- Glass – Some heaters come with tempered glass in the door. Inspect this glass for cracks, and if you find cracks, replace it with appropriate glass from the manufacturer. If your glass is blackened, clean it. Black glass results from poor fire conditions, such as an inadequate air supply, or wet firewood. A remedy is selecting our excellent wood-burning products, which are dried to perfection.
- Hinges – Inspect your heater’s door hinges. Most hinges contain a pin, which the door swings on, and when worn, should be replaced with hinges from the heater’s manufacturer.
- Gaskets – Look at the door’s gaskets. They are rope-like, braided, and on the door’s inside edge. Time loosens gaskets, or they even burn away. If your gasket is burnt or loose, purchase gasket cement and new fiberglass gasket material. Remove the old gasket, take a wire brush to the groove, cut your new gasket to size, and cement it into the door’s groove.
- Air Supply – Check air supply adjustment mechanisms, making sure all doors and flaps move and aren’t blocked by ash, or wood bits. Clean if necessary.
- Metal Flue Pipes – Look for rust on metal flue pipes, and using steel wool will clean minor rust. Replace any deeply rusted flue pipes. Clean soot inside metal flue pipes with a flue brush after disassembling them. Make sure the damper isn’t warped, and replace it if it is.
- Chimney – Always clean your chimney, annually, to remove soot and creosote. Cleaning a chimney is a dirty job, so if you prefer, professional chimney sweeping companies can do the job for a fee.