Maintaining your stove

Regularly sweep your chimney - at least once a year to get rid of tar and other deposits. It is these buildups that cause chimney fires. If you are burning a lot of wood, especially if the wood is not that well seasoned then you may need to sweep your chimney more often.

Check the door fire rope smoke seals - in most stoves the door is sealed to the body with fire rope. Over time the fire rope can compress and in the end start to 'leak' air in which means that you cannot control your stove - indeed if the rope has completely failed then the stove can just roar away. One clever way of checking whether the rope is OK is to shut a piece of paper in the door. If it is easy to pull it out then the seal is not working very well and it is time to replace the door rope seals. If the rope has split or frayed or is coming off the door then you should also replace it. You can read our replacing stove door smoke seals guide

Check the grate in your stove to make sure it is not cracked or bent. Replace it before it fails. Individual grate bars can be swapped round so that they wear more evenly.

Check the baffle plate (sometimes called a throat plate) and remove tar and deposits from it with a flue brush. This is a plate of metal at the top of the firebox that creates a longer route for the flue gases to travel before they reach the flue exit. If it is starting to burn out then replace it.

Visually check the firebricks - the firebricks protect the metal of the firebox from the extreme temperatures found in stoves. A few little cracks may well not be worth worrying about too much, but if the bricks are crumbling away or the crack means that a bit is about to fall off, leaving (or about to leave) exposed metal then you should replace the brick. If there is exposed metal in the firebox then this will be damaged in the end. This can burn the metal out and/or warp and bend it.

Check the ashpan - you do not want holes in the ashpan letting hot ash fall as you carry it through your house!

Clean the glass using a stove glass cleaner such as Spray on glass cleaner. Glass can get particularly dirty if the stove is run very slowly, particularly if left in over night for long periods. Certain woods, like oak, tend to leave more deposits on stove door glass when burned.

In summer months leave the air vent or door slightly open - this will ensure that there is a slight draught going through the stove and chimney to keep it free from condensation and moisture, otherwise the stove can start to rust. Vicuclad firebricks too, are more likely to crack if they get damp.

If the stove is rusting and your stove is made of non-enamelled steel or cast iron then clean the rust off with wire wool and/or a wire brush. Then either re-spray your stove - check our painting guide - or use black polish.