5 Summer Chores To Prepare Your Wood Stove For Next Winter
As the weather heats up for the summer, the closest many people come to thinking about theirwood burning stoves is chopping wood for a backyard bonfire. Unfortunately, if you fail to maintain your stove and fuel during the warm season, an early cold snap in the fall can leave you scrambling to get your unit up and running. There are only a few chores you have to do during the summer months, and if you do them early, you will be able to enjoy a warm fire as soon as the nights turn chilly again.
Source Your Wood
It is an excellent idea to source your wood soon after the winter season. If you are happy with your current supplier, then you might skip this chore. However, it is a good idea to ask for prices and reviews while the winter is still fresh in everyone's minds. Also, some wood companies may offer a slight discount at the end of the season if you want to stock up for next year.
If you fall your own trees, then you should select several trees during the early spring, while you can easily assess the branches and fall-direction of the trees. You should mark these trees and fall them as soon as possible, so you can cure your wood in time for the winter.
Cure Your Wood
Cured wood, also known as seasoned wood, has a moisture content of less than 20%. This allows the wood to catch easily and burn cleanly. To dry your wood, you will need to cure it for at least six months but possibly for a year or more. Soft woods tend to have short curing times and harder woods may need two years to cure.
It is best to start the curing process early in the summer. The warm weather will make building a stack more comfortable than it would be in the winter, and the heat during the days can cure a stack of wood more rapidly.
It is important to remember that wood needs air to circulate around it to cure properly. For this reason, build your stack off the ground and away from the wall early in the summer to have dry, hot-burning wood for the winter.
Kindling is rarely an issue for most people, as you can purchase a cheap bag of kindling or split a log into kindling during the winter. However, collecting kindling throughout the summer, especially if you have trees on your own property, will save you a bit of money and time during the winter. It will also keep your property looking well-kept if you frequently collect fallen twigs from the grass and pavement.
Clean Your Flue
Your flue should be cleaned as soon as you are done using it for the season. If you are comfortable with your stove, you can disconnect the stove pipe and clean the flue yourself. However, hiring a contractor often results in less stress and mess, especially if your flue pipe has bends in it. You do not want to wait until you need your stove again to have it cleaned, as your contractor may have a full cleaning schedule in the fall.
Clean Your Stove
Wood stoves rarely get cleaned as often as they should during the winter, because they are in use the majority of the time. As soon as your wood stove cools down and you know you wont need it immediately, you should take the time to give it a thorough cleaning. This includes emptying the ash trap, replacing any broken stove bricks, and cleaning your window glass.
If you get these five chores done as soon as the weather warms up, you will be ready to go when the fall weather hits next year.