Hope everyone had a happy and safe July 4th! Now that we have reach the middle of summer, it is the time to start thinking about servicing, repairing or replacing your wood stove, pipe or gas unit. Over the spring and summer dust can get into gas units and cause the ODS to keep the gas shut down or the logs can get moved out of place and cause odor and sooting to occur. Outside gas units- Vent Free and Direct Vent- need to be inspected before use for easy operation when the temperatures finally cool down. Using an outdoor fireplace with ventfree or direct vent appliances make a 3-season porch, patio or pavillion an absolute heaven to enjoy.
Wood stoves and inserts need to be inspected periodotically for little visitors taking up residence inside pipes, liners or caps. Do not use rusty or damaged pipes and caps. Inspect now so you won't be surprised later.
Now is the time to split-stack-store-in a shed your wood fuel. It takes time to dry out and reduce the moisture content of the wood to below 20% moisture content. If you are unsure as to the moisture level, purchase a moisture meter. They are readily available and we also sell them. Some sites tell you to leave them out in the open to let the sun and wind dry it out. To a point, that is correct BUT if it rains on it, then all that drying time is wasted. We advocate one step further by putting it in a shed that keeps it out of the direct rain but not sealed up so the air (wind) can't get to it. Reducing moisture will keep your wood burning great and allows your wood unit and pipes a longer life.
Replace rusty and damaged pipes. Black pipe is classified as chimney connector pipe which means it connects your wood stove to the chimney- either Class A metal pipe or a masonry chimney. If black pipe is used outdoors, it's life is cut short and is dangerous to use. Being un-insulated, it allows the flue gasses to cool and condense inside the pipe and creosote will form. It also has to be 18 inches from combustibles and there are no components that are made for that application. The newer, efficient stoves are designed to keep more heat inside the firebox so it keeps your home warmer, which means less heated gasses in the chimney pipe. Always use the correct pipe in the correct place.
Never use pre-fab pipe as part of the chimney system for a wood stove. Wood stoves require a higher temperature-tested pipe and the pre-fab pipe will fail in a chimney fire, where temperatures can exceed 2000 degrees. Also, chimney pipes/types/components from different manufacturers or applications cannot be used together. Fittings may not connect properly (allowing heat and creosote to escape) and the ratings may not be the same. Aluminum tape cannot be used to seal loose or mis-fit connections. Aluminum has a lower melting point that 24 ga. black pipe and way below the stainless steel inside Class A chimney pipe.
While working on your system during the hot summer, always remember to hydrate! It will get hot working on the roof or in the attic so keep your water handy or work at a time when the temperatures are cooler. Always secure ladders and scaffolding to be safer.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. We will be glad to answer them!
Even though the temperatures are still warm, your wood stove, gas logs, wood burning fireplace or wood burning insert should be ready to go! This is the same routine you go through every season. Make sure your flue is in good state and make repairs or replacements as needed. Always have a "Fresh Flue" to start the season! If you need assistance in this, please call us for recommendations.
If you want to freshen up your gas logs, please call us for details on how this is done. If you feel uncomfortable in doing it yourself, please contact a professional.
Clean and replace the parts of your wood burning appliance as needed. Gaskets, firebricks, catalytic combustors must be inspected, cleaned or replaced as necessary so your unit can function like its meant to.
Hopefully your wood has been split, stacked and stored this year. We have had a very dry summer so in our area, so it was a good season to dry out firewood. But if you have to buy your fuel, please use a moisture meter to determine the moisture content of the wood. You are looking for around 20% MC. The drier the wood, the better the burn! If you have a high moisture content (MC) you will have low heat output, black glass on your unit and the greater possibility of creosote forming in your pipes or flue. And you will be very unhappy with your wood stove or insert. We also carry moisture meters.
Cooler weather will be here before long and if you are ready for it, you will enjoy your unit so much more!
We are now into summer and boy is it hot! It is a time a pool parties and cookouts. You do not think of your wood stove during this time of year. But Renovations and construction are going on so if a wood burner or a gas unit is in your plans, remember clearances and plan accordingly. If improperly planned for, sometimes it cannot be added because trusses, roof lines/styles or second stories are in the way or would conflict with the draft or piping making the wood stove impractical, too expensive or even impossible to install.
But remember- now is the time to split-stack-store your wood flue for this coming fall and winter. We cannot stress this enough! So many problems occur when wood is improperly kept or even green and/or the stove is "choked down". Creosote being the worst. Always plan ahead and have your supply ready.
Well! We have had some seriously cold weather and dodged the bullet on some bad storms this season. But spring is just around the corner and when it finally arrives, it will be time to clean up and start to get your wood ready for next season!
Check your flue and cap to make sure there is no build up. If there is, a chimney brush can do the trick! If it too much to take on, we can refer you to chimney sweeps or you can look them up on the CSIA website link. Sometimes if your flue is in need of cleaning and you put it off, you could end up smelling your fireplace flue. The air inside the chimney can be cooler that the air outside and it can sink. When that happens, you can smell it.
It has been difficult this season to find dry, seasoned wood. At times keeping it dry was even more difficult! Wood that has a high moisture content will not burn the way it needs to so it can provide you with the heat you want. A good spring project would be to construct a 3 sided shelter for your next season's wood. When that is complete, start to split and stack your fuel for the fall. When colder weather arrives, you will be ready!
Spring is almost here! We are ready for warmer weather but for those days that still might be chilly overnight and in the morning, you can still use your wood stove or insert! Just keep in mind that as the outside temperature rises, you need to make sure your heater still drafts like it is supposed to. Along with using dry wood (we cannot say that enough) you may have to increase your air intake, making your fire hotter and in turn make your flue gases/smoke hotter. Hot air rises and to use your appliance on days that get warmer as the sun rises, you have to increase the flue gas temperature. ALWAYS keep an eye on it. You cannot load your wood burning unit and shut it down like a gas unit. On warmer days, that can lead to creosote. Do not load-up your wood stove as you would do for a day that is in the 30's. Burn it a little hotter than normal, and let it go out. Enjoy your wood burning stove in the morning, then go out and Seize the Day!
Fall is here! Cooler temperatures will make us want to fire up our stoves. It is time to make sure your free-standing unit, fireplace or fireplace insert is ready to use! Make sure your flue or chimney pipe is clean and in good repair. Nests of all kinds can be inside your chimney. Make sure your flue is safely cleaned out.
If your pipe need replacing, don't wait until the first fire. Chimney caps, gaskets around doors and grates may need replacing. Caulk around the storm collars if needed. If the glass in wood stoves/wood burning inserts/zero-clearance types like the FPX or Appalachian need replacing, ceramic glass is the material to use. Tempered glass (for fireplace doors) and regular glass will shatter. We carry many of the glass sizes for the units we sell in stock.
If your freestanding stove or fireplace insert needs sprucing up, stove paint or polish will make it look like new. It will have to be cured with a low fire and will have an odor so do that on a day when you can open your windows.
When starting up a fire, heat the flue up so the draft will flow correctly with small fires. Gel alcohol firestater is a good choice to begin with. It doesn't generate smoke and gets the fire going quickly. And as always, dry wood is the key!
Colder Temperatures are Here!
December temperature got a bit colder and now the stoves are firing up making evenings nice and toasty! Remember to keep your wood out of the weather and check your pipes and cap to keep ahead of any build up. Creosote can form in as soon as 24 hours so keeping ahead of it is very important.
Also, wood stoves are not like gas products. Try to plan your fires so you do not have a burn that is too large for indoors. It takes a little practice but it's always easier to add to a fire than to take away from one.