Preparing for a winter when you own a wood stove

At the beginning of last winter, a wood burning stove was added to our home in an effort to keep me warm.

wood stoveI’ve always had a problem staying warm in the winter. My hands and feet are most at risk of freezing and having cold feet or hands just makes every other body part feel cold. I’ve been known to dress in layers of clothing and socks and slippers and a hat and still feel cold. In fact, I’ve used a hairdryer to warm up my extremities. Yup. And yes, this is true even when the heat is on in the house.

So a wonderful wood stove was installed. Putting a handful of kindling and newspaper inside, it was easy to get a nice fire started. Adding some well-seasoned wood to the fire for hours kept almost the entire house toasty; in fact, there were times when it was a bit too warm! Puttering around the house in a normal amount of clothing was amazing and helped me quite a bit in liking the winter a little more than I have in the past. I also love having a backup in the event our electricity goes out in a storm and the furnace shuts off.

But… having a wood stove does take a bit of work. You can’t just press a button and have the fire start and get continually fed with new logs. You actually have to bring kindling in from somewhere, and have logs ready to go in order to make this work. So before it’s time to light that first fire, a wood stove user must prepare as follows:

Clean the inside of the wood stove chimney. There are many companies that provide cleaning services, but there are also do-it-yourself videos that provide guidance on how to do the job yourself safely and thoroughly. Either way, the chimney should be cleaned on a regular basis.

Restock glass cleaner if the wood stove has a glass door. The doors on wood stoves tend to get covered with resin and soot, and need to be cleaned quite often. I use a cleaner that is like a thick paste that I used on a weekly basis last year.  

firewood stacksAnd most importantly, make sure your stockpiles of wood are sufficient for the season. You need to have a place to stack the wood, and you need to have a source for your logs. There are many companies that will deliver wood to your home. If you use one of these companies, make sure you know if they will stack the wood for you or just dump it in a pile in the driveway. If you have a natural source of wood and can cut and chop your own, you will save even more money on heating costs. As you can tell by the uneven nature of the logs in the above picture, we cut and chopped our own trees. Either way works!

So if you are considering installing a wood stove, I can attest that it is definitely a great way to add heat to a home. But it does take work to keep a wood stove operational and fed. If you haven’t done so already, September is a great time to make sure you are ready for the upcoming cold weather.  

And those are The House Kat’s tips for preparing for winter when you own a wood stove.

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Originally published on ActiveRain.

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