How to Properly Start a Wood Stove
Today’s EPA-approved wood stoves are vastly more efficient than stoves of yesteryear, but you still need to know how to start a fire. Many people consider the primitive act of getting a blaze started a legitimate challenge, even among those who watched the hit Tom Hanks movie Cast Away. One of the more memorable scenes occurred after the Hanks character finally started a fire in primitive conditions. If you have the correct supplies, you’re equipped to properly use your wood stove. The following tips for starting fires in wood stoves will also help set the stage for your own fireside celebration.
Supplies Needed to Start a Wood Stove Fire
For a fire to be sustained, it must have oxygen, fuel, and heat. It can take some practice to get the airflow right in a wood stove, though it is a vital component of efficient fuel combustion. Take a look at your wood stove’s manufacturer guidelines, which may be accessible online. You may find that you need to clean out the ash from a previous fire before beginning. The right supplies for your fire include:
Newspaper. Have a good amount of the plain black-and-white pages of a newspaper handy. Don’t use pages with color or magazine-type pages because they release harmful chemicals into the air.
Dry kindling. Broken branches, small limbs, sticks, twigs, cedar bark, and wood trimmings from woodworking all work well for kindling, as long as the wood is dried out.
Heat. Use long box matches or a long gas lighter to add heat to your newspaper and kindling.
Small logs. There are different sizes of logs as a result of splitting wood, and it’s best to start off with small logs, when getting a fire started.
Split logs. Finally, you will add larger logs to your fire as long as you want to keep it going. Seasoned firewood should be cut to fit properly in your wood stove.
Step-by-Step Guide to Properly Start a Wood Stove
Below are steps for how to get a wood stove started properly:
- Open the flue and the front dampers on the stove. The dampers underneath the firebox supply oxygen directly to the fire.
- Tightly wad up newspaper pages and layer the bed of the wood stove firebox with them. Of course, grates are not used in modern wood stoves.
- Lay a couple of layers of kindling, with the first layer stacked in one direction and the second layer in the opposite direction, like the lines in tic-tac-toe. Make sure the kindling isn’t so tightly packed that air can’t get in.
- Next, create a stack of small logs.
- Use a long match or long lighter to light newspapers at the back of the stove and then toward the middle and front. Please note: Do not use charcoal starters or other types of petroleum fuels to start a fire in a wood stove.
- Don’t close the door too quickly. Leave it open for about 3 to 5 minutes. This makes sure plenty of air is available to get the kindling fully engaged and the logs blazing, as well. Than you can close the door of the wood stove.
- Referring to your manufacturer’s guidelines will let you know what to do after the fire is started. EPA-approved wood stoves are high-tech appliances requiring certain heat levels to operate with optimal efficiency.
Keep Up with Maintenance
To ensure continued safe and efficient operation of your wood stove, schedule routine professional maintenance from a qualified chimney technician. The experts at Burlington Fireplace & Solar are available to help homeowners choose a wood stove for their home and to provide needed maintenance. Contact Burlington Fireplace & Solar today at 262-763-3522 to schedule a home maintenance visit or to ask further questions about how to properly start a wood stove.