Author – Todd Woofenden
Although there are countless different models of wood stoves, there are relatively few basic types of stoves, and the mechanical problems they experience are similar. Your first step in caring for your stove is to read your owner’s manual for specific information on your model of stove. If you don’t have a manual, look for a label on the back of your stove that identifies the manufacturer and model, (or snap a photo of it if you can’t find any label) and go to your local stove shop. You may be able to purchase a manual.
Here we will discuss some of the basic categories of problems you might experience, and what to do about them. We will cover:
- Damper malfunction
- Broken/stuck/loose handles
- Warped or broken parts
- Cracked or broken glass
- Worn or missing gaskets
- Malfunctioning catalytic combustors
- Poor performance
Worn or missing stove gaskets
Gaskets around doors, ash pans, air intakes, or between metal panels of a wood stove are critical to proper stove performance. Leaky or missing gaskets let air in in the wrong place, fouling the burn and often severely reducing burn efficiency.
Check the gaskets every year, and replace worn or missing ones.
Write down the model of stove you have, measure how many feet of gasket you need, and go to your local stove shop to get the supplies.
Generally, stove gaskets are cemented in place using (you guessed it) gasket cement. You will need to remove the gasket and all the old cement before you install the new gasket. Use an old screwdriver or a wire wheel on a drill to completely remove the old cement.
Caution: wear protective clothing including gloves and eye protection.
When the surface is completely clean, apply a thin layer of new gasket cement, and push the gasket in place. If you are re-gasketing a door, close the door to make sure the gasket is pushed in properly. If it is bunched up, the door might not close, and you don’t want to find that out when it is dry!
Give the gasket a few hours to dry, and fire the stove. The cement cures with heat.
If you don’t want to tackle this job, ask your chimney professional to do it for you.
~ Todd Woofenden