Warning Signs: It’s Time to Replace Your Wood Stove

A woWood Stove Chimney Repair Baltimore MDod stove can be a reliable and affordable source of home heating. Like any other type of heating appliance, it will eventually need replacement. If you have been keeping up with annual cleaning, routine maintenance, and making necessary repairs along the way, you have been able to prolong its useful life. How do you know when its time to replace your wood stove? Just look for one or more of the four warning signs below:

Poor Performance

Your wood stove may have been a useful source of home heating for years, but its performance will gradually begin to decline due to normal wear and tear. You may be using more wood fuel than in the past to produce the desired level of heat output. The deterioration can accelerate even faster if the stove has not been regularly cleaned and maintained. Excessive creosote accumulating inside the stove will not only result in a poor performing stove, but it is also a fire hazard. Also, obstructions in the stovepipe can impede performance and increase the risk of carbon monoxide exposure.

Smokey Fires

When you light the fire inside the wood stove, you may notice a smokier fire than usual. It can be caused by using firewood with high moisture content, or there may be moisture or too much oxygen leaking into the stove. In either case, it’s not a good sign. When moisture gets into the stove, it can cause damage to the ash pan, door gasket, and gasket seal. The stove door will not close properly if the gasket seal is damaged, resulting in heat loss. It can also cause the steel or iron frame to rust or corrode, which will weaken the stove even further.

WarpingProfessional Hearth and Heating Maryland

The iron or steel frame of a wood stove can withstand the high temperatures of a burning fire for years. But eventually, the corrosive nature of combustion can cause the stove to warp, rust, or corrode. Also, a fire inside the stove due to excessive creosote can cause extreme temperatures resulting in premature warping, corrosion, and other damage. You may notice the frame buckling in weaker areas along with rust or corrosion around the frame.

Your Stove is Not EPA Certified

Look for the EPA label on the back of your stove. If you don’t have one, it’s time for a replacement. Newer EPA-certified wood stoves are 50% more energy-efficient than earlier models, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Also, EPA-certified wood stoves have more efficient combustion systems, which burns hotter with significantly less pollution. You will use up to one-third less fuel for the same amount of heat. Your indoor air quality will also improve up to 70%. Look for the EPA-certified label on the back of the stove when replacing your older wood stove with a more efficient model.

Things You Should Never Burn in Your Fireplace or Woodstove

Beautiful fireplace in Annapolis, MDYou would never put something besides the right kind of gasoline in your vehicle’s fuel tank, right? In a similar way, there are things that should never be used as fuel for fires in your woodstove or fireplace. Check out the following things that may be tempting to burn but that you should never burn in your hearth appliance.

Unseasoned aka Green Wood

Green wood is also known as “unseasoned” wood, and burning green wood is a real no-no. The energy from a fire that burns unseasoned logs is used up on the moisture inside the wood. The fires are excessively smoky, and that’s not the worst of it. Burning unseasoned wood results in a lot more than the usual amount of creosote being deposited in the flue lining. The additional creosote increases the risk of a hazardous fire inside the chimney liner.

Dryer Lint

You can find a lot of information on the Internet, but it’s not always consistent. One such tidbit is that dryer lint can release toxic chemicals into the air. Some sources recommend using dryer lint as tinder, to help get fires started. Several sources that focus on environmental consciousness agree, however, that lint is toxic and shouldn’t be burned.


A manufactured product, cardboard contains inks, glues, and other chemicals. Never burn cardboard because the gases released are like those used for “huffing.” Respiratory and brain damage can occur from inhaling such chemicals.

Manufactured Wood

wood stove installation in Russett, MDPlywood and other types of treated lumber may seem harmless but they don’t belong in fireplaces or woodstoves. Manufactured wood is infused with such hazardous chemicals as arsenic and chromium. If the toxins were released into a home, humans and animals both could suffer serious side effects.

Colored Paper

Wrapping paper, colorful magazine pages, pizza boxes, and other colored print on cardboard should not be burned in a fireplace. Burning colored paper releases carcinogens and other toxic fumes when burned.

Liquid Fire Accelerants

You may have seen family members dousing lighter fluid or kerosene on campfires or in barbeque pits. The practice is very dangerous. Accelerants can cause fires to burn at high temperatures that can damage a fireplace. Accelerants could easily cause an uncontrollable fire in the home, as well.

Christmas Trees

After the holiday season is past, you may be tempted to burn your dried-out Christmas tree in your fireplace or woodstove. But don’t do it! Christmas trees contain sap and resins that pop and can easily cause a hazardous chimney fire. Burning Christmas trees can also cause excess flammable deposits to be left behind in your chimney liner.


Dried-out driftwood may seem harmless enough, but it’s not the right kind of fuel for your fireplace or woodstove. Driftwood contains salt that can be released when burned and cause corrosion of fireplace and chimney components.

What is Okay to Burn in a Fireplace?

Burn only seasoned firewood in your fireplace or woodstove. For logs to be low enough in moisture for burning, they need to dry out for 6 to 12 months. For wood-burning heating stoves and fireplaces, seasoned firewood is the only fuel to burn.

Contact Complete Chimneys Today

If you need a chimney inspection, chimney cleaning, a new efficient fireplace, or any type of chimney maintenance, contact Complete Chimneys located in Pasadena MD and serving greater Baltimore MD. We are proud to be the most qualified providers of chimney, duct, and masonry services in our service area. Call Complete Chimneys today at (410) 544-7600.