A wood 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:
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.
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.
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.