Wood-burning stove or fireplace: Differences and maintenance tips

Wood-burning appliances require regular maintenance to operate optimally and safely.

What is the difference between a stove and a wood-burning fireplace?

The stove is a freestanding device perched on a pedestal or on legs. It should be placed on a non-combustible surface, such as tile, brick, or steel. Space-saving, it is easy to integrate into a small space and does not require renovation or a coat. You just have to install a chimney flue and connect it to it.

The fireplace is an insulated box designed to be an integral part of a wall. The latter is closed around the caisson and can receive a cladding of gypsum, stone, brick, steel, etc. called the coat.

There are also inserts, which are stove boxes that are inserted into an existing fireplace. Some are gas-fired, others wood-fired and they have the advantage of replacing an appliance that is no longer up to standard without having to transform everything.

Why should I maintain my device?

Burning wood leaves residues in its path (called creosote) and their accumulation can cause a fire. In addition, a poorly maintained device loses its efficiency. It is therefore essential to carry out a complete sweeping of your wood stove or fireplace, ideally in the spring.

How to proceed?

Only a professional chimney sweep is able to inspect and clean the appliance perfectly. He begins by brushing the entire chimney, then proceeds to a detailed check of the masonry, with the aim of spotting broken bricks or worn joints, a frequent problem often due to ice. He also makes sure that the chimney cap is in good condition and that birds or squirrels cannot enter the chimney to nest there. He then cleans all the elements of the fireplace, including the casing, the glass, the spark arrester, and the grids. Everything must be perfectly clean! Beyond cleaning, the specialist has the knowledge required to check the condition of the various components of the stove or fireplace: burners, cord, refractory stones, catalyst, door seal, etc. Nothing escapes him.

How do I find a certified chimney sweep?

You can find a certified professional through the Professional Association of Auxiliary Heating (APC) by consulting the site www.poelesfoyers.ca. The latter issues an inspection certificate after its passage.

What to do with the ashes on a daily basis?

It is advisable to leave about an inch of ashes in the hearth. We throw the surplus in a steel ash bucket and wait at least a week before putting it in the garbage, in the green waste bin. You can also use them as compost, distribute them in the garden because they contain minerals (to be validated with a gardener depending on the variety of plants), or use them as anti-slip on the ice in winter.

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