Warning Sign It’s Time to Replace or Repair a Wood Stove
Wood-burning stoves are a popular heating appliance, especially with homeowners who want to reduce energy costs. A well-made wood stove with regular cleaning and maintenance can last 10 to 20 years or more. Noticing one or more of the following warning signs will help you determine whether it’s time to repair or replace your wood stove.
The inside of your wood stove should be a smooth flat surface. The smooth surface promotes heating efficiency. However, all materials have their breaking point. While steel and iron can withstand high temperatures, it can begin to warp after decades of performance. Also, excessive creosote accumulation can ignite a fire inside the stove. The extremely high heat of a blazing fire can lead to premature warping. Since warping indicates a loss of structural integrity, it is a sign that it’s time to replace the wood stove.
The chemical reaction of combustion creates several by-products, including smoke, creosote, and gases. The mixture of air with these gases, which is necessary for combustion, can be corrosive. Periodically cleaning your wood-burning stove will remove these contaminants and prolong the useful life of the appliance. However, when the stove is not sufficiently maintained, the corrosion can weaken the frame and damage internal parts, including the gaskets and catalytic combustor. When these parts sustain corrosive damage beyond repair, the stove will need to be replaced.
Most wood-burning stoves have a sturdy iron or steel frame. Any metal alloy containing ferrous oxide is prone to rust when exposed to air and moisture for extended periods. Any time there is moisture inside the stove, it creates the conditions for rusting. There may be water leaking into the stove pipe, a broken stove door or gasket, or another type of problem. Like corrosion, rusting also weakens the integrity of the stove, making it unsafe to use. If moisture problems are not repaired before rust develops, you will need to replace the stove.
Bad Catalytic Combustor
Not all wood stoves have a catalytic combustor, but those that do have a useful life of about 10 to 15 years. You can prolong the life of a catalytic combustor through regular cleaning to prevent clogging. When the combustor starts to clog, it will be more difficult to light, and you will notice a degradation in heating efficiency. If the combustor cannot be repaired, it will need to be replaced. However, if your wood stove is more than ten years old, you should consider replacing it with a more energy-efficient model.
A rubber gasket attached to the stove door forms an airtight seal when shut. It is necessary for optimum performance. It also minimizes exposure to air and moisture, which can accelerate the deterioration of the stove and its internal components. When the seal is cracking or peeling, it will prevent the door from closing correctly. Replacing the stove door gasket is an option when the part is available. Otherwise, it is best to replace the wood stove.
Magic Mountain Chimney Sweeps offer fireplace sales and have certified technicians who can install and maintain your new fireplace or wood burning stove. Visit our showroom to see an exciting collection of gas and wood-burning zero-clearance fireplaces and stoves. We’re located at 565-A East Church Street in Frederick MD. You can also call us during normal working hours on weekdays at 301-695-6991.