Crikey! It`s been a while since I`ve posted on here and I aim to do this more often from here on in.
I just wanted to take a moment to put this post on our blog as it is something I have been sending out to our customers since the beginning of this year but that our older customers may not have received.
We often get asked about common quirks of having a wood burning stove and so I put together this short document with answers to our most common questions. If you`ve got a stove installed already, then it will be worth a read. If you are thinking about one... read on also! You will be well prepared that way.
First burns - smoke and fumes
Your brand new stove has been through a heavy painting process to make it look as beautiful as it does. When you make your first few burns, you may get a very strong smell which can smell slightly chemical or smokey. Sometimes you may even see a fine smoke. This is due to the paint reacting with the first burns the fire is encountering. It is very normal and although it can smell unpleasant, it is safe and just part of curing your stove to high temperatures. Your Carbon monoxide alarm should be close to your fire and will let you know if the fumes are anything out of the ordinary. Open your windows and allow the smoke and fumes to escape. This can go on for a couple of weeks but will stop once the fire is cured.
First light of the season - Smoke and fumes
Fires get dusty when they are not used and it is common when they are lit again at the start of the cold season to smell a bit fumey again. Like when a radiator is dusty and smells a little... this is normal and it will burn off quickly.
Fire is not burning correctly and lots of smoke is escaping when the door is opened.
This will happen if you have not lit your fire correctly. It is due to the wood smouldering rather than igniting. It is really important to get a good, thick bed of red embers from your kindling and smaller pieces of wood before you add larger logs. If you dampen your fire down too quickly, the wood will smoulder again. Wood needs a hot fire...you can dampen your fire down later once it has been roaring for a while. Whilst you don`t want to be using too many logs, during the initial stages of lighting your fire it is important to really get it going (and glowing) before you try to economise on logs. We encounter this a lot with customers with larger fires (more than 5kw). Larger fires are hungrier and need a lot of wood putting in at one time. The same applies... get your fire absolutely roaring and keep feeding it like a baby bird!
Sometimes, if the weather is mild and you make a fire you may encounter smokey fires even though you have a good bed of embers. On mild evenings, the draw from the chimney is poor.
Wet patches on the stove top or on the stove pipe after snow or extreme rain and wind
Having a solid fuel heating system means that you have to have a chimney. Your chimney will have a cowl on the top but it can`t be completely sealed for your own protection from fumes and to ensure that your chimney draws.
Under the cone section there is an opening and it will be very rare that you encounter water run down it.
During blizzards of snow, the snow is very floaty and travels in more lateral directions. It can sometimes, in high winds, get under the cone shaped section of your cowl and make its way down your chimney. This is normal and usually, if your fire is on, you won`t even know as it will evaporate very quickly.
If your fire is cold, during extreme weathers, you may see it running down the stove pipe. There won`t be a large amount and it can be wiped away. Please wipe it away quickly so as not to mark your stove top. If your stove top is marked then this is easily rectified with some blackening polish.
Normal rain will not cause this problem, only when there are high winds that make the rain travel in amore lateral direction.
The seal appears to have moved after burning your first fires
This is down to expansion and contraction and is something that we see occasionally. It needs rectifying but is not dangerous. Give us a call and we will either post you a syringe of sealant to go over the seal or pop over to take a look. Seals will need replacing over the years and this is normal and will be re-sealed if you book one of our services
Do we service fires?
Like your chimney should be swept yearly, it is strongly advisable that you have your fire maintained yearly also. Keeping on top of seals cracking will ensure that your fire is safe and efficient at the same time. We will contact you just before a year has passed from your installation date to offer you a service. Services currently cost £60 and take about an hour.
Do we sweep Chimneys?
Unfortunately not. We can highly recommend Greg http://www.home-sweep.co.uk/ who will do an excellent job for you. Please get your chimney swept at least once a year. If you heavily rely on your stove then twice a year.
Only burn dry and reputable wood fuel in your fire and use a hard wood supplier. If you keep your chimney swept regularly then you will avoid chimney fires and a carbon build up which will put you at risk of carbon monoxide fumes. Another reason to keep your Carbon monoxide alarm close to your fire.
There`s lots of information online and videos on youtube about how to light a fire and get it roaring. Take a look so that you can get the most out of your fire.
Please ensure that your carbon monoxide alarm is near your fire at all times.
Mark will have secured this in its legal position. Please don`t be tempted to move it. If you do need to move it to decorate then please put it back where it was positioned. I know it isn't pretty but you can easily hide it behind a photo frame or ornament if you are concerned. It could well save your life one day. In the past, Mark has been called out to rectify fires that have been installed by other people who weren`t HETAS engineers. In both of these cases, the carbon monoxide alarms saved their lives. Even then, the residents of one property had to have intensive oxygen therapy. Please also make a note of when its battery life runs out and replace it. This is something we can do for you at an additional cost during a fire service.
If you think you are having any problem that is of a concern with your fire then please get in touch and we will help where we can. If you ever think that your chimney is on fire ( which is extremely rare if you have it swept regularly) then please call 999 straight away.
Problems with fires are extremely rare and so you should have nothing to worry about at all. Your fire will offer you hours of warmth and comfort . You will wonder how you got on without it!
Please enjoy your fire but treat it with the greatest respect.
Articles, news and advice from Morleys of Nottingham Stoves.