How to keep your wood burner stove in good working order

How to keep your wood burner stove in good working order

Preparation and maintenance are key - if you keep on top of your wood burning stove maintenance and ensure it’s in tip top condition and always used correctly then you’ll be ensuring the life expectancy of your wood burner for many winters yet to come. Today we’re going to look at the overall basics of maintaining your wood burning stove, what to look out for when inspecting it for signs of wear and tear and also how to use it correctly so that you get the most out of it when you really need it - don’t know about you but baby it’s cold outside!


Now whilst the maintenance points we discuss below are applicable to the majority of wood burning stoves on the market - we exclusively stock Dunsley Highlander stove parts and spares. You’ll find a range of Dunsley Highlander spares on Buy Plumbing Online. We sell all manner of Dunsley Highlander parts for the standard Enviro-Burn and Enviro-Burn Solo range of stoves. If you’re having trouble locating a particular Dunsley Highlander part though never fear! We have an excellent relationship with Dunsley and will do all we can to source that part for you even if it is a hard to find item.


This post will still be useful even if you have got a Stovax, Charnwood or one of the many other leading brands.


Infographic displaying the main parts and components of a wood burning stove

Parts of your wood burning stove that you should regularly check for wear and tear


Check your Dunsley stove glass for cracks and that it is still fitting securely and snugly into the door frame. If it feels loose or you notice that the seals have degraded and are no longer holding the glass as securely as it once did then it’s time to replace the seals. The good news is that replacing the seals is fairly easy as they can be replaced with pre-cut seal strips which are held in with tabs and screws and we also sell replacement glass panels too! Have a look at our range of glass panels and seals for Dunsley wood burners.


If you have a stove from another manufacturer (say the Charnwood Skye 5, because our web guy says he loves his!) then all you would need to do is a quick Google search for either Charnwood Skye 5 glass or Charnwood stoves replacement parts. Makes sense? OK, keep reading…


Within your stove you will find fire bricks, also known as stove bricks. These bricks are on the rear and side, from time to time small cracks may appear on the bricks but they are perfectly normal due to the high temperatures in the stove, you should only have to replace these if the bricks start to break apart. The side bricks are held in place by a bracket on either side, they are not fixed and you lift up the bracket to remove them. Once you have the side bricks out you will then be free to remove the throat plate and then the back bricks can be taken out. On Buy Plumbing Online we sell stove fire bricks individually and also in sets for different Dunsley Highlander Models, you will often find that buying a set of stove fire bricks works out more cost effective than purchasing the stove fire bricks individually - so if you're needing more than 1 stove fire brick replaced it's worth considering getting a set.


There’s more to stove seals in the door than just the ones for the glass. The door sealing rope is the important bit that will keep your door flush and held tightly against your stove to keep all that toasty roaring fire goodness performing as it should. Now over time the door sealing rope will become worn or damaged and will require replacing. This can be done by adjusting the two hinges and removing the door. This makes it easier to reinstall the rope when the door is laid flat. The rope is held into place using a special rope adhesive designed specifically for use in the extreme heat conditions of your stove. The rope can be purchased in pre-cut lengths dependent on your stove type. We sell both the stove door sealing ropes and the adhesive so worry not.


Stove grate bars allow air to come from underneath the fuel, essentially encouraging the air to be drawn up through the fuel inside your burner giving a really good burn to generate the toasty heat you’re wanting from your stove. The grate bars are cast iron and depending on materials being used can warp over time if your stove isn’t maintained correctly. You can help to avoid premature warping and damage to your grate bars by ensuring there is not a build-up in the ash compartment that will lead to ash touching the underside of the grate bars - so regularly empty your stove of ash to keep the airflow unobstructed. Individual grate bars can be replaced as needed over time, alternatively you can use chrome iron grate bars which are more durable and have a much longer life span but generally come at a heftier cost. In order to get the grate bars out you must remove the Fuel retaining bar to allow access to remove the grate bars.


The throat plate (in some instances also known as a Baffle Plate) is located in the upper region of the stove firebox. The throat plate deflects the flames and heat generated by the fire around itself before exiting out into the flue - the throat plate plays an important role in helping your wood stove to generate more heat from the wood, by helping to keep waste gases inside the stove for longer and reflecting heat back into the firebox. Without the throat plate in the way, stoves wouldn’t be able to produce as much heat because all of the warm air would be rapidly lost up the flue.


The stove shaker bar does exactly what it says - it shakes! It connects to the grate bars and allows you to shake the used fuel particles so that all the ash and debris falls down through the bars into the ash collection tray below. The shaker bar is triggered through the use of your operating tool. The shaker bar is important as you need to regularly empty ash and debris from your stove to ensure unimpeded airflow up to the fuel from beneath your grate bars. It's imperative that you prevent ash and debris building up and touching your grate bars as this can cause them to deteriorate prematurely.


“What’s an operating tool?” I hear you ask! Well it looks like a stumpy 2 pronged fork like utensil with a couple of holes at either end and it’s an essential tool to help you use your stove easily and correctly. You will need the operating tool to ensure you have the grate bars in the correct position depending on what fuel you are burning. To do this you will use the operating tool on the side of the stove where there is a little knob - the operating tool fits over this so you can easily turn the tool into a lever of sorts to turn and adjust the knob as desired.


Think of this as the toothy grin to your stoves mouth - it’s the big bar across the front of the inside of your stove that keeps the fuel held back from touching the glass on the door - essentially the fuel retaining bar protects the glass from the fuel in the stove. The teeth on the retaining bar can get damaged over time when filling your stove so it’s important to check for damage and take care when adding fuel to your stove. The fuel retaining bar is held in place at the front of the stove by two brackets that are fitted after you have your grate bars in place, the retaining bar slides into these brackets.


Now this is fairly straight forward however as there’s several stove types it kinda goes without saying that there’s subsequently several stove door handles but worry not - their function is still the same. The door handle can be adjusted by moving a washer on the back of the door handle. It is advised to use gloves on the handle when the stove is on, do not use the operating tool as this will damage the handle finish.


This is the duct or pipe work that directs the smoke and waste gases from your stove up and out to be ventilated into the outside air. In the instance of a traditional open place fire this is done via an old school chimney but if you’ve a wood burning stove a flue pipe is what you’ll likely have. It’s important to ensure these are clear and free of obstruction and don’t have any poor joins or cracks that may cause the smoke and gases to leak into your home. Checking these regularly and installing adequate alarms throughout your property are a must. If you’re needing to replace any parts to your flue we have a range of flue pipe parts and spares and we also sell carbon monoxide alarms too. It’s important to remember that if your stove was installed after October 2010 then it’s a legal requirement to have a carbon monoxide detector alarm with your woodburner!


Do you have another query relating to your wood burning stove or maybe you need some help sourcing a particular part that you are having trouble locating yourself? Worry not! Our heating experts are here and can give you sound free advice and help over the phone - just give us a call on 01862 808040 and we’ll help in any way we can.

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