Fireplaces and StovesHome Improvement

Using a Wood Burning Stove

We recently added on to our home and with that addition we installed a wood stove. I am interested in any tips about using and getting the most heat out of it. I would also appreciate some ideas on making the mess that it leaves easier to clean up. No tip will be to small. Thanks in advance.


By paula from MO

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December 18, 20090 found this helpful

Use hardwoods in the stove & keep a broom & dust pan near by to clean up the mess around it also keep doors & windows closed, good luck.

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December 18, 20090 found this helpful

Burning with wood does get messy, but the heat that wood provides is worth it. We had two wood stoves in our country home and it's important to use dry seasoned wood (year old cutting)or you will get a build up of creosote in the chimney that can cause fires when using unseasoned (green) wood. You do not get a good heat using green wood or wet wood either. If you end up with either of these woods, mix it with dry and seasoned wood to keep the heat going. We've laid wet wood on top of the stove to help it dry out and then put it into the stove.


It's good to have dry kindling wood stored in a box to help get a fire going in your woodstove when needed. That consists of gathered twigs, pinecones, nut hauls, branches, and/or tree bark placed on the bottom and dip lightly a piece or two in kerosene to ignite. Then add a log or two in the stove once the kindling has taken off.

Don't forget the bean pot to cook a mess of beans and ham on top of your stove and a teapot for always having a hot drink after being outdoors.

You might be able to find a metal coal bucket that holds wood ash. We had one wood stove that had a metal tray you slide out that held wood ash and it was emptied in the garden area.

Wood ash is fine and when you take it outdoors to empty, a strong gust of wind can blow it back into the house, so cover it well with aluminum foil over the container.


If your stove is made of cast iron, you can buy black stove polish at most hardware stores to keep the outer appearance like new. Wear gloves when applying.

We stored several armloads of wood in a large box indoors making sure we had good dry wood on hand in case it rained or snowed, blustery winds blew, or it turned icy. You didn't have to go outdoors as often bringing in wood this way or when the weather got really bad.

As far as how to curtail the dust/debris from wood stove use there's no easy way to lessen it. Shoveling out the ashes is easy; it's the emptying of the shovel that gets messy as the ashes create dust. Just sweep it up, keep a mop bucket handy and lay a vinyl runner over the carpet to contain loose particles where you place the wood logs for use or a plastic tablecloth on the floor. That's easier to shake outdoors and lay back down when it gets messy.


Soft woods burn quickly producing a lot of heat while hard woods burn slower and the heat is sufficient. If you have both types of woods in your rick, mix them together.

We heat with all electric now and I still have good memories using the wood stoves. A lot of work, but loved the heat and cooking on top of the stove and pouring hot water for tea after carrying in wood.

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December 20, 20090 found this helpful

If your stove has a glass door, use a spray bottle with a mixture of about 1 qt. water to 1 tablespoon clorox. Spray the cold door, use a mild scratcher and wipe with paper towel.

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December 20, 20090 found this helpful

When stove is cool, put cheap margarine on the stove with a paper towel to make it shine. It will smoke a little when you light it again but will look great for a while. I also cook on it. I use a cast iron pot but you can use anything you want. just be careful to watch it. It cooks quickly once it get going.


It is a great way to save hydro or gas.

We heat our house using fans to direct the heat to other parts of our house. We have portable thermometers to let us know how we are doing at heating the rooms. We keep a good supply of wood beside it so we do not have to go out in the night. Enjoy Susan from Hamilton

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December 20, 20090 found this helpful

We use our wood stove to heat our entire house. The only time we use our furnace is to heat our water for dishes, and showers. I use cold water for laundry. This way we use less than a tank of oil per year. The heat rises to our second floor and we are very comfy. I also have a heavy duty teapot which i use for extra hot water when I am washing pots and pans. I do have to cover the furniture with sheets, but it keeps the dust off.


You need to run the vac each day, and dust more often, but it's worth it. We also have a smoke detector, and carbon monoxide detector. Make sure they are working, test frequently! We also had the fire dept. Inspect and pass our stove. A stove gets pretty hot so keep the area around it cleared. Also have something around it to keep the little ones away. Good luck to you.

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January 21, 20100 found this helpful

In the winter, I always seem to feel cold. While visiting a friend, I loved the warmth in their house and discovered the difference a wood stove can make. My husband and I purchased a Alpine soapstone wood stove made by M. Teixeira Soapstone

We love it! I put metal pans full of water on top and we have an instant humidifier. I also have this great cast iron pot that we use to make soup atop the wood stove. My friend suggested we try to bake potatoes wrapped in heavy foil and place them inside the wood stove on the coals, but I haven't tried it yet. Wishing you warm winter days. Enjoy!

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