There is nothing quite like having time to sit in front of a fire, enjoy the warmth and just be. It is one of the reasons why fireplaces are so popular. The sense of comfort you can get just from lounging in front of one can be pretty powerful.
Wood heaters, in particular, are still the most common type of heater in use today. They are beloved for their rustic appeal and efficiency.
Read on for some tips on how to look after your Lopi wood heater.
Use Quality firewood
The type of wood you select for your wood heater counts. While hardwood is a common choice, you must still be discerning in the quality you go with. The best hardwood to use is the variety with less than 18% moisture.
The reason for such specific requirements lies in the fact that wood with too much moisture may not burn hot enough. This lack may necessitate the use of more wood than is ideal just to make the room warm. Furthermore, burning ‘wet wood’ can produce creosote- chemical by-products of burning wood at a specific temperature. When creosote accumulates, it becomes a fire hazard, therefore placing you and your family at risk.
Load the heater correctly
When you place blocks of wood in the heater’s firebox, ensure some air gaps around the timber. This consideration facilitates good combustion. Moreover, you must certify that all the firewood is burning before attempting to slow the burn rate.
Run the heater efficiently
Your heater is only as efficient as how you operate it. The best fires for a home wood heater have medium size flames and produce very little smoke. Therefore, it is unwise to allow slow fires to bloom; they exacerbate creosote’s creation, which may cause a lot of harm.
Furthermore, since your wood heater operates best with medium-sized flames, the resultant fires are known as slow combustion fires. You must be diligent in your control of such fires. Best practices call for you to allow them to burn on high for a limited time at the start, then turn them down. You should only have enough to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. If you have a habit of keeping them at a high burn, you promote ‘over firing’. This phenomenon can result in parts of your wood heater having some premature fatigue.
Observe regular cleaning and maintenance
The best way to keep your wood heater running at optimum levels is to keep a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule. However, please note that these actions differ according to the season; there are periods where you use the heater more constantly than others. Here is an overview of what you should do at different times:
- At the time of the year when you make more frequent use of your wood heater, do not neglect to:
- Clear away the ash- remove some but not all the ash that has accumulated. It is best to leave a small layer measuring between 13 and 25mm thick to slow the burn rate.
- Clean the glass- Lopi wood heaters are fitted with an air-wash to keep the glass clean. However, to avoid the need for extra cleaning because more dirt has accumulated, you must endeavour to steer away from low burn rates or using unseasoned wood.
During seasons of heavy use, there are some tasks you may perform less frequently but are still crucial for proper upkeep:
- Eliminating creosote-Creosote tends to accumulate on the lining of the flue. If ignited, it burns very hotly and can cause significant damage. Therefore you must be diligent in removing all traces of creosote once a month.
- Inspecting the glass and door- the glass should be absent of any cracks to prevent breakage later. As for the door, it must form a tight seal to the firebox to maintain your heater’s efficiency.
- Checking the chimney- the chimney requires regular inspections so that any creosote build-up can be discovered and eliminated in good time. You can check the flue pipe or chimney on a monthly or bi-monthly frequency.
The first thing to do when the period of heavy use ends is clean your heater. You must clear away all traces of ash to prevent the formation of rust during periods of high humidity in the warm season.
Additionally, you are advised to check the paint, air ducts, firebricks, and baffle supports during periods of little to no use. It is the best time to touch up nicks or dulled paint sections, vacuum clean the channels (air ducts), as well as scrutinise and certify that the firebricks are intact.
Using these tips as a guideline for the best care practices will help you keep your Lopi wood heater in tip-top shape for a long time to come.