Operate a Wood-Burning Stove: What You Should Consider

Depending on which stove you want to buy, there are certain things to consider. Find out in good time about the regulations and what you might be facing.

If you want to buy a stove, you must first decide what you want to heat with.

Operate a wood-burning stove What you should consider

Pellet, wood briquette or wood?

Under the right conditions, modern wood-burning stoves have an amazingly high efficiency – up to 87 percent of the energy is converted into heat. Wood has the worst efficiency, even if it is stored in a dry place. Damp wood should never be burned, as it produces a lot of soot and is bad for the environment because of emissions.

There are special, so-called pellet stoves, in which only pellets may be used. The advantage of pellet stoves is that pellets are easy to dose. Under certain conditions the installation of pellet stoves is even subsidised by the state. Wood briquettes are more difficult to ignite than wood, but they will continue to glow for a long time without any need to reheat. The heat development is even and therefore they are perfect for long evenings.

Wood-burning stove: What is the correct distance from the wall? How do you pay attention to safety?

Depending on the design of the fireplace, the required distance to the wall can be up to 40 centimetres. Take this into account in your planning. The connecting piece to the wall for the air supply and exhaust must of course be adapted accordingly. Many useful tips, hints and news can be found here and here.

The Federal Emission Protection Act regulates how much fine dust may be in the air. Older stoves may have to be retrofitted with a fine dust filter; with newer models this is usually no longer a problem. For your safety, you should remove flammable or heat-sensitive objects in the immediate vicinity of the stove. If your floor is flammable or you simply want to avoid unsightly burn marks, you should definitely get a spark protection plate.

Before you buy a new stove, you should therefore carefully consider whether you need a base plate. Because if the floor is made of a combustible material, the floor in front of the fireplace must be covered with a non-combustible material. Since a stove often stands motionless in one place for years or decades, you should think carefully about which spark protection plate you choose and what material it should be made of.

But not only the spark protection plate contributes to your safety: the correct cleaning of the stove is essential. You can easily clean the fireplace itself with an ash vacuum cleaner. To remove coarse dirt from the viewing glass plate of the stove, you can dab a damp sponge with white ash and then apply it to the glass plate – there is no quicker way to clean the sooty glass plate. If your spark protection plate is also made of glass, you can easily clean it in one go.

You are responsible for cleaning the stovepipe, i.e. the connecting piece between the stove and the wall, yourself. A soiled stovepipe can cause soot burning: The soot in the pipe is easily combustible, so only a spark has to rise from the stove and the whole house can be in danger unnoticed. For a small extra charge, the chimney sweep will also clean the stove pipe for you.

Making contact with the chimney sweep

Before you install a new stove, you must obtain the approval of the responsible district chimney sweep. After comparing the technical data, he will then give his approval. The stove itself is then installed by a chimney sweep. Two to three times a year, your stove and especially the chimney must then be inspected by a chimney sweep and cleaned if necessary.