* Expose wood to sunlight and air as long as possible. Sunlight helps to cure the wood, making it drier and easier to burn.

* Green, Wet Wood does not burn, it smokes. Fires are hard to start and do not burn well. Wet wood is also difficult to keep burning and produces a low heat output. It also may create excessive and rapid creosote build-up.

* Oak (hardwood) burns fairly slowly and produces long-lasting heat even when only embers are left.

* Pine (softwood) makes great kindling. It burns fast and is great to mix with other woods.

* Spruce (softwood) burns very quickly, can be smoky and produce some sparks.

Wood Stove Preparation for Winter

* Always have a good ash bucket that comes with its own shovel. The correctly sized shovel will fit nicely inside the bucket when using.

* Don't let the ashes build up too high in your wood stove. Ashes will eventually block the air intake and reduce the efficiency of the stove. 1" of ashes in the bottom of the stove during burning season is about right. This provides an extra layer of insulation between the bottom of the stove and the fire.

* Inspect the chimney/flue for signs of damage, especially in the fall prior to winter. Take the time to go up on the roof, or hire someone to do so, and check for any damaged materials (this also applies to wood stove pipes that might run up thru your house attic) and replace if necessary. Check the trap and screen for proper ventilation.

* Inspect the Door Gaskets to make sure they form a tight seal. Check all around the door and replace the gasket, if it’s loose. A tight seal helps create a good draft and prevent smoke leakage.

* Inspect and Clean Glass. Pitted, cracked or chipped wood stove glass should be replaced. Clean using a wood stove glass cleaner or dish washing detergent and water. Be gentle and use a cloth or paper towel. Never use abrasive cleaners or pads or risk scratching, and possibly weakening, the glass.

Wood and Wood Stove Tips