#1 Your Wood Burning Stove is Beginning to Show Corrosion
Combustion, by virtue of being a chemical reaction, produces several by-products such as smoke, creosote, and gases.
When air mixes with these gases, which is crucial to the process of combustion, it can be quite corrosive.
You can keep your wood-burning stove from corroding by cleaning it periodically (I recommend at least once a year).
It will help remove these contaminants and prolong the life of your stove.
If you fail to do this, you can pave the path for corrosion to weaken the overall frame of your wood stove and damage the internal parts.
The gaskets and catalytic combustor can all become affected. If these parts are subject to corrosive damage beyond the ability for repair, you will need to replace your wood-burning stove.
#2 Your Wood-Burning Stove is Subject to Premature Warping
Ideally, the interior of your wood stove ought to be smooth and flat.
The quality of this smooth surface promotes your wood-burning stove’s efficiency.
While it is true that steel and iron are incredibly resilient in the face of high temperatures, decades of performance begin to warp their surface.
A fire can become ignited inside your stove after excessive creosote accumulation. The high heat generated from this fire can also cause premature warping inside your wood stove.
Warping compromises your wood-burning stove’s structural integrity and should be a clear sign for you to replace your old wood stove.
#3 It is Emitting Excessive Smoke
Any wood burning stove will emit smoke. In fact, some amount of smoke is actually desirable when you are trying to start a fire.
However, if your wood stove is emitting more smoke than normal, it is probably time for you to consider replacing it.
A smoky stove can be caused by a damaged baffle plate or catalytic combustion. There could also be water leaks and other damages that could be causing this problem.
A smoky stove is not only inefficient to operate, it doesn’t produce as much heat either. Smoke also leads to excessive pollution, including creosote, and is indicative that you need to replace your burning stove.
#4 Your Wood Burning Stove Has Accumulated Excessive Creosote
If your wood-burning stove has aged a little, you already know how it doesn’t burn as clean as it used to.
If you haven’t been able to clean your wood-burning stove in a while, it will have accumulated creosote, soot, stovepipe, and other residual debris in its vent, stovepipe, and so on.
Creosote is the primary reason for residual fires.
A fire that begins in your stove can spread to your stovepipe and other combustibles inside your home in a matter of minutes.
Never let creosote gather in your stove. If you notice creosote accumulation inside your stove, you should probably replace your wood stove with a cleaner-burning EPA-certified wood stove.
#5 Your Wood Stove Doesn’t Heat Like it used to Anymore
If you can tell that the heating efficiency of your wood stove has taken a beating lately and you’ve had to feed it more and more wood fuel to maintain desired heat, it might be time for you to repair or replace your wood-burning stove.
A wood stove declines in performance due to a number of reasons such as warping, water, air leaks, and such.
You might get desired heating efficiency after repairing your damaged old wood stove.
However, it is a better idea to replace it altogether. You can save up on your energy costs when you replace an inefficient wood stove with a brand new one.
The latest EPA-certified wood burning stove models consume almost a third less fuel but are able to produce almost twice the heat.
#6 Your Wood Stove is Starting to Rust
Wood burning stoves are usually made out of an iron or steel frame.
If any metal alloy contains ferrous oxide, it will find itself prone to rust when it is exposed to moisture and air for long periods.
Any time your stove houses moisture, it provides ample condition for rusting. The condition for moisture could result from a broken stove door or gasket, water leaking into the stove pipe, or similar situations.
Same as corrosion, rusting predisposes your wood-burning stove to weakening, which then makes it unfit for usage.
You can save your wood-burning stove from becoming unsafe to use by repairing moisture problems before rust can develop inside your stove.
Once rust has developed inside your wood stove, your only option is to replace the stove with a new one.
#7 Your Wood Burning Stove Has a Broken Stove Door Gasket
Wood stoves contain a rubber gasket that is attached to its door to form an airtight seal when the stove is shut.
The stove door is an integral part of your wood stove, which is crucial for its overall performance.
It is responsible for minimizing your stove’s exposure to air and moisture, which, in turn, accelerates the rate of deterioration in the health of your stove and its interior components.
If this seal begins to peel or crack, your stove door fails to close appropriately.
If your stove door gasket is no longer functioning as desired, you need to find a spare part to replace it. If you are unable to find a replacement for your stove door gasket, you should go ahead and replace your wood-burning stove.
#8 The Catalytic Combustor on Your Wood Stove Has Started to Clog
It is possible that your wood stove doesn’t even have a catalytic combustor.
However, if you own a wood-burning stove with a catalytic combustor, you can expect its usage to decline after 10-15 years.
It is possible to lengthen the usage time of your wood stove’s catalytic combustor by regularly cleaning it to prevent any instances of clogging.
Once this combustor in your stove begins to clog, it will fail to provide the same heating efficiency as before and also prove to be more difficult to light.
You can try to repair your stove’s catalytic combustor. If you find that replacing the combustor is not viable, you should ideally replace it with a newer, more energy-efficient wood-burning stove model.
#9 You Discover that Your Wood Burning Stove is Not Certified by the EPA
An EPA-certified stove burns hotter, causes less pollution, and is almost 50% more fuel-efficient than non-EPA certified stoves.
Try to find an EPA level on the back of your stove. If you fail to find one, you might want to replace your existing wood stove with one that has EPA certification.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified wood-burning stoves are significantly more energy-efficient than earlier models as they come installed with more effective combustion systems.
They burn hotter but use almost a third of the fuel amount required for other stoves. Using an EPA certified wood stove also helps improve your indoor air quality by almost 70%.
#10 Your Wood Stove Has a Manufacturing Date From Before 1995
As discussed above, EPA certification makes a significant impact on the quality of your wood-burning stove.
It is because the EPA only introduced their revised performance standards in 1988.
The new rules brought into effect since mandated that manufacturers of these wood-burning stoves would not be allowed to market wood stoves that emitted more than 4.5g smoke/per hour.
Older stoves that were manufactured until then could release as much as 30g smoke/per hour.
These stoves not only caused greater pollution, but they were also more fuel reliant.
After the EPA’s revision of wood-burning stove production rules, manufacturers implemented some major changes to the internal design of the stoves they now made available for sale.
The new EPA-certified wood stoves burned cleaner, were more efficient, and overall safer and easier to use.
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