Using stove thermometers to ensure optimum efficiency

Using stove thermometers to ensure optimum efficiency

Using your newly acquired wood/multifuel stove , will give months of long , easy  & warm cosy days , where you can lounge around just enjoying yourself. However, as with all things that are subject to temperature variations, maintenance checks are essential giving you peace of mind and satisfaction everything is running to optimum conditions.

Often times these, “checks” may seem as if they might drag you out of your comfort zone but the good news is, in using a stove thermometer, it’s as simple as making regular readings once you’ve attached it to the stove top or flue pipe arising from the stove. They come in a few varieties and can be wire , hose clipped or magnetically attached.

ChimGard Stove Pipe ThermometerFigure:1 Typical stove thermometer (with orange goldielocks zone)

They are used primarily to avoid over firing, the resulting extreme temperatures created and bad fuel efficiency. Operated by having a eye gauge in both °Celsius and Fahrenheit. Keeping your stove burning in the Correct range of 115°C – 245°C or  (240°F – 475°F) will ensure the safest operation , whilst simultaneously giving maximum fuel economy.

Running Too Cool

Allowing your stove to reach burning temperatures below 115°C or (240°F) will lead to incomplete combustion creating carbon monoxide, tar, soot and creosote.

Creosote , itself is a condensation residue of coal and/or wood particles, hydrocarbons, gases and other airborne debris. It is formed as gases cool , for example when air in a chimney is not hot enough to push the particles out. Its appearance is of a thick hard black shiny goo which reduces the bore of the flue by sticking to the inner bore.

Running Too Hot

When you allow your stove apparatus to run above burning temperatures of 245°C or (475°F) you risk damage; warping your grate and also to your flue/liner/cowl too.  A significant increase of the risk of chimney fires is created, especially if there has been creosote build up.

Read our other articles under ‘stoves’ or burning ‘wood’ to get all the knowledge you need to use your appliances to maximum efficiency and safety. Also Please remember to get your solid fuel heating appliances swept at least once a year by your chimney sweep.

You can buy thermometers and wood moisture meters here Here

Inset fires and stoves

Inset fires and stoves

So twice already this year i have come across (perhaps they are becoming popular now, i cannot say) the type of stoves that are inset into the wall, flush with the edges and a few feet above ground level such as can be seen in figure 1 below.

inset
Figure 1: Inset fire (random pic) 

This of course makes it very neat and tidy to the eye but what might be pleasing aesthetically to the owners eye; might very well end up a frustrating task for myself or create the need for a service/installation engineer call out (much more money) for cleaning instead. Now i cannot generalise of course as every case is different and I’ve only come up against two like this so far (and the second was designed and fitted well), so i am just sharing my experiences so far this year.

In the first of these cases, the actual inside of the stove did not have any kind of direct access to the vertical flue pipe, seemingly assuming the gases etc would flow up over a tiny lip edge at the front. It was essentially, just a jigsaw puzzle of very fragile vermiculite tiles , some of which (due to their fragility) were already broken.
Yes i know perhaps some might say; ok turn around and walk away and i was initially tempted to do so but in retrospect, i am glad i didn’t do that.
During the course of that particular job i also proceeded to find a large lump of concrete blocking the flue pipe (i bet the draw improved immensely, lol) and that the metal edge plate that held the top or “ceiling” tiles in place was warped due to being very thin and poor quality.

I am not about to mention the company involved other than to say, they of course immediately denied any blame whatsoever (when questioned by the customer about servicing and cleaning) and tried to suggest i had somehow been at fault.
This same company is not cheap and they used to have a reliable reputation as at least one of the best companies of its kind in Ayrshire but you know everything changes and good things sometimes go bad and even occasionally the reverse may be true too.
Like any other kind of stoves , all heating appliances are subject to their own material quality and the standard of the installation.

As we are so often reminded today . we live in an information age, the age of choice. So, as with anything it pays to do your homework before making any decisions and get & stay informed as possible. One phrase i find myself using repeatedly in this trade is, “prevention is better than cure”. The customer concerned was shrewd enough to know who was telling the truth of course and i was happy to assist as best i could. NB/ In case this is the only post you have read here, you might want to find out more about stove installations on our HETAS post category posts.