Pellet, Gas, and Wood Stove Safety and Efficiency

Coastal’s Urban Farmer’s Almanac


If you haven’t already, it’s time to crank up your stove to keep your family warm and comfortable. It’s also time to double check a few parts of your heating system for safety and efficiency, whether you’re burning wood, pellets, or gas.

Get a Carbon Monoxide Detector

Carbon Monoxide has been called the silent killer. That’s because it’s a colorless, odorless poison gas that’s produced when natural gas, oil, wood (including pellets), or propane are burned. That gas can come into your home if your chimney or flue is blocked, or if your stove isn’t working correctly. If you’re living in a new home, you probably already have detectors on every level of your house. If not, go out and get a few. They’re an inexpensive way to help alert your family if that gas enters your home.

Coastal tip: Burn dry wood and pellets to help avoid creosote buildup.

Check Your Chimney

When you burn wood of any kind, the moisture in that wood can create creosote. According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), creosote build-up can block your chimney or piping, reducing the efficiency of your stove or allowing Carbon Monoxide to enter your home.

If you find that your chimney and piping are not as clean as they should be, find a pro to give them a good cleaning. The Chimney Safety Institute of America at lists certified sweeps in your area.

Coastal tip: Efficiently running stoves can decrease harmful particles in your home by up to 70%.

Maintain Your Stove

Experts say that as little as 1/10th of an inch of soot buildup can reduce your stove’s efficiency by 50 percent. That’s a big deal. Performing daily, weekly, and monthly cleanings during the winter can help.

Coastal tip: Wood burning and pellet stoves can suck moisture out of your home. Place a teakettle on top of your stove to add moisture, and some country flair, back into your house.

Here are some ways to improve your stove’s efficiency.

Wood Stoves

  • Daily: Check the firebox and walls of the fireplace for soot buildup. Clean if needed.
  • Weekly: Check your stovepipe for cracks or corrosion.
  • Monthly: Inspect your stove, looking for cracks in the metal or anywhere else.

Pellet Stoves

  • Daily: Check the ash pan and empty if needed. Also, look for hard bits of ash that can block airflow, and remove any ash, bits of pellet, or pellet dust from the hopper if necessary.
  • Weekly: Clean the heat exchanger. Just move the handle in and out once or twice to knock down any ash that has accumulated.
  • Monthly: Clean the glass using a standard glass cleaner and plenty of elbow grease to remove the soot.

Gas Stoves

  • Monthly: Clean the glass inside and out and clean the inside with a vacuum if needed. Look for spiders near the pilot light. These little white spiders, also called gas spiders, are often the cause when a pilot light doesn’t come back on as usual.

Warm Your Hands and Heart at Coastal

The Hearth and Home Department at your Northwest owned and operated Coastal carries everything you need, including stoves, parts, accessories, as well as pellets by the bag or pallet. Our experts are here to answer your questions and help you find the perfect stove to keep your family warm this winter.

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