Other Fuels

Most wood stoves can be used to burn a variety of solid fuels aside from wood or coal.  Charcoal is generally acceptable to use in a small stove, though it can be one of the more expensive options available.  Hardwood pellets or other solid fuels like corn or soybeans can be burned in a wood …

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Coal

In some parts of the United States, especially in Appalachia, coal is abundant and cheap. Anthracite coal is best, since it is much cleaner, though bituminous coal could also be used if necessary. The Dwarf 3kW Standard, Dwarf 4kW, and Dwarf 5kW are all capable of burning coal when connected to a well-designed flue system. …

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Foraged Wood

Downed wood that you found in the forest is not usually the ideal fuel for immediate use in your wood stove, but it can be used if necessary.  If no other fuel source is available, having the ability to heat your home and cook your food with found wood can be a literal lifesaver. Tools …

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Pressed Logs

Commercially manufactured pressed sawdust logs, a.k.a. “Presto” logs or “fire logs,” can be a great source of fuel for your small stove.  Manufactured logs tend to have relatively high BTU content, require no curing, and are safe to transport across long distances. There are three general types of pressed logs available on the market. Wax …

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Kiln Dried Firewood

Hardware stores and grocery stores often sell packs of kiln dried firewood for around 6 per 0.75 cubic foot. It is more expensive than cordwood, but can be a great option for fueling your small wood stove. Kiln dried wood has been heat-dried, so it’s already fully cured and ready to use in your stove. …

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Bulk Cordwood

One of the most cost-effective options for fueling a small wood stove is to buy cordwood in bulk.  If you have space to store the wood, you can purchase an entire season’s worth of fuel for relatively little cost. Locally sourced bulk cordwood is one of the more sustainable options for fueling a small wood …

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Glass

Most quality wood stoves, like our Dwarf Stove, use an air wash to keep the stove glass clean.  But even with an air wash, some soot and creosote is bound accumulate on your stove glass.  To keep your glass clean and prevent difficult to remove deposits, we recommend cleaning your glass before each fire, when …

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TROUBLESHOOTING

Poor Draft Diagnosing common draft problems in small wood stove installations.  Typical symptoms include smoke leaking out of the stove, difficulty starting or maintaining a fire, poor burn efficiency, and insufficient heat produced from the stove.  Coming soon. Stainless Pipe Discoloration Stainless steel pipe changing color as its heated, also called tempering, is normal.  It …

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MAINTENANCE

Proper maintenance is critical to the efficient function and safety of your wood stove.

Gaskets

Airtight stoves use gaskets on their doors, which need to be checked and replaced from time to time.  To inspect the gasket while the stove is cold, place a dollar bill halfway in the door opening and close and latch the door.  If you’re able to pull the bill out from between the door and …

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Firebrick

If your stove uses firebrick in the firebox, bricks will last for years of typical use, but will eventually need to be repaired or replaced.  Chips and cracks can be repaired by filling cracked joints with stove cement. You can find correct replacement bricks for Dwarf stoves here.  For other stoves, contact your stove manufacturer …

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Stove Finish

Most stoves are painted with high temperature paint, which can scratch with use.  I periodically wipe my stove top down with a thin layer of cooking oil to cure any bare metal and prevent rust, same as you would with a cast iron skillet.  Cooking oil can smoke when curing, so be sure to have …

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Flue System

You will need to inspect your flue system on a regular basis and clean it as often as necessary.  The frequency of cleaning will depend on how you use the stove—how often you use it, what type of fuel you use, and what temperatures it runs.  It’s a good idea to inspect a new installation …

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Flue Temperatures

Regardless of your fuel source, a stovepipe thermometer is a critical tool for monitoring your stove’s performance.  Keep the flue temperatures in the “ideal” range to help prevent creosote from forming in your flue system. If you’re burning low and slow fires, you’ll likely get some extra creosote buildup overnight.  You can help remove some …

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Burn Efficiency

Creosote consists of flammable compounds escape your stove without being fully burned, and then cool and condense in your stovepipe.  Ensure that you are burning your fuel as completely as possible to minimize the amount of flammable compounds that end up in your chimney. Avoid smoldering or “choking” your fire by keeping the air controls …

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Fuel Choice

Burning properly cured hardwood fuel will help your fires burn cleanly, which will minimize creosote buildup.  Moisture content in solid fuels consumes a significant amount of heat and results in cooler fires and lower flue temperatures.  The colder the flue temperatures, the more creosote will condense inside the flue. Fuels like kiln dried hardwood and …

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Before Each Use

Use a brush to collect ash in the ash pan, and empty it prior to each fire, and as needed. Ashes may contain embers for hours or days after the fire goes out, so they’re best disposed of in a fireproof ash bin. Improper disposal of ashes (i.e. tossing them in the kitchen trash can …

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