15 Minute Assessment

Wood Stove Maintenance

Wood stoves are usually paired with another heat source. They burn wood in a chamber called a firebox. The firebox has a door with a gasket that makes it airtight. An air intake and dampers let you adjust airflow through the firebox.

Get a professional stove and chimney inspection at least once a year, before the heating season starts. To limit dangerous creosote buildup, burn dried (seasoned) wood. Well-dried wood burns hotter and cleaner, which helps prevent creosote.


Every fall

Repair and replacement costs

Typical Costs

  • Inspect: $130 – $375
  • Repair: $160 – $820
  • Replace: $1,200 – $3,500

Life span


15 – 30 years

Steps to Assess Your Wood Stove


Step 1: Inspect the stove inside and out for cracks, separated joints, or warping. To prevent fires and allow easy access to the rear of the stove, make sure there’s 18 inches of clearance on all sides.


Step 2: Clean the firebox monthly with a wire brush. Empty the ash pan when it’s full, leaving an inch of ash to protect the stove’s floor.


Step 3: Inspect the door gasket for cracking, peeling, or other damage. If it’s damaged, replace it. An older stove may not have a door gasket. That’s OK. Just make sure the door locks tightly.


Step 4: Make sure ductwork joints are tight. Fix peeling, cracked, or worn tape or caulking.


Step 5: Test the air intake and dampers. The air intake is usually a knob or lever. Dampers may be inside the stove or in the stovepipe. Replace them if they don’t open and close easily.


Step 6: Outside, binoculars help. Is the chimney cap loose or clogged with debris? If you have a masonry chimney, look for cracked or missing masonry and mortar. If the chimney is cracked, leaning, or buckling, contact a masonry pro right away.