Things to consider before you buy a wood-burning stove

How large a wood-burning stove should you choose?
Not everyone can choose between all models - regardless of the number of square meters you need to heat. You can easily get your stove to produce more than the kilowatt effect quoted in the technical data. Moreover, the unique construction allows you to adapt the heating capacity to your needs without polluting the environment. If you put more wood in your stove, the thermal output will increase, and if you feed less wood into the stove, the output will decrease.

The size of the stove of your choice should depend on the number of square meters and insulation. At a floor-to-ceiling height of 2.4 m, one kilowatt of heat will perform as follows:

  • Extra good insulation: approx. 25 m²
  • Good insulation: approx. 20 m²
  • Medium insulation: approx. 15 m²
  • Insufficient insulation approx. 10 m²

If your heating requirements are within the normal range of 3-7 kilowatts, you can use any type of Wiking wood-burning stove. However, in two situations should you be particularly aware of the kilowatt effect: If your heating requirements are below 3 kilowatts, you should choose a stove with a nominal heating capacity of a maximum of 5 kilowatts. If your heating needs are greater than 6 kilowatts, you should choose a model with a nominal heating capacity of a minimum of 5 kilowatts.

Your wood-burning stove should be placed on a non-flammable base such as for instance floor tiles. However, if you insert a non-flammable plate between the floor and the wood-burning stove, then you can place the stove on flammable material, such as for instance a wooden floor or a carpet. The size of the non-flammable plate depends on the size of the wood-burning stove, and must comply with all national and regional requirements.

For further information, please ask your local dealer or chimney sweep.

Connecting the wood-burning stove

How do you connect the wood-burning stove to the brick chimney?
If your wood-burning stove should be connected to a brick chimney, it might be advantageous to fit a curved smoke pipe to the top outlet of your wood-burning stove. This solution, in which the smoke pipe rises 50 cm above the stove before it connects with the chimney, will yield one more kilowatt of heat for your home. The curved shape ensures a minimum of soot coating in the pipe, which will minimize the risk of a chimney fire. We only recommend this solution if your brick-built chimney is completely tight and has a good draught.

Installing the wood-burning stove
When you have done the measuring, you make a hole in the chimney into which you fit the wall bushing, securing it tightly with mortar. Then you position the wood-burning stove and fit in the smoke pipe. A small gasket is placed between the smoke pipe and the wall bushing. The smoke pipe should enter 5-10 cm into the wall bushing.

Who can install a wood-burning stove?
Installation of the wood-burning stove can be carried out by you yourself; alternatively your nearest wood-burning stove dealer can refer you to professionals. In any event, the installation must be approved by the local chimney sweep, before it is used. This is a legal requirement.

Maintenance of the wood stove

Cleaning the glass
Your WIKING wood-burning stove is fitted with a window rinse function, which reduces the soot coating on the glass. If a soot coating should occur on the glass, it can be cleaned by rubbing a moist piece of paper towel dipped in ash. Then you wipe the glass with a clean piece of kitchen towel. If that does not clean the glass, your wood-burning stove dealer supplies a glass cleaning product, which effectively removes soot from the glass pane.

Moreover, you must make sure that there are no ash or soot particles in the air gaps in the stove’s door frame. You should also check if the stove’s gaskets are supple and intact. If they are not, then a false draught may enter the stove, which would make it increasingly difficult to control the combustion. The result would be overheating and the formation of soot. In that case the gaskets should be changed. New gaskets can be purchased from your dealer.

When the glass is covered in soot

See the section "Cleaning the glass".

Maintenance of the soapstone

See the folder "Tips on how to use and care for soapstone"

Maintenance of the painted surfaces
If the wood-burning stove gets scratched and begins to peel, etc. this can easily be repaired with sandpaper and a special spray paint enclosed in a repair kit you can purchase from your dealer:

  • Product code 22-0767 (black)
  • Product code 22-0767 grey (grey)

Cleaning of the wood-burning stove
Maintenance of the wood-burning stove should only be performed when it is not in use/cool.

The easiest cleaning method is to vacuum the outside of the stove with a small nozzle with soft bristles, or to dust it with a dry, soft cloth (Only use a dry cloth).

Do not use alcohol or other solvents, as they will remove the paint.

The gaskets are loose/fall off
The small gaskets around the ash pan and the like are fastened with a heat-resistant adhesive. However, they can become loose or fall off over time. They are easy to replace.

Rust
If stored and connected correctly, a wood-burning stove will not rust.

When a wood-burning stove rusts, it is often the result of it being exposed to moisture from the chimney. The risk of internal rust can be minimised by firing up the stove a couple of times during the non-heating seasons, which will ensure that it is dried throughout.

This is particularly recommended in summer houses where the inside temperature is often low during the winter, because the temperature in the wood-burning stove's combustion chamber can drop so low that stagnant air condenses, leaving water on the stove’s metal surface. This water can cause rust.

To prevent this, we recommend ensuring a through draft in the wood-burning stove, possibly by allowing the air supply to the stove to remain slightly open during the winter.

As a rule, external rust occurs when the stove has been stored in a damp environment where moisture is able to form on its surface.

Should this occur, a repair kit is available, which contains sandpaper and spray-paint.

  • Repair kit - merchandise number: 200 ml:
  • Black: 22-0756; Grey: 22-0756grey

If the handle is loose
In time the handle on the stove door may work itself loose. Should this happen, it is easy to tighten it. The various types of wood-burning stoves require different procedures for tightening the handles. You typically need a 4 mm Allen key or a Parker’s screwdriver.

The dampers get stuck
WIKING wood-burning stoves have various handles, which are used to control the primary and the secondary air inlets. If the damper gets stuck or is very tight, the reason could be that residual matter from the small balls, which we use for centrifugal cleaning prior to painting, is jamming the damper mechanism. These balls can often be removed by vacuum cleaning or simply by blowing them away. However, in some circumstances it is necessary to loosen the damper a little before removing the balls by vacuum cleaning. The access to the dampers can be found either behind the rear plate or just above the stove door. If you have any problems or questions, contact your dealer.

How to stoke a fire

Follow the instructions – it makes a difference
There is a great difference between wood-burning stoves, not just in terms of size, design, and heating effect. There may also be great differences in the structure of the combustion chamber and the materials, and these also influence the function of the combustion system.

You will typically experience the greatest difference in the combustion, when you compare a new wood-burning stove with clean combustion with wood-burning stoves, which are ten years old or more. The difference in the combustion systems consists mainly in the way you operate the individual wood-burning stoves.

If you follow the instructions to your new WIKING wood-burning stove, you will get an optimal combustion with low fuel consumption while also getting a clean CO² neutral smoke emission, which protects the environment and the chimney.

What kinds of firewood are suitable for wood-burning stoves?
We recommend chopped birch or beech wood that has been stored outdoors under a roof for at least one year. Wood stored indoors has a tendency to become too dry and then burn to fast.

The tree must be felled in winter, because the humidity is ideal at this time. The wood is chopped into pieces of approx. 10 cm. In order to achieve the optimal combustion, the humidity of the wood should not exceed 18%, the approximate percentage after a year’s outdoor storage under a roof. The humidity of the wood can be measured with a humidity sensor or by smearing washing-up liquid on the end of the wood and blowing through the other end. If the wood is sufficiently dry, soap bubbles will appear.

Which materials must not be burnt?
It is best always to use clean natural wood since that is best for the wood-burning stove.There is a long range of products that cannot be burnt in a wood-burning stove – for environmental reasons and in order not to destroy the wood-burning stove. Products such as for instance:

  • Plywood (can contain phenol formaldehyde)
  • Lacquered/painted/impregnated wood
  • Synthetic materials (contain heavy metals/artificial colouring)
  • Cardboard and milk cartons
  • Newspapers and magazines (contain heavy metals)
  • Rubber (contains large amounts of sulphur dioxide)
  • For further information, read the instruction booklet of the individual wood-burning stoves.

How do you light a fire in a wood-burning stove?
The lighting of the fire is crucial to a quick and efficient start of the combustion. Follow the instructions below and discover how simple it is. When you light a fire, you need small sticks and some twigs.

  • Fill the base of the combustion chamber with a fair amount of dried sticks and twigs
  • Put two firelighters in between the top layers of kindling wood
  • Open up the primary air inlet under the door
  • Light the fire – and leave the door about one cm open until the glass is so hot that the condensation has gone
  • Then you close the door completely.

When the kindling wood has formed a good layer of embers and the flames have died out, you put two to three large pieces of wood on top. In the instruction booklet you can find further information about the amount and the maximum combustion per hour. The fire will now rekindle and when there are clear, visible flames, you close the primary air inlet and open the secondary air inlet.

Consult your wood-burning stove instruction booklet for further information.

How do I light a fire in my wood-burning stove?
First we would like to refer to the instruction booklet, where you find a description of correct firing. In addition, we have listed some important tips below.

In order to get the best combustion, you need to regulate the effect/the amount of heat generated by the firewood. Small pieces of firewood will create a stronger combustion than large pieces of firewood, since their surface is greater and more gas is released.

Moreover, the amount of wood in the combustion chamber also determines the combustion. For everyday use you should not put more than two pieces of wood into the combustion chamber. If you want a strong effect, you can stoke the fire with more wood.

It is also important to be take notice of the time at which you stoke the fire. Many put more wood on the fire too soon, which means that the energy in the wood will not be utilized optimally. When you have a good layer of embers in the combustion chamber, you should wait as long as possible to put on more wood. Try to see how long time you can leave the embers smouldering before you add wood. It is not uncommon that at least one hour goes by from the time when the flames die down. By the time it is necessary to open the primary air inlet for two minutes to get a new fire going, you stoke the fire.

In order to reduce the risk of ashes falling out of the stove when the stove door is opened to stoke the fire, it is a good idea to open the damper in the ash pan about one minute before the stove door is opened. This results in increased draught through the stove and reduces the risk of ash falling out.

Insufficient draught in the chimney
If the chimney is too low, if it leaks or if its insulation is faulty, problems can occur with the chimney’s draught. In that case let the chimney sweep take a look at it.

The draught should be approx. 15 Pascal. If the draught functions properly, you can try to prolong the process of lighting the fire or use more thin sticks for kindling in order to heat up the chimney thoroughly. The draught is only optimal when the chimney is well heated.

The process of lighting the fire can be prolonged by the use of a lot of kindling as well as one or two fire-lighters. It would help if you leave the stove door ajar.

When a layer of embers has formed, two or three pieces of dry chopped wood are inserted. Check all cleanouts as well as connected wood-burning stoves which are not in use. It must be possible to seal these off completely; otherwise a false draught will be sucked in and that will decrease the draught in the chimney.

You should never leave the ash pan open while lighting the fire and during combustion, since that will cause the fire and the temperature to escalate to the extent that the stove could become lopsided.

Tarry soot
Tarry soot is produced when the combustion temperature is too low and/or the firewood is wet. Tarry soot greatly increases the risk of a chimney fire. Tarry soot characteristically takes the form of a brown sticky substance.

The combustion temperature is too low, when the primary air inlet is insufficient to allow a given ratio of firewood to catch fire in the combustion chamber.

Service

Cracked/broken glass in the wood-burning stove
The glass in the wood-burning stove is a special ceramic glass that can withstand very high temperatures.

At high temperatures, as well as during warm-up and cool-down phases, the glass is especially sensitive to jolts or blows. If the door is slammed forcefully, or if the glass is exposed to other impacts, there is a risk that it may crack.

Should this occur, a glass set is available, which contains glass, sealing compound and an installation guide.

White glass
White glass can be caused by faulty operation, such as:

  • Glass not cleaned sufficiently
  • Burning milk cartons, newspaper advertising material, etc.
  • Stoking with unapproved fuels, such as coke and the like, which creates too much heat.
  • Stoking with impregnated tree or pressed wallboard
  • Excess chimney draft
  • Stoking with the ash pan open.

If the glass turns white or opaque and cannot be immediately cleaned, it may have been permanently damaged.

Cracked/broken vermiculite
The skamolex sheeting in the combustion chamber is made of vermiculite, which is a specially designed material that can withstand heat and insulate efficiently. Both optimal temperature and combustion in the combustion chamber are thereby ensured.

The material is porous, and it cannot withstand jolts or blows. Cracks are most often caused by the material being struck by a piece of firewood or the like. However, the material's insulating effect is not adversely affected as long as the sheeting remains properly positioned in the stove.

The sheeting should be replaced when it is worn down to approximately half its original thickness. Otherwise, it will no longer insulate optimally, and it is therefore not able to ensure the proper combustion temperature, nor is it able to protect the wood-burning stove against the high temperatures in the combustion chamber.

The stove door is lopsided
The factory always casts the stove doors for the individual stoves to make sure that the movement and the closing mechanisms function optimally. If you use the stove door as it is meant to be used, it will remain in position for its entire life. However, if it is exposed to blows or torsion, for instance by pressing down on the handle every time you close the stove door, then you risk that in time it will become lopsided. This can also happen, if you fill the stove with more wood than it is authorised to burn. Extreme heat may also cause torsion of the stove door.

If this should happen, it can easily be fixed with a hinge adjuster – apply it as you would, when you adjust the hinges of a door. If you do not feel qualified to adjust the hinges yourself, your stove dealer can be of assistance.

When you adjust the hinges, you should be very careful. If you take too firm a grip, you risk breaking the hinge, and then you have to send the stove away for repairs.

A leakage in the chimney
A flaw in the chimney will result in a less than optimal combustion in the stove and you risk that smoke gets into the living room. If you are in doubt about whether the chimney has a leakage or not, or whether it is correctly installed, you should contact your chimney sweep.

Smoke
The most likely cause of smoke problems is an insufficient draught in the chimney (this can be measured by the chimney sweeper). If the wood-burning stove is attached to a steel chimney, you can improve the draught either by extending the chimney or by mounting an induced draught ventilator on top.

If the chimney is made of brick, you might check if the cleanout door is mounted correctly. An improved draught in a brick-built chimney can often be achieved by installing an insulating metal pipe inside the old chimney.

Smoke problems can also occur if there is partial vacuum in the room where the chimney is placed. This may occur, if there is heat recirculation, for instance in a low-energy house, or strong suction from a cooker canopy. In this case, smoke will filter into the living room, when the stove door is opened, due to excess pressure in the stove relative to the room in which the stove is located. In general, one should not open the stove door when there are flames in the stove, since a large amount of cold air combined with flames and unburned wood can generate smoke problems.

You should not add more firewood before the wood in the stove has burnt down to a layer of embers, and the flames have died out. If for some reason you have to open the stove door before the wood is burnt down completely, you should open it carefully and leave it ajar for a moment before you open it completely. This way it becomes easier to heat up the chimney and achieve the desired draught.

A cracking stove
A wood-burning stove might occasionally give out a strong cracking sound. During heating and cooling, most wood-burning stoves produce a “ticking” sound. In some cases the normal ticking can be replaced by some strong cracks. These are caused by tensions in the construction, which are released during heating and cooling. They are of no practical importance to the function of the stove – and they are not a safety issue.

In some cases these tensions can be removed by loosening one of the screws in the stove door a little.

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