Shutting Down Your Stove For Summer

It's that time of year—when we begin the process of properly shutting down our wood burning or multi-fuel stoves for the summer months. Although it can be a bit of a chore, taking the time to ensure your stove is safely secured will help guarantee it stays in top condition so you can enjoy years of use.

Why is shutting down your stove for summer so important?

In summer the outside temperature can rise suddenly and become warmer than the temperature within your home. This causes the air airflow pattern to reverse in your flue. The most obvious symptom of this change in airflow will be a smell of soot and smoke coming into your house. Though it is not dangerous, the smell can be unpleasant, especially if you’ve not regularly swept your chimney.

External air also contains moisture and it is this moisture dropping into the stove which is the main cause of stove damage. Metal within the stove will cool water vapour, condensing on exposed surfaces. Since most stoves are either cast iron or steel, rust will form.

The accumulating water and moisture will mix with ash or tar and create highly corrosive substances. Porous parts of your stove like firebricks are especially susceptible, absorbing the moisture and creating an ideal environment for algae and bacteria to grow. This growth in turn weakens and damages your firebricks.

Keep your stove in top shape.


Preventing damage is always better  and less expensive than trying to fix it. Here are some simple things you can do to prevent damage when your stove is not in use for a long period of time.

  • Remove all ash and tar from inside your stove. An ash vac is a perfect tool for this job. Empty the ash pan and leave it out whilst you are working on the stove.
  • Remove the baffle plate or baffles from the stove as ash and soot can build up behind these. When these deposits mix with water or moisture, they can form a corrosive mixture that can set like concrete over time, making it impossible to remove the baffles in future. It can also eat away at metal and cause rusting.
  • Remove the grate and grate frame and the firebricks or cast iron protector plates. If you are unsure how to do this, check your stove owner’s manual for details. Be careful when handling the firebricks, which are made from Vermiculite board and can be brittle.
  • Vacuum out all accumulated ash that you find behind the removed parts.
  • Spray the inside of your stove and any metal parts with a water-repelling spray like WD40. Also spray the water-repelling spray on any moving parts within the stove, including door latches and door handle shafts.
  • If you have a stove with a painted finish, not enamelled, that has become marked, now is the time to respray the body using paint supplied by your stove manufacturer. Your stove will look good as new and will be ready for next season.
  • This is also the perfect time to get your chimney swept by a qualified sweep. It is easy to forget to do this and trying to get a sweep in autumn will be difficult as demand for sweeps rises dramatically just before winter. Having your chimney swept now will mean that your stove and flue are ready for the next season or those unexpected chilly nights.
  • Remember that when you light your stove in autumn to test it has not become blocked by nesting birds or other debris by lighting some newspaper and ensuring that the smoke is drawn up the chimney.
  • If the smoke blows back into the room, you may have ‘Cold Flue’ and should check out our step-by-step guide on how to counteract its effects.

Don't have time to do this yourself?

Call us to have one of our certified engineers do an end-of-season sweep & service for peace of mind that your stove is ready whenever you need it.  We also offer a door repair/refurbishment service in our workshop. We can collect your stove doors and return them to you. It's a great way to revitalise and shut your stove down for summer. Call 01458 251476 to schedule your Sweep & Service or Workshop appointment today!


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