Summer maintenance on your stove or range cooker
Summer is the perfect time to carry out some maintenance on your stove or range cooker so that you can begin the heating season without any worries when the weather starts to turn colder.
Before cleaning your solid fuel stove make sure it is completely cold, it is important for your safety that the stove is cold to touch. For summer shutdown of your stove, ensure all the ashes have been cleaned from the ash compartment and that the air control is open, to avoid condensation in the stove firebox and possible corrosion during the shutdown period.
Once the ash has been cleared you need to remove several internal parts of your stove; this can include the baffle, firebricks, grate and ashpan. Cleaning details are available in your instruction manual.
You can check the firebricks for any splits or cracks and clean these with a soft brush. Visually check the condition of the rope seals, and if they have become frayed or are coming loose from their channel they may need to be replaced. Your local retailer will be able to obtain spare parts for you should you believe any bit of your stove needs replacing.
Chimneys should be cleaned at least twice a year. Book your chimney sweep to attend just before you want to begin using your stove on a regular basis again; this is particularly important if you haven't used your stove for a while If you have a cleaning door on the flue this will make cleaning the chimney easier but the chimney can be cleaned through the stove.
With solid fuel cookers the same chimney cleaning requirements apply i.e. the chimney must be thoroughly cleaned at least twice a year. The inside of the cooker should be cleaned regularly throughout the heating season. Now is a good time to give your cooker a thorough cleaning. Remove the hotplate, flue bonnet and cleaning doors from the cooker before starting the cleaning process. Pay special attention to the removal of soot deposits which have accumulated on the sides of the oven. This operation is essential,otherwise the flow of combustion gases will be obstructed or even stopped, and satisfactory oven temperature will not be maintained, apart from which such soot deposits will cause smoking from the cooker into the kitchen.
If you have an oil range cooker or boiler it should be serviced on an annual basis by a service engineer approved by the appliance manufacturer. This service can typically save up to 5% on your annual heating bill and will help to safeguard against appliance breakdowns during the cold winter months. Typically the service consists of an internal cleaning of the boiler, fitting a new oil nozzle, checking air and oil pressure settings of the oil burner to ensure optimum boiler efficiency and a check of the heating controls on the range cooker/boiler.
Proper maintenance now of your range cooker or stove will help to avoid problems occurring during the cold winter months.