Wood burning stoves are traditionally strong and sturdy appliances designed to last as long as possible.
However due to the extreme heat experienced by the body of a wood stove from a fire inside, and the requirement for a stove to transfer that heat out into a room, a wood stove won’t last forever, and some components may deteriorate at a faster rate than others.
So do wood burning stoves wear out?
Wood burning stoves will have certain components that will wear out faster than others, such as the baffle plate and door gasket, but many of these components can be replaceable. The rate at which wood stoves wear out and their life expectancy will differ between each model and brand of stove, and how they are used.
We have a number of stoves in the family and so we’ve explained in more detail below using our wood burning stove and multi fuel stove as examples:
- What components on a wood stove can wear out.
- How quickly these components can wear out.
- What can cause a wood stove to wear out faster than usual.
- How to prevent a wood stove from wearing out too quickly.
Do Wood Stoves Wear Out?
Wood burning stoves are appliances that can be used to generate heat from burning firewood.
Multi fuel stoves also generate heat in the same way, but can burn an additional number of fuel types along with firewood, such as coal.
Whichever type of stove you’re using, they’ll be subject to intense heat throughout every fire.
Wood stoves work by creating an environment where firewood can be burnt more efficiently and effectively to help increase the amount of heat produced, and to also help reduce emissions from burning wood.
The body of a wood stove will get hot by absorbing the heat from a fire and transferring that heat out into the room. Air vents on a wood stove allow the user to more easily control how quickly the fire is burning, and therefore how much heat is being produced.
See our complete guide to how wood burning stoves work for more information.
This continuous process of heating and cooling of a stove may cause a wood stove to wear out over time.
There are also some components that take more of the brunt of the fire inside a stove, and these may wear out more quickly than others.
Which Components On A Wood Stove Wear Out
Wood burning stoves aren’t going to wear out in a few fires, but it will typically take many years and hundreds or even thousands of fires for components to start to deteriorate.
Some parts of a wood stove will wear out at a faster rate compared to others, particularly those that are subject to the full heat of the fire.
The components of a wood stove that can wear out more quickly than others can include:
- The baffle
- The door gasket
However, the body of a stove can also wear out more quickly if subject to inadequate burning conditions.
The baffle plate in a wood burning stove is located at the top of the firebox inside the stove.
The baffle helps to promote more efficient burning of firewood by keeping waste gases from the combustion of the wood inside the stove for longer and at higher pressures to produce even more heat.
There will be a small gap between the baffle and the body of the stove at the top of the firebox to allow for gases and smoke to escape up the flue.
The baffle plate can wear out faster than the body of the stove because it’s located right above the fire.
Over time, the baffle plate of a wood stove may crack or warp, at which time it will need to be replaced or the stove can operate inefficiently.
Expect a wood stove baffle plate to need to be replaced every five to ten years, depending on how much you use your stove. Other factors can also influence a baffle plate to wear out at an increased rate, which we explain in more detail further in this article.
For our particular stoves, the baffle plates are still in full working order even after 4 or 5 years of use. This will largely depend on the quality of the stove.
For many stoves replacement of the baffle can be a relatively straightforward fix. You’ll need to order a replacement baffle plate and replace the old one as per your manufacturer’s instructions.
For more information about baffle plates in wood stoves we have a complete guide to them here.
The seal around the door of the stove, also known as the door gasket, helps to keep a wood stove air tight and ensure that any air coming into the stove is through the air vents only.
Through use this gasket can wear out to a point where air is being let through it even when the door shut.
A damaged door gasket will need to be replaced so that a stove is able to burn firewood as efficiently as possible.
You can buy replacement gaskets and it won’t be too much of a difficult job to replace the seal on the door of your stove.
Expect to have to replace the gasket on a wood stove every couple of years if you’re using it very regularly, but every 5 years plus if not. Again, this will depend on the quality of the stove and the seal.
For more information on wood burning stove gaskets including replacement, see our complete guide to wood stove gaskets here.
Preventing Wood Stoves From Wearing Out Too Quickly
The most important factor when using wood burning stoves to prevent unnecessary wear of the components and to prolong the life of the whole stove, is to ensure that you’re not burning fires too hot for what the stove was designed for.
Wood stoves are designed with certain heat outputs in mind. Each particular model of stove will be a certain size, have a certain sized firebox and will have an official efficiency rating.
Typically, larger stoves will be able to heat a larger area, and similarly, models of stoves that have higher efficiencies should also be able to put out more useable heat.
As such, a wood stove will be sized for the amount of space it needs to heat, whether that be a room or a whole house.
If a wood stove has been undersized then it may be operated too hot to counteract for the fact that it was undersized in the first place.
Wood burning stoves should always be used as per manufacturers guidelines, where:
- The stove isn’t overloaded with too much firewood.
- The air vents aren’t left too far open.
If too much firewood is added to the stove and too much air is being let in then a fire inside can be burning too hot for what the stove was designed for.
Frequent and prolonged burning of wood stove fires in this manner can lead to premature damage of the main components, in particular the baffle plate, but also the body of the stove.
Hot fires can cause the baffle to become warped, cracked or sag, which will prevent the stove from working as efficiently as designed.
Fires that are too hot can also lead to damage of the body of the stove. If cracks start to appear then excess air can be getting into the firebox and the fire can’t be as effectively controlled by using the air vents.
You can use a stove thermometer to help ensure that you’re not running your stove ‘too hot’. See our recommended stove thermometers here.
Therefore, in order to help reduce the rate of wear to your stove:
- Keep the maximum amount of firewood inside the stove at any one time to the amount stated by the manufacturer.
- Close down the air vents on the stove so that the fire is burning calmly and efficiently, while ensuring that the fire isn’t being starved of oxygen and smoldering, and also to ensure that the fire isn’t burning too quickly and hot as a result of too much air being allowed in.
For more information we have a complete guide on how to use the vents to control a wood stove here.
When Should I Replace My Wood Stove?
Depending on the brand and model of wood stove, it will have a certain life expectancy that it was designed for.
We’ve discussed how long wood burning stoves last for in more detail in another article here, but wood stoves can have a life expectancy of 10+ or even 20+ years.
For wood stoves with higher life expectancies from reputable brands you should expect to have to pay more for the cost of the stove upfront.
If you use your stove as per the manufacturers guidelines and ensure that you’re not burning fires that are too hot, you can expect not to have to replace your stove until the life expectancy of the stove has passed, which is typically 10-20 years.
However, frequently over firing your stove as a result of too much air and/or too much fuel can lead to a stove that wears out quicker than what was designed, and therefore potentially requiring the whole stove to be replaced sooner than expected.
Wood stoves can last a long time, typically 10-20 years depending on the build quality of the stove.
The main components that can wear out more quickly than others include the baffle plate and the door gasket, both of which can typically be replaced as and when required without too much hassle.
Using a wood stove as per the manufacturer’s guidelines will help to prolong the longevity of the stove.
Burning fires too hot in a wood stove can lead to premature wear or damage to key components such as the baffle, or in worse situations to the body of the stove.
To prevent unnecessary wear of a stove, ensure to keep a stove within optimal temperatures by using a stove thermometer, which can be done by not overloading the fire with too much fuel or air.