Must-have wood burning stove accessories include fireproof gloves, a fire poker, an ash bucket and shovel, something to clean the glass, and a wire brush. Additional accessories include a heat-powered fan, burn indicator, humidifier, and bellows.
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Choosing to heat our home with wood came with a huge learning curve. Neither of us had ever heated with wood before, and we didn’t know about any of the wood burning stove accessories needed to keep a stove heating efficiently. As a minimalist, I don’t want things in the home that are unnecessary. Everything on this list made the cut for keeping.
Minimalist Wood Burning Stove Accessories
These five wood burning accessories are the absolute minimum needed to start using your wood stove and to keep it in good condition.
Fireproof gloves are at the top of my list for necessary wood burning stove accessories. After trying to manage smoldering logs with just a poker, adding these into the routine made a huge difference. Now I can reach into our stove and arrange the logs exactly as I want them.
I started with a short pair of cowhide gloves that we previously used for yard work. I came away with a nice burn across the top of my forearm. Do yourself a favor and purchase long welding gloves from the start. They will protect not only your hands but your arms as well.
In addition to moving logs around with fireproof gloves, a fireplace poker is also necessary. I use ours to move around logs in the very back of the stove, and also to separate coals from ashes when removing ashes from the stove.
We own a fireplace tool set that includes a poker but don’t think you have to go this route. Friends of ours who also heat with wood simply use a crowbar as a poker. The only requirements for a good poker are that it is metal, long and sturdy, and has a hook on the end.
Ash Bucket and Shovel
An ash bucket and shovel stored next to the stove are necessary accessories when using a wood burning stove. Burning wood is messy: ashes and dirt get everywhere. Do yourself a favor and keep a metal bucket with a tight-fitting lid near your stove to minimize ash in the house. The tight-fitting lid ensures nothing gets in the ashes that may catch fire on a left-over ember. We also like the lid because it deters kids from wanting to play with the ashes.
Size matters for an ash bucket. Using a wood stove comes with a lot of maintenance. The stove needs to be reloaded multiple times a day, the glass cleaned, and the hearth swept. By having a large six-gallon ash bucket, we only have to empty it every three weeks through the winter.
Glass Cleaning System
If your wood burning stove has glass in the door, a system to keep it clean is necessary. There are chemical products sold to clean the glass. I’ve tried them, and they are no better than water and ash. A glass cleaning system consists of a few parts. You probably have all of them in your house right now.
- Ashes: A wood burning stove produces its own ashes to keep the glass clean
- Water: I keep a mason jar of water with my stove accessories to use for glass cleaning
- Scrubber: Crumpled newspaper is the traditional way to scrub the glass on a wood stove. We don’t have a lot of newspaper, so I use a boar bristle kitchen brush.
- Razor Blade: A razor blade is only necessary when the build-up on the glass door gets too heavy to scrub off. It’s good to have one on hand, but if you keep up with cleaning the glass regularly you probably won’t need it.
In addition to keeping the door of your fireplace clean, attention must also be given to the inside of the wood stove. Blackened firebricks are a sign of creosote build-up in the stove. The best way to remove this is to scrub it with a stiff wire bristled brush. We do this every 1-2 weeks, and it takes no longer than five minutes with the right brush.
Additional Wood Burning Stove Accessories
These additional wood burning stove accessories are not absolutely necessary, but make life with a wood stove easier and a little more comfortable.
Heat Powered Fan
A heat-powered fan sits on top of a wood burning stove and spins as the air around it heats up. The heat-powered fan pushes hot air away from the stove into the rest of the house without requiring any electricity This is a nice accessory to have, especially if you are trying to heat a larger home with a single stove.
A burn indicator is a thermometer that is placed on a wood stove or a chimney pipe. It has three zones and measures the temperature of the fire. If your wood stove is burning too cold, the indicator will be pointing towards “creosote”, indicating that excess creosote may be building up. The middle range, “burn zone” is where you want to keep the indicator. The highest range of the burn indicator is “overfire”. This means the fire is burning too hot and can damage the stove or ignite surrounding materials.
Wood stoves cause very dry air in homes. A good way to compensate for this is to place a humidifier, also known as a steamer, on the top of the stove. A wood stove humidifier is essentially a cast-iron vessel that holds water. As the water heats up, it evaporates and puts moisture back into the air.
Bellows are used to blow oxygen onto a specific part of a fire. There are two types of bellows available:
- Traditional bellows move the air by pumping them open and shut with an accordion-like motion.
- Pocket bellows move air by blowing into them.
Bellows are not necessary for getting a fire going in your wood stove, but they may speed up the process.
Having appropriate wood burning stove accessories will make using your stove a much more pleasant experience. Whether you are a wood stove minimalist or maximalist, know that running a stove takes a few more items than just wood. Do you have any favorite wood stove accessories? I would love to hear your recommendations down below in the comments!
If you are interested in heating your home with wood, or just want to learn more about wood burning stoves, check out my other wood stove articles.
To learn more about using a wood burning stove, check out these articles on the topic:
Thanks for coming along on the journey,