Wood stove window cleaning

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Non Sum, Dec 12, 2004.

  1. Non Sum

    Non Sum Active Member

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    I'm new to wood stoves with ceramic glass windows (but not to wood stoves).
    I keep reading how the air washes down the window, keeping it relatively clear, but my new Jotel F400 Celestine doesn't appear to have read the same books.

    Tell me, does everyone have to clean their glass, with the readily available special cleaners, nearly every day or two? Is that SOP? Or, am I alone with a problem unique to my installation, and/or make-model?

    Since installing an outside air intake, my draft seems good. Nice stove otherwise. Terrible company (Jotel) in terms of technical support. I call their tech support each Monday, and leave a message for a call back (that's their idea of support). Of course, no one's really there to call back, but it is reassuring to have a number to call; don't you think.

    Any ideas on keeping the glass clear would be gratefully received. Any ideas on better, cheaper, ways to clean it wouldn't be too bad either. Thanks!!
     
  2. OD

    OD Well-Known Member

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    We bought a Jotul 600 last year & I hate it. I clean the windows 4 or 5 times a week & I can't keep a fire going unless I leave a door open. It was so expensive, that we can't afford to trade it off, so I'll just have to live with it, but I doubt if I'll ever learn to like it.
    To clean the windows, I use 2 paper towels, one wet & one dry. Dip the wet one in ashes from the stove & wipe over about half of a window, then polish with the dry towel. You have to work fast so it doesn't dry before you can get it polished. Repeat until both windows are clean. This cleans as good as store-bought cleaners.
     

  3. Steph in MT

    Steph in MT Well-Known Member

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    Hello~
    We're still in the learning process with our first wood stove. We used to have a problem with the glass window needing frequent cleanings until we started building bigger hotter fires. Cleans the glass right up! :) Now, it's rare that we ever have to clean it. Haven't tried it yet, but I've heard spit works well to clean the glass~ as good as those expensive specialized cleaners.
    Take care~
    Steph
     
  4. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    Bingo, Steph is right!

    No, I repeat....NO!....woodstove window will keep clean unless the fire is hot. If the fire is smouldering or if you throttle down the damper for an "all night burn," the windows will soot up. It doesn't make any difference what brand of stove you own.
     
  5. sagerat

    sagerat Member

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    Try cleaning the widow with vinegar. It cleans our wood stove window better than any commercial cleaner we tried. Took the baked on soot and smoke right off.
     
  6. amelia

    amelia Well-Known Member

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    I love my Vermont Castings Intrepid with glass doors, but regular cleaning of the glass has always been necessary. I've tried various spray-on and cream cleaners and have liked most of the creams I've tried. (The sprays are too messy--you can't contain it and then end up with a perpetual black drip.) Most of these products leave a protective coating on the glass which makes cleaning the next time much easier.

    I quickly learned that damping a stove down to take it through the night results in a miserable mess the next morning. (I assume it's making an equal mess of the environment.) The answer is to burn the fire hot, with plenty of air flow, even if it means getting up in the middle of the night.
     
  7. OD

    OD Well-Known Member

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    The thing about this Jotul is that it doesn't matter how dry the wood is or how hot the fire is, the windows are going to smoke up anyway. We've been heating with wood for 25 years & I've never had a problem like this until I had to deal with this piece of junk. I have no idea how anyone could use it without leaving a door open, the fire just goes out.
     
  8. RedneckPete

    RedneckPete Well-Known Member

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    To clean your woodstove glass with ease....

    I use a spray-on oven cleaner. I do it in the morning when the stove is burned down (almost out) and the glass is only warm to the touch. Spray it on, leave it for about a minute and wipe the glass clean with a paper towel.

    It works very well and a can only costs a couple of bucks and lasts several heating seasons.

    Pete
     
  9. Mudwoman

    Mudwoman Well-Known Member

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    Our neighbor has a soapstone catalytic stove and he says that he has to get a roaring hot fire going before he can dampen it down and turn on the catalytic converter. He spent close to $3000 for his stove and wishes he had ours. He has to clean his glass every day and sometimes before he gets his fire going good, the glass smokes up and you can't see the fire.

    We have an Avalon ($1400) that has stainless steel tubes in the top that burn off smoke and fumes. The air flow comes up the back and blows towards the glass. Dh cleans the glass about once a week with a scubbie and a little soap and water. We can always see the flame well. We did not get one with a catalytic converter. Glad we didn't.

    What temp is your stove pipe getting? It should get up to around 300 degrees before you start dampening down. You can buy the temp gauges at most all places that sell stove and it just sticks to the stove pipe.

    The other thing is to have the wood stove place you purchased your stove from come and make sure it is installed correctly.
     
  10. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

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    Our Blaze King catalytic heater will burn on low for 47 hrs. The glass door will creosote up with a slow long burn. The chimney stays real clean because of the re-burn on the catalytic.

    If we make a big fire, turn it up, then the glass clears right up, in about 45 minuets.

    When it's cold newspaper works fine.

    Did you see our new Blaze King stove yet - we already posted this picture on another thread?

    [​IMG]
    Blaze King wiht Clearance Reduction Side Panels, and Rear Dual Fans, Beauty, Eh?

    Alex
     
  11. Non Sum

    Non Sum Active Member

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    Terrific feedback!! Thank you, all.

    O.D. I’ll give the ashes a try. Perhaps I can return some of the favor. I felt just as burnt about the poor burn as you with my Jotul. BUT, alas, it burns very well now. There is a hole in the back-rear (at least in my model) for an outside air hookup. Get some 3” flex conduit, and cut a hole in your wall. You won’t be sorry, I promise you.

    I don’t leave the door open ever. Too much smoke. Does your model have an ash clean-out door? If so, try that to get it going.

    Steph & Dave I’ve made fires of all sizes—makes not a bit of difference in my case. I’ll give “spit” a try. God knows I’m mad enough to…

    Cabin Fever & amelia I haven’t done much “throttling down,” and no “all night burn” attempts yet either. But, I can see where it would aggravate the problem, and so shall take your warning.

    Sagerat I’ll try vinegar (white okay?). Heck, I’ve got plenty of opportunity to try everything. Love the price. Vinegar is nearly as cheap as spit and ashes.

    Redneckpete Oven cleaner sounds almost too obvious. Though I would have been afraid it would harm the ceramic glass. Evidently, it doesn’t harm yours. Any particular brand that you’ve been using?

    Mudwoman I have tried soap, water, and a scrubbie. No good.
    I regularly get my stove up to 400+. 500 at times. My gauge sits on the stovetop, as the manual recommends. I can’t put it on the pipe since the pipe is double walled and more (telescoping pipe).
    The place I bought the stove is more a boutique (called: “Hearth and Patio”) than a place for useful instruction. They gave me a phone number to Jotul tech support. I recently asked the store about Jotul’s lack of response. They said they have the same experience with them. But, heck, we’re ‘homesteaders,’ right? We’re used to being on our own. Though, it’s nice to get a little help from the tribe here.

    The point I am taking is: For the most part, these self-cleaning stove windows translates into windows that need regular cleaning, and the owner is the ‘self’ that gets to clean them. I don’t have the ‘dripping’ problem due to my removal of the door each time, and placing it on a flat surface. Probably easier flat for spitting too; I won’t get as much on the drapes.
     
  12. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

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    believe it or not plan water works better than anything else I have used. the special cleaner I used first, eched a spray pattern into the surface, If the window is hot I use a razor blade in a holder used to scrape decals off of car windows,[I've used it for 3 yrs] dipping into ashes just isn't necessary, and has a small chance of scratching (I only did it once and have a small scratch) but others have done it many times and no scratches. I just use the plain water, wet paper towel and one to dry, I let the gasket get wet once (just last week) and it stuck to the stove face and I had to replace the gasket.
     
  13. Taylor

    Taylor Well-Known Member

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    Our Jotul #8 has the viewing window, which does soot up, but as to the smoking problem - I remembered that when I worked at a historic site and had to use the fireplace for cooking and dyeing wool yarn, the gal training me emphasized that you have to start out with a "hellacious hot fire" to get the flue warmed up, or it'll smoke all day. So I tried this with the Jotul. No more smoking like crazy all over the kitchen, cause it used to do that and DH really didn't appreciate the smoke effect on his sinuses. Last night I started the fire with as much newspaper crumpled up as would fit in the firebox, topped by some sticks and split kindling. Voila! Got that fire roaring up the flue, and the rest of the evening just added firewood. Course it was windy as could be outside all night, maybe that helped, but my fires always used to start and then go out, smoking all the way. Tried the same approach tonight, and same good results. Also keep the air intake wide open to begin with, and don't shut it down any until the big logs get started pretty good.
    Hope this helps, our favorite Jotul was the little 609 or whatever number, but it was small, enameled red, and a delight to operate. Kept us and the pipes in our farmhouse from freezing solid during the great blizzard and power outage on the northern Indiana prairie in '82. If not for that little stove we'd have all been icicles with frozen, busted water pipes. Wish I had it back again, but this one is bigger and can take longer logs. Just tonight I cooked eggs and made tea on it cause the durned electric stove has the hissy fits electronically, and sets off the beeper/timer device all through the night, so hubby unplugged it. May not ever turn it back on till summer. :)
     
  14. Non Sum

    Non Sum Active Member

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    Thumper/inOkla. "believe it or not plan water works better than anything else I have used."

    NS/inTN: To be honest, I tend towards the "not believe," Thumper, but I will give it a try--can't be to different from 'spit'. I'm determined not to risk scratching; so the razor is out. I do scrape at times, but with a piece of plexiglass.

    Taylor Fire starting does seem a chore. I'll get more generous with the paper. You may be onto something there!
     
  15. woodguyrob

    woodguyrob New Member

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    I have been heating with wood the last three years here in rhode Island. I have a travis industries Änswer" I love it. Aside from slight cloudiness in the glass, unless I shut her down without a good strong bed of coals the glass never gets a heavy build up.

    When I do clean it, it takes about 30 seconds. I use a single edge razor/paint scraper. The first time I did this I put a tiny scratch in the glass because I scraped in a circular motion. Now I simply scrape (gently) from one side to the other- nice and even. No scratches, no mess.
     
  16. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    I replaced the glass in my stove with this stuff... its great. even coal black I just wipe it with a paper towl the soot doesnt stick to it most of the time. if it does a razor takes it off easy.
    I had a bottle of the cleaner, you spritz it on and close the door, no wipe. I dont think it was the stuff they sell on this site.
    a HOT fire with some flames licking the glass cleans it quick too.
    http://www.robaxglass.com/prop.htm
     
  17. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    oh and they cut the stuff rong but sent me the right size free no shipping either... cant beat that!
    when I bought it it was 45 cents a square inch... way cheaper than fire glass.
     
  18. carole in ky

    carole in ky Member

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    What most people don't realize is that when you have a catalytic stove you must build an aggressive fire. Don't be afraid!! The thermometer should not be on the top but on the side (if it isn't insulated) or out towards the side of the top. You should not shut the fire down until the temperature is at least 500 then the thermometer will reach at least 1000. Don't be Timid is the bottom line.
     
  19. RedneckPete

    RedneckPete Well-Known Member

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    No particular brand of oven cleaner, whatever is cheapest that day. I use the stuff for cleaning an oven cold, not the stuff you have to heat up.

    It is pretty much impossible to scratch glass with a clean paper towel. I've been using oven cleaner on the same piece of glass for years and it has never caused it any harm. No more scrubbing, spitting or scraping.

    I've tried water, Windex and just about every other idea under the sun. None even comes close to the ease and nice job performed by oven cleaner. If there are a few stubborn spots left after the first wipe, just give them and extra shot, wait two minutes and wipe them off.

    Pete
     
  20. Non Sum

    Non Sum Active Member

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    Of course, I can only address my own window dirt. So, some of the above suggestions may work great for the suggesters and others. But, water, spit, and vinegar, are all no-goes for my glass. O.D.'s suggestion of wet towel and ash was right-on!! Thanks O.D. person.

    I'll get some oven cleaner to test next time I'm out shopping. It'll probably be especially good when I let the dirt get too baked on. Thanks for getting back to me on this Pete.

    Comfortablynumb (Did you see the DVD on the making of "The Dark Side of the Moon"? If not, you should. I'm taking it you're a Floyd Fan.)
    My Jotul comes with Ceramic Glass already installed. Believe me, the dirt doesn't care.

    Carole in KY, I don't have a catalytic stove, ergo placing the thermometer on the top is okay. But, you're suggestion is probably useful for those reading this who do have a catalytic.