How to Prevent Wood Burner Glass from Turning Black

10th November 2016

How to Prevent Wood Burner Glass from Turning Black

Having a wood burning stove allows you to witness the spectacular dancing flames behind the crystal clear glass but what happens when a layer of soot or dirt begins to block that wonderful view?


It is inevitable that some degree of wood burning by-products will be present, especially if your stove lacks the all-powerful in-built airwash system that many of our wood burning stoves at Portadown Fireplaces now feature.


Here are some of the most common reasons why your wood burner glass is turning black and what exactly can be done to deal with this problem.


Burning Coal


Many people burn coal in their multi-fuel stoves but this is actually advised against because it will result in blackened glass and will require a massive clean-up operation after the fire goes out. Avoid burning bituminous coal and instead opt for smokeless fuels.


If you find that the glass is only blackening in certain areas, this is likely due to the fact that you are overloading the stove. It could also be a result of loading the fuel in close proximity to the glass which means that the fuel is burning against the glass, turning it black and blocking any hopes of having a good view of those golden flames.



Burning ‘Wet Wood’

mositure meter

Burning unseasoned wood is one of the main causes of blackening the glass. When you burn wet wood, energy is focused on evaporation instead of burning which leads to excessive smoke as the result of an ‘incomplete burn’. By-products of such include tar, soot and creosote which settles on the glass.


You can battle this problem by burning seasoned wood instead. This type of wood has been left to dry for a minimum of one year. Once the moisture level resides at around 20 – 25%, it is safe to burn. If you are unsure and need to determine the moisture levels of wood, use a moisture meter which will give you an accurate reading of each log piece as required.


Lack of or incorrect use of Air-wash



Modern wood-burning stoves are often supplied with a fantastic airwash system which helps to discourage soot build-up on the surface of the glass. Airwash systems use the top vent of the stove to create a layer of air that glides over the glass, washing it and preventing soot, dirt and grime from resting in place.

Even if your stove has an airwash in place, incorrect use of the system can also result in blackened glass. For example, burning a tiny fire in a huge stove means that the stove is not functioning at its optimum temperature which means that the airwash will not function properly because the appliance is not hot enough. Closing the airwash vent can also increase soot build up. Try to avoid this, especially when the stove is in use, or you will be down on your knees scrubbing the glass clean long after the fire burns out!

By Trevor McCann - Business Manager, 10th November 2016, Fireplace Maintenance

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