How to Use a Wood Stove

Wood stoves can be used to heat up a room or cook food. They are a wonderful alternative heating source because they don't use fuel, just wood, which is a lot cleaner to burn. A wood stove will heat up a room quickly and you don't have to worry about staying warm when your power goes out. Know how to use your wood stove before inserting that first piece of wood.

  1. Read the directions that came with your wood stove. Some of the newer models of wood stoves (called pellet wood stoves) use electronic regulators and a specific type of wood pellet to operate. This sensor automatically detects when the wood stove needs more fuel and will put it in as needed.

  2. Clean the stove, masonry and flues. If this is a new wood stove that has never been used, these areas should already be clean. But if it has been used, it is best to have it thoroughly cleaned by a certified professional after each season of use.

  3. Open the stove door to see if the airflow in the flue is going up through the flue instead of coming back down through the stove. If you feel a draft, the airflow is coming in through the flue instead of flowing out like it should be (this will happen if the stove has sat for a while and not been used). To correct the airflow so that is going in the right direction, simply crumple up some newspaper and put it up as high as you can get it in your wood stove toward the flue. Light the newspaper and the air should start sucking the ball through the flue, which will reverse the airflow.

  4. Put several pieces of crumpled up newspaper in the bottom of your stove. Take some thin sticks of dry kindling and place them on top of the newspaper. Place larger pieces of wood on top of the kindling and continue to stack this wood until your wood stove is 3/4 full.

  5. Open up all the vents and the flue. Light the starter.

  6. Add more wood to the stove when the first batch of wood has turned to coals. Make sure to add more wood before the fire goes completely out. Continue adding wood every time the previous wood has turned to coals.

  7. Adjust the vents and flue to regulate the airflow.


  • Do not use gasoline, lighter fluid or any other flammable liquids when you are starting a fire in your wood stove.
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