How to heat a stove in a house and a sauna with wood: instructions for beginners

Wood stoves have been serv­ing peo­ple reg­u­lar­ly for hun­dreds of years, and they are not going to give up their posi­tions. Using them is not dif­fi­cult, but there are cer­tain rules that can­not be vio­lat­ed. This threat­ens with exces­sive fuel con­sump­tion, threat­ens the ser­vice­abil­i­ty of the struc­ture, health and even life of peo­ple. There­fore, we will ana­lyze in detail how to prop­er­ly heat the stove with wood.

All about how to heat a wood stove

How wood burns

Kin­dling prepa­ra­tion


Oper­at­ing mode and under­flood­ing


Fea­tures of melt­ing “prob­lem” fur­naces

Sauna stove tips

Stages of the combustion process

The heat enter­ing the room comes from the com­bus­tion of wood. It is impor­tant to orga­nize the com­bus­tion process in such a way as to obtain max­i­mum effi­cien­cy and safe­ty at each stage. Com­bus­tion does not occur instant­ly. This is a fair­ly long peri­od, which can be divid­ed into two stages.


The wood is placed in a com­bus­tion cham­ber and ignit­ed. First, wood is heat­ed or pyrol­y­sis occurs, dur­ing which com­bustible or pyrol­y­sis gas is released. Grad­u­al­ly, it lights up, fur­ther heat­ing the fuel mate­r­i­al.


The tem­per­a­ture of fire­wood heat­ed by burn­ing pyrol­y­sis gas­es increas­es to the point of igni­tion. The entire book­mark ignites and burns even­ly.

You need to know that with­out a suf­fi­cient sup­ply of oxy­gen, pyrol­y­sis gas­es burn out very quick­ly and exit through the chim­ney. In order for the com­bus­tion to be long and uni­form, it is nec­es­sary to main­tain the opti­mal tem­per­a­ture in the fur­nace, ensure the sup­ply of oxy­gen, and make sure that the pyrol­y­sis gas burns out com­plete­ly.

Kindling preparation

It is pos­si­ble to load fuel into the cham­ber and set it on fire only after the equip­ment is pre­pared for melt­ing. Such actions are per­formed step by step.

Step by step process

  1. We exam­ine the grate. This is the name of the cast iron grate, which allows air to pen­e­trate under the poles, sat­u­rat­ing them with oxy­gen. The grate must be clean. If it’s not, we clean it up.
  2. We open the ash pan. We remove from it all the accu­mu­lat­ed ash. So we will ensure uni­form access of air to all logs.
  3. We look at the struc­ture. We check the oper­a­tion of dampers, valves. They should move nor­mal­ly, close tight­ly. We pay spe­cial atten­tion to the clean­li­ness of the chim­ney so that the smoke can escape freely. There should be no cracks on its inside.

Only after that you can melt the stove.

How to heat the stove in the house with wood

If you imme­di­ate­ly put a full load into the cham­ber, it will be very dif­fi­cult to bring the heater into oper­a­tion. There­fore, they begin with kin­dling, the main task of which is to obtain pyrol­y­sis gas and there­by ensure the desired tem­per­a­ture inside the com­bus­tion cham­ber. To increase the speed of the process, an air sup­ply is required. It is reg­u­lat­ed with the help of a blow­er door and oven views (flaps).

At the time of kin­dling, the ash pan clos­es, the view is open. A small num­ber of wood­en poles fit into the fire­box. Usu­al­ly they take birch, oak, etc. Some flam­ma­ble mate­ri­als are placed under the mid­dle of the first row: birch bark, splin­ter, shav­ings or paper. With their help, igni­tion is car­ried out. Only after the appear­ance of flames under the kin­dling load, the bulk of the logs are laid.

They are placed in a cage or hor­i­zon­tal rows. A small dis­tance is left between the lay­ing ele­ments, about 9–15 mm. It is nec­es­sary for the access of oxy­gen and the removal of com­bus­tion prod­ucts. Cor­rect­ly lay the logs so that about 180–200 mm of free space remains up to the ceil­ing of the fur­nace com­part­ment. When choos­ing a book­mark height, the qual­i­ty of fire­wood is tak­en into account.

How to choose the height of the bookmark for the quality of firewood

  • Raw, recent­ly har­vest­ed wood — no high­er than 140 mm.
  • Old logs with­out addi­tion­al dry­ing or aged for a year — 180–220 mm.
  • Pre-dried fuel in the room or aged for two years or more — 280–300 mm.

After lay­ing the poles grad­u­al­ly flare up, the heater enters the oper­at­ing mode.

Operating mode and underflooding

In all the rec­om­men­da­tions on how to flood the stove at home with wood, it is empha­sized that as soon as the wood flares up, it is nec­es­sary to ensure air flow. There­fore, the blow­er door opens com­plete­ly. Fur­ther, com­bus­tion, if nec­es­sary, is reg­u­lat­ed by par­tial cov­er of the views and the blow­er door. Nor­mal­ly, the oper­at­ing mode is char­ac­ter­ized by the pres­ence of a gold­en, straw-like flame.

If the draft is insuf­fi­cient, soot appears, the fire acquires a red tint. This means that there is not enough oxy­gen for com­bus­tion. You need to open the view to cor­rect the sit­u­a­tion. There is an oppo­site sit­u­a­tion, when the flame becomes almost white, starts to buzz. This indi­cates exces­sive trac­tion. You need to close the blow­er door.

Some­times one book­mark is not enough for the nor­mal oper­a­tion of the fur­nace; addi­tion­al load­ing or stok­ing is required.

When underflooding is needed

  • The book­mark did not burn com­plete­ly, and the com­bus­tion slowed down.
  • The oven has not warmed up enough.
  • The logs burn out too quick­ly.
  • Insuf­fi­cient amount of fuel.

The pad has some spe­cial fea­tures. It is car­ried out when the stove has already entered the oper­at­ing mode. Low­er­ing the tem­per­a­ture can break it. There­fore, you can put poles only after 25–40 min­utes of nor­mal oper­a­tion of the device, pro­vid­ed that it is nor­mal­ly warmed up. Open­ing the door for more than half a minute is not rec­om­mend­ed. If dur­ing this time it was not pos­si­ble to do what you need, you can re-open it only after 3–4 min­utes.

Addi­tion­al load­ing is car­ried out after the first book­mark has com­plete­ly sub­sided, the mid­dle of all the poles have been charred. Fuel is placed in rows or in a cage with the min­i­mum allow­able clear­ance to the top of the com­part­ment. At first, only one field is laid. It is placed diag­o­nal­ly across the cham­ber and wait­ed for it to ignite. After that, lay out the rest in rows. They wait 6–8 min­utes until they flare up well, adjust the draft with a view and a blow­er.


Sol­id fuel long-burn­ing appli­ances are designed in such a way that one book­mark is enough for a long time. For ordi­nary wood-burn­ing stoves, one por­tion is enough for a short time. At best, not 6–8 hours. There­fore, to main­tain the oper­at­ing mode, it is nec­es­sary to re-book­mark. It is per­formed when the tree is almost burned out, but a bluish light flame remains.

In the process of lay­ing a new por­tion, two impor­tant con­di­tions are observed. First, car­bon monox­ide must not be allowed to enter the room. Sec­ond­ly, you need to main­tain a high tem­per­a­ture, which will great­ly facil­i­tate re-kin­dling. There­fore, do every­thing as quick­ly as pos­si­ble. They begin with the fact that the smol­der­ing remains of fire­wood and coals are care­ful­ly raked into the cen­ter of the cham­ber. So that they are in the mid­dle of the new book­mark. Then every­thing is done in the same way as the first time.

How to heat “problem” stoves

These, for exam­ple, include heat­ing devices that have not been used for a long time. In addi­tion, it is more dif­fi­cult to flood any stove appli­ance in win­ter. First, let’s fig­ure out how to heat a bath­house or a house with fire­wood after a long break.

Step-by-step instruction

  1. We inspect the equip­ment to make sure it is in good work­ing order.
  2. Warm up the chim­ney. To do this, set the max­i­mum thrust, open the views and the blow­er door. Roll a tube out of card­board or paper. We intro­duce it into the clean­ing win­dow, set it on fire. We warm up the pipe until a char­ac­ter­is­tic hum appears.
  3. We close the clean­ing win­dow, put flam­ma­ble mate­r­i­al into the cham­ber: saw­dust, paper scraps. We set fire to them until they burn out, once again we check the qual­i­ty of the chim­ney.

After that, you can heat the stove. In cold weath­er, the burn­ing of a heat­ing book­mark is added to the actions described above. To do this, about half of the usu­al amount of fuel is put into the cham­ber. It is burned at max­i­mum draft until coals are formed. After that, a full load is per­formed with kin­dling and exit to the oper­at­ing mode.

In win­ter it is very impor­tant to use dry fuel. Even if it has been dried for more than two years, it needs to be dried out in cold weath­er. Polesh­ki are brought into the house or bath­house in advance, three to four days or even ear­li­er. It all depends on the vol­ume of the oven where they are placed. There they are stored until the moment of use and at the same time dry to the desired con­di­tion. If there is no tra­di­tion­al Euro­pean under­cook­ing, they allo­cate a spe­cial place for stor­age.

Also in win­ter, the pipe is reg­u­lar­ly checked so that it is not clogged with snow. Oth­er­wise, it will melt and the result­ing water will begin to flow down. It will mix with soot, which will give an aggres­sive liq­uid that cor­rodes met­al parts of the equip­ment. Pos­si­ble crack­ing of the inside of the chim­ney.

Tips for Kindling the Sauna Stove

And a lit­tle about how to flood a wood-fired sauna. In gen­er­al, the process is no dif­fer­ent from that described above, but there are some fea­tures. Before igni­tion, in addi­tion to the manda­to­ry ser­vice­abil­i­ty check, the equip­ment is checked for the pres­ence of water in the boil­er. With­out it, it is strict­ly for­bid­den to melt the stove. The valve is opened before kin­dling.

After the flame has flared up, cov­er the blow­er door and move the valve to the boil­er. At the same time, the exit to the chim­ney is closed. When the water in the con­tain­er boiled, the poles burned out and turned into red coals, the stones became hot, the tem­per­a­ture in the steam room rose, you can start bathing pro­ce­dures. Pre-open the valves and close the doors of the fur­nace and blow­er.

Learn­ing how to use wood-burn­ing heaters is not so dif­fi­cult. It is impor­tant to always be aware of their poten­tial dan­ger. Flam­ma­ble liq­uids are nev­er used for igni­tion. This leads to a fire. The floor near the fire­box is always fin­ished with non-com­bustible mate­ri­als, the fuel is stored so that there is no risk of igni­tion. The chim­ney damper clos­es com­plete­ly only after all the car­bon monox­ide has escaped. It is deter­mined by the col­or of the flame. Their blue shades go away.

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