In the summer, the outside temperature can rise suddenly and become warmer that the temperature within the house. This causes the air within the flue to reverse its normal flow pattern and air travels down the flue. This air will contain moisture which, when condensing on the cold metal of the stove, may cause rust to form.

Here are some simple things you as the owner can do to prevent damage occurring to your wood burner when not in use for a long period of time.

1. Remove all ash and tars from within the stove. An ash vac is the perfect tool for this job. Empty the ash pan and for the time your are working on the stove, do not put it back in.

2. Remove the baffle or baffles from within the stove as fly ash and fallen soots can build up behind these. Mix these with water and they can form a corrosive mixture that can in time set like concrete making it impossible to remove the baffles for future maintenance. It can also eat away the metal of the baffle.

3. Remove all the fire bricks or cast iron protection plates from within the stove, the grate and the grate frame, if this is possible. Instructions on how to do this are generally in the instructions which are supplied with the stove. Care should be taken if the firebricks are made of the material vermiculite.

4. Again vacuum out all the ash that accumulates behind these parts.

5. Spray the inside of the stove and any metal parts removed with a water repelling spray like WD40.

6. Also spray with the water repelling spray any moving parts within the stove including door latches and door handle shafts.

7. Check the condition of the door rope seals and glass seals and replace if damaged or they have become hard. It is vital for the efficient operation of the stove that a good air tight seal is maintained.

8. If you have a stove with a painted finish, not enamelled, and this has become marked then now is the time to respray the body using paint supplied by the stove manufacturer. Your stove will look as good as new ready for the next heating season.

9. This is also a good time to get your chimney swept by a qualified chimney sweep. It is easy to forget to do this and trying to get a chimney sweep in the autumn will not be as easy as in the early summer when there is less demand on their time. It also means your stove and flue are all ready for the next heating season. Remember when you first light the stove in the autumn to test the flue has not become blocked by nesting birds by lighting some newspaper and ensuring that all the smoke is drawn up the chimney.