What To Do With An Old Wood Stove? (Here's What You Can Do)

Jennifer Eggerton
by Jennifer Eggerton

An old wood stove gives your home a bit of nostalgia. Over time, though, you outgrow the aged look and impracticality. This is when it’s time for you to find out what to do with an old wood stove.

Restore and old wood burning stove, donate it, or salvage it. Sell the entire stove or parts online. Use it outside with as a firepit. Use it indoors to store photos and family heirlooms. Place candles inside the stove, and put it in your living room, bedroom, or bathroom. Make it into a glass-top table.

Wood stoves still have a place in modern homes. They fit well into almost any décor, and you can repurpose them quite easily. Let’s take a closer look at the types of wood stoves and what to do with an old wood stove.

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What is a Wood Burning Stove?

Wood burning stoves were first invented to provide a heat source for cooking and baking. New appliance technologies replaced the stoves, and they became a nostalgic way to heat a room.

Wood stoves are designed with two layers. The inner layer that is close to the fire heats up. The outer layer helps to circulate air over the inner layer. The air heats up and circulates into the room.

Wood stoves are 70% to 80% energy efficient. This means that the stoves circulate up to 70% to 80% of the heat that is generated. For comparison, modern heating systems have 90% energy efficiency or higher.

Dampers and fans on old wood stoves help to improve air circulation and make them more energy efficient.

Types of Wood Stoves

Wood stoves are made from cast iron or steel to withstand the heat that is generated by a burning fire. You can find standalone wood stoves or wood stove inserts for open fireplaces. There are three basic types of wood stoves.

Circulating Wood Stoves

Circulating wood stoves are made with cast iron and sheet metal. The interior chamber is made from cast iron. The outer sheet metal layer helps to circulate air and stays cool while you have a fire burning in the stove.

Radiant Heaters

Wood stoves that use radiant heaters do not have an outer shell. These stoves heat the air as it comes into contact with the sides and top of the stove. Unlike circulating wood stoves, the surfaces of a radiant heat wood stove get very hot while the fire is burning.

Combustion Stoves

Combustion wood burning stoves produce heat in two ways. The first is through the burning of wood. The second source of heat comes from waste gases. Combustion wood burning stoves are designed to reduce emissions and increase heat production.

What are Wood Stoves Made From?

Wood burning stoves are made from steel, sheet metal, and cast iron. These materials stand up to the heat that is produced by burning wood and wood chips.

Can You Recycle an Old Wood Stove?

Yes. You can recycle an old wood stove. Cast iron, steel, and sheet metal are easily melted down and used for other products.

What is the Lifespan of a Wood Burning Stove?

A typical wood burning stove lasts 10 to 20 years. This is comparable to a modern heating system that lasts 15 to 25 years. Unfortunately, a wood burning stove cannot heat your entire home, and they use more energy than a modern HVAC system.

How to Restore an Old Wood Stove

If you still like the look and function of your old wood burning stove, a little TLC will go a long way. The primary issues that make an old wood burning stove look unattractive is a faded finish and rust. Some old wood stoves also develop air leaks and work less effectively.

How to Remove Rust from an Old Wood Stove

Remove rust from your old wood stove with a stiff wire brush. Follow this with steel wool. Next, sand the rusted areas with three grits of sandpaper – 150-grit, 220-grit, and 400-grit. Sanding smooths out the surface, but you may still have rust in small nooks and crannies. Use a handheld power tool with a sanding disk to reach those difficult areas.

How to Seal an Old Wood Stove

Old wood stoves are sealed with a special type of cement. Use a putty knife or other tool to remove the old cement. Hold the putty knife at a 45° angle, and tap it with a hammer to break up the cement. Fill in the spaces with fresh cement that is designed for wood stoves. Let it dry overnight.

How to Restore the Finish of an Old Wood Stove

Wipe off any loose dirt and soot from the wood stove with a damp cloth. Apply a layer of stove polish with microfiber cloth. Use a circular motion to apply the polish, and make sure to get into any decorative elements. Let the polish sit for 24 hours. Do not use the stove during this time. Heat will over-dry the polish, and it will be difficult to remove. After 24 hours, apply a second layer of polish. Use a microfiber cloth to buff the surface.

Finish the job by cleaning the glass of your wood stove.

How Do You Dispose of an Old Wood Stove?

If you want a more modern look in your home, it may be time to dispose of your old wood stove. Take it to a recycling center or salvage yard. First, though, you need to have the wood stove disassembled and removed from your home.

How Much Does It Cost to Have a Wood Stove Removed?

Removing a wood stove from your home cis not easy feat, and the cost is $500 to $1,000. This includes demolition, removing debris, capping the chimney, and patches the walls, ceiling, and roof. The cost of removing a wood burning stove may be lower if you are only replacing the unit or installing a traditional fireplace.

Can You Use an Old Wood Stove Outside?

After you have your old wood stove removed, you may want to keep it around. Being made from cast iron, steel, and sheet metal, old wood stoves do very well outside, and even in your garage. Upcycle your old wood stove, and transform it into a unique planter for flowers, herbs, and small plants.

An old wood stove is still safe to use for fires. Set the stove up on a sturdy foundation, such as cemented bricks or other type of fire pit area. On those cool summer and fall evenings, put a few pieces of wood in the stove, and start a fire. Keep the door of the stove closed to prevent embers from flying out of the chamber. Open it only to add wood or roast marshmallows.

How to Upcycle an Old Wood Stove for Inside Your Home

Use candles inside your old wood stove. This adds ambience to a living room, family room, and bathroom. Old wood stoves are also good for storing family photographs and heirlooms. You’ll feel like you’re stepping back in time. Add a piece of glass or countertop, and your old wood stove becomes a functional table.

Related Questions

How do you remove a chimney?

Removing a chimney is a job for professionals or experienced DIYers. Done incorrectly, and the entire chimney may collapse. You may need a permit to remove the chimney. Chimneys are typically removed starting from the top and working downwards. The roof, ceiling, and walls need to be repaired after removing a chimney.

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Tossing your old wood stove in the trash is such a travesty. The stove can be recycled, salvaged, and repurposed. Wood stoves last 10 to 20 years, so yours still has plenty of life in it. Before you decide to toss out your old wood stove, consider all the options. Even if you don’t want it any more, someone will put it to good use.

Jennifer Eggerton
Jennifer Eggerton

Jennifer L. Eggerton loves being hands-on, whether it's with a home DIY project, making repairs, re-decorating a room, or keeping life organized. She enjoys helping people by sharing her knowledge, insights, and experiences, as well as her lessons learned. In addition to her work as a writer, Jennifer is a Jeep® overlander, self-published author, and nature photographer who loves being outdoors.

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