How to Use a Wood Stove Thermometer

Written by g.k. bayne
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With rising fuel costs, homeowners often supplement standard heating systems with wood-burning stoves. Proper operation of the woodstove is a matter of efficiency and safety. Woodstoves that burn at a cold temperature can create creosote, which builds up in the chimney and can ignite, potentially burning the home to the ground. A hot fire can prematurely corrode and degrade the metal flue pipe and the woodstove. The use of two woodstove thermometers can help in the proper operation of the stove.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Place one of the magnetic thermometers on the metal flue of the wood stove. Attach the base to the pipe approximately 2 to 3 feet from the stove. This will give an accurate reading of the exit temperature of the flue gases.

  2. 2

    Attach the magnetic base of the second thermometer on either the top of the stove or on the top third of the metal firebox. This location will give a good reading of the interior temperature of the combustion chamber. Placing the thermometer lower will interfere with correct readings. Most wood stoves have the lower half portion of the stove lined with high temperature firebrick.

  3. 3

    Light the fire in the stove and observe the readings on the dial face.

  4. 4

    Note that the dial has a colour-coded area from 37.7 to 126 degrees C. This area indicates the fire is too cold and creosote will form on the inside of the flue.

    The next temperature indication area is from 132 to 237 degrees C. This temperature zone is for best operation of the wood stove.

    A reading higher than 248 degrees C indicates the fire is too hot, which can create metal fatigue in the stove and flue.

  5. 5

    Adjust the air intakes on the stove until both thermometers register in the 132 to 237 degrees C range.

Tips and warnings

  • Burn only properly cured hardwoods in the stove.
  • Follow all stove manufacturer instructions.
  • Sweep the chimney at least once a year for proper upkeep of the flue.

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