Replacing Your Stove Rope Seal
Most manufacturers will recommend that the seal be inspected for signs of wear on a regular basis. Some manufacturers will recommend that the seal be replaced every 12 months.
The frequency of replacement really depends on how often the stove is fired, however the seal should be replaced as soon as the door doesn’t compress the seal as well as it used to, which can be checked by using the ‘strip of paper test’ (should be held in place when the door is closed).
Seals around the window glass are not subject to the same forces of compression as seen on the door and generally speaking they do not need to be replaced quite as often.
The seals in wood, pellet and multi-fuel stoves are referred to using a number of different names including – Fire rope, glass rope seals, rope seals, fiberglass stove gaskets, thermal rope seal, stove rope.
All these names refer to high temperature glass fibre rope. They all serve the same purpose - to ensure that the stoves gases and fumes are efficiently extracted through the flue system and not allowed back into the room. Air should enter through the stove’s vents and not through any gaps between the door and stove body.
The Right Door Seal
Generally speaking, seals can be graded as soft or medium density and come in a variety of sizes.
If you take a look at the old seal in your stove it is likely to be sat in a channel/groove. The majority of these seals are fixed into place using adhesive sometimes referred to as stove gasket cement or high temperature adhesive.
The rope seal in the door will have started life as a round seal. As the door is closed tight the seal is designed to flatten and fill the gap between the door and the stove frame.
Measure the width and depth of the channel
Gently prise a section of the old seal out of the channel - just enough to be able to measure the width of the channel with a ruler. Measure across the channel in millimetres and record the measurement (for example, if the channel is 12mm wide and 9mm deep then always choose the largest measurement).
If some adhesive residue is left in the channel, take an old screwdriver and carefully remove the adhesive until it is possible to measure how deep the channel is.
So, it is always a good idea to closely examine the old seal. Some parts of the seal will probably be more worn than others. Try to choose a section that doesn’t look too bad.
If the old seal can be moulded back to a circular shape then place a ruler across it and see how wide it looks to be. This information along with your measurements of the channel should give you a very good indication of what size to order.
The only other decision to make is whether you need a soft seal or medium density seal and the colour (grey-black or white).
Soft seals can easily be compressed between the fingers – usually, it is possible to press a soft seal down to less than half of its original diameter.
Medium density or firm seals will offer more resistance when squeezed. They may only compress by a few millimeters. Medium density seals will not usually compress below 50% of their original diameter.
The Window Glass Seal
Stove manufacturers choose various methods and materials for cushioning and sealing the high temperature ceramic window glass in the stove door.
Carefully remove the stove door and place it on a suitable cushioning material such as cardboard or old sheets. Look at how the window glass is fixed in place and carefully remove any framing materials to reveal what sort of sealing method has been used around or on the edge of the glass itself.
The sealing materials used vary from one manufacturer and stove model to another.
Some stoves have single panes of glass whereas others are double glazed.
Window Glass seals come in a variety forms:
Glass Fibre Ladder Tape – adhesive backed
Ladder tape – sometimes referred to as channel tape is specially constructed so that it will fit around the edge of the glass and a seal is created on both sides of the window.
Glass Fibre Tape – adhesive backed
Some stove designs don’t use a ladder tape system. Instead they use an adhesive backed glass fibre tape applied on one or both sides of the window glass.
Small diameter glass rope seal
In some cases the window glass will be clamped down against a small diameter glass rope seal that fits in a channel - typically, a 3mm or 4mm diameter glass rope.