A used cast iron stove can be a bargain find or a nightmare. There are generally two kinds of cast iron stoves - pot bellied or cook stoves. Examine all joints, welds, grates and firebox for cracks before using. Don't use if metal is bulging or grates don't move freely.
Problems to Look For In Used Cast Iron Stoves
- Asbestos insulation is often used in older cast iron stoves. Asbestos is a severe health hazard.
- Rust can often cover cracks, thin spots or other defects.
- Nickel plating on the grates or firebox may be worn, rusted, pitted or damaged. It's expensive and hard to replace.
- The first things to go in a cast iron stove are the grates and firebox. Check to make sure they are intact, no cracks.
- Some pot bellied cast iron stoves have a sheet metal jacket that is often rusted or damaged.
- Fire rope seals are often compressed, missing or damaged.
- Holes in the ash pan.
- Firebricks cracked or damaged.
- How long has the stove been sitting? The longer it has been sitting the more you will have to build up from small fires over a week or so to larger fires, to allow the metal castings to expand.
- Cast iron stoves are brittle and may be fine when moving, but crack during installation.