About Wood Stove Kettles and Steamers
Do I Need a Wood Stove Kettle Steamer?
Wood stoves give off dry heat and remove water from the air, leading to problems like dry skin and cracked lips. Dry air also attacks the glue that holds your furniture together and can even crack wood by removing too much moisture. Houseplants, too, can suffer from an environment without enough humidity. Putting water vapor back into the air can make your home much more pleasant.
A variety of kettles and steamers are available to do just that. All of them work the same way: filled with water and placed on your woodstove or fireplace insert, they emit water vapor to replace the moisture the wood stove is taking away.
Kettles come in different styles and colors, with black and brass models being the most popular. Capacity ranges from one quart to 2 1/2 quarts. For wood stoves and fireplace inserts with narrow top surfaces there are half-kettles that look like a regular kettle from the front, but are only 4 inches deep.
Kettles are not designed to keep water safe for drinking or for making tea.
Steamers come in plain and whimsical designs. Steamers with a lattice top have the advantage of allowing you to see the water level so you know when to refill. Other steamers, in ceramics or metals, come in the form of animals such as ducks, dragons, and even a whale.
Use Tips for a Wood Stove Kettle Steamer
• Don’t let your kettle or steamer run out of water, lest it be damaged by overheating.
• If the water is boiling instead of simmering, place your kettle or steamer on a trivet designed for use with woodstoves.
• Never refill a hot kettle or steamer with cold water . Use very hot tap water or hot water from the microwave or stove.
• Do not drink the water from a wood stove kettle steamer.
• If you are having wood stove odors, some night when you will not be using the stove, add a cup of vinegar to the steamer’s water. Leave it out overnight, and refill the steamer with fresh water the next day.
Removing Calcium Deposits from a Wood Stove Kettle Steamer
Most household water contains the mineral calcium. As water boils away, the calcium is left behind in the form of crusty white deposits.
You can remove these deposits with plain old vinegar, a mild acid. Heating the vinegar in the wood stove kettle steamer will speed up the chemical reaction that removes the calcium deposits.