wood burning stove

How to use your wood burning stove efficiently this winter

The type of wood that you use in your wood burning stove is as essential a factor in its performance as the stove itself. As well as saving you money in the long term, using the right wood and looking after your stove will extend its lifespan and be better for the environment.

How to use your wood burning stove efficiently this winter


Tips for staying warmer, saving money and helping the environment


Winter is most definitely coming and those of us lucky enough to have a wood burning stove can feel quite smug as we light our fires and settle down for cosy nights as the weather turns chilly. However, did you realise that the way you use your stove can make a big impact in a number of areas: the warmth you can achieve from it, the cost of fuel, the impact on the environment and the long term efficiency of your stove.

These are our best tips for making best use of your wood burning stove this winter

1. Only burn seasoned wood

Wet or damp wood is one of the worst things you can burn in your stove. Damp wood is not only more polluting to the environment, it just won’t burn as well which means you’ll use more to get the same level of heat. The drier the wood, the more efficiently it will burn. Only burn wood that has a maximum of 20% moisture. This is known as ‘seasoned’ wood. You can ensure it is by buying ready-seasoned wood (it will be labelled ‘ready to burn’) or by using a moisture meter and drying the wood yourself. Dry wood takes much longer to burn so it’s more cost effective.

Wetter wood not only produces more emissions (bad for the environment), the extra soot and tar produced can potentially clog up your stove and chimney which will eventually affect performance.

2. Don’t use your stove as a trash can

It may be tempting to throw bits of rubbish onto the fire, eg crisp packets, sweet wrappers etc. And it might be cheaper to use any old wood rather than buying it, such as painted or laminated wood, but it’s a bad idea to burn anything other than the fuel your stove was designed for. Not only can it emit particulates that are bad for the environment, but it can damage your stove and smell pretty nasty.

3. Don’t leave your stove to ‘slumber’

‘Slumbering’ means allowing your stove to burn at a low output. You will see smoke but barely any flame. People often do this because they think it’s more fuel efficient or overnight to save them relighting in the morning. However, it’s not a good idea. When slumbering, a stove does not burn off all the pollutants in the fuel and produces more soot and smoke. Not only does this mean more pollutants into the atmosphere, it can potentially block the flue and blacken the glass. Keep a visible flame burning by using your stove’s air vents.

4. Keep it clean!

One of the biggest factors that can damage your stove is the build-up of soot, smoke and tar which can block or compromise the flue. Using the right fuel and not leaving it to slumber will help minimise this (see above) but it’s good practice to have your chimney swept regularly, ideally once a year.
Use your stove well and it will keep working efficiently for many years. A good supplier will always give you plenty of advice on maintenance when you buy it so stick to that and maximise your investment in it.

If you are considering having a wood burning or multi-fuel stove in your home, the best thing you can do is come and speak to us so that we can advise you in relation to your property. Call into our shop on Dewsbury Road in Wakefield to see what we can do.

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