As the colder months approach, many of us will be adding a new wood burning stove to our home, eager to enjoy the cosiness and relaxing flames they offer. We’ve put together this informative fuel guide to help you choose the right wood or mineral fuels for your multi-fuel or wood burning stove, to ensure it burns beautifully without impacting air quality.
The types of fuel you can burn on your solid fuel stove will depend on whether it is a dedicated wood burning stove or a multi-fuel stove. Dedicated wood burning stoves only burn wood, whereas multi-fuel stoves can burn wood or mineral fuels. Multi-fuel models incorporate a riddling grate to allow air to reach the fuel below for optimal burning conditions. Wood, on the other hand, burns best on a bed of ash, so the firebox in a dedicated wood burner will have a solid bed.
Whether you plan to burn wood on a dedicated wood burning stove or a multi-fuel stove, the quality of the wood will have a significant effect on both the way your stove burns and the heat it produces. Therefore, it is important to be aware of what types of wood are best to burn and which types you should avoid.
Collecting your own firewood (with permission from the landowner) can be cost-effective as well as help us feel a little closer to our hunter-gather ancestors. But when gathering your own logs, it is important to allow them time to season before you burn them on your wood burning stove. Seasoning typically takes between 18 months and two years for the moisture in logs to evaporate to at least 20%, and they will need to be stored in a dry and ventilated area during this time. To be sure your logs are ready to burn, use a moisture meter to check the water content has fallen below 20%.
Buying logs can be a handy solution, whether you are waiting for your firewood to season or just prefer the idea of having your fuel delivered to your door. However, it can be difficult to know the quality of the wood you are buying. Whilst many suppliers state their wood is seasoned, their logs may have too much moisture inside to burn cleanly. The easiest way to ensure the logs you are buying are good dry wood and guaranteed to have less than 20% moisture, is to only buy from a Woodsure certified supplier. These suppliers have been tested to ensure their wood is “Ready To Burn” meaning you can use it to enjoy your wood burning stove immediately.
As part of our drive to ensure the correct wood is burnt on our wood burning stoves, as well as increase the number of trees in Britain, we have partnered with Woodsure certified kiln-dried firewood supplier Certainly Wood. Read more about our woodland planting initiative and the free Firestarter kit Certainly Wood sends each of our stove owners who registers their appliance, here.
Wet or green wood such as that which has been recently felled should never be burnt on your stove. Although it may be dry to the touch, an unseasoned log can hold as much as a pint of water. When burnt, the evaporation of the moisture in the wood produces tar and smoke, which impacts air quality, blackens your stove’s window, and blocks up the chimney or flue. Burning off the water in unseasoned wood will also dramatically reduce the heat output of your wood burning stove, making it very difficult to heat your home.
Other types of wood to avoid are any kind of treated or painted timber such as decking, palette wood, and fences, for example. Harmful fumes are released when chemicals in the wood and paint combust, which will reduce air quality and can also damage your wood burning stove.
If you have a multi-fuel stove and wish to burn mineral fuels, it is important to be aware of the differences in these types of fuels and which ones are suitable for your stove. Multi-fuel stoves are designed to burn authorised smokeless mineral fuels approved by the government. These mineral fuels have less than 2% sulphur content making them suitable for urban areas.
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I have a Stovax stocton 4 wood burner. Can I burn sawdust logs in my burner?
Your advice would be appreciated.
Hi David, thanks for your comment. We advise only burning real logs on a dedicated wood burner, as they aren’t designed or tested to burn sawdust logs or anything else.
Best wishes, Chris