How to care for your wood burning stove

Published : 08/10/2019

Wood-burning stoves have gained in popularity over recent years and, though they may look romantic, the smoke they create causes air pollution which is harmful to our health.

If you do need to use a wood-burning stove we have some top tips to help to reduce their environmental and health impacts...

Wood burning stove with logs

Fuel

Buy ‘Ready to Burn’ fuel
For fuel that you can burn immediately, look out for the woodsure ready to burn logo as this will be good quality dry wood. woodsure ready to burn logo

Season freshly chopped wood before burning
Although it may be cheaper, wet or unseasoned wood (often sold in nets) must be dried before burning. Wet wood contains moisture which creates smoke and harmful particulates when burned. As well as potentially damaging your stove and chimney it is also much less effective at heating your home.

Use approved solid fuels instead of ‘house-coal’
These produce less smoke when burned and are also more efficient so cost you less to heat your home.

DO NOT burn treated waste wood or household rubbish
This is because treated waste wood and household rubbish, including old furniture, pallets or fence panels, can emit harmful fumes and toxic chemicals (such as arsenic) into your home when burnt.

Wood burning stove with curled up cat

Maintenance

Regularly maintain and service your stove (e.g. annually)
Get your stove checked regularly to keep it working at its best as it will also generate more heat from what you burn. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on how to operate your stove and only burn the permitted fuels.

Get your chimney swept regularly (up to twice a year)
Using your stove will cause soot and tar to build up in the chimney. As well as reducing the efficiency of your stove it can also increase the risk of chimney fires. Use a qualified chimney sweep (they can also give you advice on good burning practices).

Summary

Help reduce the harmful effects from smoke:

  • Burn seasoned wood (including Ready to Burn) on a low emission appliance
  • Maintain stoves and sweep chimneys regularly
  • Install a carbon monoxide monitor – this will alert you to dangerous fumes and reduce your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning