Find the best fuels for wood burning stoves

To get the best results from wood burning stoves it is vital to ensure that the fuel you use is suitable. Dry and well-seasoned wood is best. Using damp or unseasoned wood can reduce the heating efficiency of your stove and also result in soot and tar deposits damaging the stove and chimney.

Oak and beech logs are best

Wood burning stoves can be a very efficient and economical source of heat, as well as being carbon-neutral, using fuel from renewable sources.

Unseasoned wood must be avoided though. Tar and soot deposits can be a fire hazard and will also reduce the efficiency of a stove by around 30%. An air-dried log will provide twice as much heat as unseasoned wood.

If you chop your own wood, allow it to dry and season for at least a year in a covered outdoor wood store or stack, preferably in a space where breezes can help dry the wood. Allow logs a couple of extra days of drying indoors before using them on the stove. Properly seasoned wood should show signs of cracks and splits across the grain.

The type of wood you burn is not so important, although some woods burn more efficiently. Conifer trees can be resinous and sticky, and this can result in tarry coatings on the inside of the stove.

Hardwoods like ash or oak are ideal for wood burning stoves. Well-seasoned hardwood logs burn slowly and efficiently. Softwoods have the advantage of being easier to light and may also be cheaper if you are buying logs from a local supplier.

Learn the techniques

Owners of wood burning stoves should take the time to learn the most efficient way of using their stove. Leaving a layer of ash is usually advisable, and allowing logs to burn down to the embers before replenishing the fire is also a way of ensuring that the stove retains a steady temperature.

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