On May 1st new government regulations came into force that restricts the types of fuel you can burn at home. We welcome DEFRA’s announcement, that going forward, only fuels that reduce air pollution can be burned in stoves and open fires in the domestic setting. That means coal and wet wood are no longer allowed to be used. Charnwood fully support this change and have long been producing exceptionally high-performance stoves already designed to run on approved wood-burning stove fuel.
The Best Wood-Burning Stove Fuel Options
This is wood that has been stored and allowed to dry until the moisture content has reduced to 20% or less. Freshly cut or ‘green wood’ holds around 60% water which causes far more smoke to be produced. It is for this reason we have long stressed the importance of using seasoned wood because it produces a significantly cleaner burn – reducing emissions by up to 50%. Additionally, improved efficiency equals cheaper running costs, while a cleaner fuel means your stove and chimney will require less maintenance. It’s win-win.
How to season wood in 4 Steps
1/ Split wood into logs in a size to suit your stove no larger than 15cm (6”) in diameter.
2/ Stack the wood in a place that gets plenty of sun and allows the wind and air to circulate. To avoid injury from falling logs, never stack above head height.
3/ Cover the stack to protect it from rain and snow. Make sure to cover the top and if you cover the sides as well, make sure the air can get in and that moisture is not getting trapped.
4/ Store the wood for 18-24 months, until the moisture content is below 20%. Test this with a moisture metre.
Different species of wood have varying qualities that effect their wood burning capability. We have compiled a useful chart with more information.
Kiln dried wood
Another fuel that is DEFRA approved is kiln dried wood that is cut, split, and then dried in large ovens. This speeds up the drying process and means that there is always readily available fuel for your stove if your supply is short. Look out for the Woodsure Ready to Burn label which guarantees a moisture content of 20% or less.
While choosing the right wood to burn is important, having an efficient stove is also key. Most of the stoves we sell are Ecodesign Ready and our Island Stove is one of the very cleanest on the market.
Charnwood are proud to have stoves certified in the inaugural ClearSkies listing, an independent emissions and energy performance certification mark for stoves. Many Charnwood products carry a level 5 certification (the highest available rating) which guarantees performance levels exceed the minimum Ecodesign criteria by a sizable 30%. This is only awarded to stoves that significantly reduce particle emissions while ensuring high efficiencies and a superior flame picture.
We hope you embrace these new regulations and continue to enjoy the wonderful wood-burning experience with the knowledge that you are helping reduce pollution levels. Additionally, due to the carbon-neutral benefits of wood-burning, you are helping to significantly reduce CO2 levels and contributing to the fight against global warming.
Increasingly people are turning to wood-burning stoves to create warm, comforting, and restorative spaces — hugely beneficial at the best of times, but particularly during this period. A wood-burning stove can be the beating heart of a happy household, a focal point to gather round and converse or sit silently while absorbing the hypnotic and healing power of glowing flames. In this blog we will look at how carefully considered fireside accessories can be wonderful furnishings in their own right and enhance the fireside experience even further.
A Fresh Coat of Paint
Whether you want to match your stove’s colour to your latest renovation project or simply give your stove a touch up, we offer cans of our high temperature stove paint in the 8 Charnwood colour options. Designed for easy application, they are a simple yet brilliant way to give your stove and space a new lease of life.
Vlaze is a unique material, both in its capacity to resist heat and protect, but also with the aesthetic potential it offers. It is well proven as a fireside accessory, with exceptional durability and thermal resistant properties. Vlaze is colour-fast, allows for printed graphics and offers limitless scope for design. With unrivalled heat resistant and anti-static properties, a Vlaze panelled surface will stay looking clean and sharp.
The design of this heat shield is one of 30 finishes that allows you to add real character and satisfy your aesthetic impulses.
The vitreous enamel panel features a dual skin that provides thermal protection and an effective convection system that distributes heat back into the room.
Our rail mounted system included allows for quick and easy installation and when installed the shield reduces the stoves distance to the face of the panel to 95mm. In the case of a Charnwood stove this is reduced to just 75mm which is a vast improvement on HETAS regulations and really allows you to maximise the size of your space.
Vlaze Insert Surrounds
The designer finish of this stunning insert surround adds so much to the look and feel of the space. A beautiful backdrop to your wood-burning stove, whether the flames are flickering or not. Made to measure in one piece to fit around any insert stove, preventing cracking and discolouration on the chimney breast. They feature a slim 9mm radius edge insulated with fire rated fibre board, minimising intrusion into your space, supplying a neat and elegant finish.
Vlaze Hearth and Chamber Plates
We love this Forest Design hearth and chamber plate. This contemporary design offers a clean, modern platform on which to stand your stove. An excellent alternative to glass or polished stone they can be used on their own or alongside our heat shields and insert surrounds for a seamless floor to wall solution.
The smooth gloss surface finish is heat resistant, easy to clean and is available in over 30 colours & designer finishes. Each hearth features a smooth radius edge and is insulated with fire rated fibre board to take the heat and weight of the stove.
Our hearth plates are available in 5 sizes which is suitable for most stoves and are constructed to a solid 12mm depth which conforms to UK building regulations for non constructional hearths.
The beautiful range of Bodj fireside accessories above are a perfect complement to your fireplace. The minimalist, elegant lines married to high-quality natural materials, create fireplace furnishings that add style and sophistication.
Bodj is a fair-trade initiative that aims to develop local Cambodian businesses in order to relieve poverty and improve social and environmental conditions for the future. They produce a range of sustainably sourced, beautifully designed fireside accessories for the ethical and style-conscious home.
Having the perfect fireplace at the heart of the home involves careful consideration of all aspects of the process. A beautiful stove is unquestionably the most crucial element, however choosing the right accessories can have a significant impact on performance and your personal satisfaction.
At Charnwood we feel strongly about caring for the environment. We consider design, packaging, transportation, the materials we use and how we handle them, all with a view to being as environmentally friendly as possible. With far better eco credentials than oil, coal or gas, a wood-burning stove is an opportunity to make a positive environmental impact. However, to maximise this, it’s important to use your stove the right way.
Whether you are a new owner or eagerly awaiting your new order’s arrival, it’s wise to do a little research before lighting your first fire – however tempting it may be to strike that first match! In this blog we will discuss the essential stove tips that will give you a significant head start on your journey into the wonderful world of wood-burning — enabling you to optimise your stove for both the environment and your personal satisfaction.
Choosing your wood
A key factor in creating that warm, cosy fire is the choice of wood you burn. Charnwood stoves are designed to run on seasoned or kiln-dried wood with a moisture content of less than 20%. This is important because it produces a significantly cleaner and more efficient burn.
Hardwoods such as ash, birch, beech, or oak are renowned for burning hot, clean and for longer periods. Softwoods such as fir, pine and sycamore can be used but will burn faster with moderate heat output. Freshly cut logs generally contain over 60% water and should be dried for 18-24 months before the wood is ready to burn. Here is a useful chart that gives more detail about different species and their various qualities.
There are four key stages to seasoning wood
SPLIT wood into logs in a size to suit your stove no larger than 15cm (6”) in diameter. Split some smaller pieces to use as kindling.
STACK the wood in a place that gets plenty of sun and wind. A pile of wood may rot before it has time to season, so make sure the logs are stacked in a way that allows air to circulate. Ideally, keep the stack off the ground and away from the house. Never stack logs above head height to prevent injury from falling logs.
COVER the stack to protect it from rain and snow. You can cover just the top, or the sides as well – just make sure the air can get in and that moisture isn’t getting trapped.
STORE the wood for 18-24 months or until the moisture content is below 20% (you can test this with a moisture metre). It’s a good idea to bring wood inside two or three days before you intend to burn it to make sure it’s properly dried out and ready to use.
Kiln dried wood
This is another widely available alternative and an excellent choice! The wood is cut, split and dried in large ovens, which speeds up the seasoning process. Look out for the Woodsure Ready to Burn label which guarantees a moisture content of 20 % or less.
What not to burn
If you are a new owner, it’s tempting to burn almost anything you can get your hands on, however for environmental and health reasons we strongly recommended against this. What to avoid requires a certain amount of common sense as the list is long, but here are a few key ones to be mindful of.
-Plywood offcuts, chipboard and MDF are not advised due to the glues used to make them.
-Avoid old/recovered wood that has been treated or old painted wood as these can be toxic.
-Do not burn rubbish.
-Printed papers are coated with chemicals and can cause troublesome ash deposits.
-Natural or synthetic fibres, such as fabric, burn too fast and can be toxic.
-Any solvents or chemicals and substrates potentially exposed to them.
Lighting your fire
Now you have the right wood for your needs, there are several stages you should know to building and lighting a successful fire in your stove. Following our four simple steps when making your fire will allow your stove to run at maximum efficiency and with minimum emissions.
1/ Clear the grate of ash then place 2-3 smaller logs on the stove bed. On top of this build a ‘Jenga style’ stack of 6-8 kindling sticks and place a natural fire lighter inside.
2/ Fully open the air control for maximum air intake and a quick and easy ignition. Light the fire lighter.
3/ Close the door but leave it slightly ajar. This helps to heat the chimney flue for a clean burn. Once the fire is burning well close the door and reduce the air control.
4/ Every time a log is added open the air control again until the fire is burning well and then return the air control to normal. Re-fuel little and often.
Maintain your stove
The winter months are when your wood burning stove will see the most use. Regular maintenance will ensure your stove burns safely and efficiently while giving you many years of service.
CLEAN THE GLASS
If soot accumulates on the stove glass, we offer an effective Atmosfire dry wiper for cleaning. For any stubborn stains you can use a stove glass cleaner or ceramic hob cleaner but avoid using any abrasive cleaning products.
CLEAN THE SURFACE
When it comes to cleaning the exterior surface of your stove and the surrounding area, you can’t go far wrong with a soft brush and a damp, lint free cloth. It is important you only clean your stove when it is unlit and cool to the touch.
EMPTY THE ASH PAN
When burning wood, it is helpful and effective to start your fire on a bed of wood ash but avoid letting the ash build up too much. When your stove is not in use empty out the ash pan and firebox completely.
INSPECT DOOR SEALS
Take the opportunity to regularly check the rope seals on the doors and around the flue to ensure your fire box is airtight and the doors close firmly. A well-sealed stove will burn much more efficiently and effectively.
A FRESH COAT OF PAINT
For a quick touch-up or a complete colour change we offer cans of our high temperature stove paint in the 8 Charnwood colour options. This is a simple yet brilliant way to give your stove a new lease of life.
It’s important to keep your flue clear of blockages and soot and we recommend you have your chimney swept at least once a year. A Charnwood stove is fitted with a drop-down throat plate allowing you to sweep through the appliance with minimum mess.
Enhance your stove experience
Charnwood offer a wide range of accessories designed to optimise the performance of your stove and enhance your fireside experience.
Available for most of our models this cast-iron plate replaces the blanking plate on a Charnwood stove where a rear outlet has been fitted to create a highly effectivehot plate for cooking. It comes complete with 4 trivets.
The perfect gift for any stove fanatic. Simply place the magnetic holder onto the stove top and suspend the fork in front of the glass. The fork and holder are made from stainless steel with a turned beech handle.
You can find our full range of accessories along with spare stove parts on our website charnwood.com.
Our sister company Bodj offer a beautiful range of fireside accessories which are a perfect complement to any fireplace. From elegant log baskets to the fireside tools needed to help maintain the daily glow and warmth emanating from you stove. It’s award winning design, handmade by experienced craftspeople, using sustainable and locally sourced materials.