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We have been eagerly anticipating the updated figures for PM 2.5 emissions from ‘domestic burning’ as we knew this should go a long way to settling the debate that has been raging on socials and in the wider media this winter. The reason all eyes are on this data is because it reflects a period of emissions that coincided with record stove sales. Therefore, if anti-wood-burning campaigners were right then a significant increase in PM2.5 should, logically, be observed. However, as reported by the SIA, Defra have finally released their figures and it is official: PM2.5 from domestic burning has DECREASED despite record wood-burning stove sales over the same period.

The release of the latest air pollution data by Defra shows an 18% reduction in PM2.5 emissions nationally between 2012 and 2022.

Particulate emissions from “domestic combustion” fell between 2021 and 2022 with a 3.9% reduction in PM10 and a 4% reduction in PM2.5 from “domestic combustion”. The latest data also shows that PM2.5 emissions from the domestic use of wood fuel specifically fell by 2.7%.

Chair of the SIA, Andy Hill, commented:

“SIA members reported annual sales of over 200k units in 2022, a 40% increase on 2021. This increase was driven by several factors including spiralling energy prices and increasing consumer apprehension regarding grid reliability. What is clear from the latest data is that, despite an increase in stove sales, domestic emissions have come down. This points clearly and conclusively to the improvement in air quality that can be achieved by replacing open fires and older stove models with modern, Ecodesign design compliant stoves such as clearSkies certified appliances.”

“The SIA looks forward to being able to apportion the numbers more accurately once the NAEI publishes the detailed source and activity name data that drives the top-level figures released by Defra. Last year this clearly showed that PM2.5 emissions from Ecodesign stoves burning dry wood fuel accounted for less than 0.1% of the UK total.”

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We are delighted this data finally confirms what we have been trying to communicate about the benefits offered by modern wood burning stoves. But rest assured, it is our full intention to go even further in reducing emissions. Through further investment and technological advances and extending our hand to those across the aisle to collaborate.

In one of our most recent blogs, we called upon those seeking to ban wood-burning to open constructive dialogue so that we can potentially work together to make even greater progress reducing emissions. The data is conclusive, and it’s time to come together and focus on the pragmatic changes that will move the needle further in the right direction.

Please read more here: Shared Goals, Cleaner Air: Reimagining The Wood Burning Debate With Healthy Dialogue & Believing The Best In Each Other

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Over the last few weeks there has been a lot of talk on wood burning centered around ‘No Burn Night’. 

As a stove manufacturer we certainly have a vested interest and have been pushing back on claims which we have felt to be unfair, misleading or untrue. Much of this debate has spilt over onto social media where it has often been less than savoury! Of course, we all know that social media is never the best place to have these in-depth discussions. 

Often in debates we tend to try and demonise our opposition, we try to (mis)represent their arguments on our terms, often to discredit their motives, and aim to crush them and be the victors of the argument. We saw this during the Brexit debate, on both sides, – issues were simplified, positions were demonised, mistruths were told, and it is probably fair to say from whatever perspective you come from, that the results have been a bit of a disaster. When it comes to the debate on air quality it is too important to allow this to happen. So, what if we take a different approach? What if we tried to believe the best in each other and the motivations behind what we are all trying to achieve?! 

There is a risk here – surely if we try and understand the other side, give them the benefit of the doubt even, won’t they take advantage and undermine our position further? Surely, the first rule of negotiation is to go in hard and then maybe meet in the middle. Well maybe, but what if we try to do things differently? Indeed, the prize is surely one worth having as this debate centers around an important issue: the environment and more specifically air quality. Something that we all believe is vitally important. 

What are the arguments on both sides?  
 

One of the first Charnwood stoves replacing a more polluting open fire 

In writing this, we are aware that we approach this from a position of vested interest, so let’s start with us. We manufacture, amongst other things, wood burning stoves and have done so for around 50 years. We employ around 180 people here on the Isle of Wight and export to around 20 countries. We are a family business and work with other small, often family-run businesses up and down the country who sell and install our stoves. We started making stoves because there was an oil crisis and at the end of the 1970s, Dutch Elm disease had killed many trees. This wood was often burnt on open fires, which was neither efficient or clean. That inspired the founders to start making stoves to burn the wood better. Over the years we have found ways to dramatically improve performance, so we get more heat and less smoke from the wood we burn. 

But why burn wood at all?  

Well, wood is a plentiful natural and renewable resource that reduces our reliance on fossil fuels. It has been used for heating and other things for millennia. Forest management is also vitally important – well-managed woodland is good for biodiversity and is lost if it is not managed well. We also see forest fires tragically result from not managing forests, such as those in California. 

Energy has, throughout history, been the key to power – the British empire was built on coal. Then came oil and we saw the rise of America, Russia and the Middle East. As we move into a low carbon economy, we see access to rare earth metals that make batteries as critical, and it is China who have taken the lead in this race. Those who control access to energy hold power. But wood is different and it’s plentiful which means it cannot be controlled by any large player. 
 

In this image a modern ultra-efficient Charnwood Island Stove has replaced an open fire

So, clearly, we think wood has many advantages. “Of course you do”, you might say! But we are also aware that to heat from wood it needs to be burnt, and burning things creates smoke. In the UK, traditionally it has been open fires which have been the primary method of heating, and it has always been our argument that burning on a stove is far better – more efficient and with significantly less emissions (3). Over the years we have continued to invest in equipment to keep improving even further.  

SO, what is the problem with wood? 

If we look at those that don’t like wood burning we hear a very different story. It is perhaps unfair of us to try and explain the opposite position, but notwithstanding our obvious bias, we will try and Steel Man their position: Wood when burnt produces, amongst other things PM2.5 – these are small particles that are not good for us and when breathed it can cause health problems. These health problems are hotly debated as the body will deal with a certain amount of PM2.5 (and different types) but it is claimed that it can cause respiratory disease, and even dementia. In fact, all types of burning will produce these particles to greater and lesser extents. The term PM2.5 describes the size of the particle rather than the composition, and its composition depends on what is being burnt. More research is needed to understand the relative toxicity of the different types of particles. If we take the position that there is no safe level of PM2.5 then logically it must follow that we should not burn things – and wood is included in this. 

What do anti-wood burners think of pro wood burners   

Again, this is difficult to answer and there are many views. But it is probably fair to say that they think we are an industry with vested interests whose desire to make money overrides the damage we do to the environment and air quality. Of course on a local and personal level if you are living next to someone who is creating a lot of smoke by burning wood badly, maybe on an open fire, old appliance, using bad wood or even unregulated burning outside it is really not pleasant and rightly this should be stopped.

What do pro-wood burning people think of anti-wood burners 

It is easier for us to answer this one! We often feel misrepresented and frustrated by the lack of distinction between different types of wood burning. Wood burnt on a stove will generally be much cleaner than that of wood burnt on an open fire or outdoor appliance. It is essential to differentiate between various forms of wood-burning. Chief Medical Advisor Chris Whitty in his report acknowledges this saying, “For air pollution emissions, there is substantial difference between the different open fire and stove designs, the age of the appliance and how well maintained it is, and the moisture content of the wood, for those who want to burn wood.”(2) 

We can often also feel aggrieved because for us (and some other stove companies) the reason we got into making stoves was to improve air quality and the environment. So, we feel as if we are being shoved out of our own party! We want to improve air quality by better burning, and we feel through misrepresentation we are frustrated in this mission. We strongly believe that we are at risk of seeing air quality worsen by not getting people to burn better.   

Ecodesign-compliant stoves are up to 90% more efficient than an open fire and in London 70% of wood burning still occurs on open fires. (1) If people were widely encouraged to switch to one of the many modern and efficient wood-burning stoves available, it would massively reduce urban PM 2.5 emissions. In fact, the latest wood-burning figures released by Defra appear to show this taking place across the country as reported by the SIA:  

“What is clear from the latest data is that, despite an increase in stove sales, domestic emissions have come down. This points clearly and conclusively to the improvement in air quality that can be achieved by replacing open fires and older stove models with modern, Ecodesign design compliant stoves such as clearSkies certified appliances.” (4)   

Finally, it must be said that on some fringes of our community, there is also a feeling that we are up against bigger powers (in much the same way that those who don’t like wood burning feel we have large commercial interests). We are in fact quite a small industry made up of a lot of small and medium-sized companies. There is often a feeling that the anti woodburning lobby is being funded by big players (perhaps fossil fuel companies) who have a vested interest in having control over energy. There is also a subset who feels that governments don’t like wood burning because they cannot tax it! 

Believe the best 

So, there is distrust on both sides – and although there may be good reason for some of it, we share the same motivation: we both want to improve air quality and the environment. Of course, we are taking different approaches towards this. Some want to ban burning, while in our company we want to improve it. But we mustn’t forget, during these debates, that our goal is the same – cleaner air!   

Can we work together?  

If we share the same goal can we help each other? Is the pragmatic approach mutually exclusive to the idealistic one? Is the idealistic path really threatened by the pragmatic one? Can we work together? 

Could we think of it as more of a relay race where the goal is clean air? To get there we all need to work together to get the biggest improvements first and then keep improving. For our industry it means using technology to keep improving stoves, it means working constructively with legislators to implement meaningful and challenging standards which are enforceable and actually make a difference. We need to be really honest about where this is not happening and be prepared to take tough decisions. For those whose goal is to see all burning banned it might mean first putting their efforts into stopping the worst kind of burning – unregulated indoor and outdoor burning. Difficult conversations need to be had; goodwill needs to be shown on both sides, we may not agree on everything but we share the same goal and we can support each other in those things we do agree on. The prize is worth it, so let’s choose to believe the best in each other and together make a difference!

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Further reading that explains in more detail why we strongly feel a collaborative approach is required: 

https://www.charnwood.com/news/wood-burning-stoves-co-heating-future-a-nuanced-look-at-pm-25-emissions/ 

https://www.charnwood.com/news/wellbeing-benefits-log-burners/ 

https://www.charnwood.com/news/harnessing-the-power-of-wood-fuel-a-sustainable-approach-to-home-heating/ 

 

References: 

(1)https://www.clearskiesmark.org/about-us/certification-system-explained/ 

(2)https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1124738/chief-medical-officers-annual-report-air-pollution-dec-2022.pdf 

(3)https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/summary-results-of-the-domestic-wood-use-survey 

(4) https://stoveindustryalliance.com/wood-burning-emissions-decrease-in-record-year-for-stove-sales/ 

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Whilst the notion that a colder winter follows a hot summer isn’t necessarily supported by science, it’s smart to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. With temperature records recently broken and weather impossible to predict, who is going to bet against it being a particularly chilly winter?!

With talk of gas and electricity prices rising significantly from October, it is understandable to feel somewhat alarmed. Rather than just feeling a sense of helplessness, we will discuss some tips for how stove owners can be proactive and soften the effects of the cost-of-living crisis. After all, the trusty wood-burner helped many homeowners through the oil crisis of the 1970s, and we’ll show you why it can still be relied upon more than ever in 2022.

Read on to get some stove owner tips (for all budgets) to help prepare for the winter energy crisis.

 

Get winter ready now!

Whether you’ve owned a stove for several years or are still considering buying one, it makes sense to start your preparations now. During the summer months, demand for stoves and spare parts, as well as stove installers and chimney cleaning services, reduces slightly and can make the process easier and sometimes a little cheaper.

 

Wood-stove owner tips to prepare for winter:

 

Clean your chimney and service your stove

We recommend an annual service for your chimney and stove. This ensures optimum performance and safety, meaning you are burning wood efficiently/cost effectively and avoid potential (expensive) problems down the line. We recommend speaking with your local dealer or installer about organising an annual service.

Explore how to clean your wood-burning stove!

 

Buy a great value & highly efficient stove

The Charnwood Country 4 Blu is fantastic value and a great long-term investment suitable for most homes. While the Country 4 is the smallest model in the Country collection, it still incorporates the ingenious features of the larger stoves and is exceptionally fuel efficient.

The Country 4 takes a decent sized log length of 332mm (13”) and has a rated output of 5kW and can be installed in certain situations without the need for external air – this is ideal for most sizable family rooms.

 

Fix up your existing stove

If you can’t afford a new stove, then the spares site could be just the solution to give your existing stove a new lease of life! We still recommend everyone upgrade to one of our new ultra-efficient stoves as soon as possible, but for those who are currently struggling financially, we hope the spares shop can help tide you over.

 

Heat Shields

Protect your home and benefit from redirecting your stove’s heat back into the heart of the room, further improving efficiency. Vlaze, our sister company, offer the original and best heat shields on the market. Check out our broad range of heatshields!

Source your wood early

Demand for wood has skyrocketed recently and this may have knock-on effects. It is prudent to source your wood from a local supplier now, so that you are winter ready and avoid any potential price rises as we approach the colder months.

 

Reduce your fuel bill – free sources of wood for your log burner!

1. Fallen trees

After a storm, fallen trees and branches become available which, with permission, you can collect, dry out/season, and use for firewood.

2. Industrial off-cuts

Woodworkers, sawmills, and joiners near to your home are worth contacting to find out if they ever have any off-cuts of untreated wood that they need to get rid of.

3. Freecycle

People often advertise free wood on sites like Gumtree and Freecycle for those who are happy to collect it.

Wherever you source your wood from, it must be untreated and free from paint, finishes or other potentially harmful substances. Also, check wood with a moisture meter and do not burn it unless it has a moisture content of less than 20%. This reduces harmful emissions and will increase the lifespan of your stove. For a list of the best types of firewood check out our Firewood chart.

Explore more on how wood is a sustainable fuel.

Save energy by cooking and heating at the same time

As well as heating your home you can save energy by cooking on your stove at the same time!

For some recipes, our blog has some great ideas…

Four things to cook on a stove top

If you want to take your stove cooking to the next level, keep your eyes peeled for our autumn stove release. The Charnwood Haven is a brand-new compact wood-burning cooker to celebrate Charnwood’s 50 years in business.

It has the functional charm of a rustic range cooker, but with all our clean burn technology included. It provides a 6kw output and comes equipped with a well-sized oven and large hot plate enabling you to cook with a wide array of pots, pans, and trivets. The integrated thermometer allows for greater temperature control and cooking accuracy. We are all excited by this one!

Also explore how to prepare your wood-burning stove for winter.

 

Fuel/Energy independence = Positive wellbeing!

Another significant reason to get a wood-burning stove is to protect yourself from fuel supply disruptions. Whether it is the result of a localised storm or wider national disruption, it is extremely reassuring to know that you can warm your home and cook food for the family with your trusty stove!

Here are some customer responses to our Wellbeing Survey in relation to owning a stove:

“We love our log burner. It makes us feel warm, safe and secure. It helps heat the whole house, which has proved an asset in power cuts. Nothing beats sitting in the living room with the warmth of the fire in the depths of winter.”

“Lighting the stove after a walk by the sea during winter is a joyful experience. Has helped to alleviate the worry of power failures as we live in an area prone to electricity outage during bad weather. Just knowing that we have our lovely stove for independent heat and low light is fab.”

“Back up for central heating given no of power outages,”

“As an electric only house, we wanted a plan b during a power cut to heat the home”

“more efficient than previous coal fire and, in extremis, if gas supply fails or is too expensive, will provide warmth.”

“Having a wood burner means I am less vulnerable in power cuts. I can still have heating, boil a kettle, cook food if I need to.”

The peace of mind our customers get from knowing, whatever the weather or economic or political climate, they can access fuel locally to heat their home is huge.

Explore other wellbeing benefits of owning a log burner!

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We believe our products can contribute positively towards combating the environmental and cost of living challenges we face. Therefore, we are passionate about sharing ideas to be proactive and turn anxiety and uncertainty into confidence and optimism. We hope you will consider sharing this article with someone you think might benefit from reading it.

 

Why Choose Us?

Charnwood Stoves stands out as your trusted partner during the winter energy crisis. Our wood stoves are meticulously crafted to offer optimal efficiency and warmth, ensuring you stay comfortable while minimising energy consumption. With a commitment to sustainability, our team prioritise eco-friendly solutions that help combat climate change.

Choose Charnwood for reliable performance, innovative design, and a dedication to reducing your carbon footprint. Join us in creating a greener, more sustainable future without compromising on comfort or quality.

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The next in a series of essays by Charmain Ponnuthurai explores the importance of real fire in a modern world.

Sometimes we don’t, as the classic saying goes, see the wood for the trees. The argument against wood fires has reached this territory, and there is the danger that any understanding becomes lost in a forest of soundbites and clickbait headlines. Each side of the argument of course has biases towards their own interests, and there are, of course, holes in both. However, with the question of peoples’ wellbeing at stake, it is in everyone’s interests to ensure that we are considering all angles and understanding how serious the holes are.

We understand more than ever that physical and mental health do not stand in isolation from each other: instead they feed into one another in a symbiotic relationship. According to Cell Biologist Dr Bruce Lipton, our subconscious is the most potentially harmful component to our overall health, as without an understanding of our subconscious needs and desires, we cannot change our outside circumstances to match. The most harmful action towards our cells, according to Dr Lipton, is our ability to de-program the learnt behaviours from ages one to seven that determine how we react to 95% of dealing with daily life. This stagnation means we are not in touch with ourselves and fail to follow the much simple advice by all spiritual teachings, ‘of being in the moment’.

Technology has irrevocably changed the lives of all of us: we have a constant bombardment of information and data thrown at us, a stream that doesn’t even pause as we walk down the street, or take a journey on a train. We are constantly locked into our phones. This has resulted in an increased sense of anxiety both just when we speak to each other but from the data itself. Endless stimulation is a hard drug to unwind from. The majority of us spend our days behind a screen, on a phone and or talking on zoom calls, rather than meeting each other face to face, compounding the sense of anxiety we all at times share. One of the best ways to relax, then, is to find ways to be still and understand what is determining our actions, through daily rituals such as cooking. As we found in the Charnwood survey, which sampled over 1,200 people, many found solace in their woodburning stoves. The majority of participants in the survey said the most important use of their stove was the sense of wellbeing it brought them. The naturalness and sense of calm of seeing the element of fire and watching the flickering of a flame is something we can all relate to, whether that be from candlelight or a campfire.

It is important, however, to consider how we may use our stoves in the most healthy and environmentally efficient way. We must first consider the difference between efficient stoves and other forms of indoor fire. In the World Health Organisation report on Household Air Pollution it specifically lists that open fires and inefficient stoves, “generates harmful household air pollutionClick here to read more

At Charnwood, our central and ongoing commitment is to efficiency and the environment, to allow you to experience the maximum positive wellbeing effects, without compromising your physical health, or risking damage to your natural surroundings. We ensure efficiency by a constant refinement of the wood-burning process and technology, incorporated within our Eco Design. The key feature is our Quattroflow® Air Management System. You can read more about this here.

Our stoves are designed to run on seasoned or kiln-dried wood. It is very important that the logs you burn have a moisture content of less than 20%.

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.

Split wood into logs to a size to suit your stove’s firebox. 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%. 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 is another widely available alternative. 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.

The broader medical understanding we now have of the importance of the link between the body and mind for overall well being reminds us that in order to manage the stress of modern daily life, we need simple rituals that take us back to nature and ourselves. Lighting a fire is one simple beginning, Chef & co-founder of Acme Fire Cult says, “without fire we would never have evolved from having fur”. As long as you follow our tips to ensure your fire is as environmentally and human health friendly as possible, it is sure to work wonders for your physical and mental health.
 

Lighting your fire

Follow our four simple steps when making your fire. By running your stove in

this way you will achieve maximum efficiency with minimum emissions.

● Place 2-3 smaller logs on the stove bed. On top of this build a Jenga

stack of 6-8 kindling sticks and place a natural fire lighter inside

● 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.

● Fully open the air control for maximum air intake and a quick and easy

ignition. Light the fire lighter.

● 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 Charnwood 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 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 Charnwood 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 air

tight and the doors close firmly. A well sealed stove will burn much

more efficiently and effectively.

Sweep Frequently -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. Your Charnwood stove is fitted with a dropdown

throat plate allowing you to sweep through the appliance with

minimum mess.

Read more about the argument surrounding wood fires and why there is more to the story

” Therefore see whether the light that is in you isn’t darkness. If therefore your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly full of light, as when the lamp with its bright shining gives you light.”

Luke 11:34–36

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The SIA have written a fantastic blog to address the anti-woodburner’s misleading, ambiguous and, in some cases, untrue media campaign. It was released in time for Clean Air Night to give consumers a chance to get both sides of the story. Here we will share the key information as we want to amplify their important voice in this ongoing debate.
 

The claims made here by the London Wood Burning Project (above left) and cleanairhub.org.uk (above right) rely on the grouping of all methods of burning wood (including garden bonfires & firepits) at home. However, the data from the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (NAEI) shows us that burning dry wood on an Ecodesign compliant stove accounted for less than 0.1% of total UK PM2.5 emissions in 2021.

Modern stoves offer a range of benefits and you can get both sides of the story and learn more about that here.

Just like the posts above, the term ‘wood burning’ in this post (below) is deliberately ambiguous and takes no account of the type of appliance or quality of the wood fuel.
 

There is reliable evidence that using dry wood and other sustainable solid fuels can help consumers reduce their home heating bills. A recent study by Gemserve for Homefire found that households with gas central heating that adopt zonal heating using dry wood fuel could save up to 7% on their annual heating bill and up to 11% using smokeless solid fuel in the same way.

The same study also found that using renewable, sustainably sourced wood fuel instead of fossil fuel gas results in typical carbon savings of over half a tonne of CO2e / year.

You can read more about this study here
 

The claim (above) that a wood burning stove is six times more polluting than an HGV is hugely misleading.

The claim is based on a report by the European Environmental Bureau published in 2022 that looks at the amount of emissions given off by generating a GJ of heat in a stove compared to the emissions releases generating a GJ of power in an HGV.

The claims made by the study rely on a simplistic calculation using permitted rates of emission. The study also fails to factor in the non-exhaust emissions of the HGV.

What we end up with is an apples and oranges comparison that fails to consider the impact of real-world use. According to a 2020 Defra report, on average stove users light their stoves for between 3.7 and 4.5 hours a day during the winter months. An HGV can be driven by the same driver for up to 9 hours per day, and the vehicle potentially operates 24/7 up to 365 days a year.

This means that over the course of 1 week’s real-world use a Euro 6 HGV actually produces 13 times more PM2.5 (271g) than an Ecodesign stove (20.16g). You can read more on this comparison here.
 

This claim (above) by campaign group Mums for Lungs is ambiguous and relies on the reader not seeking any further information on the data.

The data from the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (NAEI) which breaks down UK PM2.5 emissions by activity and source, shows us that in 2021 cigarette smoking accounted for 12 times more PM2.5 in the UK than burning dry wood on an Ecodesign compliant stove did.

Some of the adverts by the cleanairhub.org.uk, part of Global Action Plan, in support of Clean Air Night even contain false claims (see below).
 

This is one example. Contrary to the information given in this post, wood logs have the lowest carbon emission factor of any domestic heating fuel at 0.01kg CO2e per kWh. That’s 1/20th the carbon emissions of natural gas or electricity, and 1/29th that of oil.

Burning dry wood is a modern, Ecodesign compliant stove is a low carbon way to heat you home and can play a key role in helping the UK to meet its net zero objectives.

You can find out more about the benefits of choosing modern stoves here.
 

This statement (above) is false. Woodland management is needed to ensure healthy forests and the ecosystems they support.

Wood fuel is a key component of the woodland management cycle and the economies attached to it. Using wood as fuel also plays a vital role in maintaining woodland diversity, health, and resilience. Locally sourced wood fuel helps support small businesses and reduces the carbon footprint of fuel transport.

You can learn more about the importance of woodland management here
 

This is another misleading statement (above) and one which is actually disproved by the findings of a recent Imperial College study which found that a “clearSkies Level 5 stove demonstrated some benefits for indoor air quality” and that “the biggest increases in PM2.5 concentrations indoors did not relate to indoor wood or solid-fuel burning but instead were a result of cooking…”.

A literature review by commissioned by the SIA and carried out by the University of Manchester found no scientific evidence for adverse health impacts from exposure to the indoor air typically associated with modern, enclosed wood burning stoves.

You can read more about this here

And lastly for something positive. We could not agree more with this post and there are significant reductions (up to 90%) possible in the emissions created by domestic burning by switching from open fires and older stoves to modern, Ecodesign compliant stoves.
 

The SIA encourages all solid fuel stove users to educate themselves on the importance of:

Using the right appliance – if you use an open fire or an older stove it is time to upgrade. A modern Ecodesign compliant stove releases up to 90% less emissions than an open fire and up to 80% less than many older stoves.

Ensuring your stove is fitted by an appropriately qualified competent person e.g. HETAS or OFTEC registered.

Always use good quality fuel. Look for the Ready to Burn logo and never use chemically treated wood or burn waste on your stove.

Get your stove serviced and your chimney swept at least once a year. We recommend NVQ qualified sweeps for this.

You can download this page as a PDF here.

These blogs by SIA members are also well worth a read:

Charnwood Stoves

Certainly Wood

Charlton & Jenrick

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A negative narrative is being unfairly manufactured around the wood-burning stove industry, by anti-woodburning groups such as the ‘London Wood Burning Project’ and ‘Clean Air Hub’.

The TRUTH is that UK PM 2.5 emissions have been steadily decreasing over the years despite record stove sales. In this blog, we summarise the flawed data and unfair generalisations anti-woodburning groups are using.

1/ What do they mean by ‘Wood-Burner’ & ‘Domestic Burning’?

They combine emission sources (Inefficient Old Stoves, Open Fires, Bonfires and Modern Ultra Efficient Stoves) to create a bigger more impactful number, and then claim 17% of London’s emissions come from ‘domestic wood burning’ or ‘wood burners’. Catch-all terms the public understandably associates most often with wood-burning stoves – especially because they create ad campaigns prominently featuring images of wood stoves. However, the actual contribution of modern wood-burning stoves is estimated by the UK government’s official figures at just 1-2%! (1)

2/ They use Weak Science & Manipulate Data

Imprecise methodology

Their data collection relies heavily on estimations and ambient air sampling, offering a blurry picture at best. Traffic, construction, industrial processes and even natural dust all contribute to PM2.5 and cannot reliably be controlled in their methodology.
 

(Pg.20 of the LWBP report)

Walking around with modified backpacks does not allow them to distinguish in any way what the source of PM2.5 is in a given area.

Small sample sizes and insufficient testing equipment.

One of the major studies often cited, is by Rohit Chakraborty et al, and based on a sample size of just 19 homes that took measurements using, as they admit, “low-cost air quality monitors” (7)

Manipulated data

They exclude critical data to stack the narrative against wood-burning stoves. For example, comparing the emission rates between wood stoves and HGVs has caused unnecessary concern.

Closer inspection revealed their data excluded brake and engine wear and in fact, just one Euro 6 HGV produces 13 times more PM2.5 emissions than an Ecodesign wood-burning stove over the course of a week’s real-world use. Furthermore, emissions from HGVs are emitted at ground level (nearer head height) while wood smoke is dispersed more safely, higher up via a chimney flue. (8)

3/Claims Based on Their Opinion NOT Fact

In the bottom left-hand corner of every page of the London Wood Burning Project report you can see the following disclaimer:

“This report is the independent expert opinion of the author(s)”

Firstly, anyone can claim to be an expert, however, the key word here is ‘opinion’.

Well, the SIA has commissioned extensive independent research which casts serious doubt on the estimations and ‘opinions’ provided by anti-woodburners (6)

We highly encourage you to read this report undertaken by Dr Amanda Lea-Langton, senior lecturer in Bioenergy Engineering at the University of Manchester:

https://stoveindustryalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/22-04-11-Indoor-air-final-V5-AL.pdf

4/ The Official Data is POSITIVE!

 

At the time of writing the original blog post (11/01/2024) on a very cold winter’s day when wood stove usage would typically be higher, here is the PM2.5 picture for the UK taken from DEFRA’s official website.

So, when the anti-woodburners say 17% of emissions. It is 17% of a very low amount in the first place. Then, remember modern wood-burning stoves are just 1-2% of that low amount.

5/ Modern Stoves Equal Lower Emissions with HUGE Benefits

-They produce heat reliably for sustained periods and are unaffected by the weather.

-Allowing them to work in tandem with wind, solar and other green heating solutions. A stove makes these great technologies more viable – They are not in competition with each other.

-Energy Security – a wood-burning stove is an ideal emergency/low-frequency heat source.

-Wood stoves are essential for off-grid, sustainable, eco-friendly living. Perfect for yurts and other tiny home accommodations.

-Wood is a carbon-neutral fuel as it gives off the same amount of carbon whether it is burnt or decays naturally. The carbon released from burning wood is balanced out by the carbon absorbed by the tree during its lifetime.

-Wood fuel can be sourced locally without fracking and deep-sea oil drilling.

-A good quality stove can last many decades and provide an affordable source of heat for low-income households.

-The right to repair. The majority of components used within a Charnwood stove are modular and can be replaced when or if they wear out further extending the life of your stove.

-There are significant well-being benefits from using a wood-burning stove. Read about the Charnwood wellbeing survey and all the amazing benefits of owning a stove for your wellbeing.

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For more information check out the main article:  

Smoke And Mirrors: Exposing The Flawed Data Behind The War On Wood Stoves 

& 

Wood-Burning Stove’s Co-Heating Future (A Nuanced Look At PM 2.5 Emissions)   

 

 

charnwoodstoves

This blog is a review and closer look at the results of the Charnwood Stove Accessory Survey 2022. A survey of over 1000 wood-burning stove users with the aim of better understanding stove accessory preferences and usage.

We were delighted to receive such an incredible response from our engaged wood-stove community. From discovering the most popular stove accessory to users’ other must-haves and how easy people find them to use – many interesting and useful insights were gained!

Read on to learn about the Charnwood Stove Accessory Survey and the other top wood-burning stove accessories!

The results

A woodstove is a wonderful addition to the home. Those of you who are new owners will be starting to notice how much more you are enjoying the colder evenings than before. What you will also notice is the ritual of building and maintaining a fire is much easier with the right tools.

The answers to the following questions will provide some ideas about which stove accessories you should consider next!

What is the most popular wood-burning stove accessory?

The results in the graph above show that the trusty Stove Pipe Thermometer is the most popular wood-burning stove accessory with 29% of the vote. 99% of respondents also found it easy to use.

Stove Pipe Thermometer

It’s perhaps no surprise that the trusty Stove (Flue) Pipe Thermometer is the favourite accessory of stove users. It is a crucial tool for conscientious wood stove users who prioritise safety and efficiency.

The ideal wood burning temperature range is between 140 and 240 degrees Celsius (284 to 464 degrees Fahrenheit) which avoids damage to the stove and a potential fire hazard from creosote buildup.

How to adjust the fire temperature?

To reach a sufficient temperature, ensure a good draft, use seasoned wood and build the fire correctly ensuring your fire burns hot enough. To reduce the temperature of your fire when in use, you can close the air vents.

Which of the following do you consider ‘Must Have’ stove accessories?

Here are some quotes from survey participants relating to the top 7 ‘Must-Have’ stove accessories.

Log Storage/Basket

“Having a full wood basket during these crazy days makes me feel safe and secure, whatever happens I know I have heat and hot water and light.”

“Keeps all the logs tidy and looks great beside the stove. Also useful for carrying in logs from the store outside!”

“Add to the aesthetics of the fireplace and is obviously useful for keeping wood supplies topped up.”

“It reminds me of my grandparents’ days as they always had one. It also keeps all my logs safe and tidy away from the children.”

“A good quality basket enhances the look of the stove as well as being practical.”

“My log basket really enhances both the look and the “feel” of my log burner.”

“Keeps my living room very tidy. Really neat and elegant looking item. Sturdy and robust”

“Looks great and saves having to leave the room/ go outside for logs.”

“It adds to the ambient feeling of the room when partially or fully loaded but I suppose more importantly it stops me from having to pop outside too frequently to get more logs, thus letting me enjoy the fire uninterrupted.”

“It saves us fighting about who is going to get more logs when it’s cold!”

For a full range of log holder storage click here!

Stove Pipe Thermometer

“Ensures I always know the temperature my stove is at as to whether I need to add more fuel or calm it down.”

“Makes it so much easier to see if my fire is working at optimum temperature and if I need to adjust amount of wood/air flow.”

“Because it allows us to check whether we are burning at too hot a temperature or too cool. We use both hardwood and softwoods so it would be difficult to know without this vital tool.”

“It means that I always burn my logs in the most economical and environmentally friendly way.”

“I hadn’t realised just how hot the stove gets at full output making this an essential piece of it when topping it up with firewood.”

“It allows me to regulate my stove temperature to maximise the life of the stove and have efficient burning of my wood”

“Ensures the fire is hot enough to keep down the accumulation of creosote. Wouldn’t be without it!”

“I constantly use it to check that the stove is burning in its optimum range for efficiency and to prevent damage and tarring.”

“Invaluable, the little thermometer lets me know when the fire is at optimal temperature and I can then maintain that temperature throughout operation. Probably helps conserve wood too, a great bit of kit.”

“Just gives you so much information in regards to heat output from different fuel types, different wood species, hard woods, softer woods. It really allows you to dial in the stove to get the best from it.”

“This provides us with an idea of how well the stove is burning. For example, over the last two years we have been testing wood purchased from sellers and our own seasoned wood and the stove pipe thermometer gives us a real measure of the heat output (even though most of the time, we can tell the difference ourselves based on how nice the room feels). It also helps us regulate the flu for optimal burn. We learned a lot using the stove pipe thermometer about our stove and the wood we burn.”

“It reassures me that I have the right burn, low emissions and great heat output.”

“As an engineer I love indisputable visual indication of when things are operating correctly! Such a simple device and has definitely altered how we ‘set’ our stove.”

You can get a Charnwood Stove Pipe Thermometer here!

Stove Gloves

“Without them it would be very difficult and dangerous to use the burner”

“Only burn your fingers once to realise they are useful!!!”

“Provides confidence in 100% protection when refueling the stove.”

“Really effective and protects hands while loading logs”

“Just love them, total safety when loading the stove”

“Because it stops me blistering my hands.”

“Offers safety when handling logs, opening & closing stove and promotes attention to avoiding burns.”

“Makes me feel safe when stove has become very hot”

“They just make life so much easier handling logs and placing logs in the stove. No splinters or burns!”

Watch this space – Charnwood stove gloves are on the way!

Dustpan & Brush

“It makes emptying the stove so much easier and cleaner, the house is relatively dust free after clearing.”

“It helps to keep the room relatively dust free”

“Keeping the hearth clean and tidy stops ash and debris, from the stove and wood pile underneath it, from spreading to the floor and messing up the room.”

“Whenever the stove is used it is necessary to clean up small amounts of ash that fall out. The brush and pan are thus used very frequently.”

“The dustpan & brush makes removing the Ash so much easier, our charnwood is used every day from October to February so we collect a lot of Ash which we use as compost. We have other accessories but they don’t see as much use as the pan & brush.”

Poker

“An absolute must have accessory to reposition burning logs and coal.”

“Can re-arrange wood in the stove when going, safely.”

“Brilliant for getting fire going”

“I like poking the fire! Breaking it down to a bed of hot burning wood so I can get more fuel in!”

“I can poke the logs to get maximum burn.”

“Great to look at, well made and does the job perfectly.”

“You can move the logs about to create space and so regulate heat a bit better.”

“It’s so satisfying prodding at red hot embers on a freezing cold evening and feeling the heat on your face”.

“Great quality and have stood the test of time with good amount of use. Quality product.”

“We have a wrought-iron poker made by a friend from years ago..handle in the shape of a hare’s head..love it, wasn’t cheap but a real beauty.”

“Simple basic tool allowing rearranging of fuel to ensure even burning and helping keep glass door clean.”

“Get the fire going. Can push the logs back into the fire so they burn probably.”

Our sister company Bodj offer a beautifully hand-crafted blow poker. Click here for more information!

Ash bin/carrier

“Easy to use. Metal. Compact. Stops dust flying around. Carry handle is useful.”

“Great 4 carrying ashes out on a windy day.”

“Ease of use in keeping ash contained and not flying all over the place.”

“Allows dust free disposal of ash.”

“I have two Charnwood stoves. One has the ash bin/carrier and the other doesn’t. It’s SO difficult to get the ash out of the stove that doesn’t have the ash bin/carrier.”

“It is a safe and clean way of dealing with the only downside to a log burner, the ash.”

“Ease of emptying.”

“Makes it easy to empty ashes no fear of dropping them all over the floor.”

“Makes it more convenient to remove ash over several days without having to fill smaller bin bags thus reducing plastic waste.”

“Easy to use with minimal dust released when moving around can hold at least 1 month’ worth of ash.”

“Simplifies the worst job – cleaning out the ashes and getting them to the bin without being covered in ash from head to foot in a gust of wind. Neat to store, fits the ashcan perfectly and contains the dust when you tip the ashes in.”

Charnwood ash carriers are available here.

Tongs

“Can’t beat a good solid pair of tongs for keeping away from the heat and flames, whilst topping up the stove.”

“I can position logs to maximum effectiveness.”

“It’s a really nice bit of blacksmithing, lovely rams head on the end.”

“Don’t get burnt and can place logs where you want them.”

“Handy for falling logs.”

“Fantastic for putting more wood in when the stove is really hot!”

“Looks rustic and very useful”

“Allows me to place logs where I want them in my stove, but it is also the most universal tool”

Hand forged tongs are available here.

Moisture Meter

Surprisingly only 23% of those surveyed own a moisture meter. We consider a moisture meter a must-have stove accessory to ensure wood is properly seasoned before burning and we urge you to get one!

It is very important to only burn wood with a moisture content of 20% or less. This will keep harmful emissions to a minimum and significantly improve efficiency, while protecting your stove and chimney – saving you money!

Look out for the Woodsure Ready to Burn label which guarantees a moisture content of 20% or less.

For a list of approved firewood sellers in your area click here.

Here are what some moisture meter owners had to say:

“I know I’m complying with byelaws and also prolonging the life of my Island 2 stove”

“Because I like to know that the logs I’m burning are dry and safe to use”

“Allows us to keep the stove clean by making sure we only burn the driest wood”

“This plus thermometer can’t really be replicated using non specialist tools.”

“It means I know when I can burn the wood that I’ve collected myself from the neighbourhood.”

“Vital for the whole seasoning process.”

“Especially Important given that the cost of kiln dried logs has doubled compared to this time last year!”

“I know I’m complying with byelaws and also prolonging the life of my Island 2 stove”

“Because it saves me burning wood which is too wet. Genuinely get a buzz when I ‘detect’ anything too moist on my meter!”

If you are seasoning your own wood, make sure you test it with a moisture meter before burning. You can get yours here.

Also, explore the top room heating stove accessories.

 

Why Choose Us?

Elevate your wood-burning stove experience with Charnwood Stoves, your trusted partner in warmth and style. Our commitment to excellence shines through in every product, ensuring you receive top-notch quality and functionality. Choosing Charnwood Stoves means selecting the epitome of innovation, as seen in our most popular stove accessory.

Discover unparalleled craftsmanship and design finesse, perfectly complementing your lifestyle. With Charnwood Stoves, you’re not just acquiring a product; you’re investing in a seamless blend of form and function. Join a community that values sophistication, efficiency, and a cosy ambiance. Make the smart choice — choose Charnwood Stoves for a warmer, more inviting home.

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As you can see, there are a whole host of useful stove accessories that will enhance your wood-burning stove experience. For more information on all the stove accessories available, click here.

Finally, thank you to everyone who took part in the survey!

charnwoodstoves

We don’t enjoy having to react to media sensationalism, however, there are times when it feels important to set the record straight. A negative narrative is being unfairly manufactured around the wood-burning stove industry, by anti-woodburning groups such as the ‘London Wood Burning Project’ and ‘Clean Air Hub’. Their campaigns repeatedly use misleading claims and stats to scare the public and they refuse to answer questions directly when challenged.

Therefore, we feel it is a duty to set the record straight, so people don’t succumb to the haze of misleading information out there. In this blog, we will shed light on some of the flawed data and unfair generalisations anti-woodburning groups are using.

What do they mean by wood-burner?

  

The campaigns paint a distorted picture, often using anxiety-inducing imagery and negative attention-grabbing headlines based on sweeping generalisations and weak or inaccurate data. They continue to mislead the public using stats that lump modern wood-burning stoves in with outdated, inefficient models, open fires and bonfires. It’s like saying cyclists are equally to blame for traffic congestion/emissions as lorries and private cars just because they all use wheels!  

They combine emission sources for a more impactful number, and then claim 17% of London’s emissions come from ‘domestic wood burning’ or ‘wood burners’. Catch-all terms the public understandably associate most readily with wood-burning stoves – especially because they create ad campaigns which prominently feature images of wood stoves. However, the actual contribution of modern wood-burning stoves is estimated by the UK government’s official figures at just 1-2%! (1)  

Differentiating between wood-burning practices is vital for progress  

Firefly London points out: “The irony of the billboard placement is that London’s tube network has appalling air quality, with PM 2.5 readings peaking at 600-700 ug/m3 – that’s 100 TIMES MORE PARTICULATES than an average London street…”

It is essential to differentiate between various forms of wood-burning. Chief Medical Advisor Chris Whitty in his report acknowledges this saying, “For air pollution emissions, there is substantial difference between the different open fire and stove designs, the age of the appliance and how well maintained it is, and the moisture content of the wood, for those who want to burn wood.”(2) 

While Ecodesign-compliant stoves are up to 90% more efficient than an open fire, ClearSkies Level 5 stoves, are even better still. They surpass Ecodesign standards, offering a further reduction in emissions by up to 30%! (3)  

This is where the anti-woodburning strategy is so incredibly counterproductive. In London 70% of wood burning still occurs on open fires. (4) If people were widely encouraged to switch to one of the many modern and efficient wood-burning stoves available, it would massively reduce urban PM 2.5 emissions. Just think, the emissions of 70% of London Wood burning could be reduced by 90%!  

Modern wood-burning stoves could help London reduce open-fire emissions by 90% ! 

 

PM 2.5 comes from such a wide array of natural and man-made sources that a zero-emission world is impossible! The best we can do is reduce them as much as possible while maintaining our ability to heat our homes. That is exactly what modern wood-burning stoves help achieve.   

If improvements were what the anti-woodburning brigade was truly after, it doesn’t make sense to ignore the vast advancements in clean-burn technology now defining modern wood-burning stove heating. They are the ones being ‘careless’. 

PM 2.5 perspective: How stoves can HELP improve indoor air quality 

 

This is also totally misleading. We could draw on our sources, but more powerfully we can draw on the London Wood-Burning Project’s own report as a rebuttal to this one. 

On page 71 of their 127-page report (5), we find the page titled Key Findings. Below are 3 crucial pieces of information from this page:  

1/ Use of the clearSkies Level5 stove (which is Ecodesign compliant) demonstrated some benefits for indoor air quality. Indoor PM2.5 did not increase when adding fuel to the stove once lit… At times there was actually a decrease in indoor concentrations of PM2.5 when adding fuel.  

As we have long pointed out, a properly functioning modern wood stove draws particulates out of the room and up the flue, helping improve air quality and ventilation in the home. The stove used in this study was our Charnwood C-Five.  

2/ Increases in pollutant concentrations may be more affected by participant technique or specific airflow characteristics of an individual appliance, rather than to the type of appliance or fuel.  

We always encourage best stove practices and will continue to do our level best to educate new and existing customers and beyond.   

3/ However, the biggest increases in PM2.5 concentrations indoors did not relate to indoor wood or solid-fuel burning but instead were a result of cooking, especially frying, grilling and use of the oven, and particularly when the extraction fan was not used.  

This really provides perspective on the issue of PM 2.5 in the home. A slice of burnt toast or your Sunday lunch can contribute far more than a wood-burning stove.  

 It’s a shame they don’t plaster these findings on a bus or large poster. 

A lack of scientific rigour 

Imprecise methodology  

“The results were compared to modelled wood and solid-fuel burning emissions to identify areas where the measurements match well with predictions or where measurements may provide evidence of solid-fuel burning that were not predicted by the model.” (pg.9 of the LWBP report)  

They do not sufficiently differentiate between the different sources of ‘solid fuel burning’. Data collection relies heavily on estimations and ambient air sampling, offering a blurry picture at best. Traffic, construction, industrial processes and even natural dust all contribute to PM2.5 and cannot reliably be controlled in their methodology. 

(Pg.20 of the LWBP report)

Walking around with modified backpacks does not allow them to distinguish in any way what the source of PM2.5 is in a given area.  

Small sample sizes & poor testing equipment 

One of the major studies often cited, is by Rohit Chakraborty et al, and based on a sample size of just 19 homes that took measurements using, as they admit, “low-cost air quality monitors” (7) 

Manipulated data 

Data is also often twisted and cherry-picked to bolster a blinkered argument. For example, comparing the emission rates between wood stoves and HGVs has caused much unnecessary concern.  

Closer inspection revealed their data excluded brake and engine wear and in fact, just one Euro 6 HGV produces 13 times more PM2.5 emissions than an Ecodesign wood-burning stove over the course of a week’s real-world use. Furthermore, emissions from HGVs are emitted at ground level (nearer head height) while wood smoke is dispersed more safely, higher up via a chimney flue.  

The SIA say, “ The claims are based on simplistic calculations using permitted rates of emission and do not consider either real world use or non-exhaust emissions. Furthermore, these permitted emissions rates rely on vastly differing measurement protocols and techniques. It should also be noted that there are several unreferenced assumptions, and the report does not appear to have been independently peer reviewed.” (8) 

Expert ‘opinion’  

In the bottom left-hand corner of every page of the London Wood Burning Project report you can see the following disclaimer: 

“This report is the independent expert opinion of the author(s)” 

Firstly, anyone can claim to be an expert in whatever they like, however, the key word here is ‘opinion’.  

Well, the SIA has commissioned extensive independent research which casts serious doubt on the estimations and ‘opinions’ provided by anti-woodburners (6). Experts question the methodologies and point out the lack of robust data used to support their dramatic claims.  

We highly encourage you to read this report undertaken by Dr Amanda Lea-Langton, senior lecturer in Bioenergy Engineering at the University of Manchester:  

 https://stoveindustryalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/22-04-11-Indoor-air-final-V5-AL.pdf 

 We have listed some of the key findings below: 

-No scientific evidence found for adverse health impacts from exposure to the indoor air typically associated with modern, enclosed wood burning stoves

-No association shown between exposure to indoor wood burning and risk of asthma in developed countries

-Use of modern wood burning stoves may help to improve air quality inside the home due to the natural draught created during wood stove operation that pulls air from the room into the appliance and from outside

-Other sources of particulate matter in the home, such as cooking, can release much higher levels of PM compared to modern, enclosed wood burning stoves, and could therefore havegreater health risk potential

-In one study, oil-based cooking, such as frying food or grilling meat, had peak value PM concentrations significantly higher than the WHO recommended average 24hr exposure limit

-In the same study the Ecodesign wood burning stove indoor air quality averages during operation were below the WHO recommended limits

 The official data (the truth) is good news!

And how about this for good news? The TRUTH is that UK PM 2.5 emissions have been steadily decreasing over the years despite record stove sales (please see the short video above). This is data taken directly from DEFRA and is a scientific and unbiased representation of the air quality in the UK. Whilst there is more we can all do, the evidence is resoundingly positive. 

At the time of writing (11/01/2024) on a very cold winter’s day when wood stove usage would typically be higher, here is the PM2.5 picture for the UK taken, once again, from DEFRA’s official website.  

https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/forecasting/ 

So, when the anti-woodburners say 17% of emissions. It is 17% of a very low amount in the first place. Then, remember modern wood-burning stoves are just 1-2% of that low amount. 

Modern stoves equal lower emissions with HUGE benefits 

Next time you encounter someone who questions the benefits of modern wood-burning stoves, here is a list you can reel off! 

1/ They can produce heat for sustained periods and are unaffected by external factors such as the weather. 

2/ Allowing them to work in conjunction with wind, solar and other green heating solutions. A stove makes these great technologies more viable – They are not in competition with each other. 

3/ A wood-burning stove is an ideal emergency/low-frequency heat source. 

4/ Wood is a carbon-neutral fuel as it gives off the same amount of carbon whether it is burnt or decays naturally. The carbon released from burning wood is balanced out by the carbon absorbed by the tree during its lifetime. 

5/ Wood fuel can be sourced locally without fracking and deep-sea oil drilling. 

6/ A good quality stove can last many decades and provide an affordable source of heat for low-income households. 

7/ The right to repair. The majority of components used within a Charnwood stove are modular and can be replaced when or if they wear out further extending the life of your stove. 

8/ Charnwood stoves and packaging are fully recyclable. 

9/ There are significant well-being benefits from using a wood-burning stove. Read about the Charnwood wellbeing survey and all the amazing benefits of owning a stove for your wellbeing. 

Building a Collaborative Path Forward 

The wood-burning stove community’s voice in this debate isn’t just about defending an industry; it’s about ensuring a fair and balanced path towards a cleaner and more energy-secure future. Targeting outdated appliances, promoting responsible practices, and encouraging sustainable forestry practices would yield far greater results for all. 

Modern wood-burning stoves offer many benefits beyond warmth. They provide energy independence, encourage mental wellbeing, support rural communities, and help foster sustainable forestry practices. Responsible utilisation of modern wood-burning stoves can absolutely coexist with clean air initiatives, without compromising the environment. 

We are passionate about building on our 50 years of experience leading developments in the industry and producing the most efficient stoves on the market. We understand why people want to reduce PM2.5 emissions even further and we support doing more to achieve this. That is precisely why we continue to invest significantly in technological advances rather than sensationalist marketing campaigns. 

Thank you for reading and please share if this has resonated with you. 

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Further reading: 

Here is a link to an article which explains why modern wood-burning stoves will continue to be an essential heating solution long into the future. Wood-Burning Stove’s Co-Heating Future (A Nuanced Look At PM 2.5 Emissions)  

 

References: 

(1)https://stoveindustryalliance.com/domestic-indoor-wood-burning-emissions-significantly-lower-than-previously-thought/  

(2)https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1124738/chief-medical-officers-annual-report-air-pollution-dec-2022.pdf 

(3)https://www.clearskiesmark.org/about-us/certification-system-explained/ 

(4)https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/summary-results-of-the-domestic-wood-use-survey  

(5)https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/medicine/sph/environmental-research-group/London-Wood-Burning-Project-Report_final.pdf 

(6)https://stoveindustryalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/22-04-11-Indoor-air-final-V5-AL.pdf 

(7)https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4433/11/12/1326/html 

(8)https://stoveindustryalliance.com/sia-responds-to-wood-burning-stove-and-hgv-emission-comparison/ 

 

 

charnwoodstoves

Now that the winter is in full swing, and the days are darker and colder, many of us are spending more time indoors.

And when the temperature drops, there’s nothing better than hibernating indoors, warm and snug in front of the stove. However, you must make sure that your stove is ready for the winter months.

We’ve created a helpful guide outlining how you can ensure that your stove is ready for winter.

 

Conduct a thorough stove examination

To make the most of your stove and maximise its longevity, it’s important that you conduct regular maintenance checks to ensure that your wood burning stove remains in sound working order, especially during the colder months of the year.

First and foremost, you should conduct a thorough examination, checking the below elements.

 

Clean out the ash pan

Most people begin their wood burning stove winter maintenance by emptying the ash pan. However, it’s important that you ensure that the stove is cold and remember, you should always wear protective gloves when cleaning your stove.

The ash pan can easily be cleaned out by using a small shovel to take the burnt ash from the bottom of the pan and dispose of it in a metal bucket. As a general rule of thumb, you should never keep warm ash indoors as it can cause a build-up of carbon monoxide. At the same time, all ash should be stored for at least 24 hours outside before it is disposed of.

 

Check all air holes are clear

Next, you should check that all air holes are clear and free from any debris buildup. After all, it’s not uncommon for dust, dirt and other elements to accumulate in your stove during Spring and Summer when it is not used as much or at all.

Clearing all air holes will ensure that a vital flow of oxygen can access your fire, optimising efficiency.

 

Check stove rope

Now you should take the time to check your stove rope, which can be found around the seals of your stove doors. If you do spot any sign of damage, when you are opening and shutting the door it should be addressed straight away, especially if you identify any gaps.

 

Remove any flammable objects

Before you start using your wood burning stove again, it’s important that you remove any

flammable objects from the area around your stove including decorations and combustibles such as plastic, wood-based products, carpet, textiles and upholstery.  You will be amazed at how many flammable household items can end up next to your stove when it is not being used.

Also explore how best to prepare for the winter energy crisis with a wood-burning stove.

 

Test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

When the time comes to get your stove ready for Winter, you should also test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, as it is vital that these are in sound working order.

 

Start to bring in some seasoned wood into your property

Now it’s time to start stocking up on seasonal wood so that you are good to go! Remember to always store your wood in a dry space.

 

Also explore our main reasons why it is essential to have a wood-burning stove during the winter.

 

Why choose us?

Founded in 1972, we are a privately owned, family-controlled, British company specialising in the design and manufacture of high-quality wood burning and multi-fuel stoves. We are committed to providing the highest quality stoves, at the best possible price.

We also have a firm focus on protecting the environment and ensuring our operations are sustainable and responsible.

We operate a policy of caring for the environment in all aspects of the business; from the products we design, to the way we package them, to the way we transport them, to the way we deal with the disposal of waste products, to the vehicles we use, to our choice of raw materials.

 

Get in touch now

If you have any questions about our wood burning stoves, please get in touch with a member of our team today.

charnwoodstoves

Charnwood is passionate about championing wood as a sustainable and eco-friendly fuel source. As the world transitions towards cleaner energy, wood continues to be a renewable, local, and efficient option that works perfectly in tandem with other renewable heat solutions. 

Wood fuel has multiple benefits 

Wood isn’t just great for generating heat; it also contributes to the health of our environment and the well-being of our communities. So, it is great news that, according to the Woodland Trust’s 2021 report, the UK’s woodland cover has more than doubled in the last 100 years, reaching 13.1% of the total land area. Forest coverage is set to continue increasing which provides a host of benefits, including: 

Carbon Sequestration: Wood absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it grows. When wood is burned responsibly, a closed-loop carbon cycle can be created with the carbon dioxide released being reabsorbed by new trees. 

Biodiversity Enhancement: Woodlands are the habitat for a diverse range of wildlife, including many insects and birds. When done sustainably, harvesting wood encourages new growth and benefits biodiversity. 

Local Jobs: Wood fuel production and distribution creates jobs and supports economies in rural areas. This is crucial for maintaining the vibrancy of local communities. 

Harvesting & using wood sustainably 

To ensure the long-term sustainability of wood as an energy source, it’s essential to adopt responsible practices including: 

Silviculture: Silviculture encompasses the nurturing and management of woodlands. It’s the practice of controlling the growth, composition/structure, as well as quality of forests while supporting timber production. A wide spectrum of silvicultural systems exists, each tailored to specific woodland types and areas.  

Practicing coppicing: a traditional method of harvesting trees by cutting branches and shoots, allowing them to regrow and provide a continuous supply of wood. 

High-Efficiency Stoves: Using high-efficiency stoves that burn cleanly and efficiently, minimising emissions and maximising heat output. 

Avoiding Freshly Felled Wood: Avoiding burning freshly felled ‘wet’ wood, as it produces higher emissions due to its high moisture content. 

Why seasoned wood matters 

 

Seasoned wood is wood that has been dried so that its moisture content is 20% or lower. This is crucial for several reasons: 

Reduced Smoke Emissions: Seasoned wood burns with a cleaner flame, producing significantly lower levels of smoke and harmful pollutants. 

Better Burning Efficiency: Dried wood ignites more easily and burns more evenly, ensuring maximum heat output and minimising waste. 

Extended Stove Life: Burning seasoned wood helps to protect your wood stove from damage caused by excessive moisture and creosote buildup. 

 At Charnwood, we recommend using Woodsure wood. Woodsure is a UK-wide wood fuel certification scheme that ensures the wood you’re buying is sourced responsibly and is of the highest quality. Woodsure wood is always seasoned to the correct moisture content, ensuring you enjoy a clean, efficient, and eco-friendly heating experience. 

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Wood, when harvested and used responsibly, can play a significant role in a sustainable energy future. Charnwood are committed to creating a cleaner, greener future powered by renewable energy sources while preserving the natural beauty and wonders of our woodlands. Choosing your wood wisely and using best stove practices, you can be confident that you are contributing to a sustainable future while enjoying the warmth and comfort of a wood-burning stove.