charnwoodstoves

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.

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. 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.

COOKING PLATE

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 effective hot plate for cooking. It comes complete with 4 trivets.

TOASTING FORK

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.

 

Bodj Fireside

 

 

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.

 

View the whole range at Bodj.co.uk

 

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charnwoodstoves

The way you stack and store your firewood is a lot more important than you may think! If you have a wood-burning stove or wood-burning fire pit, it’s important to store your firewood in the right way.

Why?

Failure to store your firewood in the right way can result in a whole host of issues, including bug infestations, problems with mould and fungus, as well as issues with your wood’s moisture levels causing it not to burn as well as you would like. For a clean and efficient burn logs should have a moisture level of below 20%. So you must keep your firewood as clean, safe, and dry as possible.

We’ve created a handy guide to answer all your questions regarding firewood storage.

 

What is the best way to store firewood outside?

Firewood is best stored outside. It should be stored neatly, with the outside of the wood exposed to the air. If possible, you should place the wood on top of plastic sheeting or in a wooden log store. Avoid tree cover if possible and don’t leave the logs in a heap.

 

Does firewood need to be covered?

Firewood should remain uncovered so it can be properly dried. However, this is not always possible, especially during the winter months where ice, snow and rain can wreak havoc with firewood storage.

With this in mind, you should invest in a good cover to place over the top of your woodpile that will protect it from the elements when needed.

 

Can you store firewood on the ground?

As a general rule, firewood should always be stored off the ground to allow for proper ventilation. A great option is to store your wood on a wooden pallet.

 

Is it OK to store firewood in a garage?

If your logs are already dry, it’s fine to store them in a garage. If they’re not dry, there won’t be enough fresh or flowing air to help them dry out in a garage environment.

 

Is it OK to stack firewood next to a house?

All firewood should be stored around 20 feet away from the nearest door to your house. If you’re planning on stacking wood next to a structure, you should always make sure that it is a few inches away from the structure to optimise airflow.

 

Why are log stores open at the front?

Most log stores have an open front to optimise ventilation. However, when the elements are against you, it’s worthwhile investing in tarpaulin to cover the front of the log store to ensure that the wood remains dry. Why? Dry firewood burns quicker and is easier to light, so however you store it, you should always make sure that it is dry.

If you’re thinking about buying a wood-burning stove and would like to find out more about storing firewood, contact Charnwood today. Our friendly, expert team are on hand and more than happy to answer any queries you may have.

charnwoodstoves

When it comes to choosing wood for burning, many people are searching for something that is best in terms of sustainability. Wood is a viable energy source that is virtually carbon neutral and also a cost-effective heat source for many homes. To help you find the best firewood for your needs, we’ve put together this handy chart to show you the different types of firewood available and the benefits they each offer.

Which firewood should I choose?

When choosing your firewood, we would recommend opting for a hardwood as they are generally denser than softwoods and will produce more heat and burn longer. However, softwoods do light quicker and can be cheaper, but they are more resinous than hardwoods, meaning they are more likely to build up tar deposits in your flue.

Common hardwood species include beech and oak.

Common softwood species include cedar and pine.

Kiln dried logs are a good option as these guarantee a low moisture content. ‘Ready to burn’ logs should have less than 20 per cent moisture levels for optimum heat output and efficiency, and with kiln dried logs you can be sure you’re purchasing a consistently dried log that will provide the best source of heat. Naturally seasoned logs are generally less expensive but be sure to test the moisture content before burning. They will need to have been seasoned for at least one year, preferably two.

Which wood burns the longest?

There are several firewoods that burn for a sufficient amount of time, but oak and hawthorn are both favourable hardwoods to choose. These both burn slowly and produce a good source of heat.

Although hardwoods are a more efficient fuel source in terms of heat output and burning time, they can be harder to ignite from cold. This is when softwood kindling comes in handy, as it can help you get your fire up and running, before using the hardwood to fuel and maintain the slow burning fire.

The following chart is a common list of UK firewoods, showing you if they are hardwood or softwood and providing some detail of their characteristics.

 

Firewood Name Hard or softwood Comments Grade
Alder Hardwood Generally considered a low quality firewood as it burns quickly and provides little heat. Poor

 

Firewood Name Hard or softwood Comments Grade
Apple Hardwood Needs to be seasoned. Has a nice smell and burns well with a without sparking/spitting. Good
Ash Hardwood Considered one of the best firewoods. It has a low water content and can be burned green. It is still best when seasoned and will burn at a steady rate. Great
Beech Hardwood Beech has a high water content so will only burn well when seasoned. Good
Birch Hardwood Birch burns easily but also fast, so is best mixed with slower burning wood such as Elm or Oak. A great fire lighter is birch bark. Good -Great
Cedar Softwood Cedar provides a pleasant smell and provides lasting heat but with little flame. You can also burn small pieces unseasoned. Okay
Cherry Hardwood Needs to be seasoned to burn well. Okay-Good
Elm Hardwood A good firewood but due to its high water content, it must be seasoned well. It may need assistance from another faster burning wood such as Birch to keep it burning effectively. Okay-Good
Hawthorn Hardwood A good firewood that burns well. Good-Great
Hazel Hardwood Excellent firewood when seasoned. Burns fast but with no spitting. Great
Holly Hardwood A good firewood that can be burnt green. Good
Hornbeam Hardwood A good firewood that burns well. Good
Horse Chestnut Hardwood Horse chestnut spits a lot and is considered a low quality firewood. Okay
Larch Softwood Needs to be seasoned well. Spits excessively while it burns and can produce a lot of soot. Poor
Lime Hardwood Considered a low quality firewood. Okay
Oak Hardwood One of the best firewoods when seasoned well.  It provides lasting heat and burns at a slow rate. Great
Pear Hardwood Needs to be well seasoned. Burns well with a pleasant smell and without spitting. Good
Pine Softwood Pine burns well but spits a lot and can leave behind soot. It can act as a good softwood kindling. Poor
Plane Hardwood A usable firewood. Good

 

Firewood Name Hard or softwood Comments Grade
Poplar Softwood Considered a poor firewood and produces black smoke. Poor
Rowan Hardwood Considered a good firewood that burns well. Good
Spruce Softwood Considered a low quality firewood. Okay
Sweet Chestnut Hardwood Burns when seasoned but spits excessively. Not for use on an open fire. Poor-Okay
Sycamore (Maples) Hardwood Considered a good firewood that burns well. Good
Walnut Hardwood Considered a low quality firewood. Okay
Willow Hardwood Willow has a high water content so only burns well when seasoned properly. Okay
Yew Hardwood Considered a usable firewood. Okay-Good

charnwoodstoves

Used in many homes, firewood is a sustainable and cost-effective way to heat your property or outdoor space.

Whether you’re looking for suitable wood to burn in your stove or use in your fire pit on chilly summer evenings, it’s important to choose the right type of firewood. Not all types of firewood burn in the same way, so it’s important to understand the differences if you want the best possible results.

Here’s our guide to everything that you need to know about firewood.

What’s the difference between hardwood and softwood?

Firewood falls into two main categories – softwood and hardwood.

The main difference between hardwood and softwood is their reproduction and physical structure. For example, hardwoods are a lot denser than softwoods, meaning that they produce more heat and burn for longer.

On the other hand, softwoods are less dense, meaning they ignite faster and produce more smoke, making them more suited to outdoor fires.

Why choose hardwood?

Perfect for creating indoor fires in log burners and woodburning stoves, there are lots of different types of hardwood, including oak, birch and ash. Hardwood is especially useful for those looking to fuel a stove or heat a house.

Let’s take a closer look at the most popular types of hardwood:

Ash

Ash is particularly good for wood burning, as its properties allow it to burn on its own and produce an intense heat output, with a steady flame.

Oak

Oak is one of the most common types of hardwood used in homes, due to the fact that it is capable of burning for long periods of time and can be used efficiently with a different types of logs.

Birch

Available in black, yellow and white, birch can burn for a long period of time and can also be used as a natural fire starter.

Why choose softwood?

If you’re looking for firewood for an outdoor fire, softwood is a much better option than hardwood – it ignites far more quickly, meaning its ideal for campfires and kindling.

Softwood also seasons more rapidly than hardwood. There are lots of different types of softwood to choose from, including pine, cedar and larch.

Here’s a closer look at their properties. 

Larch

Low maintenance larch is the hardest of the softwood family and requires intense heat to burn effectively.

Pine

Easy to light and burn, pine produces an impressive flame and is great to use as a fire starter. It’s important to note that pine should only ever be used in outdoor environments due to the fact that it burns incredibly fast.

Cedar

Finally, cedar produces a distinct crackling sound with a small flame. One of the main advantages of this type of softwood is that it can be burned unseasoned. It also gives off a lovely wood burning smell.

To find out more about the best type of firewood to use with your Charnwood wood burning stove, please get in touch, we’re always on hand to offer help and support.

charnwoodstoves

When it comes to choosing firewood for burning on your stove or creating an outdoor fire, there’s plenty to consider. The best results rely on opting for the best type of firewood for your needs.

So, to give you a helping hand, we’ve created a guide to everything you need to know about firewood.

First and foremost, there are two different types of firewood, falling under two distinct categories – hardwood and softwood.

What is hardwood?

Hardwoods are denser than soft woods, making them ideal for creating indoor fires. Popular hardwoods include oak, birch and ash. All are ideal for heating your home.

Hardwood is best suited for indoor environments as it produces more heat and burns for longer.

What is softwood?

Softwoods are less dense and ignite faster. This makes them far better for fuelling outdoor fires, as they can produce a little more smoke which can be unpleasant if they are burned indoors.

Again, there are lots of different types of softwood, including pine, cedar and larch. The best type of softwood for your fire will depend on your needs and how you plan to use it.

Seasoning your wood

Once you’ve chosen your firewood, you’ll need to ensure it is seasoned correctly before you attempt to light up your fire.

Seasoning involves ensuring that your wood is properly dried out in order to get the best out of your fire. Wood that contains moisture or is not fully dry won’t burn efficiently and will be slow to ignite. Suitable wood should have a moisture content of less than 20%.

There are a few ways to check whether or not your wood is correctly seasoned. For example, if your wood is light and has cracks on the ends, it’s highly likely that it has dried out. Another way to check is to examine the colour of your wood. Wood is usually yellow, grey or deep brown when it is dry. At Charnwood we do offer a pronged moisture metre that can be inserted in the log to give you an accurate moisture reading.

If buying wood in smaller volumes look out for the Woodsure ‘Ready to Burn label’ which guarantees a moisture content less than 20%.

Split up your logs

A fire will burn far more effectively if you split your logs into halves or quarters. This will help your wood to dry quicker too. As a general rule of thumb, you should try and cut your wood up into pieces that are between three to six inches. For larger outdoor fire pits or wood furnaces, they can be slightly larger.

Avoid storing firewood in your home

Finally, you should avoid storing large quantities of firewood in your home. Why? Firewood is notorious for being the home of choice for ants and other creepy crawlies, so it’s not a good idea to bring your logs into your home, unless you want them to bring their extra guests in with them!

Instead, create a dedicated storage area for your firewood outside such as a woodshed, a ventilated storage container or even a dedicated area protected by a natural bark barrier. Your wood should also be kept well ventilated season to season.

If you have any questions about firewood or any other aspect of using your wood burner or stove, please get in touch.