charnwoodstoves

I spent the weekend clearing and chopping a large Eucalyptus which had blown down in storms a few weeks ago. It was a magnificent tree and one which we were sad to see come down. Its beauty, however, went beyond its imposing stature. As logs were cut and split ready for stacking and seasoning to provide heat at a much later date, the beauty of creation’s ability to store energy was demonstrated in its fullness. Energy storage has always been a human challenge, but this tree had done it perfectly. Earlier that day I had been at Parkrun and the subject of wood burning had been raised in light of the Scottish government’s reported ‘ban’ on installing wood burners in new builds (which has caused problems for the Scottish Government): “It is just crazy, where is the common sense in that” a local businessman said to me. Indeed, as I looked at the logs I had just cut, I agreed – where is the common sense of not using this stored energy for heat? It is local, widely available, and it is nature’s gift. When we look out of our window we may see a number of energy sources – maybe some sun, sometimes the effects of wind, but almost always trees.  

Despite the clear benefits of using wood as a fuel source, there has been much anti-wood-burning talk recently, not least in Scotland. So, are we losing our common sense? Are we disregarding nature? At Charnwood, environmental responsibility has always been a core value and driver of our business as we try and make a difference in what we do. We want to listen, we want to engage with the voices that are contrary to our views, indeed that is the way we learn. There is a proverb from the bible which says:  

“Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.” (Proverbs 9) 

We initially held back from engaging with the anti-wood burning lobby on social media. However, we eventually felt compelled to start pushing back on some of the misleading and untrue claims made by the Wood Burning London and Global Action Plan campaigns. As we started to engage more, we realised that there were a lot of different viewpoints, some of which we hadn’t considered fully before. In light of this, we wrote:  

‘Shared Goals, Cleaner Air: Reimagining the Wood Burning Debate with Healthy Dialogue & Believing the Best in Each Other’ 

In this, we argued we needed to start believing the best in each other in order that we work together for positive solutions. In truth, this has been really hard. We have always sought to be polite – to engage well and be constructive. However, perhaps unsurprisingly, this is rarely reciprocated. In hindsight, maybe we should have paid more attention to the first part of the proverb: 

“Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults; whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse. Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you” 

We were certainly mocked, insulted, abused and hated! We are apparently representatives of the ‘Stink Industry’, our customers are ‘stokers’ and we have been given a new brand name ‘CharrredWood’. We were called liars, condescending and not genuine…. The claims went on, abuse was thrown our way and when we did invite more meaningful debate away from X we were accused of having bad motives and wanting to discredit people. When there seemed to be genuine concerns and we offered to engage in detail away from social media to find solutions, in most cases, those with the issues refused the offer of help and even called us creepy for offering! Our motives and funding were questioned, and we were accused of acting in bad faith. Some users have even learnt how to use AI images to produce grotesque anti-wood-burning memes. It was tempting to want to reply aggressively, but we tried to resist.  

We know there are strong voices on both sides, and social media can breed one-sided arguments while amplifying negativity. But the intensity of the anti-wood burning sentiment online from certain groups was still a little unexpected. Engaging felt a bit like venturing into a lion’s den – or maybe a nest of angry wasps – we got our fair share of stings! Our words were sometimes twisted, and our motives misconstrued. 

Here is one example of a social media post that highlights some of the challenges to the debate. An unwillingness to recognise the very real differences between different stoves and other forms of woodburning is not constructive. Obviously ‘good’ is subjective, but we think it is a justified adjective when you consider a modern stove, burned correctly, is up to 80% more efficient than an old stove and 90% more than an open fire. Additionally, emissions from modern wood stoves, when used correctly, are negligible. Burning dry wood (e.g. Ready to Burn certified) in an Ecodesign-compliant stove (e.g. clearSkies certified) makes up just 0.09% of total UK PM2.5 emissions. Source: NAEI (1). 

Also, scaremongering tactics regarding an increased cancer risk to stove owners misrepresent the facts and is very unhelpful to all. This report undertaken by Dr Amanda Lea-Langton, (2) senior lecturer in Bioenergy Engineering at 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 

-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. (Even the findings from the London Wood-Burning Project (3), who are anti-woodburning, back this up: “Use of the clearSkies Level 5 stove 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.”) 

-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 have greater health risk potential 

Despite the hostility online, the experience did provide some value. We do recognise people’s concerns and understand some of the frustration. What was very apparent is that many of the most vehement anti-wood-burners have had very bad neighbourhood experiences of wood-burning. Pictures of smoky chimneys are too frequent, and, in all honesty, we would be complaining just as much if we had to live next to some of the chimneys in question. Undoubtably, there is a very real and present problem with the way that some people are burning their wood fuel which is something we rarely hear as most of the people we interact with at Charnwood HQ love their stoves. They find it has improved their health and well-being, keeps them warm and provides energy security – but we acknowledge that our experience on X has revealed there are others who have been very negatively affected by bad burning. 
 

So where does this leave us – what do we do? We are passionate about wood-burning heating, to us and to many it seems like common sense. It makes use of a local, natural and renewable fuel source that encourages the planting and managing of forests and woodland which is important for improving biodiversity (4). We make Charnwood stoves here on the Isle of Wight, we employ local people and one of our company objectives is to make a positive difference to the local community. Sustainability is a core driver in our business, and we continue to seek ways to minimise our environmental impact. We are confident of the many benefits of wood-burning, however, we are not oblivious to the downsides and burning anything can produce bad particles.  Although the improvements in burning technology have overall reduced wood smoke emissions significantly (1), if you have a neighbour who is burning badly, this is of little comfort.   

However, we do need to be realistic about energy solutions and apply common sense to each situation. There will not be a one-size-fits-all solution. Heat pumps are the solution being pushed by governments at the moment, but the uptake has been really poor. Where around one million gas boilers are fitted every year there were only around 60000 heat pumps sold last year (5). Despite the best efforts of governments, consumers have been reluctant to install them and many who have, are left disappointed. I was talking to a local heating engineer a couple of weeks ago and he was telling me how he now has customers asking him to remove their heat pumps and instead install a gas solution. In Germany, part of the success of the AFD has been its opposition to heat pumps (6). Although heat pumps can work very well, they have limitations and when policymakers ignore these genuine concerns and try to push a one-size-fits-all solution, we can see it backfire. But in the same way that we need to be careful about over-pushing one solution, we also need to be careful about restricting other solutions because of their perceived negatives. Should we ban electric cars and battery storage because the metals used often come from mines using child labour? (7). Should we ban solar panels because most are produced in China using Uygur forced labour and some of the chemicals used are toxic (8)? And should we ban all solid fuel burning because of the problems of emissions in some cases? All of these are valid questions which are likely to make us feel uncomfortable, and our lived experiences will determine our responses. But instead of banning things and reducing our energy security and flexibility, should we not mitigate the negatives so we can take advantage of the positives? 

All energy sources have upsides and downsides – are they low carbon? Are they emission-free at the point of generation? Are they emission-free at the point of use? Is the energy source sustainable? What about the manufacturing impact of the equipment? What about the recyclability of the equipment? In the UK we often congratulate ourselves on being well on our way to having sustainable energy, however as Sir Dieter Helm, Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Oxford points out much of this has been because we have deindustrialised (9). For example, closing the steelworks at Port Talbot won’t mean that we consume less steel. It will just mean that the environmental and carbon impact of the steel we use gets moved to another country often with less human and environmental protections than our own. The same could be said for importing wood pellets from North America to power the Drax power stations – we still use and generate the carbon here, even if it is offset where the trees are grown. We need to use the ‘common sense’ test, and both of these examples fail miserably. 

Now more than ever, with so much instability in the world, we need a pragmatic and diverse energy mix that is resilient to future demands. We believe burning wood on modern wood-burning stoves is an overall small, but important part of this. By using logs from locally managed forests, and burning properly with locally made, long-lasting equipment which can be easily recycled at the end of its life, wood-burning stoves are one common sense solution for many situations. At Charnwood, we are investing in new technology which mitigates the negatives of wood-burning emissions. We have just launched the Skye E700 which uses electronic control to constantly monitor the fire and make automatic adjustments to ensure wood is always burnt cleanly and efficiently. The results are remarkable and build on the already large steps forward we have made in clean burning technology. What is more, wood burning compliments heat pumps very well. Whereas heat pumps struggle in cold weather, combining a heat pump with a stove works well and could increase heat pump uptake if encouraged. Indeed, in Norway, if a heat pump is installed a provision must be made for a flue to take a stove. 

So, let’s use our common sense as we think about heating. We are continuing to invest in new technology which will allow us to burn wood more cleanly and efficiently. We know it is sustainable and a brilliant solution for many situations that have suitable wood fuel available. As an industry, we need to continue making improvements in our appliances to ensure overall air quality improves, but we also need to work together with other stakeholders to ensure that local instances of bad burning are eradicated. This might mean tougher penalties, improved education and it may include a stove swap-out programme to replace old appliances with cleaner ones. It may also mean other things, but to do this we need positive and constructive engagement. Will we get criticism? Of course, we will, and we will expect it – just take a look at the comments below when we post this article on social media! Sustainability, the environment and air quality are important issues, so we welcome constructive debate and criticism, we want to see real improvements so this time we just might not respond to the mockers. Instead, our efforts will focus on innovation and development to overcome the challenges of wood-burning while further amplifying its many benefits. 

 

References: 

(1) https://naei.beis.gov.uk/data/data-selector-results?q=189517 

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

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

(4) https://www.smallwoods.org.uk/en/advice-and-information/the-economics-of/ 

(5) https://www.heatpumps.org.uk/statistics/ 

(6) https://www.politico.eu/article/robert-lambrou-alternative-for-germany-heat-pump-election-climate-change 

(7) https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/phone-electric-vehicle-congo-cobalt-mine-b2277665.html? 

(8) https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-57124636 

(9) https://alastaircampbell.org/2024/04/69-the-brutal-truth-about-net-zero-and-how-to-vanquish-climate-populists-with-dieter-helm/ 

charnwoodstoves

Fire has captivated humans since the dawn of our existence, becoming a cornerstone of human progress, shaping technologies, and our societies. Its warmth is life-preserving and life-affirming, offering not just physical comfort, but also a sense of togetherness and well-being. It’s a symbol of community, a gathering point for storytelling and shared experiences.  

Read on to learn more about the origins of fire and why it continues to captivate us 

Fire’s role in human development 

The earliest evidence of fire use dates back hundreds of thousands of years and was more than just a source of warmth – it was a catalyst for change. Firelight lengthened the usable hours of the day, allowing early humans to venture out of the darkness and push back against nocturnal predators. More importantly, it unlocked a treasure trove of possibilities: 

Cooking 
 

Raw meat became cooked meat, a transformation that improved digestion and unlocked new nutrient sources. Where as 100% of a cooked meal is metabolised by the body, raw foods yield just 30 or 40 percent of their nutrients. Cooking is believed to have played a crucial role in the development of larger brains, a hallmark of early human evolution. 

Crafting tools 

Fire’s transformative power also extended to shaping our tools. Wood, hardened by fire, became more durable for crafting spears and other hunting implements. Fire also allowed early humans to work with metals, leading to the creation of even stronger tools and weapons, which further advanced their ability to hunt and acquire resources. 

Bricks and pottery 

Fire transformed clay into sturdy bricks and functional pottery revolutionising construction and food storage. These innovations laid the groundwork for permanent settlements and the rise of early civilisations. 

Fire: The heart of the community 

Beyond practical applications, fire has woven itself into the fabric of human culture. The flickering flames became the focal point for gatherings, fostering a sense of community and shared experience. Stories were told, traditions were passed down, and social bonds were strengthened around the warmth of the fire. Studies have shown how hearth and campfires can influence arterial blood pressure and defray the costs of the social brain through fireside relaxation. 

Fire also held a profound symbolic meaning across cultures. For some, it represented purification and transformation while for others, it acted as a bridge between the physical and spiritual realms. It was both an awe-inspiring and comforting force and a constant presence in the lives of our ancestors. 

Balancing fire with progress 

In the modern world, our relationship with fire has become somewhat more complex. Air pollution concerns associated with open fires and older, inefficient wood-burning stoves, have come to the forefront and gained a lot of press.  

While alternative heating methods have emerged, and environmental awareness has rightly grown, the desire for the unique warmth and ambiance of a fire remains deeply ingrained in us. Fortunately, innovation has not abandoned fire. Modern technology offers solutions that allow us to enjoy the benefits of fire while minimising any negative impacts. 

Ecodesign compliant wood burning stoves 

Modern Eco Design wood-burning stoves significantly lower emissions compared to their predecessors – up to 90% compared with an open fire! They optimise efficiency and dramatically reduce smoke and particulate matter released into the atmosphere. 

In fact, it has been found that burning dry wood (e.g. Ready to Burn certified) in a Ecodesign compliant stove (e.g. clearSkies certified) makes up just 0.09% of total UK PM2.5 emissions. Source: NAEI.  

Clearskies 5 stoves 

 

Even better are ClearSkies 5 Stoves which are 30% more efficient than Ecodesign. In fact, in a recent study conducted by Imperial College London a ClearSkies 5 stove was shown to improve air quality in the home, even when refueling.   

As the UKs leading wood-stove manufacturer we are continuing to develop the technology and know we can improve efficiency even further still! 

Sustainable forestry practices 

Responsible forestry practices ensure that trees harvested for fuel are replaced, maintaining a carbon-neutral cycle. Locally sourced wood fuel helps support small businesses and reduces the carbon footprint of fuel transport. 

Wood fuel is an important component of the woodland management cycle and plays a key role in maintaining woodland diversity, health and resilience. Choosing wood from well-managed woodlands allows you to enjoy the warmth of fire with peace of mind. 

Renewable energy sources 

While fire continues to play a role in our lives, renewable energy alternatives like wind, solar, and geothermal power play an increasingly crucial role in meeting society’s energy demands. However, we strongly believe in wood-burning stoves co-heating future, which involves filling in inevitable gaps in supply, aiding the transition to renewables and providing energy security in an uncertain world. Read more here: 

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

_______________ 

 Fire has been a constant companion throughout our journey as a species. At Charnwood, we believe that fire, when harnessed responsibly, can continue to be a source of comfort and progress. By embracing cleaner burning technologies, burning wood correctly and supporting sustainable forestry practices we can ensure that we continue to benefit from the power and life affirming magic of fire. 

charnwoodstoves

In my charming but chilly Victorian end of terrace, winters were not something I particularly looked forward to. It was a constant battle against drafts, and strategising when to crank up the central heating to get most bang for the buck. So, after two cold dreary winters I decided something had to change – it was time to invest in a wood burning stove! 

Read on to learn how I turned chilly evenings into toasty nights by the fire 

I moved into my home 2 and half years ago now and in the centre of the main living space a large open fire place was sealed off and not being used. Mould was an ever present issue during the winters as the home was designed to have the heat and airflow created by a working fire. Whilst the gas central heating works, it is expensive and never gets the house feeling truly warm and doesn’t contribute to ventilation. 

I didn’t want an open fire as I knew well enough that they weren’t very efficient and I am not a fan of a smokey living space. So, I feel the stars aligned when I started working at A.J Wells & Sons and I was finally presented with the perfect solution – one of their Charnwood wood-burning stoves!  

As I researched, learning about Ecodesign and different outputs I was happy to discover that all Charnwood stoves outperform those standards offering greater efficiency and even lower emissions. Therefore I felt I could choose based on what would look best in the space which in my opinion was the Charnwood Country 4 Blu. It’s a classic looking design, the perfect size, and I was told one of the easiest stoves to use – I was sold! 
 

I arranged for my installers to visit to measure up and assess my fireplace and chimney. They were intrigued by my slightly unusual fireplace which is open from two sides – a modification made by a previous owner no doubt. They assured me all would be well and we arranged a day for installation. Quick tip, stove installers are, unsurprisingly, incredibly busy in the autumn/winter months so it is well worth planning ahead and locking in your install date as soon as possible. 
 

Installation day arrived, and the folks from Stoveteciw were fantastic. They set about first installing the chimney register plate which seals the large chimney opening and is where the flue from the stove can attach to create a seal. Next thing I knew they were up on the roof and threading the chimney flue liner down the chimney to attach to the register plate.  

I chose a rear flue adapter for two reasons. It allowed me to place the stove where I wanted in the fireplace, but also it allowed a Charnwood cooking plate which was installed at the same time. As my confidence grows I’m going to be experimenting with a bit of stovetop cooking and whipping up some winter warmers. At the very least, boiling water for a cup of tea on a chilly morning is easy and way more atmospheric than the kettle. 

After some final tinkering and fine tuning the stove was in place and the room was transformed. A focal point where there once wasn’t any. This wasn’t just any appliance; it was a promise of warmth, comfort and good times – all in less than a day.  

It was a fantastic effort from the guys and it was clear they had done an expert job and left the place cleaner than they started! I strongly recommend using a HETAS registered installer to ensure the job is done properly and to get a HETAS safety certificate. This can be important for insurance purposes and is also useful if you ever want to sell your house. 

I’d already purchased my bags of Kiln dried wood (read why that’s important here!), fire lighters and kindling in preparation for this moment and I was ready to go! I checked the stove essentials pamphlet that comes with all Charnwood stoves (also available online), to remind myself of the best way to light the fire. 
 

Then came the moment of truth – lighting the first fire. Now, as with most household appliances with heating elements, the first time lighting your stove can create a slight smell, but that quickly passes and then your stove is fully cured and ready to be enjoyed. Following the top down, Jenga stacking method meant I had crackling flames and radiating warmth in no time – pure magic!  

I’m now enjoying the end of the cold weather and far from dreading next winter. In fact, I think I’m going to miss the fire for a few months. It has become my go to way to unwind in the evening and the best way to put down the phone/laptop and let my mind decompress and relax away from a screen. I now fully understand what other wood-stove owners were saying when they described the many ways owning and using a wood-stove enhanced their wellbeing. 

My final thoughts to those of you interested in a stove, I’d say, of course, do your research, speak to a Charnwood registered dealer/installer for advice on what your space needs and plan well in advance for next winter. Your future self will thank you! 

P.s Oh and don’t forget to register for Charnwood’s amazing 10 year guarantee! 

charnwoodstoves

We love December and the magic, tradition and festivities it brings. Nowhere is that magic stronger than in the Cotswolds at Charlie and Josie’s beautifully restored Grade II listed 14th Century home. We recently made our annual pilgrimage to visit them and film roaring log fires and the cosiest of festive decors. We even ended up featuring in Josies’ Vlogmas episode which you can check out below!

Read on for some behind the scenes fun and why a wood stove really brings the Christmas feels!
 

Fireplace dressing 

 

There are so many ways to dress a fireplace and we think you’ll agree that Charlie and Josie have achieved an absolutely stunning result! Their attention to detail and bauble strategising was totally worth it. You can’t help but feel in the Christmas spirit in a space like this – Father Christmas will be pleased to visit! 

At the same time as getting into full festive swing, it’s good to consider some ‘Elf and Safety measures’ and we have just the right blog for you!  8 Tips For Wood-Stove Users Over The Holiday Season 

The wood-burning stove lifestyle 

 

From collecting wood from the store, to building a fire and enjoying the unique bone warming heat that emanates, the process of owning a stove is a delight that puts you back in touch with yourself. 

Charnwood’s rich heritage 

 

Charnwood is over 50 years old, so despite the fun banter in the video, we can confirm Ced is not a founder, but he is one of the current directors and part of the 3rd generation of family to run the business. The ethos remains as strong as ever with a passion for British Made products (on the sunny Isle of Wight) using British materials. To find out more about the company’s history click here. 

Lights, camera, action 

 

Initially, there was a fair bit of cloud and natural light was lacking for the shoot. Thankfully Reuben, our fantastic videographer, had some tricks up his sleeve. He used some powerful video lighting, shot from outside, to create a really lovely low winter ray of sunshine through the window to light the fireplace. 
 
Fortunately, light improved, and the shoot was blessed with a rather fabulous sunset, which spurred Reuben into action. He fired up his drone and took to the skies filming the gorgeous old church against a beautiful winter sunset backdrop. 
 

Whilst lighting is important in a photoshoot it can be even more so in our everyday lives. The beautiful warm glow created by a wood-burning stove can help illuminate the dark winter evenings. Helping you create your own cosy winter ambience, that soothes the soul and lifts your spirits. 

Beyond aesthetics 

There are a range of Charnwood wood-burning stoves throughout this beautiful property providing a warmth that truly makes a home feel like a home.  

Beyond aesthetics, there are so many other reasons to invest in a stove for your home. Including energy independence and security, significant well-being benefits, supplementing other renewables, off grid living etc. Here is a blog that outlines in detail some of the many other reasons people choose to install a wood-burning stove.   

https://www.charnwood.com/news/the-real-reason-people-install-a-wood-burning-stove/ 

Here’s what our customers have to say 

These Charnwood customer quotes give great insight into owning a stove and why they are such an important part of their winter lifestyle! 

“I find the process of building and lighting the fire therapeutic and sitting watching the flames is very relaxing.” 

“Something the whole family enjoy doing together and it makes us all feel incredibly relaxed and happy.” 

“It’s a ritual on Christmas morning to rekindle the stove, and to unwrap the presents without a fire is unthinkable. There’s something magical about children in their pyjamas sitting on the rug in the cosy space in front of a blazing stove.” 

“My young nephew visited at Christmas & we built the fire together. It was the first time he had ever lit a real fire. We celebrated with toasting marshmallows! It wasn’t just building a fire – it was building a memory.” 

“After a day of sledging and building snowmen and having snowball fights with the family it was very relaxing and comforting for us all to warm up in front of the fire.” 

“My grandchildren ask for the fire to be on when they are having a hot chocolate on a frosty day.” 

“The stove is the catalyst for family bonding, which helps with relaxation & mood improvement. It helps to unwind after a days exertions at work.” 

“Christmas spent with all the family and grandchildren gathered around our stove brings happy memories all year round.” 

(Source: Charnwood Well-being Survey) 

______________ 

Finally, from everyone at Charnwood, we wish you the merriest and toastiest of Christmas’s! 

 

charnwoodstoves

When it comes to heating our homes, firewood is a popular choice. However, using wet or improperly seasoned firewood can lead to reduced efficiency, increased smoke and even potential chimney fires. This article will guide you through the process of checking firewood moisture content, understanding the ideal moisture levels, and recognising the importance of properly seasoned firewood for optimal burning.

 

Checking Firewood Moisture Content

 

What should the moisture level of logs be?

To achieve efficient and clean burning, firewood should be properly seasoned to reach an ideal moisture level. The optimal moisture content for firewood is generally considered to be around 15-20%. Anything above 20% is considered wet, while below 15% is considered overly dry.

 

How do you know if firewood is dry enough?

There are a few methods you can use to check how moist your firewood is.

 

Visual Inspection

Inspect the firewood for visible signs of moisture such as bark that is still attached, discolouration of the log, or a dull appearance. Wet wood tends to be heavier (because of the weight of the water) and may show signs of mould or fungi growth.

 

Sound Test

Tap two pieces of firewood together. If they produce a dull thud or a heavy sound, it indicates higher moisture content. Dry firewood will sound hollow and produce a sharper noise.

 

Moisture Meter

Investing in a moisture meter is an excellent way to accurately measure the moisture content of firewood. These devices use metal prongs to penetrate the wood and provide a digital readout of the moisture percentage. Because they provide a specific number, moisture meters are the most accurate method of determining firewood moisture content.

 

Why is firewood’s moisture level important?

Understanding the importance of firewood moisture levels is key to efficient and safe burning. Here are a few reasons why it matters:

 

Energy Efficiency

Wet firewood contains a significant amount of moisture, which requires extra energy to burn off. This energy is wasted as it is used to evaporate excess water rather than generate heat. Properly seasoned firewood with ideal moisture levels (15-20%) maximises energy efficiency.

 

Reduced Smoke and Pollution

Burning wet firewood produces more smoke, particulate matter and harmful pollutants. By using dry firewood, you can minimise smoke production and reduce environmental pollution.

Check out the best firewood to burn chart UK here.

 

Chimney Safety

Wet firewood can create excessive creosote build-up in the chimney, which increases the risk of chimney fires. Properly seasoned firewood has the right moisture content and thus reduces the likelihood of dangerous amounts of creosote building up in your chimney.

Find out our firewood storage suggestions here.

 

Can firewood be too dry?

While it’s essential to avoid using wet firewood, excessively dry firewood can also pose challenges. Extremely dry firewood burns quickly and can lead to an overly hot fire that may damage your fireplace or wood stove and is likely to be uncomfortable for you and your family.

The best way to check if certain firewood is too dry is with a moisture meter as it will give you an easy-to-read percentage – anything less than 15% is too dry. In the rare event that your wood is too dry, mix it in with regular firewood to help raise the moisture content.

Find out everything you need to know about firewood here.

 

Why Choose Us?

Charnwood has been committed to providing quality wood-burning stoves since 1972 and we know all there is to know about wood burners, and how to get the most out of the wood you burn. If you have any questions about heating your home with a wood-burning stove, please get in touch.

 

charnwoodstoves

As environmental concerns continue to shape the UK’s regulatory landscape, advancements in stove technology have been made to meet stringent eco-friendly standards. Multi-fuel stoves, widely popular for their versatility, efficiency, and aesthetic appeal, are not exempt from these regulations.

In this article, we will explore the latest regulations and rules governing multi-fuel stoves in 2023, with a focus on Ecodesign, planning permission, fuel liners, hearth requirements, and ventilation regulations in the UK.

 

What is Ecodesign?

Ecodesign is an initiative by the European Union to improve the energy efficiency and environmental performance of products, including stoves and fireplaces. It came into effect in the UK on January 1st 2022.

In the UK, Ecodesign regulations have been embraced as part of the government’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change and, as of 2023, all newly-manufactured stoves must meet the Ecodesign standards, ensuring lower emissions and higher efficiency compared to older models. Ecodesign sets out maximum emission levels of PM (Particulate Matter), CO (Carbon Monoxide), OGC (Organic Gaseous Compounds) and NOx (Nitrogen Oxide).

Ecodesign only affects those room-heating appliances made available for sale from 2022 onwards; stoves and fireplaces already installed will not be affected.

 

Will Ecodesign affect the heat produced in a multi-fuel stove?

No, the implementation of Ecodesign regulations does not necessarily impact the heat output of multi-fuel stoves. The primary aim of Ecodesign is to reduce harmful emissions, making these stoves more environmentally friendly. Manufacturers have adapted by employing innovative design features and technology to maintain or even improve heat output while complying with the Ecodesign standards.

Discover more about multi-fuel stoves.

 

Is planning permission required to install a multi-fuel stove?

In most cases, installing a multi-fuel stove in the UK does not require planning permission. Permitted Development Rights (PDR) allow homeowners to make certain improvements to their property without seeking planning permission. Under PDR, you can install a multi-fuel stove, provided it meets specific criteria, such as not being installed on a listed building or within a designated conservation area. However, it is always recommended to consult with your local planning authority or a professional installer to ensure compliance with local regulations.

 

Is it a legal requirement to have a flue liner?

While it’s not a legal requirement, using a fuel liner is highly recommended when installing a multi-fuel stove. A flue liner is a flue or chimney lining that ensures proper venting of combustion gases and helps prevent dangerous emissions, such as carbon monoxide, from entering your living space. A fuel liner will increase efficiency, help keep your chimney clean and improve safety.

Your wood burning stove needs to meet the building regulations listed in Document J, which recommends (but does not require) that flue liners are used.

 

Top Hearth Requirements

The hearth is the base on which the multi-fuel stove sits, and it must meet certain requirements to comply with UK regulations. The top hearth, also known as the stove hearth or constructional hearth, must be made from a non-combustible material, such as stone, concrete, or a suitable hearth pad such as enamel. It should extend a certain distance beyond the stove’s footprint to prevent accidental fires. The specific dimensions and constructional requirements may vary based on the stove’s heat output and other factors, so it is vital to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and UK building regulations.

 

Ventilation Requirements

Proper ventilation is essential to ensure the safe operation of a multi-fuel stove. Adequate air supply allows for efficient combustion and reduces the risk of carbon monoxide build-up.

The ventilation requirements of your home will depend in part on when it was built; homes built after 2008 are designed to have an air permeability of 5m3/hm2 or less, due to the increased energy efficiency. Homes built before 2008 are unlikely to meet this level of air permeability. You can have your stove fitter test your home’s air permeability.

For homes with an air permeability of 5m3/hm2 or more, i.e. most older homes, ventilation is only required for stoves with heat outputs above 5kW, and this is done in increments of 550mm2. For example, a 6kW heat output would require 550mm2, a 7kW heat output requires 1100mm2, an 8kW heat output requires 1650mm2 and so on.

For homes with an air permeability of 5m3/hm2 or less, i.e. any home built since 2008, and some homes built before, the increments of 550mm2 start from 0, so a 1kW heat output would require 550mm2, a 2kW heat output requires 1100mm2, and a 3kW heat output requires 1650mm2.

This ventilation can be achieved through vents in the wall or an air brick. Installers must carefully calculate the required ventilation to meet building regulations.

 

Why Choose Us?

Charnwood has been committed to providing quality wood burning stoves since 1972 and we know all there is to know about wood burners and their regulations. If you have any questions about heating your home with a wood burning stove, please get in touch.

 

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If you’re looking to transform your shed into a cosy retreat or a functional workspace, a wood burning stove can be the perfect addition. Not only does it provide efficient heating during cold months, but it also brings a rustic charm and warm ambience to your shed space.

However, before embarking on the journey of installing a log burner in your shed, there are crucial aspects to consider. From regulations and safety requirements to cost estimates and proper sizing, this comprehensive guide is designed to equip you with all the essential information you need to make informed decisions and ensure a successful installation.

 

Can I install a log burner in my shed?

In short, yes. A wood burning stove can be a fantastic addition to a shed, providing warmth and comfort while also giving the space a cosy atmosphere. However, they need to be installed properly and you may be better off in the long run hiring a professional to do it.

Firstly, size does matter – your shed needs to be big enough to accommodate not only the log burner but also the space required between the burner and any combustible materials, which may include the shed’s walls!

As part of scoping out your shed’s suitability for housing a wood burning stove, check the materials used to construct it. Wooden sheds are common, but some materials might not be suitable for log burner installations due to fire safety concerns. You may be required to fit non-combustible surfaces around and behind the log burner to make it safe. Take a look at our stove pod or Vlaze wall and floor panels : Both of these offer a very practical solution.

You also need to make sure that your shed has proper ventilation. Combustion requires oxygen, and without sufficient airflow, the wood burning stove may not burn efficiently or could even become a safety hazard due to the build-up of carbon monoxide.

 

How much does it cost to install a wood burning stove in a shed?

The cost of installing a wood burning stove in a shed can vary depending on several factors, including the type of log burner, shed size, materials, and labour costs.

The price of the stove itself ranges from a few hundred to £1,500 or more, depending on the features. You’ll also need a flue pipe and a chimney installation. The cost of these components typically ranges from £150 to £500. Installing a non-combustible hearth beneath the stove is essential and can cost around £100 to £300.

Hiring a professional installer is highly recommended to ensure safety and compliance. Labour costs might range from £500 to £1000 or more, depending on the complexity of the installation. While this is a sizeable outlay, it could save you money overall.

 

Regulations for installing a wood burning stove in a shed

In the UK, installing a wood burning stove in a shed is subject to a number of safety guidelines.

There must be a safe distance between the wood burning stove and any combustible materials like wood, plastic, or insulation. Typically, the required distance is 60cm from the sides and 80cm from the front of the stove. There isn’t a legal minimum requirement so these distances vary by model and manufacturer.

The chimney height should conform to specific requirements, usually at least 4.5 meters from the top of the stove to the flue exit point. The chimney should use an appropriate flue liner to ensure the safe passage of smoke and gases.

A carbon monoxide detector must be installed in the shed to alert occupants if there is a potential build-up of this harmful gas.

The installation should be carried out by a qualified and registered professional who is familiar with building regulations and safety standards.

Does dampness affect the appliance?

Yes, dampness can impact the efficiency and safety of the log burner. Moisture can affect the structural integrity of the stove and its components. Additionally, damp wood can lead to incomplete combustion, producing excess smoke, creosote, and harmful gases.

To prevent dampness from affecting the appliance:

• Use only well-seasoned firewood with a moisture content of around 20% or less – dry firewood burns more efficiently and produces less smoke.

• Store firewood off the ground and protect it from rain and snow by using a woodshed or covering.

• Ensure your shed has adequate ventilation to allow for proper air circulation. Good ventilation helps to prevent moisture buildup inside the shed.

• Invest in a moisture meter to regularly check the moisture content of your firewood.

• Clean your wood burning stove and flue regularly to remove any accumulated ash, debris or creosote.

• Install a chimney cap on top of the flue to protect it from rainwater and debris

• Regularly inspect the roof, chimney, and flue for any signs of leaks. Address any issues promptly to prevent water from entering the shed and affecting the wood burning stove.

• If possible, position the log burner away from potential sources of dampness, such as leaky windows or doors, or anywhere water might drip onto it.

• In cases where dampness is a persistent issue, consider using a dehumidifier inside the shed. A dehumidifier helps to reduce excess moisture in the air and creates a drier environment.

 

Best Wood burning Stove Sizes

The best size will depend on your shed’s dimensions and insulation levels. A stove that is too large may overheat the space, while one that is too small may not provide sufficient heat. To determine the best size, calculate the cubic meters of the shed by multiplying the length, width, and height, and take note of your shed walls’ thickness and composition. Then, consult a specialist; they’ll be able to recommend a stove size based on your shed’s measurements and insulation.

 

Sealing a Roof When Installing a Wood burning Stove

Properly sealing the roof where the flue penetrates is crucial to prevent leaks and maintain the shed’s weather resistance.  Install a flue pipe collar around the flue pipe where it exits the roof, then use a weatherproof sealant to fill any gaps or joints. This provides a watertight seal and prevents water from entering the shed.

Always consider hiring a professional roofer or installer to ensure the roof sealing is done correctly and complies with building regulations. Remember to check and comply with local regulations and obtain necessary permits before installing a wood burning stove in your shed. Safety should always be the top priority, and professional installation is highly recommended.

 

Why Choose Us?

We’ve been committed to providing quality wood burning stoves since 1972 and we know all there is to know about wood burners, wherever they’re installed. If you have any questions about heating your home with a wood burning stove, please get in touch.

 

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Wood burning stoves have long been a staple in many homes, providing warmth and a cosy atmosphere during colder months. However, like any appliance, these stoves have a finite lifespan. Understanding when it’s time to replace your wood burning stove is essential for maintaining safety, efficiency, and comfort in your living space.

In this article, we delve into what to look out for when it’s time to bid farewell to your trusty old wood burning stove and welcome a newer, more efficient model into your home.

 

What is the Lifespan of a Wood Burning Stove?

On average, a well-maintained wood burning stove can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years and sometimes longer. The ingenuity behind Charnwood stoves lies in their modular design, allowing the majority of components to be replaced gradually as needed. However, it’s important to note that there might eventually come a time where the stove body itself reaches the end of its lifespan.

The primary determinant of a stove’s lifespan is the materials used in its construction. High-quality stoves crafted from durable materials such as cast iron or steel tend to have longer lifespans. Cast iron stoves are known for their robustness and ability to withstand high temperatures, while steel stoves are lighter and offer durability when properly cared for.

The longevity of a wood burning stove also depends on other factors, including its usage, maintenance and environmental factors, such as excessive moisture.

Also find out how a wood-burning stove can help reduce energy bills.

 

Are Newer Wood Burning Stoves More Efficient?

In recent years, advancements in stove technology have led to the development of more efficient and eco-friendly models. These newer stoves are designed to burn wood more efficiently, generating more heat with less fuel consumption and emitting fewer pollutants.

When considering the lifespan of your wood burning stove, it’s worth weighing the benefits of upgrading to a newer model that not only extends the longevity of the appliance but also offers enhanced performance and reduced environmental impact.

A new initiative from the EU, Ecodesign, has been brought in to improve the energy efficiency and environmental impact of all stoves, including wood burning stoves.

 

Signs That Your Wood Burning Stove Needs Replacing

Warping

One of the key indicators that it’s time to replace your wood burning stove is warping. Over time, intense heat exposure can cause the metal components of the stove to warp, affecting its structural integrity. Warping can lead to gaps in the seams, which may result in heat leakage, decreased efficiency, and even potential safety hazards.

 

Cracks and Splits

Cracks and splits are clear signals that your wood burning stove has reached the end of its useful life. Cracks, especially in the firebox or other critical areas, can allow smoke and fumes to escape into your living space, posing health risks. Regular maintenance and cleaning can help prevent cracks, but once it becomes widespread, replacement becomes the safer choice.

 

Broken Door

The door of a wood burning stove plays a critical role in ensuring the stove operates safely and efficiently. If you’re experiencing difficulty in closing or sealing the door properly, it could indicate a problem with the hinges, gaskets, or other components. A broken or ill-fitting door can lead to improper combustion, inefficient burning, and potential escape of harmful gases. You may be able to repair or replace the door, however, in some cases, it may be better to replace the stove altogether.

Increased Smoke Levels

An increase in smoke levels or the presence of smoke within your home when using the wood burning stove is a clear sign that something is amiss. It could be due to poor ventilation, a blocked chimney, or even an issue with the stove itself. Inefficient burning can lead to the production of more smoke, which not only decreases indoor air quality but also shows that the stove is not operating at its best.

 

More Fuel for Less Heat

As wood burning stoves age, their efficiency tends to decline. If you find that you’re using more fuel than usual to achieve the same level of heat output, it’s an indicator that your stove’s performance is diminishing. This situation not only puts a dent in your pocket due to increased wood consumption but also contributes to higher emissions. Investing in a newer, more efficient stove can result in substantial long-term savings on fuel costs.

Explore more about wood-burning stoves.

 

Why Choose Us?

As the stove approaches the end of its expected lifespan, it’s essential to pay close attention to signs of wear and deterioration. If efficiency drops, visible damage such as warping or cracks occur, or repairs become increasingly frequent and costly, it might be an indication that the stove has reached the end of its useful life.

Upgrading to a more modern model not only enhances the aesthetics of your living space but also contributes to reducing your carbon footprint. The increased efficiency of newer stoves means you’ll need less fuel to achieve the same or even better heat output, leading to significant long-term savings.

Charnwood has been committed to providing quality wood burning stoves since 1972 and we know all there is to know about getting the most out of wood burners and how to choose your next wood burning stove. If you have any questions about heating your home with a wood burning stove, please get in touch.

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When it comes to creating a warm and inviting atmosphere in your home during the colder months, a crackling fire can be just the ticket – but the success of your fire largely depends on the quality of your firewood. Burning damp or unseasoned wood not only produces less heat but also creates excessive smoke and creosote build-up in your chimney, posing a fire hazard. Therefore, it’s crucial to know how to determine if your firewood is ready to burn.

In this article, we’ll delve into the importance of dry wood, the best methods to check if your firewood is ready, and the proper techniques for storing it.

 

Importance of Dry Wood

Using properly seasoned firewood is paramount for efficient and safe burning. Seasoned wood, often referred to as “dry” wood, has had sufficient time to reduce its moisture content. When wood is cut, it typically contains a significant amount of water, known as its moisture content.

Burning wood with high moisture content requires a substantial amount of energy to evaporate the water before it can combust, leading to less heat produced and more smoke emitted. In contrast, dry firewood burns efficiently, generating more heat and decreasing the potential for creosote build-up.

 

Best Ways to Detect When Firewood is Ready to be Burned

There are several reliable methods to determine if your firewood has reached the appropriate level of seasoning:

Moisture meter

A moisture meter is a valuable tool for gauging the moisture content of your firewood. These handheld devices use metal prongs to measure the electrical resistance between them, which changes based on the wood’s moisture level. For well-seasoned firewood, the moisture content should ideally be around 20% or lower. Readings higher than this indicate that the wood requires further drying. Moisture meters are easy to use and provide a quick and accurate assessment of your firewood’s readiness.

Colour

The colour of firewood can offer clues about its readiness to burn. Seasoned firewood tends to be darker in colour, with visible cracks and splits on the ends. Unseasoned wood, on the other hand, appears lighter and smoother. As the wood dries, it develops these distinctive characteristics, making colour a simple yet effective way to assess its readiness for the fireplace.

Find out why we split firewood.

Sound

When two pieces of dry firewood are knocked together, they produce a sharp, resonant sound. In contrast, unseasoned wood creates a dull, thudding noise. By tapping two pieces of firewood together, you can listen for the distinct sound that indicates the wood is dry and ready to be burned.

Explore the best firewood to burn chart UK.

Feel

Dry firewood is notably lighter than its unseasoned counterpart as there is much less water to weigh the wood down. Pick up a piece of wood and feel its weight. If it feels significantly lighter than you’d expect, it’s a good indicator that the wood has lost much of its moisture and is suitable for burning.

 

How to Correctly Store Firewood

Properly storing firewood is crucial to maintaining its dryness and overall quality. By adhering to the following storage guidelines, you can preserve the quality of your firewood and ensure it’s ready to produce a warm and efficient fire when the time comes.

Elevate and cover

Store your firewood off the ground to prevent moisture from seeping in. A raised platform or pallets work well for this purpose. Cover the top of the stack with a tarp or other waterproof covering to shield it from rain and snow.

Allow air circulation

Airflow is essential for drying out firewood. Arrange the wood in a way that allows air to circulate between the pieces. This encourages further moisture evaporation.

Choose a dry location

When selecting a storage area, opt for a dry, well-ventilated spot. Avoid areas prone to high humidity, such as directly against a wall or in a basement.

Rotate the stack

If you’re storing firewood for an extended period, periodically rearrange the stack. Moving the older pieces to the front and bringing the newer pieces to the back ensures that all the wood gets air exposure and continues to dry evenly.

Explore more ways to store firewood outdoors.

 

Why Choose Us?

Charnwood has been committed to providing quality wood burning stoves since 1972 and we know all there is to know about wood burners, and how to get the most out of the wood you burn. If you have any questions about heating your home with a wood burning stove, please get in touch.

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In April the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero announced they were extending the time period for evidencing the purchase of alternatives fuels, including wood and solid fuels to the end of May 2023.

The £200 Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP) is a government scheme aimed at supporting households that rely on alternative fuels for heating. It is available to those not connected to the mains gas grid and covers homes heated by tank or bottled gas, LPG, oil, wood, or solid fuel. The payment is in addition to the £400 payment from electricity suppliers.

Recently, the government announced an extension to the AFP scheme. Eligible households can now use receipts from June 2022, instead of September 2022, until May 2023 as evidence to claim the payment. This change will ensure that those households that purchased fuel in bulk ahead of the winter 2022 heating season will receive the support they are entitled to.

Most households meeting the eligibility criteria automatically received the payment as a credit on their electricity bill. However, in some cases, the discount was not received automatically, for example if you:

-pay for energy through a landlord, housing manager or site owner

-live in a park home, houseboat or off the electricity grid

Andy Hill, chair of the SIA, commented: “This is a common-sense announcement and ensures that those households that did plan ahead, buying their wood logs and solid fuel supplies in the summer months last year, will not be penalised for doing so. Wood and solid fuel heating is an essential lifeline for the many thousands of homes that are off the gas grid network, and for remote and very rural locations it is vital to ensure that a fuel supply for the winter months is sourced well in advance.”

You can check your eligibility and apply for the AFP scheme via the government’s official website here.