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A growing tendency towards online shopping has led to everyone having more packaging material at home than ever before. As a business, we rely on a variety of high-quality packing materials to ship our goods safely around the world. We are mindful of the impact that can have, and this blog will provide some great ideas for how you can reuse and repurpose them.

Read on to get at least 15 great ideas for how to reuse your Charnwood packaging.

Cardboard boxes

One packaging material every household usually has in abundance is cardboard. Whilst recycling is better than nothing, ‘reusing’ is the best solution for your cardboard waste. At present millions of tonnes of usable boxes are being pulped and then made back into cardboard boxes – producing exactly what was started with. This is a huge waste of resources and energy, that is as bad for the pocket as for the environment. Here are some great ideas on how to reuse that cardboard box!

Please note: For the following ideas, it is important to use untreated chemical-free biodegradable cardboard which is what we use for A.J Wells, Vlaze and Charnwood packaging. Also, remove any sticky tape, large staples, and labels that are stuck to the box before using it in the garden.

In the Garden

Composting

Cardboard is an ideal source of carbon for composting. Simply shred or tear your cardboard into small pieces so that it will break down more quickly.

Mulch

Place shredded cardboard around your plants but make sure the cardboard mulch is not in direct contact with the stems. Water the cardboard to speed up the decomposing process.

For those who grow vegetables using the ‘no dig’ method, our large boxes are ideal for mulch beds and don’t even require shredding! Watch ‘No Dig’ guru Charles Dowding to get some further tips.

Controlling Weeds

A couple of layers of cardboard is a useful tool to suppress weeds. Place them at the bottom of a new raised bed to stop weeds growing through to the topsoil.

Protecting Raised Beds

Cardboard can be used to cover and protect raised beds during the winter. It helps by stopping heavy rain from draining valuable nutrients away. The cardboard will slowly decay and help prepare the soil so it’s ready for Spring planting.

Encouraging Worms

Worms love wet cardboard and your garden loves worms! Worms aerate the ground and help with composting and mixing. Use cardboard in a multitude of ways to encourage worms to take residence.

Clearing a Pathway

Cardboard is also effective at clearing ground and can be used to create a natural pathway between vegetable rows. Just place cardboard on the dirt where you want your path and then cover with bark chips.

In the home

Decorations

Old cardboard is great for creating decorations for any occasion – birthdays, Christmas, Halloween, you name it! A pair of scissors, some paint or felt tips and a good imagination can go a long way. Cutting out people’s names or ages and decorating them for wall hangings is just one lovely idea. Check out the video above for loads more!

Moving home, stylish storage or shipping

This one is obvious but well worth remembering. However, there is a range of creative storage ideas that add a little style and glamour to the humble cardboard box. With just a cheap spool of twine, you can transform a cardboard box into a far more expensive-looking designer option – who doesn’t like a saving!

Castle for the kids

The most fun option and one to keep the kids happy and take their artistic and architectural skills to a new level! Check out this link for some inspiring ideas!

Wood Pallets

Kindling

Our wood pallets are made in-house from virgin, kiln-dried, untreated, soft wood which makes them ideal kindling for your woodstove. Just dismantle the pallet and carefully remove any nails before breaking down into kindling.

Here are some other essential wood-burning stove tips.

Compost bin

Compost bins need to have sufficient gaps to aerate organic matter. Wood pallets are an ideal size and with their long gaps between panels create the ideal walls for a compost bin.

Vertical planter

So easy to make and look amazing in the garden! There are few design variations, but you can easily fit plant pots or potting trays in between the slots with minimal effort. Check out the video above for ideas.

Plastic Bags

With plastic bags becoming scarcer and rightly so, when we do get them, it is imperative that we reuse them – particularly when they are sizable. You can use the big plastic bag that comes with some of our products for protecting and storing large items such as a cot mattress or surplus bed linen in the loft.

If you want some great tips for reusing smaller bags then check out this blog on 60 great ways to reuse plastic bags.

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We see the packaging we ship our products in as part of our product offering. A high-quality material that with a little effort and imagination can be repurposed and benefit the end-user and environment.

We will continue to look for ways to reduce excess packaging while aiming to use environmentally friendly materials and encouraging reusing where possible. Together with you, we hope to minimise any negative impact that packaging can create on the environment.

To read about our Net Zero 2050 commitments and plan of action as well as our other eco-initiatives click here.

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After two years of virtual Dealer Days, it was wonderful that this year we could celebrate our Dealer Event and our 50th birthday in person with so many friendly faces. With delicious food, fantastic entertainment, and the gorgeous Isle of Wight countryside, we shared many good times and highlighted what’s in store for the year ahead.

Read on to learn about 4 exciting new stove releases, our company vision and of course the results of the famous Black Dog Awards!

Introducing the AJ Way

 

Reaching our 50-year milestone is a chance to reflect on what matters most to us as a company and allows us to focus on our vision and mission for the future.

We have recently introduced the ‘AJ Way’ which is a companywide programme that encompasses our ethos and road map. It seeks to bring everyone in the company together to collaborate and draw on all our expertise to communicate how best to move the business forward in line with our core values. To build relationships, transform lives and create products that delight people.

A.J Wells & Sons have steadily grown from 3 men working from their shed to 180 employees, including 17 family members, on a site spanning 50,000 sq. Ft and servicing a global market. We have a loyal local workforce with decades of expertise and achieving our vision starts by focusing on being a great place to work. A place that is rewarding, inspiring and facilitates the innovation needed to continue creating market-leading products that are sustainable, positive for the environment and delight our customers.

4 New Stoves Released This Year!

THE NEW CHARNWOOD HAVEN
 

We are excited to present the Charnwood Haven, a brand-new compact wood-burning cooker to celebrate our 50 years in business. Based on the dimensions of our Island III, the Charnwood Haven is designed for cabins, bothies, off-grid living and smaller homes. 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. It’s a surprisingly versatile and delicious way of cooking, allowing you to create soups, stews, roasts, baking and more!

Available in our standard colours and with either high legs or a store stand that will line the Haven up with a standard 900mm worktop.

Available from Autumn 2022

THE NEW CHARNWOOD CRANMORE 3
 

This new release will be the latest addition to the Cranmore collection. Based on the hugely popular Aire 3, this stove is more classic in style yet features a large picture window. With a 3kw output, it is designed to fit into our Stove Pod and makes for a perfect solution for smaller rooms, cabins and the wide range of tiny homes available.

Coming with an integrated ash pan for ease of use and compatible with a cooktop, it is the ideal small fireplace for alternative and versatile living.

Available in our standard colours with a high leg option only.

Available from August 2022

THE NEW C-FIVE DUO

A multi-fuel version of our ever-popular C-Five model. It is fitted with a fixed grate, with the stove burning wood and mineral fuels equally well with high efficiency and low emissions.

Available in all our standard colours.

THE CHARNWOOD SKYE E700
 

“Load it, Light it, Leave it”

The Skye E700 is a new intelligent microprocessor-controlled stove that is set to revolutionize the way we burn wood. Load the fire, close the door, set your room temperature using the Charnwood app and let the stove do the rest. It is as simple as that!

With an impressive 7kw output and fitted with intelligent I-blu technology, the Skye E700 is a revolutionary stove that dramatically improves stove efficiency by removing human error. No user intervention is required – apart from simply lighting and reloading.

As thoughtful in style as it is in function, the Skye E700 has a refreshing design aesthetic; classically minimal with a soft modern edge. The Skye E700 is, in our expert opinion, without question the future of wood-burning.

Available in the USA Autumn 2022

Coming to Europe 2023

Overview of Dealer Event & The Black Dog Awards

 

This year, due to high demand, we decided to split the event over 3 days and set things up a little differently. On Wednesday 11th our first group arrived, and we started the day with a delicious lunch of wood-fired pizza followed by local ice cream. After an introduction in the studio and the unveiling of our exciting new products, we split, with one group touring the factory and enjoying cheese and wine in the VLAZE garden while the other half stayed in the studio where they discovered more about the company’s 50-year history, had a presentation on the ‘AJ Way’ programme and got their hands on the new products. After a break for coffee, the groups then swapped around.

The day ended with a well-earned rest at the hotels followed by a dinner hosted by foodie favourites the Royal Hotel, which is situated in the historic town of Ventnor.

On Thursday, group 1 headed over to the beautiful West Wight where we held several fun activities including clay pigeon shooting, axe throwing, aqua park, dog walking and a tour of Farringford house. As group 2 began to arrive we all came together for the first time and shared a delicious group lunch of gourmet burgers and chips at Tapnell Farm’s Cow CO. Here we held our coveted ‘Black Dog’ award ceremony where we award the Premier Dealers who have shown an exceptional commitment to Charnwood over the last year. Just before we had to say our goodbyes to Group 1, we took the opportunity for a drone shot of everyone to commemorate the momentous occasion.

After lunch, group 2 enjoyed the activities before heading to the hotel to check-in and get ready for dinner.

On Friday, the Charnwood crew reset for another day of product launches and discussions as we prepared to welcome group 2 to the factory. We had a quick morning refreshment, and we went straight into the studio to begin our action-packed morning. We finished at lunch and enjoyed pizza and ice cream before it was time to say our goodbyes.

Congratulations to the following on your Black Dog award: 

Bonk & Co – Golden Gold – The most sales over our 50 year period. 

The ArcadeBest New Product Sales 21/22 

Direct StovesTop Dealer N England 

RW KnightTop Dealer SW England 

StoakeTop Dealer SE England 

Bonk & CoTop Dealer Scotland 

The Arcade Top Dealer Wales 

The Woodburning CentreTop Dealer Ireland 

Woodstoves IrelandTop Dealer Northern Ireland 

The Fireplace EmporiumTop Dealer ROW 

Select Stoves & FireplacesBest Newcomer 


We would like to say thank you to all of you who attended our 2022 Dealer Event and our 50th birthday celebration. It was wonderful to see everyone, and we really hope you enjoyed your time with us. Finally, we want to finish by thanking everyone from suppliers, employees, dealers, customers, collaborators and of course family, who have made the last 50 years so incredibly special. Here’s to another 50! 

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It was great to return to the beautiful and romantic city of Verona and attend Progetto Fuoco, billed as the world’s most important trade fair for biomass heating systems. Despite a pandemic enforced 3-month delay, it was exciting to finally exhibit alongside our wonderful Italian distributors Zeta Linea and our sister companies Vlaze and Bodj.

We displayed the full range of products on sale in Italy including the Aire 3 and Stove Pod, in addition to several Bodj accessories plus our Vlaze heat shields and outdoor kitchen units. With Italians being renowned for impeccable taste, we were delighted by the positive response and recognition our products received from such a savvy audience. There was lots of international interest all around, and it was a lovely opportunity to catch up with our global customers.

Read on to hear about the products that wowed the crowd!

Charnwood Aire 3

 

The Aire 3 is one of the most efficient EcoDesign compliant stoves on the market, demonstrating 86% efficiency on independent tests and with a maximum ClearSkies rating of 5 stars. It has a modern and sophisticated look, which is perfectly suited to a stylish Italian casa.

The large ceramic glass window is designed to maximise the viewing area and your enjoyment of the fire. The Aire 3 also benefits from being easy to operate, with a single air control, removable ashpan and a cool-to-touch handle for safe reloading. With a 2-5 kW output, it is the perfect size for most small-medium size rooms and provides a crystal-clear burn.

Charnwood Stove Pod

 
Stove Pod
The Stove Pod provides a sleek, safe, and secure enclosure and is designed for ease of installation. The Stove Pod pairs perfectly with the Aire 3 to create a complete fireplace solution designed for small space living.

The Charnwood Stove Pod is designed for cabins, yurts, tents, boats, home offices and other tiny home accommodation. It can be placed on any hard, flat surface without the need for an additional hearth, creating a safe, protected focal point for the room. It is available in a matt black powder coat with the option to add a VLAZE vitreous enamel liner for a stylish, easy to clean finish.

Bodj G-Holder

 

Bodj fireside accessories are handmade, sustainably sourced, and beautifully designed for the ethical and style-conscious home. The ergonomic G-Holder (pictured above) is designed to take up minimal space within the living room or fireside area and holds just the right number of logs for an evening fire. The ironwork frame is tightly handwoven with rattan. Ideal for carrying and storing logs or for use as a magazine holder. A perfect partner for your Charnwood stove!

Vlaze Heat Shields

 

VLAZE heat shields are designed and made in Britain by our company A.J Wells & Sons. The exceptional porcelain enamel surface of VLAZE is a luxurious, durable finish that withstands extremes of heat protecting your home, beautifully.

Over the years Vlaze, in collaboration with Charnwood, has released a wide range of wonderful designer finishes in a multitude of sizes and has established itself as not only the original, but also the best wood-stove heat shield on the market.

Creating the perfect fireplace requires blending several key factors, including functionality/efficiency, safety, and beauty. Once you have chosen the perfect stove, it’s time to consider how you will protect your space. Click here to find out more.

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It was wonderful to meet so many people from across the globe and share everything we are working on with you all. We are as determined as ever to lead the way with the very latest in woodstove technology and contribute to providing a sustainable energy solution that benefits both the homeowner and the environment. Finally, thank you to all who stopped by to visit us – it really was a pleasure to meet you all! Thanks to the team at Progetto Fuoco and of course, Zeta Linea – we hope to see you all soon!

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Are you part of the 85% of UK homes that are currently relying on mains gas for heat? With the volatility of international gas markets leading to unprecedented price rises, these feel like uncertain times. In this blog we will look at how owning a wood-burning stove can redress the balance and bring some much-needed certainty to our lives.

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What are the benefits to Investing in a wood-burning stove?

With the energy price cap rising 54%, millions of households will see their bills rise by around £700 to £2,000 per year. According to The Office for Budget Responsibility, this represents the largest fall in living standards since 1956. With this being the case, there’s never been a better time to look at the benefits of investing in a wood-burning stove.

Eco-design wood burning stove benefits:

• Affordable and good value for money

A good quality stove can last many decades and provide an affordable source of heat for low-income households. The upfront costs are significantly less than wind or solar power and indeed far less than a heat pump. 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.

• Locally sourced fuel

Using a wood stove means you can source reasonably priced fuel locally and sometimes for free. Wood is an energy source that doesn’t rely on the destructive practices of fracking and deep-sea oil drilling. You are not reliant on gas or oil!

• Whatever the weather

Wood-burning stoves can produce heat for prolonged periods whatever the weather conditions.

• Work in conjunction with wind and solar

This allows them to work in conjunction with wind, solar and other energy solutions which helps make these great technologies more viable – They are not in competition with each other.

• An ideal emergency/low-frequency heat source.

A wood-burning stove provides a 100% self-contained heat source. For those of you who live in a region that suffers occasional power cuts you will know just how valuable this is! A wood-burning stove can provide heat and even a way to cook food when you need it most.

• Environmentally friendly

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. Charnwood stoves and packaging are all fully recyclable.

• Wellbeing benefits

Owners report significant wellbeing benefits directly as a result of owning and using their wood-burning stove.

Read about the Charnwood wellbeing survey and all the amazing benefits of owning a stove for your wellbeing.

 

Wood-burning stoves vs wind, solar and heat pumps

We support all these other technologies, however, there are significant upfront costs for these solutions that make them less realistic options for many people. Also, battery storage is not where it needs to be to fully support the world’s energy needs. Therefore in 2022, a wood stove is the most viable option for the majority of people affected by energy price rises. The table below breaks down and compares some of the key financial information surrounding the different technologies.

 

Up-front cost for family of 3 (inc. installation) Maintenance costs P/A Constant supply? Potential to sell energy surplus to the grid?
Solar Power £6000 – £8000 £150 – £250 No Yes
Wind Power £9000 – 30,000 £150 – £450 No Yes
Heat Pumps £8000 – 30,000 £90 – £150 Yes No
Wood-Burning Stoves £2500 – £5000 £60 – £100 Yes No

How to save on your fuel bill – free sources of wood for your wood-stove!

1. After a storm

Storms bring wood foraging opportunities! After a storm, fallen trees and branches become available which, with permission, you can collect, season and use for firewood – all while helping to tidy up your local area.

2. Industrial woodworkers

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

3. Freecycle websites

Whether it is left over wood from a recent home improvement or a tree that had to be cut down, people often advertise free wood on sites like Gumtree and Freecycle if you are happy to collect it.

 

It is however very important to make sure that wherever you source your wood from, it is untreated and free from paint, finishes or other potentially harmful substances. Also, do not burn it unless it has a moisture content of less than 20% which you can check with a moisture meter. 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.

 

The elephant in the room!

Are wood burning stoves bad for the environment?

There are lots of myths circulating about wood burning stoves being bad for the environment, but they simply aren’t accurate.

Whilst wood burners can give off fumes containing microscopic specks of soot, using approved fuels and a modern appliance significantly reduces the risk of this. As of January 2022, all stoves sold must now meet with Ecodesign regulations which ensure a much cleaner burn. If you are burning wood correctly, it can become part of a carbon-neutral process, being balanced out by the carbon absorbed by the tree as it grows.

It’s also important to keep in mind that, as long as trees are replanted and woodland is responsibly managed, using wood for fuel can be part of a sustainable energy process.

Find out more about the environmental impact of wood burning stoves here.

 

Does my home suit a Wood-burning stove?

So now you know the economic and environmental benefits of owning a wood-burning stove, you may be wondering if your home is suitable?

Well, another huge benefit of wood-burning stoves is the flexibility in terms of where you can place them and the spaces that they can heat. From tiny homes, to large farmhouses and townhouses, Charnwood has the ideal woodstove to suit. Follow the checklist below before contacting your Charnwood stockist.

Checklist before buying a wood-burning stove

1/ Firstly, measure the height, width, and length of the room you plan to install your stove. This will allow a stove supplier to recommend a suitable stove with enough kW output to heat the space.

2/ We recommend taking a photo of your fireplace (if the room has one) and the outside of your property including the roof area.

3/ Contact environmental protection at your local council to find out if you live in a smoke control area and require a DEFRA approved stove. Please note: Charnwood offers many DEFRA approved stoves so there’s still plenty of choice!

4/ Contact an approved installer to arrange an appointment to survey your home and get a quote for works required.

Here is a list of approved installers.

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We have seen demand rocket for Charnwood stoves and despite increasing our factory capacity, there is still some delays for some models. The same can be said for installation specialists – they are in high demand! Therefore, now is a great time to start preparing for next winter so that you are up and running and saving on your heating bill when the cold snap arrives!

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It’s wonderful the weather has turned towards spring and summer, but for wood-burning stove users there can be mixed emotions about saying goodbye to the regular warmth and light of their stove. A helpful ritual this time of year is giving your stove a well-deserved Spring clean, so you know that it is ready and in perfect condition for next winter!

Read on to learn how to keep your wood-burning stove in tip-top condition.

Wood burning stove spring cleaning tips and guidance

Cleaning your chimney

Chimneys need regular cleaning to prevent creosote buildup and to reduce the possibility of a chimney fire. How often you clean the chimney depends on the amount you use your stove, the type of wood you burn, the type of wood-burning unit you have and the way you operate the unit. We recommend cleaning your chimney on a yearly basis as a minimum, with springtime being the perfect opportunity after a long winter.

We recommend hiring a professional chimney sweeper for the first chimney cleaning and ‘health check’. Use this as an opportunity to learn and see if this is something you would be willing to do yourself moving forward. A Charnwood stove is fitted with a drop-down throat plate allowing you to sweep through the appliance with minimum mess.

Please note if a chimney fire does occur, follow these steps to reduce your losses:

Call your local fire department immediately and give them your name and address.

If there is a fire in the stove or fireplace box, extinguish it with a multipurpose dry-chemical extinguisher. As some of the chemical travels up the chimney, it may extinguish the chimney fire.

Cleaning your stove’s surface

A wood-burning stove is a great aesthetic complement to your home even when not in use. To clean the exterior of your stove, all you need is a soft brush and a vacuum cleaner to wipe away and remove any soot or dust.

If you use a cooking plate and have made a little more mess, then a stove cleaning product and a lint-free cloth works well. All cleaning is best undertaken when your stove is unlit and cool.

Maintaining your stove’s glass

Burning well-seasoned, dry logs on your stove will help reduce the amount of soot build up that occurs on your stove’s glass. However, occasionally soot will accumulate, especially if you have been using firewood with a moisture content over 20%.

There are a few methods that can be used to wipe away soot listed below:

· Charnwood Schott dry wiper

· Fine wood ash and damp newspaper

· WD40 and a lint-free cloth

For more details read our in depth article on how to clean wood-burning stove glass

It’s important to clean your stove’s glass frequently to reduce the amount of dirt that builds up. If you do this regularly, you won’t have to attempt scrapping stubborn dirt and risk scratching and weakening the glass surface.

Empty your ash pan

When leaving your stove unused for extended periods it is worth emptying out the ash pan as well as the firebox completely. Removing the throat plate and opening the air inlets allows a flow of air through the stove that helps prevent any rust forming.

With some care, any dust escape into the air can be minimised during ash removal. We recommended opening your windows for a short period afterwards to allow the air in the room to circulate.

Inspect the door and flue seals

Take the opportunity when cleaning your wood burning stove to inspect the rope seals on the doors and flue. The seals can succumb to everyday wear and tear, so it’s important that these are checked frequently and changed if necessary.

If these or any other parts of your stove need replacing, Charnwood offers a range of spares for all current Charnwood stoves, as well as most legacy models, in our spares shop.

A fresh coat of stove paint

If after inspecting your stove closely you notice some scratches or general marks of wear and tear, it is worth considering some Charnwood stove paint. Whether it’s a quick touch up or a complete colour change, we offer cans of our heat resistant stove paint in the 8 Charnwood colour options. This is a simple yet brilliant way to give your stove a new lease of life.

Before painting your stove, you should make sure that the surface is dry, clean and free from any grease. Before spraying your stove we recommend masking off the glass and handles and gently rubbing down any areas to be retouched with a Scotchbrite pad.

You can purchase Charnwood heat resistant stove paint from your local Charnwood stockist.

Take care of your stove so it takes care of you

Regular maintenance in conjunction with a yearly deep spring clean is the best way to extend the life of your stove and make sure that performance remains at an optimum level. When you consider all the benefits a wood-burning stove brings to our lives, it’s a no-brainer to give it the TLC it deserves so that it’s ready to keep you warm through next winter and beyond.

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The research and analysis show that there are higher levels of PM created inside the home from cooking than from modern wood burning stoves!

Read on to learn more about the report on indoor air quality associated with wood burning and get a new perspective on PM 2.5 in the home.

There has been much debate on the topic of indoor air quality and PM 2.5 emissions in relation to wood-burning stoves over the last few years. To get an accurate picture, the Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) commissioned a literature review looking at studies into the contribution from wood burning stoves to indoor particulate matter (PM). This looked at evidence from over 35 different studies into the impact on indoor air quality in the developed world from solid fuel combustion, including the 2020 study by Chakraborty et al, Indoor Air Pollution from Residential Stoves: Examining the Flooding of Particulate Matter into Homes during Real-World Use.
 

The report was undertaken by Dr Amanda Lea-Langton, senior lecturer in Bioenergy Engineering at the University of Manchester. 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 have

greater 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

Not all stoves and wood-burning are equal!

A common misconception is that the use of wood-burning stoves is detrimental to our health due to their contribution to indoor air quality. This assertion often comes from conflating the performance of modern Ecodesign stoves with less sophisticated solid fuel combustion practices common in the developing world.

The findings in this report do not support this assertion and one broad literature review by a public body indicated that there was no association shown between exposure to indoor woodburning and the risk of asthma in developed countries. Additionally, a Manchester University study conducted in 2021 found that cooking, candles, incense, and hairspray all gave higher PM10 and PM2.5 readings than the use of a modern Ecodesign stove.

Wood-burning stove PM 2.5 best practices

The report recognises that indoor PM exposure for wood burning stove users peaks when refuelling and during ash removal. Andy Hill, chair of the SIA, advises ways that this can be easily mitigated:

“When refuelling a wood burning stove it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Refuel when the fire-bed has become glowing embers. Never simply swing the door open as this will lead to a rapid change in pressure within the appliance and may trigger some small escape of fumes (what was described as “flooding” in the 2021 Chakraborty study). Instead, by releasing the door catch and opening the door very slightly the air pressure will settle within a few seconds, then the door can be opened fully and more logs added. Similarly, with a little care any dust escape can be minimised during ash removal.”

The report gives information about reducing emissions even further:

“…those using wood burners could reduce their emissions by following improved firing and fuel practices. Recommendations for firing included the use of kindling or natural cubes rather than paper, cardboard or newspapers; stacking according to the Swiss method with largest logs at the bottom; wood moisture to be between 10-20% and use of a hard wood fuel (e.g. beech, oak) rather than softwoods or prunings. This led to improved combustion and hence lower emissions so reduced the risk of exposure.”

Modern wood-burning stoves are safe

This report gives valuable insight into how everyday household activities contribute to PM 2.5 emissions in the home. It accurately highlights the major contributors and crucially shows there is no scientific evidence linking adverse health impacts from exposure to PMs in indoor air and the use of modern wood burning stoves.

When considering the many benefits of a modern wood-burning stove to wellbeing, the fuel crisis, and environment it is wonderful news that people can now confidently enjoy all these benefits safely.


The report, which can be downloaded in full via the link below, was commissioned by the SIA and has been independently peer reviewed by Prof Alan Williams, CBE FREng FRSC, Emeritus Professor in Combustion, The University of Leeds.

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

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If you’re searching for a timeless decor style that feels warm, comforting and characterful, you’re in the right place.

Today, we’ll be sharing some timeless rustic home decor ideas for the entire home. From cosy living rooms and country-style kitchens to charming outdoor areas, this post will give you all the inspiration you need to introduce evergreen rustic interior design inside and outside your home.

1. Champion neutral colours

Country chic design is all about creating a close connection to nature – and finding the right colour palette is key to getting this right.

To nail the rustic vibe, neutral hues are an absolute must. The right blend of white, cream, beige, brown, grey and even black will evoke an earthy, grounded feel in interiors throughout your home.

Soft, pale tones work beautifully as base colours for walls and floors throughout your home, while darker shades like brown, black and grey are better used as accent colours to bring depth and variety to your light canvas.

This restrained and considered colour pallet can add longevity to rustic decor, ensuring it ages effortlessly with just a few minor tweaks. These could include introducing colourful, on-trend decorative touches like artwork, fabrics and more for an affordable and easy refresh.

2. Go organic with integral materials

The concept of rustic decor is continually being reinvented and can refer to a huge variety of styles, from wood-centric alpine chalets to elegant Tuscan villas and everyday farmhouses. However, all rustic decor styles centre around the use of organic materials and lots of texture.

So, if you want to successfully pull off that rustic feel, choosing the right materials for integral design elements like structural features, furniture and flooring is key.

Whether you’re redecorating your bathroom, bedroom or garden, wood, stone and organic materials are essential. Firstly, they tie in perfectly with a neutral colour scheme. Secondly, many natural materials come with exceptional durability, not to mention bags of textural value and charm.

Inside your home, celebrate original features like chunky wooden fireplace mantles, exposed ceiling beams or stone feature walls. If you don’t have these, create your own with decorative touches like wood panels, handmade furniture, stone-look floor tiles and more.

Outside, you can revel in nature to convey a truly authentic rustic feel. Use your garden’s natural elements – like established trees and flowerbeds – as focal points, as well as structured elements like raised beds made from wood, stone. For pathways and patios, champion practicality and style with durable, rustic outdoor tiles in a neutral colour.

3. Add your own finishing touches

 

The right colour and materials will go a long way towards creating a homely, welcoming rustic interior design that has timeless appeal. However, you need to embellish these spaces with your own personal touches to add character and prevent them from feeling bland and boring.

The trick here is to champion classic designs and adopt a less-is-more mentality. Rather than stuffing rooms with lots of trendy trinkets and kitsch features, take a pared-back approach using a selection of key rustic-themed features that add bags of charm.

We’re talking focal points like an attention-grabbing firepit in the garden or a wood burning stove in the living room which will instantly make the space feel cosy and warm. Elsewhere, double up on soft furnishings that bring texture and a layered look. For long-lasting natural fabrics, wool, leather, hessian and linen give that earthy vibe, while faux fur and even crushed velvet can create a soft and indulgent finish.

When it comes to decorative elements, rustic interior design allows you to channel your eclectic side. But to ensure this doesn’t feel cluttered and dated, practise some restraint here. If possible, stick with a rough colour scheme for added cohesion – and choose a few anchoring accent pieces like a vintage rug, an oversized mirror or antique planters to draw the eye in. For smaller trinkets, go with clusters of mismatched, differently sized items in groups of 3 to 5, as these will add a little extra character to spaces inside and out.

While rustic interior design has changed over the years, if you follow these golden rules of rustic home decorating, you can create a stunning aesthetic that will stand the test of the time.

Whether you’re revamping your garden, living room, kitchen or bedroom, the right colour, materials and finishing touches will instantly give your home a bonafide country feel that will never be off-trend.

Author bio:

Suhayl Laher works at Tiles Direct, one of the UK’s largest independent tile distributors and retailers – bringing design inspiration to homeowners, architects and developers.

Header photo by Alisha Hieb on Unsplash

charnwoodstoves

Last week marked A.J Wells and Sons’ 50th anniversary and when taking a moment to reflect it is quite staggering to see how far we have come. From a local Island business to reaching markets across the globe, it is a testament to how much has been achieved that we can honestly say the time has just flown by. We look back with a sense of pride and look forward with real excitement – read on to hear about our amazing 50-year adventure!

The story so far…

Charnwood

 

In 1972, Alfred Wells and his two sons Alastair and John started a small engineering business in the idyllic coastal village of Niton on the Isle of Wight. Against the backdrop of the ‘70s oil crisis and the spread of Dutch Elm Disease in the UK, the trio decided to produce a small woodburning stove as an alternative way to help people heat their homes and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

The first step was to take a prototype stove to a small agricultural fair, where, to their amazement, a man came over and placed an order for twenty stoves! This kicked started the company and throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s the Charnwood range of stoves continued to grow and were sold across the UK. This momentum has never let up with new stoves regularly coming to market, with the latest, the Charnwood Cranmore, being incredibly well received.
 

Over the years, more family members joined, and the company moved the factory to Newport and invested in machinery and equipment in order to bring the manufacturing under one roof. From the original 3 in their ‘shed’ to now employing over 180 people in a site spanning 50,000 sq. ft, the business is enjoying record demand for its market-leading stoves.

A.J Wells Vitreous Enamellers

 

In 1990 A vitreous enamel plant was installed enabling the stoves to be enamelled in-house. This major investment was the start of a new arm for the company: A.J Wells Vitreous Enamellers. Shortly after, the Company began to produce signage specified for its long-lasting and durable finish. One of the first major contracts included London’s iconic Barbican Centre. This began a relationship with TFL which has seen A.J Wells become the principal supplier of signage and cladding for the London Underground. In 2007 the company manufactured much of the new DLR signage and London Overground in preparation for the London 2012 Olympics. There have been many standout projects since, with two of our most recent (below) getting a significant amount of media exposure.

Crossrail Elizabeth Line
 

The Elizabeth line railway, built by Crossrail for Transport for London, is now spanning more than 100km across the capital. The railway serves 41 stations including 10 major new London stations from Paddington to Abbey Wood. A.J Wells & Sons designed, developed, manufactured, and installed a range of signage and cladding solutions across the network including Tottenham Court Road, Paddington, Whitechapel, and Canary Warf. Read more…

TfL Northern Line Extension
 

London saw the first major tube expansion this century open to the public on Monday 20th September 2021. A.J Wells & Sons are proud to have surveyed, designed, manufactured, and installed the signage throughout the 1 billion pound Transport for London Northern Line Extension (NLE) project.

The NLE extension will serve two new stations; Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station. The whole area is undergoing massive redevelopment, with homes being built and many jobs created. Read more…

Bodj

 

 

The Bodj initiative was first conceived in 2001 when Ced Wells (under funding from The RSA and The British Council) travelled to Cambodia to work for a fair-trade business support organisation, Bright Arrows Development Ltd.

Upon his return to the UK and after learning about the experience and wonderful work that had taken place, A.J Wells & Sons (the family business) decided it wanted to get involved. As a long-established British manufacturer of Charnwood wood-burning stoves, the company decided to support one of the villages’ mini enterprises by selling their terracotta tiles. The product married well with the wood stoves and hence ‘Bodj’ was born.

A further three projects were established involving basketware, ironworking and recycling facilities which now produce a wonderful range of fireside products. Bodj seeks to strike a balance between western design practicalities and age-old Cambodian traditions.

A.J Wells and Bodj aim to continue assisting in building up these and other communities with carefully monitored fair trade practices: to relieve poverty and to improve social and environmental conditions – while respecting the culture and environment these villagers live in.

Vlaze

 

In 2013, A.J Wells & Sons featured as one of the faces of the ‘Business is Great Britain’ campaign. At the same time as being recognised for our existing business we were well on the way to starting a new division focused on a new exciting opportunity. In 2014 A.J Wells established Vlaze: a brand to focus on vitreous enamel for the living environment. Debuting enamel fireplace panels and heatshields for stove surrounds in collaboration with Charnwood. The business grew from strength to strength and undertook commissions for restaurants, hotels, and residential projects with a range of leading designers and architects including Thomas Heatherwick, Tom Dixon, Yinka Ilori and the Soho House Group.

Awards

 

Over the years we have received a number of awards we are proud of. In particular, the Green Business of the Year Award from our local chamber of commerce resonated strongly as it recognised a key part of the company ethos. However, the most significant award to date remains the honour of receiving the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade. The Queen’s Award is the UK’s most prestigious for business performance, recognising exceptional achievement by UK companies.

Today
Today, A.J Wells continues to design and make stoves, signage, cladding and export products worldwide reaching markets in Japan, South Africa, Australia, Europe and the US. We remain a privately owned British manufacturer and design house run by the second and third-generation family members and employing a fantastic team that continues to grow.

After two challenging years in which everyone has had to be cooped up, we are relishing the start of venturing out again towards new horizons. The end of 2021 and beginning of 2022 saw the launch of Charnwood.US and Vlaze.US to help us reach our customers and grow our market across the pond!

Charnwood.US

 

As part of this launch, we were proud to reveal another new stove – the revolutionary Charnwood Skye E700. It has a new intelligent microprocessor that is set to revolutionize the way we burn wood. Load the fire, close the door, set your room temperature using the Charnwood app on your phone and let the stove do the rest. A blissful stove experience!

The Skye E700 is coming soon to the U.S.A & Canada and then to other markets. Read more…

Vlaze.US

 

We’ve long heard the calls from our friends across the pond, so we were delighted to announce our Vlaze porcelain enamel indoor/outdoor modular kitchen units will be available in 2022.

Vlaze is perfect for both the UK and the US. While completely at home in the windy and wet weather we’re known for here in the UK, it is also perfect for the sunny Californian climate due to its unrivalled heat-resistance and durability – The colours won’t fade in the sun and won’t rust from the rain.

Now in its 50th year, A.J Wells has grown from humble beginnings to making Charnwood a leading global stove brand, while becoming the UK’s leading vitreous enamellers. Vlaze is equally promising, maintaining the same high stands for design and craftsmanship – characterising the very best of British.

Now, in 2022, with significant global challenges to face, A.J Wells and Sons will continue to be led by its core principles. Our vision across all businesses is to build relationships, transform lives and create products that delight people. We feel incredibly fortunate to be working on projects that inspire the whole team and want to finish by thanking all of you who have made the last 50 years so incredibly special.

charnwoodstoves

We welcome the latest UK government figures for particulate matter emissions. It reveals that indoor wood burning is responsible for less than half the emissions previously speculated (17% rather than 38%). This is based on the latest data which now recognises errors in the previous data set. 

17% is still significant, however, this figure includes all wood burning from open fires and old closed faced stoves. This suggests there is significant room for improvement as we know that Ecodesign stoves are 90% more efficient than open fires and 80% more efficient than stoves 10 or more years old. The SIA has established that Ecodesign stoves are in fact currently contributing just 2.7% to emissions. 

A government study in 2016 reports 40% of domestic burning is from open fires, while we know that Ecodesign regulations only just came into force this year. Therefore, there is real potential for significantly reducing the PM output of domestic wood-burning by encouraging open fire users and those with an old stove to upgrade to an Ecodesign stove.  

Commenting on the latest data Andy Hill, chair of the Stove Industry Alliance, said: 

“We welcome the revisions to the government’s statistics on PM2.5 from domestic combustion sources that have been announced. The SIA has long maintained that the volume of wood fuel used to calculate the previous figure had been significantly overestimated, and this has now been officially acknowledged.” 

“There is huge potential to lower PM2.5 emissions from domestic combustion even further by encouraging homeowners to upgrade their open fires to an Ecodesign stove, such as a clearSkies certified appliance. These stoves produce up to 90% less particulate matter emissions than an open fire so the further reduction in emissions levels that could be achieved is significant. A professionally installed, regularly serviced modern Ecodesign stove used with correctly seasoned wood fuel* is a very low carbon, low emission, sustainable and cost-effective way to heat our homes.” 

It is important to remember that a world without any PM emissions is not a realistic goal – certainly not with the current technology available and so it is right to pursue a strategy that seeks to minimise PM levels while maximizing the benefits of various heating solutions. With oil and gas prices rising and with the existing limitations of wind and solar power, there is absolutely a need for an efficient domestic combustion solution which Ecodesign stoves provide.

Read more on what to do about rising energy prices

Eco-design wood burning stove benefits:

1/ They can produce heat for long periods.

2/ Allowing them to work in conjunction with wind, solar and other energies helps make these great technologies more viable – They are not in competition with each other.

3/ 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/ Ability to source fuel locally and 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/ Significant well-being benefits as a result of owning a wood-burning stove. Read about the Charnwood wellbeing survey and all the amazing benefits of owning a stove for your wellbeing.

The perfect open fire replacement

 

The Charnwood Cranmore is perfect to replace an open fire or old stove and suits an open fireplace beautifully. It is a classic new wood-burning stove that is traditional in style, however, benefits from the very latest in clean burn technology. The Cranmore draws inspiration from the Regency era with a single framed glass door and archetypal detailing. The stoves’ pleasing proportions make it well suited to a traditional fireplace and with its large picture window and mesmerising flame pattern it is an ideal replacement for an open fire. Read more about the Cranmore here… 

Proper stove usage is key

The benefits of an Ecodesign stove can only be realised with proper usage and by selecting the right type of fuel. – This is wood that has been stored and allowed to dry until the moisture content has reduced to 20% or less. Freshly cut or ‘green wood’ holds up to 70% water which causes far more smoke to be produced. It is for this reason we have long stressed the importance of using seasoned wood because it produces a significantly cleaner burn – reducing emissions by up to 50%. Additionally, improved efficiency equals cheaper running costs, while a cleaner fuel means your stove and chimney will require less maintenance. It’s a win-win. 

More information on sustainable firewood choices. 

_____________________ 

We believe that Ecodesign regulations will have a hugely positive impact and will improve emission targets further. Since regulations have only just come into force this year, most stoves surveyed were older inefficient stoves and open fires. Therefore, as more people make the switch to new efficient Ecodesign stoves, we will see emission output for domestic woodburning fall significantly – particularly if you help us spread the word! 

 

Sources:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/emissions-of-air-pollutants/emissions-of-air-pollutants-in-the-uk-particulate-matter-pm10-and-pm25 

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/517572/Summary_results_of_the_domestic_wood_use_survey_.pdf 

https://www.clearskiesmark.org/ 

charnwoodstoves

Will energy prices rise in 2022?

Martin Lewis of Money Savings Expert fame has recently said “I’ve been calling for Government intervention to prevent an energy bill crisis before 1 April, when the price cap – which most bills are now based on – is predicted to rise 51%, adding typically £600/year to bills.”

This is sobering reading and it is understandable that this situation is leading people to question what alternatives there are that could help in the short, medium, and long term.

For most families, the optimum long term home energy solution involves a combination of renewable energy systems (such as wind and solar) alongside an Eco-design wood-burning stove.

Comparing alternative domestic energy solutions

This unprecedented price rise is coinciding with a greater appreciation of the need to do more to help our environment and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. We are big supporters of wind and solar energy – in fact, our factory roof on the Isle of Wight is covered with panels and many of us have installed solar on our roofs at home. However, they are only a part of the solution as they don’t offer a constant supply and there are still significant upfront costs involved. Heat pumps are also expensive and are not suitable for a substantial portion of housing stock.

Fossil fuels on the other hand are non-renewable and, as we all know, polluting. The main advantage is the ability to provide power 24/7 – but they are not a sustainable part of the world’s future and as we have seen they are no longer the cheap option!

Fortunately, there is a more sustainable way to provide consistent heat energy that doesn’t require burning fossil fuels – Wood-burning stoves! To be clear we are not advocating open fires, nor old stoves, we are talking about new EcoDesign that provide superb efficiency and are a far greener alternative.

Here is a useful breakdown of information for the domestic user regarding solar power, wind power, heat pumps, and eco-design wood-burning stoves:

Average up-front cost for family of 3 (including installation) Average maintenance costs P/A Can it offer constant supply? Potential to earn money selling back to the grid?
Solar Power £6000 – £8000 £150 – £250 No Yes
Wind Power £9000 – 30,000 £150 – £450 No Yes
Heat Pumps £8000 – 30,000 £90 – £150 Yes No
Wood-Burning Stoves £2500 – £5000 £60 – £100 Yes No

These figures are estimates

Analysis: Renewable energy systems benefit significantly from working alongside clearSkies wood-burning stoves as any shortfalls in energy production are mitigated. It depends on your budget and if you can afford to go straight to wind or solar, however for most families, adding a woodstove will be the most straightforward and affordable next step.

Eco-design wood burning stove benefits:

• They can produce heat for long periods.

• Allowing them to work in conjunction with wind, solar and other energies helps make these great technologies more viable – They are not in competition with each other.

• An ideal emergency/low-frequency heat source.

• 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.

• Ability to source fuel locally and 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.

• Charnwood stoves and packaging are fully recyclable.

• Significant wellbeing benefits as a result of owning a wood-burning stove. Read about the Charnwood wellbeing survey and all the amazing benefits of owning a stove for your wellbeing.

The latest data on domestic wood-burning supports the use of Eco-design stoves

There have been some reports in recent years that have attributed inaccurate emissions figures to domestic wood-burning stoves. It has long been argued that lumping open fires, bonfires and stoves together is misleading. Now, a new study has just released new data that confirms this. An overview of the results can be found below. For a deeper look click here.

“Outdoor wood burning was found to account for 51% (17,518 tonnes/year) of all domestic wood-burning PM2.5 emissions (total of 34,465 tonnes/year). These results therefore signify the importance of accounting for these outdoor sources and has implications for the future design of regulations which currently largely neglect outdoor domestic burning.

This therefore suggests that bonfires are one of the major sources of domestic PM2.5 emissions, possibly contributing as much as all wood burnt indoors.

Lastly, it was found that Ecodesign stoves contribute just 2.7% of PM2.5 emissions from the burning of wood logs (including waste wood and briquettes) despite using 9% of the fuel. On the other hand, open fires contribute 39% of the emission from burning of wood logs whilst burning 26% of the wood. These results therefore highlight the substantial improvements in emissions from indoor sources that can be made by switching to modern Ecodesign stoves.”

Wood burning best practices

Sustainable firewood choices

Wood can be a renewable energy source as trees suck carbon out of the atmosphere as they grow. Of course, there are best practices that need to be followed and selecting the right type of wood from the right sources is key.

Ideally, rather than felling a healthy tree, it is always much better to use wood from trees that have fallen naturally or have been removed via coppicing. When that isn’t an option, it is still important to source locally which experts consider to be within an 11mile radius. This way non-native insects and parasites are not introduced into new regions while emissions from transportation are reduced.

3 essential steps to burning wood with your stove efficiently

1/ Good fuel – This is wood that has been stored and allowed to dry until the moisture content has reduced to 20% or less. Freshly cut or ‘green wood’ holds up to 70% water which causes far more smoke to be produced. It is for this reason we have long stressed the importance of using seasoned wood because it produces a significantly cleaner burn – reducing emissions by up to 50%. Additionally, improved efficiency equals cheaper running costs, while a cleaner fuel means your stove and chimney will require less maintenance. It’s a win-win.

2/ Efficient stove – Charnwood is proud to have stoves certified in the inaugural clearSkies listing, an independent emissions and energy performance certification mark for stoves. Many Charnwood products carry a level 5 certification (the highest available rating) which guarantees performance levels and exceed the minimum EcoDesign criteria by a sizable 30%. This is only awarded to stoves that significantly reduce particle emissions while ensuring high efficiencies and a superior flame picture.

3/ Correct use – this is a variable that has until now been dependent on the experience and diligence of the end-user, providing mixed results. That is why Charnwood are developing new technology that will give the user the option of automating this process. This will mean the stove will burn at the most efficient rate possible, further improving its green credentials. Watch this space!

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References:
https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2022/01/martin-lewis–the-energy-price-cap-s-now-predicted-to-rise-a-hor/
https://stoveindustryalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/22-01-31-The-contribution-of-domestic-outdoor-burning-to-UK-particulate-matter-emissions.pdf