charnwoodstoves

The modern wood burning stoves of today ensure low emission and low carbon heating for our homes. However there have been a number of misleading reports circulating in the news recently suggesting stoves are responsible for contributing far more particulate emissions than they actually do.

It is important to say that some of the air pollution statistics that are quoted are not only incorrect but they lump modern, clean burning stoves together with all sorts of domestic fuels, older appliances and open fires.

The Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) have produced this short film to help dispel these reported myths around wood burning stoves with the real facts and address three of the major misconceptions that are being mis-quoted by the media.

1)‘Wood burning stoves are the biggest contributor in the UK of small particulate matter’.

This is not true. At the root of this myth is a statement from Defra’s Clean Air Strategy claiming that domestic combustion accounts for 38% of fine particulate matter. This number was based on a survey carried out by the government in 2015  which wrongly over-estimated the amount of wood being burnt in the UK on stoves and fireplaces. (1)

A much bigger survey carried out in 2019 by the SIA (2) showed the actual figure was less than a third of what the government quoted, making the percentage of PM.2.5 that could be attributed to domestic combustion closer to 13% and NOT 38%.

Subsequent figures recently published by Defra (3) corollate with the SIA’s findings and if their new wood fuel volume figures were combined with the correct emission factors, the real percentage of PM2.5 attributable to domestic wood burning would be less than 10%.

In addition to this the 38% figure was based on emissions from older stoves and open fires. It is proven that modern Ecodesign compliant wood burning stoves (which the majority of our Charnwood models conform to) produce 66% LESS emissions than these outdated appliances. Other sources of PM2.5 were also included in its overall estimation, including wildfires, bonfires, and incinerators which are unregulated sources of particulate matter and certainly not insignificant.

2) ‘Wood burning stoves create the same emissions as 18 diesel cars’.

This comes from test results interpreted by the Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) but their comparison is extremely misleading and, as the SIA film points out, it is like comparing apples with oranges.

Firstly the comparison is between the appliances running at significantly different efficiency levels, by measuring a car exhaust emissions at an efficient run rate of 21mph and comparing them to all of the emissions at a full run rate for a stove. This completely ignores all the small particle emissions from the car’s brakes and tyres, when frequently the emissions from a car’s brakes and tyres are actually greater than the emissions from the exhaust pipe!

Finally the difference in the dispersal point of particulate matter from wood burning stoves to cars is ignored completely. A car outputs its emissions at face level for a child and therefore there is very little dispersal before it is breathed in, whereas a woodburning stove sends its emissions out of the top of the chimney and there is considerable dispersal of emissions before they even reach human height.

3) ‘Wood burning stoves and fireplaces are harmful’.

Chair of the Stove Industry Alliance, Morley Sage, explains why this is one of the more concerning misconceptions:

“This view fails to take into account the huge advances that have been made by the woodburning stove industry in recent years. Many critics of woodburning stoves base their assumptions on data linked to open fires, older stoves and poor-quality wood fuel. The SIA would be one of the first organisations to point out that burning wet wood on an open fire, a practice that is still very common today, is one of the least efficient and most highly polluting ways to heat your home. By stark contrast, a modern wood burning stove emits up to 90% less emissions than an open fire and up to 80% less than a stove that is 10 or more years old.”

Members of the SIA (including us at Charnwood) were among the first manufacturers to develop ultra clean burn technology within our appliances to achieve the forthcoming 2022 Ecodesign Regulations (SIA Ecodesign Ready). More recently the SIA has supported and initiated the launch of clearSkies, an independent emissions and energy performance certification scheme for solid fuel stoves and fireplaces. Appliances that are certified under clearSkies will not only meet the performance levels set out under Ecodesign, but also many go a significant way beyond. The majority of our Charnwood stoves achieve highest clearSkies certification: Level 5.

Far from being the problem, modern wood burning stoves are actually the solution to a low carbon, sustainable future domestic heating strategy.

The REAL facts about modern woodburning stoves are that they are a future proof, highly efficient, very low carbon and sustainable way of heating our homes and keeping our families warm, and that is something to be truly proud of.

For further information visit www.stoveindustryalliance.com

 

1) The BEIS Domestic Wood Survey using a sample size of 1,206

2) SIA independently verified research carried out in 2019 using sample size of 10,620 using same questions as BEIS survey

3) The Emission of Air Pollutants in the UK 1970 to 2019 and Defra Research Burning in UK Homes & Gardens Report  

charnwoodstoves

If you are already the proud owner of a wood burner, or are considering making a purchase, you will not be disappointed. A wood burner is a superb addition to the home and an impressive focal point.

As winter approaches and the nights begin to draw in, what better way to spend chilly evenings than being nestled up next to your wood burning stove?

Before you fire up your wood burner and use it more regularly though, the Charnwood experts have compiled their tips on how to light a wood burner alongside other top tips, so you can get the absolute most out of your wood burner.

How to use a wood burner

If you are considering a wood burner purchase, it is crucial to ensure your desired stove is suitable for your home. We strongly recommend that a site survey is carried out by an experienced stove installer in the first instance before you make a purchase. Use our stove calculator to find out if your room is suitable.

How to make a fire in a wood burner

There are several stages to making a successful fire in a wood burner. If a fire is built and lit incorrectly, it can prevent the stove from getting hot. Follow these steps to make a successful wood burner fire:

Firstly you will need to ensure your wood is well seasoned and dry with a moisture content of less than 20% – if buying wood in smaller volumes look out for the Woodsure ‘Ready to Burn label’ which guarantees this.

When lighting your stove we recommend the top down method.

1) Leave some ash – the most efficient way to light a wood burning stove is to leave a little bit of ash from previous fires. However, you should still ensure the majority of the ash is cleaned out to avoid blocking air circulation.
2) Place 2-3 smaller logs on the stove bed
3) On top of this build a stack of 6-8 softwood kindling sticks
4) Then place a natural fire lighter inside
5) Fully open the air control as this will maximise the supply of oxygen in the wood burner needed to get the fire going.
6) Light the fire lighter and close the door but leave it slightly a jar
7) This helps to heat the chimney flue and burn hot and clean
8) Once the fire is burning well close the door and reduce the air intake
9) Re-fuel little and often
10) Every time a log is added open the air control again until the fire is burning well and then return the control to normal

By running your stove in this way you will achieve maximum efficiency with minimum emissions

How hot does a wood burner get?

Most wood burners range in temperature and can reach 190 – 343 degrees Celsius (375 – 650 degrees Fahrenheit). However, how hot a wood burner gets can depend on several factors including poor draft on the stove, air vents left closed or not open enough, incorrectly built/lit fire and use of wet wood.

How many logs do I need to put in a wood burner?

It is important not to overload your wood burner with logs, as this will mean the fire does not have enough oxygen to burn effectively. For a constant heat, have one or two logs in your wood burner at once.

How to get maximum heat from wood burner

There are several factors that could prevent your wood burner from achieving maximum heat, including:
The type of wood that is being burnt.
The moisture content of the wood.
How effectively the air supply to the fire is controlled.
How well the fire is maintained.

Achieve the maximum heat from your wood burner by:

Using softwoods to quickly get the fire started.
Using harder woods once the fire has started to produce more heat for longer periods.
Ensuring all wood burned is dry and doesn’t contain large amounts of moisture (as mentioned earlier we recommend a 20 per cent or lower moisture content threshold for firewood).
Periodically adding a few pieces of wood, rather than waiting for the flame to die down or adding large amounts of wood in one go.
Using air vents correctly to control airflow to the fire.
Having your flue cleaned and maintained regularly.
Cleaning and maintaining your wood burner stove regularly.
Ensuring your room has adequate ventilation to give the fire an oxygen supply.

How to keep a wood burner going

The below tips will help make a wood stove burn for longer:
Avoid using wet wood in your wood burning stove.
Reduce the air coming through the air vents to make the fire last longer.
A stove that contains cast iron elements are better for heat efficiency and will keep a fire going.
If you would like to find out more about wood burning stove cleaning tips and tricks in our blog, read: How to clean your wood burning stove.

What trees are the best to burn on a wood burner?

The best wood for burning on a wood burner are:
• Ash
• Oak
• Birch
• Beech
• Cherry
• Sycamore

How to put out a wood burner

Safely put out your wood burner by following these steps:
Starve the flames of oxygen by ensuring the stove door is completely closed.
Close all air vents and wait until the flames have died down to embers.
Wearing heat-resistant gloves, open the door and spread the remaining embers/pieces of wood using a fire poker.
Once the stove is cooled, sweep away any remaining ashes. An ash carrier can be a useful piece of equipment to assist in this.

Discover further cleaning and maintenance tips in our blog: How to clean wood burner glass.

Contact Charnwood today

To find out more about how to light your wood burner and keeping it well maintained, contact Charnwood today. Our friendly, expert team are on hand and more than happy to answer any queries you may have.

charnwoodstoves

If you are already the proud owner of a wood burner, or are considering making a purchase, you will not be disappointed. A wood burner is a superb addition to the home and an impressive focal point.

As winter approaches and the nights begin to draw in, what better way to spend chilly evenings than being nestled up next to your wood burning stove?

Before you fire up your wood burner and use it more regularly though, the Charnwood experts have compiled their tips on how to light a wood burner alongside other top tips, so you can get the absolute most out of your wood burner.

How to use a wood burner

If you are considering a wood burner purchase, it is crucial to ensure your desired stove is suitable for your home. We strongly recommend that a site survey is carried out by an experienced stove installer in the first instance before you make a purchase. Use our stove calculator to find out if your room is suitable.

How to make a fire in a wood burner

There are several stages to making a successful fire in a wood burner. If a fire is built and lit incorrectly, it can prevent the stove from getting hot. Follow these steps to make a successful wood burner fire:

Firstly you will need to ensure your wood is well seasoned and dry with a moisture content of less than 20% – if buying wood in smaller volumes look out for the Woodsure ‘Ready to Burn label’ which guarantees this.

When lighting your stove we recommend the top down method.

1) Leave some ash – the most efficient way to light a wood burning stove is to leave a little bit of ash from previous fires. However, you should still ensure the majority of the ash is cleaned out to avoid blocking air circulation.
2) Place 2-3 smaller logs on the stove bed
3) On top of this build a stack of 6-8 softwood kindling sticks
4) Then place a natural fire lighter inside
5) Fully open the air control as this will maximise the supply of oxygen in the wood burner needed to get the fire going.
6) Light the fire lighter and close the door but leave it slightly a jar
7) This helps to heat the chimney flue and burn hot and clean
8) Once the fire is burning well close the door and reduce the air intake
9) Re-fuel little and often
10) Every time a log is added open the air control again until the fire is burning well and then return the control to normal

By running your stove in this way you will achieve maximum efficiency with minimum emissions

How hot does a wood burner get?

Most wood burners range in temperature and can reach 190 – 343 degrees Celsius (375 – 650 degrees Fahrenheit). However, how hot a wood burner gets can depend on several factors including poor draft on the stove, air vents left closed or not open enough, incorrectly built/lit fire and use of wet wood.

How many logs do I need to put in a wood burner?

It is important not to overload your wood burner with logs, as this will mean the fire does not have enough oxygen to burn effectively. For a constant heat, have one or two logs in your wood burner at once.

How to get maximum heat from wood burner

There are several factors that could prevent your wood burner from achieving maximum heat, including:
The type of wood that is being burnt.
The moisture content of the wood.
How effectively the air supply to the fire is controlled.
How well the fire is maintained.

Achieve the maximum heat from your wood burner by:

Using softwoods to quickly get the fire started.
Using harder woods once the fire has started to produce more heat for longer periods.
Ensuring all wood burned is dry and doesn’t contain large amounts of moisture (as mentioned earlier we recommend a 20 per cent or lower moisture content threshold for firewood).
Periodically adding a few pieces of wood, rather than waiting for the flame to die down or adding large amounts of wood in one go.
Using air vents correctly to control airflow to the fire.
Having your flue cleaned and maintained regularly.
Cleaning and maintaining your wood burner stove regularly.
Ensuring your room has adequate ventilation to give the fire an oxygen supply.

How to keep a wood burner going

The below tips will help make a wood stove burn for longer:
Avoid using wet wood in your wood burning stove.
Reduce the air coming through the air vents to make the fire last longer.
A stove that contains cast iron elements are better for heat efficiency and will keep a fire going.
If you would like to find out more about wood burning stove cleaning tips and tricks in our blog, read: How to clean your wood burning stove.

What trees are the best to burn on a wood burner?

The best wood for burning on a wood burner are:
• Ash
• Oak
• Birch
• Beech
• Cherry
• Sycamore

How to put out a wood burner

Safely put out your wood burner by following these steps:
Starve the flames of oxygen by ensuring the stove door is completely closed.
Close all air vents and wait until the flames have died down to embers.
Wearing heat-resistant gloves, open the door and spread the remaining embers/pieces of wood using a fire poker.
Once the stove is cooled, sweep away any remaining ashes. An ash carrier can be a useful piece of equipment to assist in this.

Discover further cleaning and maintenance tips in our blog: How to clean wood burner glass.

Contact Charnwood today

To find out more about how to light your wood burner and keeping it well maintained, contact Charnwood today. Our friendly, expert team are on hand and more than happy to answer any queries you may have.

charnwoodstoves

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

Which firewood should I choose?

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

Common hardwood species include beech and oak.

Common softwood species include cedar and pine.

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

Which wood burns the longest?

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

charnwoodstoves

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

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

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

What’s the difference between hardwood and softwood?

Firewood falls into two main categories – softwood and hardwood.

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

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

Why choose hardwood?

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

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

Ash

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

Oak

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

Birch

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

Why choose softwood?

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

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

Here’s a closer look at their properties. 

Larch

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

Pine

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

Cedar

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

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

charnwoodstoves

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

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

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

What is hardwood?

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

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

What is softwood?

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

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

Seasoning your wood

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

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

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

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

Split up your logs

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

Avoid storing firewood in your home

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

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

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