Frequently Asked Questions on Wood Burning
What size stove is right for us?
For an averagely insulated UK home, 1 kW will heat about 15m³ of space. A house built to current standards will require about 1kW per 30m³. Ideally, the stove should be on the smaller side, as it is more efficient and more attactive to run your stove at a higher output. Link here for more accurate HETAS Guide Issued 2012
How much wood do I need?
If you use your stove for just a few hours per evening you will need less than one cubic metre of logs per season. A large stove that is in constant use could use 4 to 6 cubic metres per season.
Wood Usage Calculator:
Where do I buy fuel for my stove?
You may have a local source of wood. If not we provide a list of suppliers who can deliver locally. Click here for a list. Let us know if there are other suppliers you can recommend. Note that a delivery of logs from a local source can often be too wet for immediate use – even when described as seasoned! Coal and smokeless fuels will be supplied by your local coal merchant.
How should I store wood?
Correctly cut and seasoned fuel will produce at least twice the heat of poor fuel, increasing controllability and reducing fuel consumption. Dry wood will also burn cleaner and will generate less ash than damp wood.
To obtain the best burning or calorific value from your wood, it needs to be split and stored in the open with top cover for one spring and summer. Freshly cut wood has a moisture content of 60-70%. You must allow logs to dry until the moisture content is below 25%, ideally 20%. Hold a log to your face: if it feels cold or clammy, this is a sign that it is still damp. Dry wood will feel warm to the face. Stack logs under shelter in a log shed where air is allowed to circulate.
We recommend that you purchase a year's supply of fuel at one time in the spring.
What sort of wood is best to burn?
Both hardwoods and softwoods are fine for stoves as long as they are dry – with moisture content below 20%. All wood types contain the same energy per kilogram, but denser woods will burn for longer. In general hardwood has a density of 550 to 750 kg/m³ and softwood has a density of 450 to 550 kg/m³.
Avoid treated wood, material from building sites or waste wood, as they may contain chemicals that can damage your stove and invalidate your warranty.
How can I prevent the glass on my stove sooting up?
All modern stoves will have an airwash system, but the efficiency of the airwash depends on the quality and sophistication of the stove.
A small amount of sooting will often occur at the corners of the glass, particularly when the stove is running on low output. Depending on the stove, this is normal. Dusty or sooty deposits can usually be cleaned off with slightly damp cloth, followed by a polish with dry newspaper. If the residue is tarry or yellowish this is often due to damp wood and low temperature combustion. This deposit can be burnt off by opening up the fire and burning at a high temperature. Alternatively, tar on the glass can be cleaned with a proprietary stove glass cleaner.
A useful tip is to use a stove thermometer to ensure that stove temperatures are in the correct range for optimum combustion.
Are stoves easy to clean out?
Yes, most stoves have an ash-collecting pan or a bed of ash that just needs to be emptied week. Do not empty after each fire, as a bed of ash under the fire is desirable.
What can I do with the ashes?
If burning wood the ash can be used as a garden fertiliser. Click here for advice from the RHS. If using coal you should dispose of them in a dustbin when the ashes are cool.