Advice on Fuel
Using the correct wood
Firstly, it is important to prepare for the cold by sourcing wood that has been properly seasoned. This is an important step, as the moisture content needs to be under 20% to ensure a clean, efficient burn. Clean burning will be obvious, as the firebox will be bright and clean, clean door glass and no build-up of black tars in the stove or chimney.
Kiln dried logs are much more convenient to obtain and can be used immediately. Freshly cut logs will need to be correctly stored and seasoned before use which can take up to 2 years.
Kiln Dried or Seasoned Logs?
A common question, but first, what is the difference? Technically, there should be no difference, because well-seasoned logs should be properly dried to below 20% moisture content. But in reality, when one buys ‘seasoned firewood’, it often has a much higher reading. How many times have you heard your local supplier saying that the wood has been ‘down’ for over two years, so very dry, but when you burn it, the stove glass blackens and it struggles to burn? This is because the wood has not properly dried...
Seasoned logs will be easier to light and provide maximum heat output. When buying logs, always make sure you get a Woodsure and/or HETAS quality assurance certification for guaranteed quality.
It is good to have more than one or two logs in a wood burner for a constant heat, but overloading it will have the opposite effect and the fire will not have enough air for clean combustion.
A fire should have a few cut, loosely stacked logs on it to make sure that there is a bigger surface area to burn. One large log will not burn well as the air will not circulate well for clean effective combustion.
Fire burning typically happens in three stages:
The first stage is when the water is burned off – and this is why using dry logs is much better, as not only does it burns cleaner with dry logs, but the quicker this stage is over, the quicker the stove will be able to get hot.
Stages two and three are all about getting the fire up to a good temperature. Any gasses are driven off in stage two and when the ‘charcoal burn’ occurs in stage three you will be able to see embers glowing.
It is important to use a flue/stove thermometer to ensure correct burning temperature.
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