Solid Fuel Fires & Stoves

Much has been made about the recent rumours surrounding the banning of solid fuel stoves in the coming years but more accurately it’s about the Governments Clean Air Strategy. Launched in 2018, it aims to cut air pollution and save lives.

DEFRA together with the HETAS and Woodsure have been in talks for some time and have clarified that they are not looking to implement a ban on wood stoves.

As you would expect the industry has reacted positively to the pollution challenge and has raced to innovate and improve. CleanBurn and EcoDesign technology is now commonplace and most manufacturers produce stoves that are tested for use in smokeless zones, that have already passed or exceeded the DEFRA regulations being put in place for 2022. Your local council website can confirm if you live within a smoke control zone and/or if you are restricted to having a DEFRA approved appliance.

A wood-burning stove (or wood burner or log burner) is a heating appliance capable of burning wood fuel and wood-derived biomass fuel, such as sawdust bricks. Generally, these appliances are produced in cast iron or steel with a closed firebox, often lined by fire brick, and one or more air controls (which can be manually or automatically operated depending on the stove). The stove is connected by ventilating stove pipe to a suitable flue, which will fill with hot combustion gases once the fuel is ignited. The chimney or flue gases must be hotter than the outside temperature to ensure combustion gases are drawn out of the fire chamber and up the chimney.

Keeping the air flowing correctly through a wood-burning stove is essential for safe and efficient operation of the stove. Fresh air needs to enter the firebox to provide oxygen for the fire; as the fire burns, the smoke must be allowed to rise through the stove pipe and exit through the chimney. By opening or closing the controls, air flow can be increased or decreased, which can fan the fire in the firebox, or decrease it by restricting airflow and reducing the flames. However, some stoves can adjust their own airflow using mechanical or electronic thermostatic devices.

Modern building techniques have created more airtight homes, forcing many stove manufacturers to design their stoves to permit outside air intakes. Outside air can improve the overall efficiency of the stove as a heater by drawing cold combustion air directly from the outside.

Any stove or fireplace should also be properly maintained, and your chimney should be swept regularly. At Bespoke Fire and Flue Services we offer full after care service with annual sweeping and servicing of your appliance and/or servicing and maintenance for new clients too.

Fuels

Solid fuel stoves burn wood, with many offering a multi-fuel option.

Firewood requires anywhere from six months to two years dry out but using green wood can be dangerous. Late winter and early spring are ideal times to cut and store wood for the following year as it allows wood to dry over the summer months, seasoning in time for colder weather.

Wood with a moisture content of between 10 - 20% is ideal, as it burns more efficiently and produce more heat per log. When buying wood, look for the Woodsure ‘Ready to Burn’ label which is certified to have a low moisture content. For a full list of suppliers see the list on the Woodsure website. Kiln dried wood is another good option, due to its low moister content. However, damp of green wood should be avoided as it creates excessive smoke and may over time cause a dangerous creosote build-up on the flue or chimney lining.

Smokeless coal is available from a range of suppliers and can lasts up to 40% longer than house coal, producing great heat performance and burning with a beautifully natural flame.

To ensure satisfactory performance of domestic solid fuel and wood-burning appliances, it is essential to only use fuels that are of a suitable type and size. Good quality fuels are important for safe and efficient combustion, as poor-quality fuels waste energy and ultimately cost more in the long run.

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