Category Archives: Wood

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Ban on Wood Stoves – The Facts

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There will be no doubt you will have seen some misleading headlines about a possible ban on wood stoves and the dangers of using them. However, the Environmental Improvement Plan clearly states that the government is not considering a ban on domestic burning in England and it recognises that some households are reliant on solid fuel burning for heating, hot water and cooking. Additionally, a ban on domestic outdoor burning would be considered disproportionate, however improvements are being considered in reducing impacts that solid fuel burning has on air quality. The Environmental Improvement Plan outlines further measures relating to clean air and emissions from the home. This includes proposals to tighten the limits that fuels in Smoke Control Areas must meet, reducing the limit from 5g of smoke per hour to a maximum of 3g.

Some key points to consider when addressing the current misconceptions:

  • Government is not considering a ban on domestic burning in England.
  • Use of modern wood burning stoves can help to improve air quality inside the home due to the natural draught created when the stove is in operation and used properly.
  • There are many other sources of particulate matter (PM) in the home, including cooking, that can release far higher levels of PM compared to modern wood burning stoves; Modern Ecodesign compliant stoves produce 90% less particulate emissions than an inefficient open fire.
  • HETAS Cleaner Choice certified products must demonstrate a 50% improvement on Clean Air particulate emissions, with some achieving as much as 70% improvement.
  • The actual PM contribution of modern wood-burning stoves is estimated by the UK government’s official figures at just 1-2%.
  • A modern stove will use less than a third of the amount of wood compared to an open fire to provide the same heat output.
  • 70% of wood burnt in London is done so on open fires – this is inefficient and an offence in smoke control areas.


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New Regulations for Fuel

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Did you know that new regulations on fuel have been passed in the House of Parliament and the House of Lords in recent weeks. The Air Quality Regulations become effective from the 1st May 2021 and will restrict the sale of solid fuels.

 

The basic upshot of the new law is the banning of wet wood and house coal in England. We’re feeling really positive about this change as it will promote real change with dry wood and smokeless mineral fuels being the only ones available to purchase.

So, how will you know that the fuel you are buying is legal? All certified fuel providers will sign up to the Ready to Burn Certification scheme with its clear logo. Seeing this logo will give you the assurance that you are buying legal fuel.

 

This law will make a massive difference to the environmentally responsible us of solid fuels and will be a significant step in the battle to reduce particulate emissions and towards better air quality.


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New rules affecting fuel

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New rules have been announced for next year that mean you will no longer be able to buy coal or wet wood for wood burners, stoves and open fires, in order to cut air pollution.

The government has said that wood burning stoves and coal fires are the largest source of fine particulate matter (small particles of air pollution which find their way into the body’s lungs and blood). Under the new rules, sales of bagged traditional house coal and wet wood in small units (less than 2m cube) will be phased out from February 2021. Also, makers of solid fuels will also need to show they have a very low sulphur content and only emit a small amount of smoke.

We always recommend using properly dried firewood, as not only does it have a reduced environmental impact, but the benefits also include an increased heat output, less smoke and soot deposits, and they are easier to light.

For advice on which fuel is best for you, give us a call on 07415 449800.


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How to light a fire

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There are two popular methods for lighting your fire, in this tip we are looking at the Traditional Method. Thanks to hetas.co.uk for the illustrations

 

What you need:

Newspaper or firelighters

Kindling (small pieces of dried wood)

Larger logs

 

What to do:

Crumple two sheets of newspaper into balls roughly the size of a cricket ball and place them in the hearth. You could also use two firelighters, which have a steadier burn rate

Place your kindling in a triangular tent over the newspaper or firelighters

Place two larger logs either side of your kindling tent

 

Carefully light the newspaper or firelighters which will ignite the kindling and then the logs are the heat increases. Once the fire is burning well you can regularly add more logs to keep it going.

 

 


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Where should I stack my wood?

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Although it may be very attractive from an interior design point of view, the best place to stack your fire wood is not neatly piled up next to your stove. This can be very dangerous and there have been cases of the stacked firewood igniting!

In Oct 2018 a house fire occurred in Dorchester due to logs being stacked too close to the wood burner.

Your wood burner’s operating instructions should give a minimum distance for combustible materials, but we would advise at least 3 feet.


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Why should you use dry firewood?

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Whilst it is true that any wood will burn, it is advisable to always burn dry firewood. Wood that hasn’t been dried still has water in it and a lot of energy (heat) created by burning is wasted in turning that water to steam. The benefits of properly dried firewood are:

 

  • Reduced environmental impact
  • Increased heat output
  • Easier to light
  • Less smoke
  • Less soot deposits

 

You can dry your own firewood or buy a branded dry firewood, such as Ready to Burn

Read How to dry your firewood for more information


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How to dry your firewood

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It is possible to dry your own firewood. The process takes at least one year and preferably two for maximum efficiency. You will need a supply of suitable wood (read What is the best type of wood to burn?) and a weather proof wood store.

The wood needs to be cut and stacked in a completely water proof environment. If you do not have the correct facilities ensure you buy seasoned wood from an accredited supplier. The best kiln dried wood has a water content of less than 20%.


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What is the best type of wood to burn

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Wood has been the natural choice for fires since the first caveman lit a flame, but there are many types of wood, so which is best

Apple – Burns slowly and produces a pleasant scent

Ash – Produces a steady flame and good heat output

Beech – A great wood for burning, with great heat

Birch – Burns quickly, but produced good heat

Hawthorn – Traditional firewood with a slow burn

Horse Chestnut – Better in stoves than open fires, as it can spit, but strong heat output

Oak – Small flame, but very slow burning

Robina – Slow burn and strong heat, but can produce an acrid smoke

Thorn – Steady flame and very strong heat without excess smoke.

 

Don’t forget that any wood you use needs to be dried properly, read How to dry your firewood