There is nothing quite like the warm glow of a wood burning stove. Not only do they provide you with cost effective and sustainable heating, they also look great.
With designs ranging from sleek and modern to the more traditional. they can create the perfect ambience for any cosy home in the winter.
Sometimes it can be daunting when faced with your new wood burner to know what to do, what to burn, how to care for the wood, how to clean the stove or even how to light it. This quick guide is designed to help you.
Wood That Is Best To Burn
- Ash: Considered the best wood for burning; it produces a steady flame and a strong heat.
- Beach: Burns similarly to Ash
- Oak: Very dense wood, produces small steady flames
- Birch: Produces a lot of heat but can burn quickly.
- Horse Chestnut: Nice strong flame, lots of heat.
- Thorn: Produces a steady heat and minimal smoke.
- Apple: A slow burn with a nice smell.
For a more extensive guide to different types of firewood click here
Avoid Pine, Fir, Spruce (and other conifers), salvaged or treated wood, chipboard offcuts and general rubbish. These can produce toxic fumes or with drift wood, can have a high salt content that can damage the stove itself.
Drying Your Own Logs
Many people like to save money by drying their own logs. This can take a long period of time and a fair amount of space. It can take anywhere between 12-18 months to dry your wood.
You will need the wood moisture to be 20% or less. It’s a good idea to invest in a moisture meter.
You can also check if your wood is ready to burn by checking the colour of the wood. Any green underneath the bark and your wood will not be dry enough yet.
Another method is knocking two pieces of wood together, if they make a hollow sound, they’re ready.
Leave space between your logs if possible, this can speed up the drying process.
How to light the wood stove?
Warming the flue
You sometimes need to adapt your stove lighting technique to suit the weather conditions outside. If it is very cold and damp outside, then you may need to use a little less kindling to start with and leave the stove door ajar for a bit longer. You need to allow time for the flue to warm up and create draught before adding too much fuel and creating smoke.
Use a firelighter
We recommend using a natural firelighter, rather than a petroleum barbecue one which gives off acrid smoke. Never use newspaper to light the stove, it produces very little heat and a lot of smoke.
Make a ‘Jenga stack’ of kindling
Position 8-10 sticks of kindling around the firelighter so it looks like a ‘Jenga stack’ with the firelighter in the centre. Ensuring you leave some space above the firelighter so that you don’t smother the flames. Light the firelighter and push the stove door shut, but not completely, such that it is slightly ajar. Then leave the kindling to burn for 3-5 minutes (or until the stack of kindling is fully ablaze).
Add some logs
Once your kindling has taken well and you have warmed the flue up sufficiently to create a draught, you can then add a couple of small pieces of dry wood, continue leave the door ajar slightly until these logs have taken.
Don’t rush to close the stove door
Only close the stove door once you have created some heat and a good draught. If you close the door and the flames die right down, then you must open the door and leave it ajar for a while longer as the draught isn’t strong enough yet.
How Often Should I empty The Ashes
A lot of people clean out the ashes too frequently. It is beneficial to leave a layer of ashes on the bottom of the fireplace. The ash acts as an insulator and protects the bottom from the heat of the fire.
How often should I completely clean the stove?
Between once or twice a year
How often should I sweep the chimney?
We recommend mid autumn (when the heating season is likely to begin) and end of the spring (when the heating season has ended.
If you have any further questions regarding your wood burning stove please do not hesitate to ask one of the Osoliving team for further advice.