A wood-burning stove is usually built without a fixed grate, but with a flat base: as the wood burns the ashes are collected and when the fire needs more fuel, fresh logs are placed on top. The effect is hugely positive for wood burning because logs combust more effectively and evenly when resting on a bed of ashes, giving you maximum efficiency and heat output from your wood-burning stove
It is also worth considering the environmental benefits of wood burning. It is regarded as a virtually carbon-neutral form of energy as, during its growth, a tree will absorb roughly the amount of carbon dioxide emitted when it is burned on a wood-burning stove or fire. It is thus a provider of ‘green’ heat.
If the fire burns on just a bed of ash it is a wood-only fuelled appliance and cannot be used for coal or peat, it is strictly a wood-only fuelled stove. Dedicated wood-burning stoves or fires are designed to burn wood in the most efficient way with combustion air coming from above the firebed along with the addition of a system ensuring the best possible combustion conditions. Woodburners have a fixed grate and no ashpan since wood burns best on a bed of ashes.
Firewood – any wood material that is gathered and can be used for fuel. Generally, wood is not highly processed and is usually sold in a log form which is different in appearance from other forms of wood fuel like wood pellets or chips. Firewood can also be heat treated or unseasoned which is usually fresh/wet wood, these fall into the categories of hardwood and softwood.
Wood Pellets – The advantage over using coal or peat is that wood pellets are renewable although sometimes the amount used can overtake the ability to replenish the fuel source and you may need a pellet basket to use this as a fuel source.
Peat – Although used for hundreds of years peat is the most inefficient in terms of pollution and heat generated per tonne than even coal so it is advised you choose other options available such as smokeless fuels or simple firewood.
The differences between wood-burning stoves and multi-fuel stoves are mostly based on the grate. As different solid fuels have different requirements for burning, multi-fuel stoves must have an adjustable airflow functionality as well as a removable grate, multi-fuel stoves have these functionalities as different fuels have different burning requirements so they require the ability to adjust the airflow and remove the grate to be able to empty the ash and burnt debris.
With traditional log-burning stoves, the airflow circulates from the top, this is due to wood burning better on a bed of ash whilst drawing air from above whereas coal burns best when air circulates from below. To be able to accommodate coal-burning fuel multi-fuel stoves feature a grate that allows ash to fall through into a pan below allowing for easy removal and emptying while the fire is burning to prevent a build-up of ash that could stop the air from circulating as well as it should
Wood-burning stoves barely need an introduction, as the name suggests wood-burning stoves are stoves that solely burn wood logs as their primary fuel source rather than any other type of fuel. Wood-burning stoves feature a pan base, this is where the ash collects, the pan base leaves some ash on the floor which as mentioned above actually aids in the combustion of the wood, generating more heat and generally helping the fuel source to burn, this isn’t the case with multi-fuel stoves.
Different fuels burn in different ways and some fuels are recommended to be avoided altogether, especially in wood-only burning stoves as the only fuel sources you will be able to buy without the risk of damaging your stove. If you are in the majority that thinks ‘wood is wood’ then you are not alone in this belief, when it comes to wood. There is a myriad of woods with different burning properties. Woods come in different types that differ, from the burn time, the scent, the amount of smoke produced and even the amount of crackle produced from the burning log. What is essential is to make sure the wood you are using is seasoned wood, below we will explain how to know if the wood logs you are using are seasoned.
When checking if your wood logs are seasoned then there are a few ways you can check this, one is checking whether the wood logs make a dull thudding sound when knocked together as opposed to the loud, clear ‘clacking’ of well-seasoned logs then the wood is probably not as dry as it ideally needs to be.
Another trait of well-seasoned wood is to check whether the bark comes away from the log easily, if the wood log is dry then the bark should come away from the log easily, if the wood is unseasoned then the bark won’t give so easily as the wood is a lot more damper than its well-seasoned counterpart. If you’re in the belief that there is not much difference between seasoned and unseasoned wood then you would be wrong as well-seasoned wood generates 50% more heat than its unseasoned, damper counterpart.
What Type of Wood Should I Use?
When deciding what type of wood to use you may just think wood is wood and that’s it, but it is a lot more complex as the different woods, like mentioned above have numerous properties that are affected by the type you decide to use, we will go through a few types so you have an idea of what type of wood you want to use.
First and foremost Ash is considered one of the best woods to burn, they produce a nice steady flame and a great heat output. You could actually burn ash wood when it is still green but its performance will be compromised and it is generally not recommended.
Another two great kinds of wood to choose as a fuel source in your wood-burning stove are Hawthorn and Yew as they burn slowly and produce a nice steady flame and a nice balanced heat output.
If splitting and sparking are one of your concerns when choosing which wood to burn then Apple is a good option, the downside is the flames are smaller resulting in less heat output but it does burn slowly and steady so it is a very good option.
What can affect the cost of installing a wood-burning stove?
Numerous factors come into play when considering your choice of wood-burning stoves one of the most important of these or what will greatly influence your decision is the installation costs but these all do depend on your home. Installation may cost you more if:
You would need to have your chimney relined so as to make sure no gases escape.
Your chimney needs work on it due to the relining and if it is particularly tall then it may need scaffolding which would end up costing you more.
You may need a flue created as you don’t have a chimney on your property.
A vent needs to be fitted in the room the stove is located – this is a building regulation requirement.