How to operate my wood burning stove to achieve maximum burning efficiency.
Installing a wood burning stove either on its own or as part of a central heating system can be a great way to cut down on fuel bills and carbon emissions. However, the savings that you make will depend on correct usage and maintenance. By following some very simple steps you can increase the efficiency of your stove and therefore make some significant savings on annual home heating bills.
Be informed about what materials should be burnt in your stove and stick to them.
Do not be tempted to burn other fuel, such as coal, in a wood burning stove. While multi-fuel stoves are designed to burn coal and wood together, wood burning stoves are not. Wood must be seasoned properly, which means it should be cut and stored to ensure as much moisture evaporates from the wood as possible before burning. Burning damp wood will lead to excess smoke, less heat and possibly the build up of eroding substances on the chimney flue.
Invest in the design and maintenance of your stove.
Choosing the right stove is important and depends on your energy requirements. Investing in a stove that is made from more expensive, more efficient materials may increase your heat output and save you money in the long term by reducing the amount of fuel you burn. Likewise, having a chimney sweep clean the flue once or twice a year will prevent the build-up of materials that may damage the lining and reduce the efficiency of your stove.
Get advice from your supplier about what will work best for your stove.
When using your stove, you will notice what works best for you. A good way to keep an eye on this is to check how much smoke is emitted from your chimney. A large amount of smoke means you are not burning wood efficiently, either due to the dampness of the wood or a perhaps the size of your fire.
A small fire tends to produce an efficient, hot fire which burns off excess vapours rather than send them into the atmosphere. However, this requires more attention as wood will need to be added more regularly.
A reliable supplier will be able to give you the advice you need about the best way to burn wood efficiently in your particular model of stove and with your heating requirements in mind.
Gr8FIres 2018-01-29 14:58:51
@ Mike Harwood Hi Mike You allude to 'a direct chimney exit' as something you don't have, so it's
possible that whatever setup you have instead is inefficient and resulting in downdraught when you
open the stove. You could try cracking a window before refuelling - perhaps the additional flow of
air into the room and into the stove will counteract that pull of air, embers etc into the room from
the stove. Thanks, Gr8Fires
Mike Harwood 2018-01-26 11:06:42
We had a wall mounted Wood Burner installed recently (November 2017) and have experienced mixed
feelings on it's performance and build/design. The biggest issue for me is re-loading the fire when
wood needs adding to top up the fire, on opening up the door (approx 50cms square) I am always
careful not to open too wide too quickly, depending on the level of burn there is nearly always some
smoke, flames or burning ash that escapes out of the front which has caused the wall surface to
blacken and seem to me to be a danger to myself and surrounding area. We know wood burners and open
fires are messy and will always get some soot residue in the room on flat surfaces but is it
acceptable to expect smoke, fire and embers to fly up and out of the fire? In my opinion it is a
poorly designed unit with a small vent at the top front area where the flames and smoke need to go
to exit the fire and up into the lined chimney. Possibly in our lack of knowledge in wood burners
but now wish we had gone for a floor standing unit with a direct chimney exit which my sister has
and never has these problems? Any advice is appreciated ASAP?
Gr8Fires 2016-02-24 16:30:03
@ Paul Houghton Hi Paul, A woodburner is much more efficient. With an open fire, around 80% of the
heat generated goes straight up the chimney. With a woodburner, that figure drops to around 20-30%
(depending on the efficiency of the appliance, what you're burning and how it's being operated). A
bit of further reading:
paul houghton 2016-02-24 14:37:58
Re heating the room: how is the heat created (i know is basically the fire) but does all the heat
generated just go up thru the top of the stove, up into the chimney and out to warm the sky, like it
was when my open fire that was fitted in the house when originally built 1900? when i had that fire
fitted the room was allways cold as heat was going up not out into the room?