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The importance of using properly dried wood in a multi-fuel stove.

The importance of using properly dried wood in a multi-fuel stove.

Like any heating device, your wood burning or multi-fuel stove depends on careful operation in order to work efficiently. This means taking care to find out how your stove works and choosing the right materials. Not only will this increase the output of heat, it will reduce the risk of damaging the chimney and maintain the long term functionality of your stove without costly maintenance bills.

Wood burning stoves are easy to operate when you take the following simple precautionary steps.

Make sure the wood you burn has been dried properly

If there is too much moisture in your wood, energy will be consumed in the evaporation of this water before it can burn, meaning the wood burns incompletely producing excessive smoke and emitting less heat into your room. Smoke will condense on the cold chimney flue, causing a build-up of creosote which can erode your chimney lining over time.

In contrast, dry wood will burn efficiently, producing more heat and less smoke, and preventing vapours from condensing on the chimney flue.


Choose well-seasoned wood to burn

Freshly cut wood may contain 45% water, whereas wood that has been well seasoned will only hold approximately 20-25% water. Well-seasoned wood means wood that has been cut and stored appropriately to reduce the water content. By cutting and splitting logs, a large surface area of the wood is exposed, increasing the evaporation of water during storage.

Wood should be stored under a cover to protect it from rain but with a good supply of air and preferably on a base. The length of time required for storage will vary according to the type of wood, but a general rule is one year for softwood conifers, such as fir, and longer for hardwood trees, such as oak. If possible, store the wood you will be burning over the next few days beside the stove to ensure it is as dry as possible.

When buying firewood from a supplier, make sure it has been cut and split before storage and left for at least a year.

How do you recognise well-seasoned wood?

Wood that has been dried properly will be darker on the outside than freshly cut, green wood and white on the inside. The split pieces will be covered in cracks and the bark will be attached less firmly than on fresh wood.

Previous article How to operate my wood burning stove to achieve maximum burning efficiency.
Next article Using a wood burning or multi-fuel stove for central heating.

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