We’ve established that buying a wood burning stove is a great thing to do for a variety of reasons (just look at the many posts on this blog), and we’re not just saying that because we sell them either as we truly believe that people will save money on energy costs if they go down the wood burning stove route and even help the environment by using one. The problem is, as with many products you can buy, how do you keep your new purchase working as efficiently as the day you bought it? We know that they’ll eventually need to be replaced, but how do you keep it running brilliantly up until the day you have to say goodbye?
Here are a few things you can do to begin improving the efficiency of your wood burning stove.
Use Seasoned Wood
It’s tempting to throw any old wood into your stove as soon as you’ve cut the wood up with your new logging equipment, but doing this will mean you’re never using it to its full potential and it won’t do your stove any good either. Instead use properly seasoned wood as it burns far more efficiently this way. Seasoned wood has reduced moisture content, thanks to it being left to dry for about a year, so it will burn for a long longer and, thus, give you a fire you won’t have to keep topping up as much. It may cost more money (unless you find and season the wood yourself) but the savings stack up when you realise you’re buying less wood than before.
Different Types of Wood Matter
Just as unseasoned wood and seasoned wood will affect the burn rate, so will the type of wood. Hardwoods are generally better for burning than softwoods, and as they are heavier than softwoods they provide you with up to 50% more heat output. Ash is generally regarded as the best wood to use in your wood burning stove, but Birch, Beech, Elm and Oak are also good woods to use providing they don’t have high resin content. We’ll be publishing a more detailed article on types of wood and how effective they are soon.
Burn Logs Fully Before Replacing
Don’t be tempted to replace logs just because the flames have burned down. If they’re still burning and providing heat then they don’t need to be replaced until they are no longer being effective. There’s no point in wasting wood just to have constant roaring flames, it will cost you more money and is wasteful to the environment.
Remove Ashes Regularly
Don’t let your ash build up, clean your wood burning stove of ashes regularly or they will begin to block the airflow and reduce efficiency. You can leave a thin layer of ash to help the wood burn better, but the rest of your ashes have many uses as we pointed out in this article.
Hire a Chimney Sweep
Yes, they do still exist and aren’t just out of Mary Poppins! In fact, because of the increased popularity of wood burning stoves, becoming a chimney sweep is actually becoming quite a lucrative job so they should be one in your area somewhere. The chimney needs sweeping at least once a year to remove any blockages caused by burning wood. If you use your wood burning stove on a more regular basis then twice a year may be more suitable.
As well as taking care of the stove you should check that the rest of the house isn’t reducing the efficiency of it. One of the ways you can do this is by improving the insulation in your house, ensuring that heat isn’t escaping where it shouldn’t be.