You’ve just bought yourself a new wood-burning stove and like most people you just can’t wait to get a roaring, cosy fire going. But before you can reap the benefits of your wood-burning stove you’re confronted with the task of actually getting it to work.
So, In this blog post I’m going to outline some of the basic knowledge and tasks that every good wood-burning stove owner should know.
Firstly, make sure you buy a stove that’s going to fulfill your heating requirements – any of your local stove suppliers should be able to tell you the correct heat output you’ll need from the dimensions of your room and the number of radiators that you need heated (if you’re buying a boiler stove). If not, you can find room heat calculators online – like this one – that will give you a rough estimate to work with. When buying stoves bigger is not essentially always better, it is important to only buy a stove that suits your living space and delivers just the right amount of heat output required.
Next lets take a look inside your new stove. The part inside is the firebox, for most stoves you’ll see air vents above and below the glass. The bottom air vent is the primary vent and the top one is the secondary vent. These vents allow you to control how fast your fuel burns by controlling the air supply to the stove. On the top side of your stove you’ll see a pipe coming out of the wood burner. This is called the flue, which is basically a duct that takes away the waste gases and smoke produced by the fire to the outdoors through the chimney.
Lighting your wood-burning stove
When lighting your stove for the first time it is advised to only light small fires. This is because when you first light the stove residue from the manufacturing process (glues, paint, seals etc.) start to burn off and smoke as the stove adjusts to the heat. It will take about 4 to 6 hours at least for your stove to be “burnt in”.
To light your stove first open your air vents to help the air circulation. Then crumple up some newspaper and place it in the middle of your stoves firebox. Now just add some kindling and light your stove. Once the kindling starts to burn well you can then add your fuel.
What to burn
First of all establish whether you have a multi-fuel stove or a wood-burning stove. A wood-burning stove will typically have a flatbed for fuel, while multi-fuel stoves have grates because coal and similar fuel need an air supply from beneath to burn properly. It is also important to recognise that you can use wood in a multi-fuel stove, but you can’t use coal in a wood-burning stove.
When it comes to the type of wood that should be used, wood that has been seasoned is probably the best fuel. Seasoned wood has been cut and allowed to dry for at least a year, this gets rid of moisture and gives a more efficient burn as a result. If you can’t get your hands on seasoned wood, any wood really will suffice as long as it hasn’t been treated or varnished.
It goes without saying that you should only use a quality assured installer to fit your stove as they will be able to see and address any problems during the installation, and will ensure a safe installation when completed. You should also consider getting your chimney swept at least once a year. Doing so prevents a build up of waste products or creosote that can lead to chimney fires.