What sort of wood is suitable for my wood burning stove?
So the idea of a cosy log burning stove in your living room is really appealing? You’ve decided that’s what you really want and it will suit your lifestyle? But before taking the plunge check carefully that you will easily be able to acquire adequate supplies of suitable fuel and that you have suitable storage for your fuel.
Firstly, ask these simple questions:
1. Are there any local suppliers of wood pellets, wood chips and/or logs.
2. Do you have sufficient suitable trees to provide your own logs?
3. Is the wood that you are intending to use fully seasoned ie left to dry naturally for at least a year?
4. Are you prepared to replace any trees you harvest for biofuel?
Get some help by taking a look at the National Energy Foundation’s website called The Log Pile by visiting www.nef.org.uk/logpile/. Here is a comprehensive guide that lists suppliers of fuel and specifically wood pellets as well as other useful information for wood burning stove owners.
This will help your to identify reputable sources and to avoid those that claim they are selling seasoned wood when they simply are not. It can be potentially dangerous to burn wood whose source is unclear as it may contain excessive moisture which will foul your flue or worse may have been treated with preservatives or other substances that are hazardous to health when burnt.
Try to stick to sourcing wood as locally as possible to cut down on ‘wood miles’. If you don’t, the costs to run wood burners and the environmental benefits from installing wood burners both suffer badly if bulky and heavy wood fuel has to be transported any significant distance.
Secondly, storage at home is a further important consideration as you must ensure that the wood is kept dry at all times. A large storage area is also preferable if you want to stock up and avoid the additional costs of having to increase the frequency of your deliveries to keep up with demand in the height of winter.
Experts recommend that a covered space at least three cubic metres in size and relatively close to the wood burner is what you should aim for if your wood burning stove is to be an easy to use, cost effective alternative to conventional heating systems rather than a millstone around your neck.