After a relatively mild end to 2016 for many of us, all the signs are pointing to a colder winter season this year. If you are fortunate enough to have a wood burning stove in pride of place in your home, you are probably already using it and enjoying the warmth it provides. If you would like to make the most of your stove, however, and ensure it is heating your home as efficiently as possible, read on.

Keep your wood burner clean

It might not be the most enjoyable task, but cleaning your wood burner regularly is vital if you want it to continue to operate efficiently. You should keep your stove relatively clean and tidy at all times, and you should take time at least once a year to have a thorough clean out. Remove all the soot you can from the stove itself and from the flue pipe to keep your burner in tip-top condition. Layers of soot hinder the wood burner's ability to conduct heat and mean you are wasting fuel. Some types of wood tend to create more soot and mess than others - pine is a particularly ‘sooty’ wood when burnt, so you might need to do more cleaning if you use this.

Use enough logs

Do not be tempted to ‘chuck’ in a solitary large log and expect it to provide the same level of heat as several smaller logs. You should use at least two or three logs at any one time. A single log can't usually keep its own burning process going and will often die out fairly quickly. Logs burn in stages and you will notice that you receive differing amount of heat during each stage. If you are using multiple logs, you are creating more surface area and more turbulence, meaning the process of burning is likely to last longer.

Use the right wood

All woods are not created equally when it comes to providing heat. Different types of wood provide surprisingly different levels of warmth. Hardwoods give off more heat when burnt than softwoods when compared by volume; however, when measured by weight, both types will produce similar amounts of heat. As softwoods are usually less expensive to buy, it can be more economical to opt for these. They do burn more quickly, however, so are not always the best choice if you want a stable, long-lasting fire. Many homeowners opt to combine both soft and hard woods to balance out cost, with length of burning time.