As the impact of both the environmental concerns surrounding fossil fuels and the ever-rising price of gas and oil hits, many of us are turning to a tried and tested way of heating our homes - wood.

Wood burning stoves, installed correctly and used properly, can sometimes be used to heat an entire property; however, this will - of course - depend on the size of the house or flat in question. Investing in a wood burning stove can reduce your heating bill and protect our planet, so what’s not to like? Moreover, there is nothing like the atmosphere created by a wood-burner - they really do make a house into a home.

Open-plan living

The optimum layout for efficient heating via a wood burning stove is one that has a fully open-plan ground floor. Position the stove centrally - ideally in the kitchen, dining room or living area - and the heat could permeate around the downstairs living area.

Square footage

To maximise the efficiency of a stove, it is essential to do some research to ensure that the size of the stove matches the space it is to heat - too small and the stove’s output will be inadequate, too large and you could find yourself overheating. Each stove model will be marked with the square footage for which it is recommended; however, for real peace of mind, consult an expert. The layout of your property may mean that you require a slightly smaller or bigger stove than you had anticipated.

Maximum efficiency

To ensure that your home is well heated during the colder months, you will need to understand how to get the best out of your new wood burning stove. This means ensuring that it is operating at maximum efficiency, which can only be achieved if the heat can circulate properly.

Top tips

Try to keep one to two inches of ash in place at the bottom of your stove, which helps to keep the fire burning at a steady rate. The cut and type of wood you opt to use are also critical. Hard woods are preferable when the temperature really dips; conversely, in the milder autumn months, you could opt for a softer wood. Using a variety of thicknesses and lengths of wood is also advisable, as this should allow you to pack your stove proficiently. Try to stock up on wood a year ahead of time, as this is the optimum period it needs to season.