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Getting the most out of your woodburning stove

Everyone loves a woodburning stove. They are homely, welcoming, and certainly pack a punch when it comes to warming your home. Whether you have been using stoves for years and are looking for a replacement or have never used one and are simply thinking of purchasing one in the future, we aim to help you understand how to care for and get the best out of a standard woodburner.

Use the right wood

Any wood you use in your stove should be properly dried. Green wood can consist of as much as 50 per cent water, so don't make the mistake of thinking any wood will do. You can dry out green wood yourself if you have the space and time, which is generally the most economical option. If you don't fancy the DIY method, your best bet is to find a supplier you trust and buy your dried logs from them. Accreditation schemes such as Woodsure can help you to find a good, reliable local supplier; alternatively, ask around to get recommendations from your neighbours.

Understand the importance of the air supply

Woodburning stoves require both primary air and secondary air. Primary air is needed to feed the fire bed, while secondary air is required to feed the fire's flames. Most of the energy supplied by the wood in your stove comes from the gases released from the wood being burnt. Simply put, the secondary air can be considered far more important in the operation of your stove than the primary air. You should never completely shut your stove's secondary vent, as doing so can quickly lead to a build-up of tar, soot and other dirt and debris on your stove front. Study your stove's user guide in detail before you light it for the first time and familiarise yourself with the doors and vents. Keep the door of the stove closed unless otherwise instructed in your manual.

Size matters

Size matters, but perhaps not in the way you think. Don't be tempted to go for the largest stove you can fit in your fireplace simply because you think it will provide more heat. A small, fast-burning fire can be far more effective and efficient than a larger fire with a slower burn. You will be amazed how much heat you will get from even the most compact woodburning stove, so you might well need a smaller model than you initially expect. If you know someone with a woodburner, pop round while it is in use and see how hot it gets.

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