How to get the best from your woodburning stove

Ensure your stove is working correctly

Each year before you start using it, or more regularly, check the condition of your stove. Inspect the seals round the door(s) and glass (if fitted) including the ash tray door if you have a mulit-burner and fix or replace any seal which is not in good condition or attached to the door or creating a good seal around the glass.

Also check for any warped metal parts including doors and vents and replace if necessary. It is also important to check around the back of the stove where it links into your chimney. Any small cracks or holes in the jointing compound will dramatically reduce the airflow through your stove and the chimney will be taking air out of the room instead of through the inlet vents in your stove. It is very important for efficient burning and safety that 100% of the air drawing through the chimney comes directly through the air vents in the stove.

Any of the above may result in inefficient burning, a large amount of heat going up the chimney and higher wood fuel costs. Even if your stove is relatively new these problems can occur especially if the stove has been overheated by accident.

Prevent Chimney Fires
Chimneys need to be swept at least once a year in order to avoid the risk of a chimney fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.

As with the burning of any fuel for the production of heat, wood can produce this poisonous gas if the flue or chimney is restricted or blocked, the equipment is faulty or there is a lack of ventilation. See for the contact details of a professional chimney sweep in your area.

Burning only Woodsure Approved logs properly will ensure your chimney will keep much cleaner than using logs above 20% moisture content.

How to set the fire
First place a firelighter in the centre of the stove and using some kindling build a small tent like structure around the firelighter to prevent the flame from being smothered. Our Waxling firelighters are very efficient requiring only one Waxling to light a fire. Then place a few smaller logs around the structure and light the firelighter. Close the stove door(s) and ensure all vents are fully or at least partially open.

Once the fire gets going then add more logs and a few pieces of briquettes on top of them and adjust the air vents accordingly.

One fundamental rule is always allow enough air for the wood to burn properly especially when closing it down at night. Never shut off the air completely. The ultimate aim is a wisping flame.

A good guide to when the air vents in your stove are set correctly is when the flame is wisping and not roaring or nearly snuffed out. Filling a stove with logs and damping it down straight away, stops the 'volatiles' from burning and generates a lot of smoke and tar that is bad for your chimney, your health and the environment.

Assuming the logs are Woodsure Approved tar deposits on the glass front and inside the stove are usually a sign of not enough air getting into the fire. Open the air vents a little more until the flame is wisping and allow the stove and the chimney to get a bit hotter. If this is happening overnight it is usually a sign that the logs haven't been burned hot enough before reducing the vents on the last fire of the evening.

Weather factors which can affect the efficiency of your stove even with the exact same woodfuel
1. High winds: Can cause down draughts in the chimney which will prevent the stove from burning correctly and may put smoke into the room, especially when first lit and flame hasn't quite taken. Solve this by using firelighters and kindling when setting the fire and open all vents fully to create more flame. Keep doors and windows closed until the fire is going then remember to adjust the air vents back to the optimum setting. In certain conditions high winds can also require you to reduce the vent intake to prevent excessive draught burning the wood too quickly or overheating the stove.

2. Mild Outside Temperatures: If the ambient temperature outside is higher than that of the chimney or room where the stove is sited then reverse convection can take place. This causes all the smoke to come into the room instead of up the chimney. This is more likely to occur in the warmer months and can be prevented by using firelighters and kindling to create as much flame as possible keeping the doors and windows in the room closed until the fire gets going and the chimney warms up.

3. Cold Outside Temperatures: Can cause the chimney to draught excessively requiring the air intake vents to be reduced more than normal.

Remember - The ultimate aim is a wisping flame.

If you require any advice on any aspect of burning wood fuel please do not hesitate to contact us on or by calling us on 01506 847999.