The battle burns on as debates continue over whether wood burners are good or bad for the environment.

While nobody would suggest that you ignore concerns over public health and the planet, there is no reason to condemn wood burning stoves entirely. In fact, in certain circumstances, you may actually be able to improve your carbon footprint by switching to wood burning as a fuel for heating your home.

If your concerns that wood burners are bad for the environment are putting you off installing a stove, read on to learn more before you make your final decision and find out how to ensure your wood burning stove is as environmentally friendly as possible...

Skip to our tips for improving your environmental footprint with a wood burner.

Wood Burners Can Be Carbon Neutral

It is often argued that wood burners are bad for the environment because of the carbon emissions they produce. However, this may not always be the case. If done correctly, wood burning can actually become a part of a carbon neutral process, whereby the carbon released from burning wood is balanced out by the carbon absorbed by the tree during its lifetime.

Unlike non-renewable fossil fuels, such as oil and gas, this does offer a sustainable energy process. However, this relies on trees being replanted, so log suppliers that promise to replant the trees they cut down are encouraged. You can also opt to buy wood from local suppliers to make sure the carbon produced during transit is also minimal.

See how Mendip Stoves are working to support The Woodland Trust.

A Wood Burning Stove May Improve Your Carbon Output

For certain households, switching to a wood burner may actually help improve the environment. In countryside areas, homes relying on oil boilers are encouraged to switch to wood burning boilers and stoves, as the emissions are much cleaner. If you are currently relying on an oil or gas burning boiler, wood burning boiler stoves are a much cleaner option, supported by the government, and our range can heat up to 15 radiators.

logs burning in a wood burning stove

Ecodesign Stoves Are Helping Improve The Environmental Impact Of Wood Burning

By the year 2022, all solid fuel burners will be required to meet regulations to ensure they minimise any negative environmental impact. The wood burning stove industry is taking this problem seriously, and there is a great range of Ecodesign stoves available on our website along with multi fuel stoves that are approved by DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).

Find out more about Ecodesign stoves with our blog post on their benefits.

Wood Burning Is More Efficient Than You Might Expect

Again, you may be impressed with the efficiency of a wood burning stove. The positives of replacing an open fire with a stove are many and are mostly linked to efficiency. By closing the doors to your stove and attaching it to a flue, your fire will receive 50% less air loss, resulting in an impressive efficiency boost.

If you want more proof, the Stove Industry Alliance reported that a modern Ecodesign stove has an efficiency of 80%, compared to 30% of an open fireplace. Stoves also require significantly less fuel than an open fireplace, meaning you could burn your fire for over five hours with just a third of the logs needed.

A Wood Burning Stove Can Be A Secondary Heating Source

A misconception of stoves is that they are left burning all day or night as a main source of heating. This needn’t be the case. A stove can be a great secondary source of heating your home; as temperatures dip toward winter, you can put off firing up your entire central heating system just by putting your stove on for a few hours.

wood burning stove with logs and fire

Tips For Improving Your Environmental Footprint With A Wood Burner

The question of whether wood burners are bad for the environment does not necessarily have a straightforward answer. However, if you already have one installed in your home, there are a few ways in which you can ensure that your wood burner is running as efficiently as possible, allowing you to play your part in keeping the environment - and the reputation of stoves! - in the green…

  1. Only open the door to refuel. Whenever you open your stove door while a fire is burning, the gust of air that follows affects the burning of the logs, leading to a higher rate of pollution.
  2. Do not overfill your log burner. This limits air circulation and your fuel will not burn as efficiently.
  3. Keep it clean. A dirty stove is a polluting stove. Learn more about how to clean and maintain your wood burning stove.
  4. Always use properly dried and seasoned wood from a local supplier, if possible. Using any old piece of wood you come across could be releasing toxins into the environment. Find out more with our wood buying guide.
  5. Dispose of your burnt logs outside safely. The ashes can emit carbon monoxide so should be removed from homes as soon as possible.
  6. Make sure your chimney is properly insulated. If it isn’t suitable, it may have to be relined. See our chimney liners for more information.

If you have any questions or concerns about whether wood burners are bad for the environment, please get in touch with us for more advice.