Have you decided to jump on the latest trend of warming your home with a wood burner? While a wood-burning stove is an ideal way to heat your home for less amidst an energy price crisis, it’s essential to be aware of the fuel you are using. Are you wondering what to burn and what not to burn in your wood burner?
Not all types of fuel are suitable for use in a wood burner. Burning the wrong type can lead to poor stove performance, increased maintenance costs, and even dangerous situations.
So, what fuels are a big no-no for wood-burning stoves? Read on to learn more about fuels that are not worth the risk.
Table of Contents
Treated or painted wood
Never burn treated or painted wood in your wood-burning stove. This type of wood is often laden with chemicals that can harm your health and the environment when burned.
These chemicals can release toxic fumes and create a dangerous atmosphere in your home, especially for children, older people, and people with existing respiratory conditions.
Treated or painted wood can also damage your stove. Not only does this increase the risk of problems in the future, but it can also lead to higher maintenance costs and reduced efficiency.
Plywood and chipboard
Plywood and chipboard are materials often used in construction or furniture creation. However, they are not suitable to be used as fuel in your wood-burning stove.
They are typically glued together using synthetic resins, which can release harmful chemicals into the atmosphere when burned. Moreover, plywood and chipboard produce a lot of ash, quickly leading to your stove clogging up, reducing its efficiency, and increasing the risk of a fire.
Wet or green wood
Burning green or wet wood is a common mistake people make with their wood-burning stoves. Freshly cut or green wood has a high moisture content, which is unsuitable for burning.
It can lead to incomplete combustion or the production and build-up of harmful by-products, such as creosote or soot, leading to a chimney fire if left unchecked.
Additionally, burning wet or green wood is not an efficient way to get a roaring fire going – the moisture content will cause the flame to fizzle out quickly.
House coal was once a standard option for heating the home, but it is no longer recommended for use in stoves.
It burns at a much higher temperature than wood, which can damage the stove if it does not have a multi-fuel grate for burning fuels other than wood. Coal produces significant amounts of ash, which can quickly clog up the stove and reduce efficiency.
House coal can also release harmful chemicals when burned, including carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide. If you have a multi-fuel stove and want a safer, cleaner alternative to coal, smokeless coal is a good choice.
Paper and cardboard
While you can use paper or cardboard to help get your fire going while lighting it, it’s not recommended to burn it as a primary fuel in your stove. We also recommend using a natural firelighter instead and saving your paper and cardboard for recycling.
While it might seem like a quick, easy fuel option for getting a fire going, cardboard and paper produce a lot of smoke and can quickly clog up your chimney, leading to a fire hazard.
Plus, if you are burning waste paper and cardboard, inks, glues, and other chemicals can release toxins into your home’s atmosphere.
It’s important never to burn rubbish in your wood burner. Waste of any kind can release massive amounts of harmful toxins and chemicals into the air, damaging the local environment and posing a health hazard.
Not to mention, burning rubbish produces a lot of soot and smoke, which can quickly cause clogs and blockages in your stove and chimney.
Petrol, diesel, or kerosene
It should go without saying that you should never, ever burn petrol, diesel, or kerosene as fuel for your wood-burning stove.
These highly flammable fuels can easily ignite explosively, posing a severe risk to your safety. They can also produce harmful fumes that are very dangerous to inhale and can cause severe damage to your stove’s components.
So, what should you burn in your stove?
The right fuel in your wood-burning stove will ensure maximum efficiency and minimal environmental impact.
You should only burn kiln-dried or well-seasoned wood with less than 20% moisture content. Both hardwood and softwood will work well if the moisture content is low enough. If unsure, or if you are drying your own wood, you can use a moisture meter to check.
There are a few things to consider when choosing the ideal wood to burn – avoid woods high in sap, as these do not burn well. Hardwoods tend to burn hotter and for longer. Softwoods also burn hot, but they do burn out slightly faster. That said, softwood is cheaper than hardwood, so adding a couple of extra logs can be worth it.
When shopping for wood, look for the Woodsure Ready to Burn logo. This gives you peace of mind that the wood you’re purchasing is ready to burn safely and effectively in your log burner.
Shop Woodsure Ready to Burn logs at Direct Stoves now
For more stove buying advice, information and news, explore the Direct Stoves blog…
10 Ways to Use Your Stove More Sustainably | Step-by-Step: Building and Lighting a Fire in Your Wood Burner| Can You Use Softwood in a Log Burner?