Ash – Ash is a very popular choice. Ash produces a good amount of heat and lasts a lot longer than other woods.
Birch – Birch generates good heat. It has an attractive fire; lively flames along with a pleasant aroma. Best used mixed with other woods like Ash or Elm.
Elm – Excellent choice. Very available due to the Dutch Elm disease. It has high water content so it will take longer to season. Burns slowly with a good heat output.
Cherry – Cherry burns slowly and has a generous heat output. Cherry is also popular around Christmas time because of it’s beautiful festive aroma.
Oak – Takes long to season but once it’s dry it’s slow burning and provides long lasting heat.
Woods to Avoid
Pine – Pine can damage your flue pipe as it is high in resin. Also, it does not make a good kindling for starting a fire.
Alder – Alder is a fast burning wood and produces little heat. It must be dry or will smoke when wet.
Poplar – Burns very fast and produces thick black smoke.
Firstly, you will need to find somewhere with good air circulation to dry (cure) your wood. An effective way to do this is having a shelter or shed with no sides and nothing surrounding the wood to ensure the best air flow possible. Be sure to stack the wood off the ground to prevent the wood getting damp and rotting. Don’t use any plastic wraps or tarpaulin because the wind and the sun will tear holes in them and water will leak in.
Having a wood burning stove requires a good amount of maintenance. If you cut a cord or two of wood, split, and stack it, you will be doing a full day’s work. You might want to consider buying your woods from a logger if you suffer from any back or health issues. The majority of wood burning stoves require attention every 6 to 8 hours.
A wood burning stove is not cheap. The average prices range from £2000 – £3000 plus installation. High quality wood cutting tools also happen to be rather pricey. Make the right choice and be prepared for an investment. Reselling your stove isn’t always the best move as the value tends to drop quickly. Make sure this is something you want to be in for the long run to ensure the best savings. Getting a heat powered stove fan is a good way to save up to 30% of fuel costs.
Make sure you clean your chimney once a year and check for any problems. Carbon monoxide can build up in your chimney if you have improper circulation which can be deadly. Invest in a carbon monoxide detector! It’s also important to make sure that if you have home insurance that it covers heating wood and what restrictions you may have.
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