Are our top three wood burning resolutions for 2018:
So 2017 seems to have gone in a flash, and now seems to be the time to set resolutions for the year ahead. So why not this year rather than setting unrealistic diet or fitness goals that will be broken inside of the first month, why not set yourself the goal to be a better wood burner?
Have your chimney swept
December saw sub-zero temperatures hit much of the UK seeing snowfall, some even lucky enough to have a white Christmas. Unsurprisingly this cold spell has meant more woodburner owners using their stoves for longer periods of time throughout the cold spell. You only have to look at the #fireplace on instagram to see how many people have lit their woodburners this winter. But how many of those users will remember to have their chimneys swept? In the next couple of months? If you use your stove infrequently then you should still have it swept once a year, July is a good month, chimney sweeps are generally quieter before the Autumnal rush, and you normally wont have to wait long to be booked in. But if like this year it has been cold and you have used your stove more than you would normally, we think having it done in January is a great idea.
Yes we have just had the highs of Christmas and new years and probably put more on the credit card then we would have liked to, but for the sake of around £50, you can rest assured that you have minimised your risk of a chimney fire, and don’t have to worry about doing it again for another 6-8 months.
Only burn good wood
You can spend alot of money on a wood burning stove today, some models can be upwards of £10,000, but no matter how much you spent on the stove itself, if you burn poor fuel you will see poor results. Many people liken this to buying a Ferrari then stopping at the local supermarket to put the cheapest fuel in. The difference between these the car and stove analogy is performance. If you buy “cheap” damp wood that is not fully seasoned when you come to burn it you may get some heat from the logs but you will also get a large amount of moisture going up your chimney/liner which when it dries will become creosote, the biggest contributor of chimney fires. Burning non-green seasoned wood with a moisture content less than 20% will minimise the moisture going up the chimney and produce superior heat in comparison.
Kiln dried logs take this to the next level often with a moisture content around 16-18% these logs are placed in a large kiln and the moisture is baked out of the wood. Kiln dried will burn even hotter than seasoned wood meaning you will need less logs to produce the same heat. The end result of burning better wood is that you will also produce more heat from fewer logs, create less waste ash and send fewer particulates and moisture up your the chimney. So not only will you be burning cleaner and safer you will also produce more heat, so for the sake of a few pounds, buy the best wood you can and factor this into your initial purchase, we would go as far as to say you would be better to buy a slightly cheaper stove if it means having more money in your budget to buy higher quality wood.
Read our guide to burning, storing and burning wood for more information.
Have your stove serviced
Be proactive, not reactive. Servicing is often the one thing that is always put off until something breaks, goes wrong or you have a problem with your stove. We all know that we have to have our gas boilers and our cars serviced yearly, but are often remiss when it comes to our wood burners. Like all manor of things, having your stove serviced yearly can help prolong the lifespan, especially in the first few years.
The intense heat stoves go through on a daily basis put stress on the body of the stove, over-firing or burning your stove to hot can lead to issues further down the line with cracking and warping. These faults can be set in motion in the first few months of operation often without any visual signs until its too late. Cracked or crazed glass is a visual indicator of a problem that needs fixing, as are cracked internal firebricks. However fixing problems like this can sometimes be avoided be having your stove regularly serviced.
So why not set yourself the resolutions to be proactive with your woodburner in 2018, have your chimney swept, get your stove serviced and only burn good wood. Three new years resolutions that will set you up for 2018 and beyond.