During your search you will note that many solid fuel stoves are designed to be either dedicated wood burning stoves or multi-fuel stoves but what are the differences?
A wood burning stove is usually built without a fixed grate, but with a flat base. As the wood burns the ashes are collected and when the fire needs more fuel, fresh logs are placed on top. The effect is hugely positive for wood burning because logs combust more effectively and evenly when resting on a bed of ashes, giving you maximum efficiency and heat output from your wood burning stove.
When combined with Cleanburn technology this effect is enhanced further. The introduction of air into the firebox of the stove to combust the gases and hydrocarbon particles ensures that your fuel is used as effectively as possible meaning greater value for money and wonderful flames for you to watch.
It is also worth considering the environmental benefits of wood burning. It is regarded as a carbon neutral form of energy as during its growth, a tree will absorb the amount of carbon dioxide roughly emitted when it is burned on a wood burning stove or fire. It is therefore a provider of ‘green’ heat. You may also be in a position to maintain your own private wood supply, thereby generating virtually free fuel that is exclusively available to you whenever you need it although bear in mind that logs must be sufficiently dry to burn.
Multi-fuel stoves are appliances that are capable of burning a variety of materials other than wood. Apart from logs, a multi-fuel stove can burn smokeless fuels (look for authorised fuels that are approved for use in Smoke Control Areas), anthracite and peat/turf briquettes. The design of these stoves is optimised to accept a greater number of types of fuel and to burn them as effectively as possible. Multi-fuel appliances have a raised grate with moving bars or a central riddling grate and ashpan. Both of these options allow the burning fuel to be de-ashed to maintain effective combustion conditions. Ash is then contained in an ashpan below the grate to enable cleaning and safe removal.
The heat output of a multi-fuel appliance will be similar, if not identical to that of a wood burning stove – and both types are highly efficient. Many also have Airwash and Cleanburn as standard and, as with a wood burning stove, the introduction of innovative functions and technologies has meant that running an appliance is easier and more cost effective.
Smoke Control Areas were introduced by the Clean Air Acts of 1956 and 1968 to tackle the growing pollution derived from domestic and industry emissions following the Industrial Revolution. Local authorities only allowed heating appliances such as stoves which demonstrated particularly clean burning combustion.
For those homeowners wanting to install a stove in their urban property, there are a large collection of wood burning and multi-fuel stoves available for these Smoke Control Areas. Whether you are looking to fill your cosy inglenook or thinking of mounting your stove onto a bench to create an alternative look, there’s a selection of traditional or modern stoves available in various styles, sizes and colours.
Properties with a non-exempt stove appliance may only be allowed to burn a list of authorised smokeless fuels. Please visit the Defra website to see a list of these authorised smokeless fuels that you are allowed to burn.
To find out more information on whether you live in a Smoke Control Area, visit Please visit the Defra website.
As part of the Clean Air Strategy the government will ban the most polluting fuels – wet or ’fresh’ wood and coal – next year, and has made clear there are no plans to ban wood burning stoves. Read on to find out how you can easily burn the right wood and mineral fuels.
We welcome today’s fantastic news that the government is encouraging the public to only burn good dry wood or approved smokeless fuels, and will be banning poor-quality wet, unseasoned wood and polluting coal fuels.
As a manufacturer of high efficiency Ecodesign stoves and fires that produce minimal emissions in comparison to open fires and older stoves, good quality fuel is fundamental for optimum heating performance and reducing PM2.5 particulates.
You may have heard the government talk about ‘cleaner alternatives’ such as dry wood, as reported in today’s media. Dry wood is seasoned or kiln dried wood has a low moisture content below 20% and therefore burns with minimal smoke emissions when burnt in a high efficiency stove. There are a number of ways to get good quality dry wood for your stove.
If you collect your own firewood, you will need to store it in a dry and ventilated place to allow it to season. This takes between 18 months and 2 years, so it’s a good idea to organise your firewood according to when you collected it and how long it has been stored. You can easily check your logs with a moisture meter to make sure the moisture content is below 20% and ready to burn.
If you decide to buy your wood, make sure you choose a supplier bearing the Woodsure Ready to Burn logo and always store logs out of the rain. Their seasoned or kiln-dried wood has been confirmed to have a moisture content of 20% or lower, so you can be certain the logs you are buying are immediately ready to burn. Woodsure Ready to Burn wood is far better value than wet wood because it produces much more heat per log. We’ve partnered with a Woodsure fuel supplier Certainly Wood who will send you a free starter kit of good quality logs, kindling and eco-friendly firelighters when you register your Stovax stove, as part of our eco-friendly tree planting initiative.
Wet or ‘fresh wood’ refers to recently felled wood that has not had time to season and dry out enough to be able to be burnt efficiently. As a result, the moisture in the unseasoned wood, which can equate to as much as a pint of water per log, creates creosote and soot as it burns off and can block up your chimney or flue system. Wet wood produces a fraction of the heat generated from good quality wood, whilst emitting dirty black smoke from your chimney.
Authorised Smokeless mineral fuels produce minimal smoke and have a sulphur content below 2%. These fuels can be burnt in urban areas. For a full list of government approved smokeless mineral fuels, please see the DEFRA list here.
Coal (typically called ‘house coal’) is highly polluting, and can also damage your stove or fire due to the high temperatures it reaches when burning. High sulphur smokeless fuels are mineral fuels with a sulphur content above 2% which also harm air quality. The sales of these polluting fuels in small quantities will be banned by the government next year, with larger amounts from coal merchants being phased out later.
The sales of wet wood and house coal, typically available in small amounts from petrol station forecourts has never made sense – particularly in urban areas with smoke control restrictions. Wet wood and house coal are not fit to burn for heat in any domestic setting. In addition to producing far more smoke and harmful PM2.5 particulates which damage air quality, these fuels will also damage your stove and chimney or flue system.
For tips on how to minimise wood burning emissions and find out how Stovax is supporting the government’s clean air strategy, check out our Burn Clean Q&A.