The sun may be shining right now, but here in the UK we are still in the depths of winter and we know only too well how cold February, March and even April can be! Nights spent snuggling by the wood burning stove are still very firmly on the agenda here at Little Soap HQ, and so this leads us nicely into this week’s discussion point. Just how eco-friendly are wood burning stoves? Are some better than others? Are they to be used with caution only? Can we still live an eco-conscious life and create beautiful meals with an Aga? In this day and age of multitudes of information and opinions, it can be hard to make an informed decision.
Wood burning stoves are more efficient than heaters that rely on gas or electricity, they save on fuel bills and they’re easy to use. But you do need to consider various factors carefully before you buy- there are arguments that the smoke produced can be harmful to both health and environment, and there are also concerns over the wood needed to fuel them too. With this in mind, here are three little tips for choosing a wood burning stove- hopefully this will help you out if you’re unsure.
Spend time shopping around
New guidance recommends that your wood burning stove should be between 60% and 80% efficient, and this means that you’re going to need to shop around to find the best stove for the job. Check out the Stove Industry Alliance list of approved ecodesign stoves that match this criteria.
Basically, you’re looking to buy an efficient wood burning stove that you can easily fuel and maintain to ensure it emits low levels of smoke into your home. This means that the wood you use for burning needs to be a consideration too. Before you buy your stove, research where you can buy your wood and how easy it is to get to you- the last thing you want is to have to drive for miles to collect it, as this is certainly not an eco-friendly option!
Lastly, make sure you choose a properly qualified and trustworthy installer to ensure that your wood burning stove is working correctly and safe to use.
Consider your fuel
Ok, so we know you’re planning on burning wood- but as already highlighted above, its not always as easy as popping out to gathering sticks in a basket and skipping home to burn them. Once you’ve established where you can buy your wood from, the next thing you need to focus on is moisture. You need to burn dry wood- and this is vital because wet wood will produce only smoke, and no heat. The last thing you need! Freshly cut wood can contain between 60-80% water and can also lead to blackening of the stove and a build up of soot. Not great. Do your research end ensure you know where your wood is coming from before you buy.
Take care of your stove
So you’ve done your research, you know what you’re getting and where your wood is coming from. You’ve selected your installer and you’re ready to go. But can you handle the maintenance of your wood burning stove? Proper care is essential if your stove is going to be efficient and eco-friendly, and for some the upkeep can be more time consuming than expected. You’re going to need regular maintenance to ensure your stove is working properly and your chimney will need to be swept at least once a year.
So how eco-friendly are wood burning stoves? The answer depends. If you spend some time shopping around, and make a commitment to proper care and maintenance then you’re good to go. And please, go ahead and ENJOY those snuggly evenings! Bliss.