Get More Heat Out of Every Log

You can reduce emissions and get more heat out of every log you burn by respecting some very simple guidelines.

Always read and follow your stove manufacturer’s instructions. The manufacture has invested a substantial amount of research and testing to provide definitive guidelines on how to operate their product at maximum efficiency.

Stack the logs horizontally, preferably in two layers, ensuring they do not touch the stove walls or the glass. This arrangement allows for optimal air circulation.

Ensure the smallest logs are placed above larger logs. This configuration ensures a stable foundation for the fire and promotes efficient combustion.

Place some paper and kindling (wood chips, birch bark etc ) or firelighters at the very top of the logs. This will prevent the entire log pile from catching fire simultaneously.

Ensure all air vents are fully open and not obstructed, ideally turn off any nearby extractor fans. This will allow optimal airflow facilitating optimal combustion and  ensure your fire lights easily.

Light the top part of your fire, this will produce a small flame with a sufficiently high local temperature to start the combustion process. As the flames progress downward, they will gradually ignite the lower layer of logs. This sequential ignition process ensures that temperature required for clean combustion is reached and subsequently maintained. This process will minimizes emissions, enhances the efficiency of the stove and provide more heat from every log.

Keep the stove door partially open until a robust flame has established at the top of the log pile. When a robust flame at the top of the log pile has been established fully close the stove door.

Keep the air vents fully open to ensure an ample air supply until the fire is fully established.

After a few minutes, as the draft in the chimney strengthens, you can begin adjusting the air supply by gradually reducing the aperture of the air vents. It is important to regulate the air supply to avoid burning more wood than necessary and elevating the chimney temperature excessively. A high chimney temperature leads to heat loss and is economically inefficient. The optimum operating temperature of a fully established fire will depend on the type of wood being burned, but will be between 175 and 250 degrees Centigrade (350 and 480 degrees Fahrenheit), specialist magnetic stove thermometers are available.

Avoid keeping the air vents open more than necessary during normal burning. Excessive air intake results in heating more cold air than required, leading to increased smoke and heat loss via the chimney. Refrain from adding excessive amounts of wood, especially when the stove is already heated  can also raise chimney temperatures, wasting heat and contributing to emissions of unburnt volatile compounds.

Avoid closing the air vents fully. during normal burning. Depriving the fire from air can lead to inefficient combustion. Once the stove achieves thermal balance with its surroundings it will automatically begin to draw less air as its heating capacity meets the home's requirements. If the room becomes too hot, manage the temperature by adding smaller amounts of wood and increasing the time between each wood insertion. Inserting large amounts of wood or closing the air supply in an attempt to achieve a longer burn can result in elevated emissions and lower efficiency.

Proper maintenance is crucial for the optimal efficiency. Remove ashes between fires to maintain a clean efficient combustion environment. Regularly check the gaskets to identify any air leaks, as these can hinder optimum combustion. Clean the surfaces inside the stove, insert and stovepipe regularly, residue build up from incomplete combustion can hinder heat transfer. The frequency of chimney sweeping depends on usage and what you burn, but you should consider having the chimney swept at least once a year.

Maximising efficiency and minimizes costs, by avoiding practices that contribute to heating the outdoors. Use well dried (seasoned) hardwood with no more than 20% moisture content to prevent higher chimney temperatures and unburnt volatile compounds being discharged. Fresh logs with a high moisture content contribute to inefficient combustion as the heat generated by burning cannot be fully radiated into the room, because the heat needs to be used to vaporise the moisture content in the wood. While it is not advisable to dry fresh logs indoors, placing already dry logs near the stove before use can further reduce their moisture content.

Prolonged inefficient combustion leads to residue build up on heat exchanging surfaces, reducing heat transfer to the room and increasing chimney temperatures and residue build up. By adhering to efficient usage guidelines, you can reduce emissions, save money and get more heat out of every log you burn.