Wood as a Fuel
At Lee Davies Fireplace and Brickwork Specialists, we are not only experts in the sourcing and installation of fireplaces, stoves, and gas fires, but we can also advise you on the best wood to burn. Below, we describe some of the best wood to use in wood burning stove, and how to get the best possible use out of your stove and firewood. If you would like to be the proud owner of a brand new, expertly fitted and installed, get in touch with us today. We cover a wide range of locations, including Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Bedfordshire, London, Dorset, and Devon.
What wood types are best used as wood fuel?
Almost all types of hardwood, including Pine, Ash, Pear, Oak, and Birch, can be used as decent fuel for wood burning stoves, however wood with high resin should be avoided. Additionally, the heavier the wood, the more heat will be generated and the longer the wood will burn, so hardwoods are the most economical fuel choice.
Seasoning and moisture should also be taken into account when searching for appropriate firewood, as both factors could lead to an inadequate fire or chimney fires. The burning of wet wood is also less efficient and could lead to the clogging up of your flue or chimney system. Wet or unseasoned wood can also be harmful to the airwash system in the stove, eventually causing the glass to stain and blacken. Additionally, a moisture meter is highly recommended to test the moisture level of logs.
Some of the most common types of wood used as fuel, including some of which you might find in your own garden:
Ash trees make up approximately 15% of the total number of trees in the UK, and account for 22 million tonnes of the hardwood stock in the UK. Statistically speaking, this means that you are never far away from an Ash tree. The UK is the largest producer of quality Ash timber in Europe, making it the most valuable locally produced hardwood. Its low moisture content makes it highly sought after as a wood fuel log, as it takes less time to season.
The steady supply of Ash wood fuel is due to the felling of Ash trees to manage the outbreak of Ash Dieback Disease. Despite this, a common theory is that the disease can be spread by moving the infected Ash wood through the timber and wood log trade.
The movement ban currently enforced by the Government does not extend to the movement of timber and firewood made from Ash, however, as the government does not believe the movement of the wood would incur an additional risk. Since there is no clear advice from the government in terms of Ash wood, it is strongly suggested that anyone interested in buying Ash wood for use in their wood burning stove should source their wood from a local supplier to minimise the risk of Ash Dieback Disease.
What poor performance is caused by wet or unseasoned wood?
- Difficulty starting fires and keeping them lit
- Fewer flames or flames with a dirty colour
- Denser smoke emanating from your chimney
- Fires do not burn for very long
- Poor heat quality and output
- Filthy glass coverings or firebricks
- Increased buildup of creosote in the flue or chimney system
- Increased presence of smoke or a smokey smell inside or outside your home
Any manufactured chipboard, plywood, medium density fibreboard, or laminated timber
should not be used as wood fuel, as the high chemical content in the adhesive or varnish will leave potentially damaging residue in the flue system of your wood burning stove. Additionally, these woods may also give off harmful and unhealthy fumes when burnt. Despite the allure of burning readily available wood cuts of this nature, the fumes would be more dangerous than if proper, non-manufactured wood fuel was used.