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Stove Operation

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Stove Operation

Almost everyone is fascinated by a wood fire but unless you operate your appliance correctly you will never see it because the glass will be obscured with a coating of tar. Smoke and tar formation can be prevented by following a few simple rules.

To operate your wood burning appliance cleanly and efficiently it is essential that you burn only dry wood,  that you have read, understood and follow the appliance manufacturer’s instructions and that you are using a natural fuel that needs nature’s patience.   Your appliance manufacture will have spent enormous sums of money developing their appliance and will have lost many nights of sleep while it was being independently tested for its CE approval to verify its safety and efficiency. The manufacturers are the people who wrote the instruction manual that will tell you how the appliance was operated to achieve the performance it achieved during its testing.

Always light the appliance with a very small fire of paper and kindling wood arranged to form a cone above the paper.  Until the flue warms the appliance will be able to supply a very small amount of air. Only when the kindling is well alight and beginning to char noticeably should more wood be added and again these pieces should be arranged to form a cone so as to maximise the air reaching the core of the fire.  Always wait until the most recently added wood is beginning to char before adding further wood. All smoke that your fire produces is potential fuel being spread over your neighbourhood and is wasted heat.

Remember that unlike an oil or gas appliance where the fuel delivery rate is controlled, a wood fired appliance has its fuel supplied in batches and you control the firing rate by controlling the air supply.  To achieve clean and efficient combustion it is vital that any change to the appliance’s firing rate is made gradually. Never put on more than one or two logs at a time and do not add more wood until the previous loading is charred and flaming vigorously. Make any adjustment to the appliance’s air control in small increments. Suddenly restricting the air supply to a roaring fire will result in copious amounts of combustible gas and smoke being emitted until the wood cools. Swamping a small fire with blasts of air will only serve to cool the appliance until the wood begins to burn at a rate matching the air supply.

There is often a strong temptation to run an appliance for as long as possible with the minimum fuel but If you are running the appliance at its minimum setting always ensure there is flame in the appliance if there is still wood that has not charred. Allowing wood to smoulder and cause smoke is both antisocial and a waste of fuel.