How to Use a Wood Burning Stove

How to Use a Wood Burning Stove

21 November, 2016

L ighting and Controlling Your Wood Burning Stove

Lighting your stove effectively will take a bit of practice, but will be worth the effort.  Follow our step by step guide below to find out how:

  1. Place a firelighter, paper or beeswax with some dry kindling wood on the grate.
  2. Light the firelighter, paper or beeswax
  3. Leave the door slightly open then open the vents, this will help the fire to establish itself and help to avoid the build up of condensation.
  4. Once the fire looks stronger, add some larger pieces of wood, start slowly as you don't want to end up smothering the fire.
  5. Once the logs have caught on fire, your fire should be fully established, let it burn for a little while longer - up to 30 minutes then close the door and close the vents half way.
  6. Close the primary air control
  7. Once the stove is at operating temperature use the airwash to control the burn rate.

Safety Warning
Check your flue heats up and stays warm, this helps to avoid the build up of carbon monoxide coming back down the chimney and from the build up of creosote, which can be flammable.

Give your flue enough time to heat up before you start adding the logs to your fire.

Stove Maintenance & Safety

Choosing the right stove for your requirements makes maintenance fairly easy.  There are however a few steps you can take to keep it efficient and safe.

The Stove Industry Alliance recommends chimneys are sweep at the beginning and end of winter to avoid the build-up of tar and soot, both of which can damage the chimney and stove.

Blocked chimneys are capable of letting carbon monoxide escape into your home, so the price to pay a sweep isn't that much at £30 - £60.

Pellet stoves require a yearly service to check the electrical parts, this costs around £200.

Wet and unseasoned logs leave more soot deposits in your chimney then kiln dried or seasoned wood.  The more soot deposits in your chimney the more it will need to be swept.  In the long run it will be cheaper to invest in using kiln dried or seasoned wood.

If you need a chimney sweep you can find one in your area, either by searching on Google or visiting The National Association of Chimney Sweeps website.

Keep on top of your ash pan and give it a clear out often, although leaving some ash in the pan can help to get the fire started.  It's always best to check the manufacturer's guide.

Also keep the glass clean, otherwise you'll get too much soot build up and you will not be able to enjoy the look of the fire.  If you have an airwash system (a cool air vent that helps to stop tar build up on glass), cleanburn or cleanheat (pulls in more air to help burn off more smoke) technologies then you will not have to clean the ash pan and glass as often as a stove without these features. 

The best way to clean the glass is to use damp newspaper dipped in ash, then reuse the newspaper as kindling for your next fire.

When you are cleaning your stove always check for any cracks, distortions, breaks in seals, holes or rust; all will affect the stoves performance and safety.  You can have the defective part repaired or replaced, but the older the stove becomes it will be more cost effective and safer to upgrade it to a new stove.

Added extras for safety purposes:-

  • Fire guard to protect children or pets from the heat of the stove
  • Bird guard fitted to the top of the chimney to stop nesting birds
  • Carbon monoxide detector to protect your families health - if your property is rented it is a legal requirement to have monoxide detectors fitted.
  • Smoke alarms

Costs And Savings

If you want to know more about how much you could save by using a stove then please read our Stoves Costs and Savings guide.  Our guide will show you how to work out how much cash you can save.

Wood, Coal or Pellets
If you want to know more about which fuel is best to use, please see our guide, Multi Fuel Stoves versus Wood Burning Stoves, which will give you all the information you need to make an informed decision when buying a stove.


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