Nothing beats the warmth and light of a real fire when it’s cold and dark. However, always follow safety guidelines whenever you introduce any type of fuel burner into your home.

If you’re about to light up your wood burner stove for the first time this winter, make sure that you remind yourself of the instructions that apply to your particular model of stove.

Here are a few general guidelines to help you get started.

stovax riva studio1 wood burning stove

Lighting up your stove

Make sure you fully open any primary air vents and control and airwash controls before you light your fire.

Leave the door ajar while the fire establishes, and the glass warms up. This will help to stop the build-up of condensation. Once the fire is going, add larger pieces of wood but don’t fill the chamber.

Once the fire is established, close the door and reduce the primary air control to your desired heat setting. If required, set the secondary air wash system to your chosen setting. You can maintain the fire by frequently adding small amounts of additional fuel.

Make sure you use the right fuel

Green wood contains around 50% water. Therefore, you need to be sure your wood has dried out properly. If you’re finding your own logs, you must give them at least one summer, preferably two, to dry properly.

Many people prefer to find a good local wood supplier. You can try Woodsure, an accreditation scheme that provides an audit, so you know whether the logs you’re buying are as dry as the supplier claims.

Always manage air circulation

When it comes to burning wood, you need primary air to feed the bed of the fire. You also need secondary air to feed the flames above it.

To ensure you achieve this, never completely close the secondary air vent. If you do, you’ll coat the glass with soot and tar. But don’t leave the stove door open – unless your instructions tell you to do this when you light the fire – otherwise the hot air will go straight up the chimney and not into the room.

A smaller, hotter fire is a more efficient way to run the stove than a large slow-burning fire.

Follow a safety checklist

Follow these simple guidelines to enjoy a safer, more efficient stove:

  • Stick to the instructions issued for your model of wood burner stove
  • Use the fuel recommended by the manufacturer for your type of appliance
  • Keep all combustibles, including logs, at a safe distance from a hot stove and hearth
  • Make sure your permanent air ventilation grills are clear at all times
  • Don’t turn down the stove for the night or slumber burn an appliance unless it’s designed to operate this way – read the instructions for your wood burner stove
  • Never leave an open fire unattended without a spark guard
  • Fit a fireguard if you have young, elderly or infirm people in the house
  • Have your appliance regularly serviced by a HETAS registered installer

Would you like to find out more about wood burner stoves?

If you’re considering installing a wood burner or multi-fuel stove and would like advice, contact Peter Capaldi, owner of HGS Home & Garden, on 07749 863650.

Peter is a HETAS registered engineer. He can provide practical advice to help you choose the wood burner stove that’s right for you and your home.