Saturday 9 February 2013

How to keep your wood-burning stove lit

It’s decidedly chilly outside. If you’ve gone to the effort of lighting a wood-burning stove, you don’t really want to have to do it twice. You want to keep the fire lit and keep your home nicely snug. Here are our tips for keeping your wood-burning stove lit.
1. Light it properly
Just like start-up businesses, most unsuccessful fires fail before they’ve even got started. Getting a good fire going is the key to keeping your stove lit. Once you’ve got the guts of a blazing fire, it’s much easier to maintain. Follow our instructions on how to light a wood-burning stove to make sure you’re on the right track.
2. Use your air vents correctly
The air vents on your stove are your way of controlling how quickly the fuel on your stove burns. Close all the vents and you can starve the fire of the oxygen it needs to keep burning. Open the vents fully and your fuel will be used up very quickly as a result of all the extra oxygen. If you want to keep your stove lit with minimal supervision, you need to let just the right amount of oxygen in to keep the fire burning while ensuring the fuel lasts as long as possible. Experimentation is the best way to find out what works.
3. Use seasoned hardwoods
Hardwoods, like ash, beech, hawthorn and oak, are much slower burners than softwoods. It makes sense, then, to use them when you’re trying to sustain a fire. Making sure the wood is seasoned before you use it will also help.
4. Get rid of the ash
This one is particularly relevant to multi-fuel stoves when you’re burning coal or smokeless fuels. If you’re keeping a fire in for a long time, that build up of ash can really clog up the airflow. And for coal and smokeless fuels it is vital to have a good air supply from below to keep the stove lit. Riddle the grate and clear the ashpan to stop the build-up.
5. Top the fuel up one last time
It might seem obvious but it’s worth pointing out that it is sensible to load a final top-up of fuel to your stove before parting company with it. That way the fuel has only just begun to burn and has more chance of lasting until you return.

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