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Which Fuel?

Material: Cast Iron or Steel?
Output: How much heat do you need?
Space: How much space do you have to install your stove?
Multifuel or woodburning: What will you burn on your stove?
Burning Restrictions: Are you in a smoke control area?
Fuel: which type is most suitable for you?
Budget: Is price an indication of quality?
Maintenance & Servicing
How to look after a cast iron stove
Carbon monoxide


Fuel: which type is most suitable for you?

Logs are a very popular choice for burning on a stove, however logs should dried to at least 25% moisture before burning. 

Storing logs to dry out for burning is known as seasoning.
You can buy logs which have already been seasoned by the supplier but these are not usually guaranteed to be dry and will cost more than logs which have not been seasoned.

Most people who burn logs will buy in bulk and have some kind of log store or shed which they can use to keep logs until they are dry enough to burn. A handy piece of kit to have if you are seasoning your own timber is a moisture meter so you can see how dry your logs are when selecting some for burning. Alternatively you can buy logs which have been kiln dried, these are usually tested for a suitable moisture content and therefore do not need to be stored by you, Kiln dried logs are generally more expensive than air dried.

Wood is a major source of renewable heat energy and if burned efficiently, it produces virtually no smoke. Using wood from sustainable managed trees reduces net CO2 production compared to using fossil fuels.

What kind of logs should I burn?

Alder:  low in heat and does not burn for long,
Apple:  Great It bums slowly and steadily when dry, with little flame, but good for heat.
Ash:  The best wood for burning; has both flame and heat, and will bum when green, but burns best when dry.
Beech:  Nearly as good as ash, and only fair when green. If it has a fault, it will shoot embers a long way.
Birch:  good for heat but it burns quickly. A nice smell.
Cedar:  Good when dry. It gives little flame but lots of heat, a lovely scent.
Cherry:  Burns slowly, with good heat. Another wood with the advantage of a nice scent.
Chestnut. OK. Will spark. Small flame and heating power.
Douglas Fir:  Poor. Little flame or heat.
Elder:   Average . Very smoky. Quick burner, with not much heat.
Elm:  Commonly sold for fuel. To bum well it needs to be dried for two years. Even then it will smoke.
Hazel:  Good.
Holly:  Good, will burn when green, but best when dried for a season.
Hornbeam:  A rival to beech. Laburnum:  A poisonous tree, foul smoke, taints food, best never used.
Larch:  Crackles, nice scent, and fairly good for heat.
Laurel:  Gives a brilliant flame.
Lime:  Poor. Burns with dull flame.
Maple:  Good.
Oak:  New oak gives a poor flame and the smoke is foul, but dry old oak is excellent for heat, burning slowly and steadily until whole log collapses into cigar-like ash.
Pear:  Good heat and a good scent.
Pine:  Bums with a wonderful flame, but often spits. The resinous Weymouth pine has a lovely scent and a cheerful blue flame.
Plane:  Burns nicely, but will spark if very dry.
Plum:  Good heat and smell.
Poplar:  Very bad.
Rhododendron:  The thick old stems burn well. 
Robinia (Acacia):  Burns slowly, with good heat, but with foul smoke. 
Spruce:  Burns very quickly and with lots of sparks.
Sycamore:  Burns with a good flame, with medium heat. But do not use green.
Thorn:  Very good. Slow burning, with good heat and little smoke.
Walnut:  Good, and so is the scent.
Willow:  Poor. It must be dry to use, and then it burns slowly, with little flame. Will spark.
Yew:  Among the best. Burns slowly, with strong heat, and the scent is nice.

Wood fuel logs:  
Wood fuel logs are made up from compressed waste wood, the timber is already dry and the logs are usually in packs of 5 or 10 and easy to store. Wood fuel logs can vary in quality and moisture content but generally burn well with little ash or waste.  Also with some wood fuel logs they expand on heating as the wood is compressed so they take up less storage space and you will burn less of them on your stove than standard logs.

House coal:
Some multifuel stoves are suitable for burning standard house coal. This is usually purchased in sacks weighing from 10-25kg and can be stored outside in a dry place such as a coal bunker.
Coal generally burns for longer than wood so you will need to load the stove less often, however it can be messy with black soot covering the coals produces carbon emissions that are bad fro the environment. House coal can vary in quality and price and it is important to check that the type you select is suitable to use on a stove rather than a standard open fire.

Smokeless fuels:
Smokeless fuels are known by many names such as anthracite which is a natural smokeless fuel and comes in various sizes described as as pea, nugget, bean, oval, egg etc.
Manufactured smokeless fuels are known by brand names such as e-coal.  Smokeless fuel is generally a manufactured coal that does not produce smoke when burnt, It releases less carbon emissions than coal so is kinder to the environment.
Smokeless coal gives off up to 3 times more heat than standard coal and also burns for longer.
Smokeless fuels also produce less ash than standard coal.
Anthracite ignites with difficulty and burns with a short, blue, and smokeless flame.