Buying and Choosing Fuel
Logs should be stored in a well ventilated stack in a sunny position before being taken indoors.
Good quality fuels ensure that your appliance operates cleanly and efficiently. Poor quality fuels may burn inefficiently, create pollution and even damage your appliance.
If you are using coal then you can look for the ‘Approved Coal Merchant’ accreditation. This is a scheme run by the Solid Fuel Association and means the supplier has agreed to work to the Coal Trade Code.
The most common wood fuel is logs, however the various types of wood available burn in different ways. A good wood fuel supplier will be able to provide advice. You should also be aware that wood needs to be seasoned (dried) before it can be burnt, which can take up to two years. Most fuel suppliers can provide wood that is already seasoned.
Other wood fuels include wood chips and pellets. These are commonly used in more complex appliances such as wood fuel boilers, and your appliance manufacture or installer should be able to provide you with advice on appropriate fuel quality standards.
Woodsure Ready To Burn (latest industry advice to reduce pollution, click logo for link)
The ‘Ready to Burn’ initiative is for wood log producers, having a distinct certification category for dry firewood logs where they are able to demonstrate through audit and fuel testing that woodfuel they sell as ‘Ready to Burn’ is:
Labelled as ‘Ready to Burn’
Is less than 20% moisture content
Finally before burning, solid fuels should be kept dry, by keeping them indoors or under a secure cover. Wet fuels burn inefficiently and will produce large amounts of smoke and very little heat, the heat is being wasted in drying the wood fit to burn.
There are many sources of discarded wood, for example, fallen branches, carpentry off-cuts, damaged fence panels, old furniture and wood from skips. Saving this wood from going to landfill can be resourceful and save methane release to atmosphere. However, not all wood is suitable for burning and you should take great care before using it. Common issues can be:
Wood needs to be left to dry (seasoned) before it can be burnt, burning wet or freshly felled wood can produce large amounts of smoke and little heat.
Wood can be coated with preservatives such as varnish, creosote or paint. If this is burned toxic fumes including metals and organics can be released to the air.