Are wood burning stoves more or less work?

People often ask about the cleaning of stoves, but when compared to an open fire all stoves are easier..

Partly because they are closed boxes, there is less shoot and such like, blowing around in the air of the room. So in general the room remains cleaner and more dust free, but also the hearth remains cleaner, and thanks to the air wash system in modern stoves the view of the fire is really good.

With multi-fuel stoves when you are burning smokeless coal or peat, then you need to clean it out everyday before you light it. This is so as to let the air feed the fire sufficiently to aid combustion. When you are burning wood in a multi fuel stove this is not the case, as provided the wood is dry enough it will burn the air round about it.

In the case of wood burning stoves, a lot of people clean out the ashes way too often. When in fact, it is beneficial to leave a layer of ashes on the bottom of the fireplace. This layer insulates and protects the bottom and the floor underneath from the burning heat of the fire. Also, many people find that it is easier to light the fire if a few pieces of charcoal are left from earlier. Ashes are the non-flammable parts of the wood, mostly minerals.

Since ash is an extremely insulating material, you often find small, glowing pieces hidden in the ashes hours or days after the fire is out. When you empty the ashes, it is therefore important that it is emptied in a bucket with a lid, both made of metal. This must be left until you are sure that there are no glowing bits left in the ashes. Ashes cannot be composted, but can be used as fertiliser if it stems from clean, untreated wood. Alternatively, it can be thrown out with other waste.

This means that with the air wash system, which both multi-fuel and wood burning stoves have, in general a wood burning stove is less work.

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