Cleaning and Maintenance

We recommend regular maintenance of both fireplace and chimney. A clean fireplace provides for a great view of the fire and the wood burns better and cleaner. In addition, if you burn dry wood of good quality and ensure regular sweeping of your chimney, you minimise the risk of soot fires that can cause damage to the chimney. A proper maintenance system extends the lifetime for your stove and gives you many years of great experiences.

You can easily do the daily maintenance yourself – it does not require expensive equipment or special skills. In addition, according to Norwegian regulations, all fireplaces should be inspected and swept at least every four years. These inspections are performed by the local chimney sweep association. Here are some tips you might find useful.

Tip 1

Removing soot from the fireplace glass

A lot of stoves are made with a so-called air-wash system, which helps you keep the glass clean during burning. If soot covers the glass, it is normally enough to burn intensely for a short periods of time and the heat and the air-wash system will make sure that soot particles attached to the glass are burned off.

If the glass is still covered with soot, we recommend the following method: Moisten a wrinkled piece of newspaper and dip it carefully in the ashes on the bottom of the wood stove. Rub the paper against the glass with the ashes turned towards the glass. Repeat more times if necessary to loosen all of the soot. Finally, you dry off with a clean piece of paper to remove the soot particles that are now loose. This method is better for the environment, efficient and cheap.

Tip 2

Emptying the ashes

A lot of people clean out the ashes way too often. 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 ashes are 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.

Tip 3

Annual maintenance of fireplaces and wood stoves

At least once a year, Jøtul recommends that you remove the baffle plate and burn plates to make sure that they are in good shape. They also suggest checking the riddling grate and bottom burn plate for damage. Brush off soot particles from these and the rest of the burn chamber. Internal parts also get worn, and should be replaced from time to time.

If and when depends on how hard and how much you use the fireplace. The gaskets around the glass and the door should also be checked and replaced if they are damaged.

Tip 4

Sweeping of the chimney and fireplace

We would recommend that the chimney is swept once a year.

A clean fireplace and a clean chimney is important to achieve an environmental combustion and avoid a soot fire that can damage the chimney and in the worst case scenario lead to a full-blown fire. Non-cleanburning fireplaces produce substantially more soot than modern, cleanburning wood stoves. Wet wood is another source of soot. In cases where the chimney sweep sees this, they will instruct you on the correct techniques and suggest measures to be put in place.


Using the cheapest fuel to heat your house

The benefits of using wood to heat your house are growing all the time; if you’ll excuse the pun.

Whether it is by using a stove to heat a room with a vent taking some of the heat elsewhere, or using a boiler stove to heat water for radiators, or a full biomass system. The benefits of doing so are getting more and more obvious.

With all the wild weather we have been experienced this year, global warming is clearly a reality, and anything we can do to limit it or not make it any worse; has to be good. Using less of our fossil fuels to warm our homes is a major step in the right direction, especially when by burning these fuels we are putting more carbon into the atmosphere.

We all need to heat and light our homes, and so if the fuel we use to do so is easily replaced, and replaced in a way that cleans the atmosphere, it makes environmental sense.  When this is coupled with the fact that wood is essentially the cheapest fuel we can burn, at around 4p per kW hour; it makes economic sense as well.

By using a hot water tank that incorporates a solar coil you can save money by incorporating some solar thermal alongside PV panels to heat water and generate electricity, thereby reducing the amount you take from the national grid. This is turn means that your carbon foot print is less as you help to reduce the amount of carbon produced by power stations. A fact that you get paid for through the feed in tariff.

When you install a boiler stove that can only burn wood, then you make a saving on the VAT as well, since you pay 5% VAT as opposed to 20%; which means more savings.

The best way to save yourself from rising energy costs is to fully utilize the cheapest fuel and install a biomass system. Not only are you using an easily renewable resource that cleans the environment as it grows, but you get paid well to do so through the Renewable Heat Incentive.

All in all heating with wood makes senses.

Keep warm this winter

The BBC are running a feature on this topic next week, particularly looking at how the Norwegians do it. This is to be featured on the BBC1 Breakfast next Tuesday at 8:20am. The Norwegians were desperate to reduce their electric bills and started buying wood like never before.

Now thankfully in the UK we don’t often get temperatures below -25, but like the Norwegians, our utility costs are rising at quite a rate. It is possible to heat your house and reduce you bills, by installing a wood burning stove. Whether you install a boiler stove or a standard stove, when run efficiently the heat coming out from the stove can enable you to turn down the thermostat on your conventional boiler.

If you want to save money and help the environment, as the experience in Norway shows burning wood is a good way to go. Even more so investing in a biomass boiler can give you a financial return with the Renewable Heat Incentive.

Who doesn’t some cash back?

Getting the best out of a storm

In the run up to Christmas there has been some amount of stormy weather. This can remind us of how powerful mother nature can be; and in some cases devastatingly so.

Thankfully though in the majority of cases it is possible to cope with the wind, rain and power cuts brought about by falling trees. These trees can then provide you with the fuel to heat your home in the years to come. Whether it is for a biomass log boiler or just a wood burning stove, one way to make the best of a storm is to look at it as a free supply of fuel for next year Not many thing in life are free, so you have to grab them when you can.

With fossil fuel costs continuously rising, storing windfall wood can be a real bonus, and by burning this wood you are making way for future growth. Since newly planted trees absorb large amount of CO2, this means that you are reducing your carbon footprint at the same time.

Then when coupled with the changes to the renewable heat incentive tariffs coming in in April, the logs you store this winter can help you in more ways than one next year. All this gives you food for thought, when you are out walking off the indulgences of Christmas dinner over the festive season. Then what could be more welcoming after a long walk on a cold and frosty day, than an efficient stove, burning brightly with a basket of muffins ready to toast?

Do your part

Charnwood Island II long leg

In this world where the cost of fuel is rising, due to the cost involved of finding and extracting enough fossil fuels to meet demand, it is great to know there is a way to heat your home that uses an easily sustainable fuel.

It won’t break the bank and in fact will give you a fast return on your investment, whilst at same time helping the environment.

Wood Burning stoves are attractive to look at and efficient. In addition to which by burning wood not only is their fuel source easily sustainable, but it also provides a way of cleaning the air we breathe. This is because trees consume as much, if not more, CO2 when they are growing than when they are burning. So by using a wood burning stove and, or a log burning biomass boiler to heat your home you are reducing your carbon footprint, in a very cost effective manner.

This means that the fossil fuel reserves we do have can go further and be preserved for future generations. So by using a wood burning stove, or log biomass boiler you are playing your part in managing a sustainable environment.