More and more people are getting a wood burning stove installed in their home. It’s an attractive, low carbon heating solution that certainly has a lot going for it – there’s nothing better than sitting down in the living room of an evening, watching those flames flicker away!
Getting the best out of your wood burning stove, however, isn’t just about choosing the right stove and having it professionally installed in your home. The quality of the wood you use is really important too – using fully seasoned wood ensures you get a good efficient burn.
The reason for this is that you need to have a moisture content of less than 20% – if your wood is wetter than that, you get a fire that smokes too much and which will cause more pollution than you want. Another issue with wood that is too wet is that it creates all sorts of emissions which will then coat your flue or chimney. Over time, it will leave a flammable deposit that could well be dangerous if the area isn’t cleaned regularly.
What is a moisture meter, and why use one?
Where you source your wood from – whether you gather it yourself from the garden or have a local supplier – and how you store it in the home are both vital components of a good, healthy burn. One of the most useful tools you can have in the home is a moisture meter. This is a battery operated, hand held device with metal prongs on it. You insert these into the wood and it gives you are reading on the moisture content in a matter of seconds.
If you’re using ‘green’ wood (that is wood the you’ve collected from the garden or local wood) then it can be as much as 50% water. That’s because it’s been sat around out in the open or has been freshly cut from a tree. Before you use it in your wood burner you need to dry it out as much as possible. Even if you buy from a local supplier the wood may well be too wet to burn straight away if it is unseasoned. This is where the moisture meter comes in useful.
What is seasoned fire wood?
Wood isn’t just cut down and distributed to local stove owners. It is left for about a year to the vagaries of the weather which drives the moisture out and makes it suitable for burning. You can also buy kiln dried logs which have about 15% water. These tend to have a slightly bigger carbon footprint than naturally dried wood, however, so if you feel a responsibility for the planet, you might want to avoid this kind of fuel.
The simplest way to make sure the wood you are burning is below 20% is to use a moisture meter – they cost very little and are a useful little tool to have around the house.
At Simon Turner Gas, we like to make sure our customers have all the information they need to operate their wood stove burner safely and efficiently. We can advise and install the best system for your home and we supply a wide range of stoves, including all the top brands.
If you want to make sure you get exactly the stove you need, contact our friendly team today or visit our showroom here in Exmouth, Devon.