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How to use a wood burning stove: a reminder

It’s not that long ago since James the Sweep gave 3 handy tips on how to use a woodburner in this blog section.

Even so, it’s worth giving another reminder – for the simple reason that thousands of householders in Kent are currently holed-up at home, avoiding the Coronavirus, and using wood burning stoves.

The last thing we need right now is for Kent Fire & Rescue Service to be distracted from helping with the national Covid-19 crisis, attending domestic fires because people don’t know how to use woodburners properly.

For that reason, please take time to familiarise yourself with these pointers:-

  • Use dry, clean wood, from a log store outside, which has a moisture content of 20 per cent or less. If you have a moisture thermometer, please use it and check the reading.
  • Remember to only use the chimney if it has been thoroughly inspected and swept by James the Sweep. Blocked chimneys pose a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and chimney fires.
  • Make sure the woodburner is robust with no damage: fissures or cracks. The appliance needs to be of a durable quality to put up with the pressure of indoor fires.
  • To start: Keep the air controls open. Arrange dry kindling wood in a pyramid shape inside the stove. You may want to build it on top of firelighters.
    Start the fire and gradually introduce smaller logs to build the strength of the flames. Close the door appropriately to control the fire.
  • Larger logs should be placed on to the fire (although don’t smother) once it shows evidence of a healthy burning rate.
  • Use the secondary controls to handle the air flow. If the flow is less, the fire will struggle to burn but if it is too much, the flames can be a bit uncontrollable. A steady air flow is best.
  • Check the fire is burning at a high enough temperature. This saves you money and it’s better for the environment. It also ensures the fire lasts longer. Note: Chimney smoke indicates the fire needs more air.
  • Remember to never slumber logs overnight (dangerous) and discard cooled down embers carefully because they can otherwise pose a fire hazard (also dangerous).

Enjoy your indoor fires. Keep safe and well as you ‘isolate’ from the coronavirus at home. If you have any questions and you are a resident of Kent or East Sussex (where James the Sweep sweeps chimneys) ask James for free advice.