Are They About to Ban Woodburning Stoves?

If you’ve seen some of the recent news headlines, you might think so! Woodburners have certainly been getting some bad press and being blamed for a adding to poor air quality in cities.

As with most headlines, it’s actually a bit more complicated than that.


Specifically, the concern is about a certain type of particle emission (PM2.5). Air quality is a major concern in cities and today the Mayor of London is requesting powers to create zero emission zones from 2025. As well as emissions from woodburners, these zones would also ban things like bulldozers and canal boats with dirty diesel engines.

But not all woodburners emit dangerous particles. Simply put, you’ll only be causing a problem if:

1. your Woodburner is old and inefficient
2. you are using it incorrectly eg “slumbering” the stove by stacking it full of fuel and shutting it right down
3. you are burning wet wood

DEFRA, one of the departments of government, the stove industry and HETAS, the official regulator for solid fuel appliances, all recognise this and there are 2 major initiatives to help publicise and address these potential problems.

How To Keep Your Burn Clean

Firstly, don’t burn wood until it’s properly dry – watch out for the increased availability of nets of logs labelled “Woodsure – Ready to Burn” at garages and DIY stores (in many cities burning unseasoned wood sold at places like this is a major problem)

Secondly, when choosing a new stove, look for one which is “Ecodesign Ready” – this is the new standard for minimal particulate emissions which all new stoves will have to meet in 2022. There are an increasing number of these stoves available now.

So, if you have a new, efficient woodburner, you are using it correctly and you are burning good quality dry wood, you will not be contributing to poor air quality.

You hopefully won’t be surprised to hear that at Elcombe Fire and Wood we have always ensured our firewood is properly dried and meets the standards set by HETAS. And we have a good range of Ecodesign Ready woodburners for you to choose from when thinking of fitting a new stove.

“Register Plates” and “Closure Plates” Explained

Register Plate with single sweep access hatch
Register Plate with single sweep access hatch
Whenever you have a woodburning stove installed in a fireplace, you will have a plate above the stove blocking off the bottom of the chimney. The plate must be made of solid, non-combustible material. You may hear this plate referred to as a “Closure” or “Register” plate. Although these terms are often used interchangeably by some people, there is an important difference between them.
A Register Plate should always be fitted whenever a stove vents directly into the chimney (ie if the chimney is sound and there is no flue liner connected directly to the stove or stove pipe). The purpose of this register plate is to ensure no fumes, especially Carbon Monoxide, escapes back into the room. The Register Plate must therefore be sealed around the edges and around the stove pipe. The Register Plate must also have an access hatch to enable the chimney to be swept.
Closure Plate
Closure Plate
A Closure Plate performs a different purpose. It is essentially cosmetic and can also reduce heat loss into a chimney which is lined with, for example, a stainless steel flexible flue liner. Because the stove is directly connected to the flue liner, the Closure Plate is not required to be tightly sealed in the same way as a Register Plate; it also does not need an access hatch for sweeping as this will take place either through the stove or, where fitted, through a removable sweeping plate on the stove pipe. If your chimney has been thoroughly swept before the flue liner was installed, there should be minimal soot deposits collected over time on the top of it.

How To Make a Swedish Candle

A Swedish Candle, Swedish Fire Log or Swedish Fire Torch is basically a log split like a cake and used as a small outdoor fire. if it is placed stable and elvel upon the ground you can even cook on it. Here are out tips for enjoying a Swedish candle in your garden or when camping.

  1. Set your log upright in a fire-safe place. An existing fire pit is a good spot – there will be some ash and burning when the log burns down to the bottom. If you take care to set it so the top is level, you can use it as a cooking surface.
  2. You can light it the slow way by creating a small fire on top of the log with kindling. Continue to stoke it until the coals and kindling start to fall into the log. You can use a stick to shove it down into the middle as it burns.
  3. You can light it the quick way by placing a firelighter on top of the log, set light to it and off you go.

We collected lots of links about Swedish Flames, including cooking on them, and other ways to make outdoor fires, on our Pinterest board.