Under the Clean Air Act it is illegal to burn wood in an open fire in a smoke controlled zone. Despite this ruling local authorities have struggled to enforce the regulation. Most people do not realise they are breaking the law.
Burning wood on an open fire is the wrong way to burn wood – in environmental terms at least. An Ecodesign ready stove is many times more efficient than an open fire. It’s the high level of incomplete combustion, which causes so much smoke and PM emissions (PM2.5 mainly) with open fires.
Nationally 40% of wood is burnt on open fires, this figure is reportedly around 70% in London.
Burning wood at a higher temperature reduces pollution, which is one reason why Ecodesign stoves are so efficient. Open fires tend to burn at a lower temperature, which is one reason why they contribute to higher levels of air pollution.
Focusing on Education:
The Defra Clean Air Strategy will focus on educating consumers to burn only dry wood on an Ecodesign stove, and also to highlight to them the significant issues that come from using an open fire. The diagram below, which we have used a number of times is a great way to convey this message:
The Government have published a number of useful resources for the public to get a better understanding of burning wood, and general best practise. One very good guide is – Open Fires and Wood Burning Stoves: A Practical Guide – Download.
Why Use an Ecodesign Stove?
An open fire has an efficiency of around 20%, this means up to 80% of the heat a fire produces is lost. In comparison, an Ecodesign stove has an efficiency of around 80%. A great deal less wood needs to be burnt for the same heat output, thanks to the sophisticated design of an Ecodesign stove. It’s estimated that the level of heat produced from 5 logs on an Ecodesign stove, can only be matched by an open fire, if the open fire was to burn no less than 16 logs.
“What the SIA is doing fits in with the world we have; we have problems in our inner cities with very high levels of NOx and particulates. Anything we can do to reduce that from open fires and others, through SIA Ecodesign Ready stoves, has got the be an absolute benefit” – Neil Parish MP – Chair for the Select Committee Environment Food and Rural Affairs.
Quick Steps To Help Efficiency:
If you are yet to own an Ecodesign wood burning stove, you can still help reduce the pollution from burning wood with a few simple tips:
1. Use lots of small kindling
2. Set all air controls to fully open, light the fire and close the door. This helps the stove reach a good temperature quickly
3. When you refuel use slightly larger logs. If your stove has more than one air control, then close the one that allows air in from the room, as you are wasting warm room air.
4. After the stove reaches optimum temperature, you can reduce the amount of secondary air (also know as tertiary air).
5. Keep the temperature hot. If you are using a flue thermometer try and aim for the middle for optimum level.
6. Medium sized logs will help maintain a good, strong bright flame.
7. Look at the top of your chimney – if you see any smoke, adjust the air controls. Opening the air controls will increase the temperature in the fire, and reduce the chances of smoke. Do this a little at a time for best results.
Find your local Charlton & Jenrick Ecodesign stove retailer online at: https://www.charltonandjenrick.co.uk/products/store-locator/