Date posted: 20.02.24

A. Correctly seasoned wood.

To ensure maximum efficiency and minimal pollution, it’s important to be aware of what you are burning on your stove. You should only burn correctly seasoned wood on a wood-burning stove. The diagram shows just how important this is:

An excessive moisture content is really bad news. It pollutes and gives a poor heat output. Below are a number of points which explain the dangers of burning rubbish – literally and metaphorically speaking:

1. It’s not efficient. It’s easy to say, ‘only burn seasoned wood‘. But if you have a stark choice between going cold or burning some rubbish or something else totally unsuitable to keep warm, we understand the position people can be in. However, here lies the problem. Burning rubbish or other unsuitable items to keep warm is, more often than not, incredibly inefficient. It will produce a poor heat output. So your efforts to stay warm are very much wasted.

2. It can be deadly. When you burn household rubbish, you release deadly toxins into the atmosphere. These include fine particles, dioxins, VOCs (volatile organise compounds), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These have been linked to heart disease, cancers and other illnesses.

3. It congests. When you burn things like household rubbish, plastic, unseasoned wood, furniture etc it creates congestion in the flue. This significantly increases the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and chimney fires.

4. It pollutes. It’s not only deadly for the people who are burning the rubbish in the immediate vicinity, you’re also making a huge contribution to pollution on a larger scale. In poor countries, the burning of rubbish is directly linked to increased air pollution and all the associated problems this brings, such as increases in respiratory illnesses, cancers and general poor health.

With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which started two years ago, and the continuing issues with gas supply, firewood is still very expensive in some European regions as the need to stay warm grows. This is one reason why people are resorting to burning rubbish. It’s sometimes down to pure desperation and not lack of awareness, which casts a very sad picture.

People should not be forced into a position to choose between heating their homes or harming their health to keep warm. Support is needed!

Tips to Burn Better:

1. Use seasoned wood only, ideally with a moisture content of no more than 20%.
2. Top Down Method – Put kindling on top of the larger logs when starting a fire. It’s more efficient and causes less pollution.
3. Keep a fire hot – keeping a fire hot and not “running down” what you have is a good idea. When a fire is hot, it’s efficient. Letting it use up the firewood before adding more will ultimately use more fuel, so try to avoid this.
4. Use an efficient stove – An Ecodesign stove is best. It’s hugely more efficient than an open fire or outdated stove, which does not use Ecodesign technology.

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