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The Inconvenient Truth of Wood Burning Stoves

As we approach winter and the nights draw in, all across the country a nightly ritual commences of loading, stoking and lighting those little metal boxes in the fireplace.
As homeowners shut themselves off from the outside world and sit back and relax in front of the stove, it is difficult to imagine another time of the year where people feel more content to be indoors.
Wood burning stoves have been one the most desired fixtures of the home over recent years with more than a million already purchased and an average of 200,000 more being installed every year.
The rise in popularity has aligned with a national change of how power is generated. As Britain transitions from coal to wood, we are now burning the most amounts of wood since the industrial revolution.
The government renewable heat incentive has been designed to encourage households to heat their homes with clean logs and wood pellets via biomass boilers. However the inconvenient truth is that the trend for wood burning stoves could be posing a real threat to the environment and to our general wellbeing.
Experts studying air quality and pollution indicate that stoves can contribute to an ever-thickening cloud of smog, which is settling above our towns and cities. The main issue is the burning of wet and unseasoned wood and polluting solid fuels. Damp wood contains moisture that creates harmful particles whereas seasoned wood considerably reduces smoke and harmful emissions.
Open fires are thought to be more at risk of magnifying the problem and perhaps replacing open fires with stoves could prove to be a step in right direction.
Many people have already made a positive decision to control how they effect the environment by switching to briquettes made from waste wood,
which are cheaper and deliver more heat with the important benefit of also being a cleaner-burning source.
It is difficult to ignore the attraction of traditional open fires and log burning stoves, it is unlikely that the nation would willingly give up the comfort of their stoves and maybe the best way to reduce future emissions, would be to focus more on seasoning and having a greater understanding of the types of wood we use.
The following trees provide the best wood for burning with minimal pollutants.
Ash - Widely regarded as a great burning wood, with low smoke and an excellent flame pattern (even on slow-burning), which provides plenty of heat, as well as being readily available wherever you live in the UK.
Birch - These logs burn quickly but nevertheless provide good heat output, bright lively flames and a pleasing smell. Best mixed with other slower burning logs such as Elm (particularly slow burning), Ash or Oak.
Cedar - Produces a well burning log with long lasting heat.

Cherry - A slow burning wood producing a good heat output as well as a lovely aroma.
Hazel - Burns quickly, but still produces very good heat.
Oak - Generally considered one of the very best wood fuel logs. However it must be seasoned for a long time – at least two years. It burns fairly slowly with nice flames and produces an excellent long lasting heat.
Rowan - Produces slow, well burning logs.
Sycamore and other Maples - Make a good wood fuel log, burning well with a moderate heat output and a good flame.