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Wood-burning stoves: What do the new rules mean for your fireplace?

More than one million British families warm their homes with a wood-burning stove during the winter months. If you're thinking of joining them with a new stove of your own, then you'll want to be aware of changes coming in 2022 to future proof your stove.

Open fires and wood burning stoves have risen dramatically in popularity over recent years, providing an additional form of heating for many, and for some, the sole heat source.

And who can blame them. Wood burning stoves are cosy, efficient (often three times more so than an open fire) and burning wood can be relatively carbon neutral and sustainable compared to fossil fuels like natural gas, propane, and coal.

What’s not to like about wood burning stoves?

While emissions from domestic burning have reduced significantly since the 1950’s,  cities are still the worst affected areas.

Wood – and coal – burning stoves currently account for 38 per cent of particulate matter air pollution, which the Government plans to reduce 30 per cent in total by 2030.

A recent surge in popularity means domestic burning on stoves and open fires is now the single biggest source of particulate matter emissions, which is considered the most damaging pollutant.

More needs to be done to reduce pollution and ensure the air we all breathe, is cleaner.

What’s the Government doing about it?

The Government have therefore developed a Clean Air Strategy which is scheduled to come into force in 2022.

This will outlaw the sale of the most polluting fuels and ensure only the cleanest stoves are sold from 2022.

The right kind of stove

All new wood burning stoves from 2022 will need to conform to the recommendations set out in the Clean Air Act, whether you’re thinking of installing a stove in a country or city environment.

Many stove manufacturers have already included special features in their designs, creating stoves which have been subject to rigorous tests and have been proven to reduce particulate emissions by 90% compared to an open fire and 80% compared to an old stove.

These stoves will now carry an SIA (Stove Industry Alliance) approved Ecodesign Ready Stove quality assurance.

The wrong kind of wood

But owners of woodburners must be aware that not all wood burning is the same and that reductions in particulate emissions isn’t just about buying an Ecodesign Ready stove.

It also means burning the right type of wood.

Only certain types of wood are suitable for burning and the wood must be dry.  This means it should have a moisture content of less than 20%.  It’s very difficult to tell how dry a piece of wood is, so you could either invest in a moisture meter or ensure your wood is ready to burn by purchasing it from a bona fide supplier.

Before you buy a new stove…

If you’re considering investing in a new woodburning stove in your home, take heed of these top tips:

  • Internet offers on woodburning stoves may look very tempting but be aware that although many of these are competitively priced they may not have been future proofed for the Clean Air Act in 2022.  Make sure any Stove you buy holds the SIA approved logo to ensure your stove is compliant.
  • Always employ a qualified installer to fit your stove, who will ensure your stove works efficiently, with minimal emissions.
  • Ensure your chimney is swept regularly. The more you use your stove the more frequently you will need to sweep.
  • Always purchase your wood from a reliable source. Woodsure’s ready to burn website lists hundreds of accredited suppliers across the country at https://woodsure.co.uk/
  • If using your own wood, make sure you store it in a sheltered store until it is dried to a minimum of 20% moisture content. A moisture meter is a great way to check your wood is dry enough.

With thanks to Woodwarm Stoves, a Devon based stove manufacturer who this year have produced a range of compliant EcoDesign Ready Stoves which not only meet but exceed the targets of the 2022 Clean Air Act. Further information available at  www.woodwarmstoves.co.uk


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