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Choosing the right fuel


Generally, seasoned wood is seen as the most environmentally-friendly fuel and therefore the one that is the most widely-reccommended. However, it’s important to use only dry wood, which should contain 20% moisture or less. Smokeless coal fuels will produce much less air pollution than regular “house coal”.

Logs should not be too large – 5 inches wide (125mm) will give the best result. Using large logs to make the fire last longer will usually result in a lower burning temperature, more wasted fuel and more pollution.

If you are buying for immediate use then look out for the ‘Ready to Burn’ logo or buy from a trusted local source for reassurance that the logs are dry enough to burn.


Open fires burn fuel at a much lower temperature than a well operated stove. If burning wood, open fire users will get the best results from using dry logs which are not too large and burning them on a properly fitted open fire (not just a recess in the wall).

There is a specific problem with the types of fuels burned on open fires in Smoke Control Areas – (smokeless zones). This means that wood or normal “house coal” must not be burned on an open fire. They may only be burned on a stove that has been exempted for use in a Smoke Control Area.


Stack logs so the air can get at them. If you cut and split them yourself try to do this when the wood is fresh cut as it is much easier on you and your tools. Once split, you have greatly increased the surface area of each piece and it will dry much faster. Logs need to be properly stacked, not heaped in a pile. A well ventilated log store with open sides and a roof on it is the best situation. You should easily be able to achieve moisture content of 20% or less in 12 to 24 months if your logs are the right size and properly stored. Beware of the word seasoned, it means nothing in reality. The only important consideration is the moisture content.

A moisture meter is a very useful tool. To test the moisture content of any log, split it first and then test the split surface.

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