Category: Fire Expert

Five Wood Stove Myths That You Shouldn’t Believe

Fact or Fiction? Every product seems to have myths attached to it and wood burning stoves are not exempt from this. As Wood burning stoves have been a part of homes for hundreds of years there are many myths.

Here are five wood stove myths that you shouldn’t believe!

chiminea Stove flue doesn’t need to be swept

If you are using Firemizer in your stove even though it reduces soot in the chimney we still recommend you get your flue swept at least once or twice a year. The best times to have your chimney swept are just before the start of the heating season and after your stove has not been used over a prolonged period. The second time should be after the peak of the main heating season. As well as this, cracks could appear, or animals may nest in the chimney it is better to be safe than sorry as most chimney fires happen when the stove hasn’t been in use for a while. Check out our blog on cleaning your stove!

Stoves are bad for the environment

With the current climate change, emergency people are worried their stove could be harming the environment. However, this may have been true many years ago but as stoves burn off 90% of the fuel meaning this high efficiency leaves very little to up the chimney. In addition, burning wood is carbon neutral as it only releases the same amount of carbon dioxide as it took in.

Stoves burn the best when they glow orange

This is false, if you see a stove with patches of its glowing orange from the heat this is known as over firing. this will damage the stove. It can weaken the body of the stove and burn fuel at a faster rate.

Stoves are banned from cities in the UK

Many UK cities are smoke controlled areas where you can only burn a DEFRA approved stove. DEFRA stand for the department for environment, food and rural affairs, they have set a high standard for stoves to ensure a clean burn. Stoves with a low particle emission and very high efficiency are approved to burn in smoke-controlled areas. If you have an older stove using Firemizer is proven to increase efficiency and reduce particulate emissions by 72%.

coalI can burn anything on my stove

If you have a wood burning stove, you should ideally only burn wood. This should be well seasoned with less than 20% moisture content. Treated wood, for instance, wood that has been painted, creosoted and railway sleepers must not be burnt in your stove. These will release harmful pollutants into the atmosphere and could harm your stove.

If you have a multi-fuel stove, you can burn seasoned wood and smokeless fuels. Make sure that your smokeless fuel has less than 20% petroleum content with your fuel merchant before buying. A high pet coke content will overheat the internal components of your stove and will cause premature damage.

Modern stoves are not really designed to be an incinerator, so it is best to recycle your rubbish rather than burn it on the stove. Paper and newspapers can be used to start lighting the fire but never put any plastic on the fire.

 

Should you burn coal?

Currently, there is scrutiny over burning wood and coal in people’s homes. This is to help improve air quality in cities across the UK.
They say the domestic burning of house coal, smokeless solid fuels and wet wood is the single largest primary contributor of harmful sooty particles. Our mission is to refine and improve current conditions as using Firemizer can reduce harmful particulates by 72%.

This leads to the question, should we be burning coal in our homes?

 

These are some of the pros and cons of burning coal!

Pros

  • The most common type of coal is anthracite, the dense composition results in high enter efficiency.
  • The production of coal is on the rise and as a result, the stock of coal is abundant.
  • The cost of coal is low and remains stable compared to other heating sources.

Cons

  • Coal is a finite source, eventually, it will run out and damages the environment in a non-reversible manner.
  • Ash from the coal contains harmful metals, handling the ash with care is important and making sure the disposal of the ash is safe.
  • We all know coal damages the atmosphere, the release of carbon and sulphur dioxide makes coal the number one contributor to Co2 emissions.
  • The way to reach coal is environmentally intrusive, mountains become raised and abandoned mines pose a variety of dangers.

coal Coal and Multi fuel stoves

Multi-fuel stoves can burn coal and wood. But not all multi-fuel stoves burn wood as efficiently as a log burner would. This is due to wood needing to sit on a bed of ash with air coming from above. Coal requires an oxygen source from beneath it in order to produce an effective fire, this is why multi-fuel stoves have raised grates.

Never burn wood and coal at the same time. Coal emits sulphuric acid and combined with the moisture levels from wood creates a corrosive substance that can damage your stove system.

Smokeless fuels

They give out a higher heat and can last 40% longer than coal. More heat makes it into the room rather than being wasted up the chimney. Using Firemizer with your smokeless fuel will burn longer and you will use less fuel to heat your homes and spend significantly less money on fuel.

Smokeless fuels are much better for the environment, these fuels were created to make smoke free areas across the UK and improve air quality. Household Coal can create up to 20% more carbon monoxide than a fire that uses smokeless fuels.
Man-made smokeless fuels can be burned with wood. These can actually assist logs as it burns quicker.

We know that coal isn’t the best for the environment and nowadays there are plenty of alternatives if you are looking to make the switch however many people still rely on burning coal as their heating source.

More information on coal and the environment here! 

 

 

How To clean Your Fire!

After many cold winter months, spring has finally sprung! Now might be the perfect time to clean your stove you’ve been burning ruthlessly throughout winter. To get you started here are some helpful spring cleaning tips!

shovel poker and brush Tools

  • Make sure you have the right tools for the job.
  • Say NO to plastic, only use metal tools.
  • Use a metal shovel and brush but only sweep when the ash is cold!
  • Take care and wear thick gloves and use a metal bucket for ash.



Top tip; if you burn wood, it burns better with a little bit of ash left in the bottom so you don’t need to throw it all away.  Here are some more useful tips for what to do with leftover ash!

 

keeping the glass clean

  • Use damp newspaper or a paper towel and dip it in wood ash. This will help clean the glass of your stove. Another way is to burn a few high-temperature fires before cleaning, make sure you are burning well dried well-seasoned wood.
  • warm glass is easier to clean but make sure the glass is cool enough to touch!
  • Cleaning the glass regularly will help with build up.
  • Don’t spray water on to hot stove glass, as this could cause the glass to shatter or break.
Make sure you get your chimney and flue swept around once a year! Using Firemizer will help prevent lots of build up of creosote in your chimney or flue.

 

Air pollution

We can’t talk about cleaning without mentioning air pollution. Did you know that if you use Firemizer in your stove it reduces particulates and emissions by 72% and it works with Fire pits so you don’t need to stop enjoying the fire in this spring weather!

Safety

  • This is a good time to check your fire and carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Make sure you have a suitable fire extinguisher
  • Always be careful when dealing with fire!

With all these cleaning tips you’ll have a lovely clean stove in no time!

Best Wood For your Stove!

Ever wondered what the best wood for your stove is? Sit back as we’re about to find out!

As the majority of people use seasoned logs, kiln-dried logs or free wood from their garden/ local area or friends. Here are some things you need to know about using wood on your stove.

Unlike coal and smokeless fuels wood is the most environmentally friendly choice for your stove as it is carbon neutral. It will take in more carbon dioxide in its lifetime than it will take to burn.

To make burning wood more efficient the moisture content should be as 20% or less as the energy won’t be wasted having to burn off the water first.

Wood fuel and moisture content
  • Free wood that has been collected could have as much as 90% moisture in it
  • Seasoned logs – ones that you or the manufacturer have partially dried out contain around 25% to 40% moisture.
  • Kiln-dried logs, which are dried out in a kiln before being sold, contain less than 20% moisture.
  • Briquettes – fuel created from crushing recycled wood or paper – have a low moisture content. It can be as little as 10% or less

Look out for the ready to burn logo as this means the wood contains less than 20% moisture and only wood from reputable manufacturers can display this logo.

Multi-fuel stoves can burn coal and wood. But not all multi-fuel stoves burn wood as efficiently as a log burner would. This is because, to burn at its best, wood needs to sit on a bed of ash (or with Firemizer) with air coming from above.

Hardwood or softwood?

Hardwoods are any broad-leafed tree such as beech, elm, and ash. whereas Softwoods are conifers, for instance, cedar and fir.

Hardwoods are better for burning in your stove as it burns slower and softwoods burn twice as fast as the density is half that of hardwood, meaning you’ll need twice as much. However, softwood makes the better kindling for your fire.

Best woods for your stove!

Oak – This is the nicest firewood although it takes longer to dry it burns slowly and generates a lot of heat. It can be difficult to light however using Firebuilder can help you there!

Birch – This wood ignites quickly and generates lots of heat however you’ll use much more fuel but you can mix with other logs to slow the burn time or use Firemizer, that can reduce your fuel consumption by 38%

Maple –  Is a slower burn than oak and the fire won’t as hot as the types of wood above but it is a good choice for firewood.

Choosing the right wood for your fire means you can stay toasty in the colder months and enjoy a relaxing fire!

How do I light a Fire Without Matches?

These days it’s easy to get fire but how would you light one without matches, you may need to know how one day!

Using flint to start a fire has it’s advantages as it doesn’t matter if it gets wet as it won’t be ruined. 

fire, axe and matches What you’ll need!

Flint

A pocket knife [if your flint doesn’t have a scraping tool]

Kindling [ paper, cardboard, dry grass and small twigs] all work well

Sticks and larger logs once the fire gets going

Prepare the tinder nest

You want a nest of dry tinder the tiniest spark can be used to create flames. Use a knife to scrape thin wood shavings or alternatively gather dried grass, leaves or bark for a loose nest.

If you use dry grass you want to make a little bed for the flint shavings to go on. Put the bed on some smaller twigs and have other pieces ready to put on the fire.

Get in the zone

Take the flint and pocket knife, scrape some of the flints off one side, if you see sparks flip it over as you’re using the wrong side. You want to create some small flint shavings to go onto the bed of dry grass. A pile the size of a 5p is all you’ll need but you can add more if necessary. 

Relight the fire!

This time you’ll need to use the other side of the flint to create a spark. Hold it down next the bed at an angle so sparks will fall onto it. Take the scraper or pocket knife and scrape down the flint towards the bed. You should start to see sparks and if they don’t catch just keep scraping. Once you have a small flame going start to add some smaller twigs and continue to feed the fire. Don’t add too much too fast. The fire might go out!

Having problems

Is your kindling dry enough?

Is there’s too much wind getting to the embers?

Do you have enough flint shavings

If the fire starts but doesn’t keep going start blowing gently on the glowing pieces. 

Firebuilder can help your fires get going, a kindling and fire starter in one! No odour,  mess or chemicals!

The Top Five Uses For Wood Ash

What are the best uses for wood ash?

Before using wood ash for anything there is something to bear in mind. Only use ashes from wood that is free of chemicals, no pressure treated wood, painted or stained wood, charcoal briquettes, or commercial products like slow burning wood logs. why no checkout our blog on what wood you should use on your wood stove. 

wood ash However, if you are using Firemizer this makes the ash finer and there are less unburnt log chunks leftover as the fire burns hotter for longer. Accompanied by Firebuilder a firelighter and kindling in one, this has no chemicals or odours as it’s made from 100% recycled cardboard.

If you’re using these then the wood ash is perfectly safe to use once your fire is out!

Make sure the ash is completely cool before touching it, buried embers can remain hot for days. To store ash safely place them into a metal container with a lid and place on a non-combustible surface such as dirt or concrete.

Never combine wood ash with nitrogen fertilisers it will produce ammonia gas.

Compost

Wood ash added to the compost will help boost potassium levels, a key nutrient for flowering and fruiting. Only add wood ash to compost in moderation, since the ash is alkaline too much can raise the pH that may damage your plants.

Melt ice

Wood ash is an environmentally safe way to melt ice and snow. Since the ash contains potassium carbonate, a type of salt that is more eco-friendly it can help break up ice and melt snow when scatted on roads.

Make soap

When ash from hardwoods, for instance, oak and maple, are boiled in soft water it creates lye and when this is mixed with animal fats or vegetable oils it creates a soft soap. A little salt added creates a firmer bar of soap.

Block garden pests

A sprinkle of wood ash around plants or along the perimeter of the plot will be a major turn off for the slimy creepy crawlies, for instance, slugs and snails.

Shine silver and polish glass

Wood ash can be used to polish tarnished silverware, dull metals and cloud glass since it is mildly abrasive. All you need is to take a cup of ashes and a small amount of water to make a thick paste. Then off you go, you’ll have the silverware shining in no time!

Bio-Bean’s Coffee Logs

We tried and tested Bio-Bean’s Recycled Coffee Logs!

The lovely folks over at Bio-Bean sent us some of their Premium Eco Coffee Logs to test in our log-burner. Paired with a Firemizer and Firebuilder, these little recycled pocket-rockets worked an absolute treat for our eyes and our stove!

We started with the Firemizer on the base of the stove and a Firebuilder burning on top. Made of used coffee-grounds collected from shops across the country, they reduce unnecessary greenhouse gases and need for landfill sites, getting that extra mile out of your Americano. The logs themselves still give off that lovely coffee aroma whilst in the packet, so handling and inspecting was joy.

The Review

We then threw the first coffee log on top of our Firebuilder, and within moments the log was burning nicely. As the logs are old coffee grounds, they retain about 20% more energy than wood, meaning they burn much faster. This was immediately noticeable – within minutes we had a fire going. The coffee logs do have a tendency to crumble and break apart, so be extra careful we stoking the fire. When we noticed the fire simmering down after a little while, we placed a couple more logs in to bring it back up and, sure enough, the fire was roaring again within minutes.

The coffee logs are an excellent way of getting a fire started quickly, or building it back up when dwindling. They take to the flame immediately and require little intervention – perhaps occasional rearrangement when the logs crumble into smaller fragments. Truly, the only slight shortcoming of the coffee logs is the amount of smoke and ash they produce. Thankfully, with Firemizer, no clumps were left and we were able to brush off the collected ash into the pan. Unfortunately we couldn’t do anything about the amount of smoke each log produced when burning, but with the stove doors closed and the flue wide-open, it didn’t linger around the house.

Bio-Bean’s Coffee Logs are a revolutionary concept and make excellent use of waste that would typically be considered useless. Instead, they have managed to create a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels that packs the speed and strength of caffeine. The logs provide an excellent way to start or resurrect fires quickly and efficiently (especially when paired with a Firebuilder.) Try them for yourself by visiting http://www.bio-bean.com/coffee-logs/ now!

5 common myths you’ve heard about fireplaces

Fireplaces:

This week’s topic is the alternative solid-fuel heating method for those without space for a log-burner – fireplaces! Fireplace always provide warmth and ambience to any room they’re in whether it’s your lounge, bedroom, or even the garden. They provide a great source of heat, a focal point in any room and with a range of styles both classic and modern to choose from, there’s a hearth out there for everyone. Fireplaces can actually add value to a property as they have become a highly sought feature for first-time buyers. Fireplaces can utilise various different types of solid fuels, ranging from pellets, coal, gas, propane and various types of wood.

The history of the fireplace dates back to prehistoric fire-pits and smoke-canopies in the middle ages. First introduced to Europe in the 11th century, the likes of Benjamin Franklin and Prince Rupert of the Rhine have contributed in shaping the hearth into its current state.

As such a popular home installation, there are many claims and figures out there about fireplace performance. Here are 5 commons myths you might encounter when purchasing or servicing a fireplace.

5 common myths you’ve heard:

  1. Chimneys do not need regular inspections and sweeping. Chimneys must be serviced every year as build-ups of soot and creosote are often the origin of chimney fires. Firemizer reduces the creosote levels by 57%, meaning that chimney inspections will be far less difficult and pricey. However, creosote isn’t the only reason for inspections; debris and nesting animals also affect the structural integrity of your chimney.
  2. Fireplaces are poor sources of heat. Fireplaces can be poor sources if the fire is not maintained properly. Some believe that fireplaces send their heat up the chimney, and wood fires need oxygen to burn. Use a cast-iron fireback to radiate heat back into the room, and opening the flue will dispose of dangerous toxins. Firemizer reduces harmful air pollutants emitted by solid fuels by up to 72%.
  3. Lighter fluid and kerosene will produce a better fire quickly. Though it’s true that it will produce a fire quickly, this will be using harmful and potentially dangerous chemicals. Instead of putting your home at risk, use balls of newspaper or an entirely kerosene-free Firebuilder.
  4. I don’t need to clean my fireplace or chimney more than once a year. How frequently you use your fireplace dictates how often it should be cleaned (ranging from yearly to fortnightly). Always clear ash from the fireplace before starting a new fire (keeping a small bed of ash on the bottom). Firemizer reduces clumps of fuel in your wood, turning your ash into fine powder making clean-up much easier.
  5. It’s ok to leave the fire burning while I’m out or asleep. Absolutely not, fires are unpredictable and there are a number of factors that could contribute to a larger incident. To make sure it’s safely exterminated, throw a cup of water, sand or baking soda on top.

Conclusion:

When properly serviced and maintained, a fireplace makes the perfect addition to any room in the house. Pair your hearth with Firemizer and Firebuilder and get the most out of your solid fuel source saving you time, effort and money.

Green Olive’s Kiln-Dried Hardwood and Olive Wood

We tried and tested Green Olive’s Kiln-Dried Hardwood and Olive Wood!  

The people over at Green Olive were lovely enough to send us some of Kiln-Dried Hardwood and Olive Wood. Paired with Firemizer and Firebuilder, we cleaned our stove, patted the ash off and got to work burning these logs!

Olive Wood Logs

After getting our stove-fire started with a Firebuilder, we threw on a few of the Olive Wood logs. As a natural, low-moisture wood untreated by chemicals, these logs were lightweight and attractive (if not slightly too big). These logs did take a while to get going, but once they were, they lasted far longer than standard logs. This may have reduced the amount of heat given off however, as our thermometer gave consistently lower readings. The flame produced by the Olive Wood was a noticeably more regal-golden colour and the smell – oh the smell! The entire house was filled with a lovely olive scent that was closer to an Italian restaurant than a wood-fire. There was no smoke or steam coming off the fire, just bright yellow flames and that delicious smell. Despite the slow start and reduced heat output, the logs burned for much longer than normal logs and (with the help of Firemizer) burned evenly and continuously.

Kiln-Dried Hardwood

The Kiln-Dried Hardwood came in much thicker, denser logs that instantly smothered the Firebuilder’s flame before it could become established. Instead, we attempt to use the top-down method of starting a fire so we could get to use the Hardwood. The top-down method is simple –

  1. Place your logs in a neat pile at the bottom, on top of the Firemizer.
  2. Put kindling on top of them, with scrunched up balls of newspaper if needed.
  3. Position your firelighter (or our Firebuilder) at the very top. The wood and kindling should resemble a tepee shape.
  4. Light the Firebuilder and let the fire establish downwards, catching on the newspaper, the kindling and then the wood.
  5. Once the fire is going, add more logs if/when necessary.

The Hardwood was far more effective for us using the top-down method, and within 30 minutes the fire was roaring. It needed minimal interference too, just the occasional handful of newspaper to prevent the flames being smothered under the logs. The flame understandably wasn’t as golden as the Olive wood, but it gave off was that familiar smell of good-wood-burning. It also didn’t give off much steam or smoke either, keeping the stove’s glass doors clean and free of soot.

Both types of wood presented their individual challenges; the Olive Wood needed that extra bit of time to become established, and the Hardwood was often too dense and heavy for standard lighting methods that just used a firelighter. However, both types certainly had their rewards for persevering – the smell of the Hardwood was wonderful, whilst the Olive Wood lasted much longer and presented a dazzling golden flame. Pick up a bag for yourself and see which best suits your stove or hearth at https://www.greenolivefirewood.co.uk/.

 

5 reasons why you should invest in a wood-burner

5 reasons why you should invest in a wood-burner:

Wood-burning is a popular trend that has escalated both in the UK and U.S. over the last decade or so. 1.5 million stoves are already fitted in Britain whilst 2.5 million American homes use wood as their primary heat source. The state of California in particular contributes 218,185 wood-burners to the 116 million total homes in the U.S. The reason for this rise in this popularity can be related to the environment, saving money or simply interior design preferences. Here are 5 reasons why you should invest in a wood-burning fire.

1. Wood is essentially carbon neutral. –

Though wood does release carbon dioxide when combusted, it can still be environmentally conscious. Unlike other fossil fuels, wood can be sustainable if bought from somewhere that ensures the replacement of every tree felled. This means that for every tree chopped down, another is planted, meaning the source can become entirely renewable. Wood-burning fires can however still release harmful pollutants and smoke if the wood hasn’t been dried or seasoned properly. Reduce harmful air pollutants by up to 72% if paired with a Firemizer.

2. They’re more efficient than hearths. –

Modern wood-burning stoves now come with efficiency ratings of somewhere between 80-85% whereas hearth will typically have around 20-25%. This means a wood-burning stove is about three times more efficient. Firemizer helps your fuel burn more slower and evenly, helping maintain this efficiency.

3. They can save you money. –

As the price of gas and electricity continues to rise, many houses are swapping to wood-powered heaters and boilers as a cheaper alternative. Again, locally-sourced wood is not only renewable but can also work out cheaper than your current energy provider. Also, gas or electricity services are often prone to power outages, whereas a well-maintained fire can burn all night. With Firemizer saving you 38% on solid fuel, you can reduce a third of the wood you burn too.

4. Wood-stoves are so versatile. –

Modern advancements haven’t just helped the efficiency of wood-stoves; they’ve also created a huge range to choose from. As long as there’s room to run a vent pipe to the outside, they can be fitted in any room of the house – from lounge to bedroom to kitchen. A Firemizer grid can easily be cut down to fit smaller stoves too.

5. They create a lovely scene. –

There’s no denying that wood-burning stoves have a certain romantic aesthetic to them. The sounds of crackling embers, the smell of firewood, the sight of roaring flames and the warmth they give off. A wood-burning stove or fire makes any room a domestic heaven we so often swoon over in the movies. With Firebuilder, the firelighter-kindling combo tool, starting your dream fire couldn’t be any easier – turning your home into a movie-set!

Contact your local Flue specialist or chimney sweep to get an expert opinion on what type and size of stove would best suit your home, and start reaping the benefits of the wood-burning fire (with a Firemizer and Firebuilder) as soon as possible!

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