Top 10 ways to improve the efficiency of your wood-burning stove

Top 10 ways to improve the efficiency of your wood-burning stove

Once you’ve got your wood-burning stove installed, there’s the obvious temptation to throw on lots of wood and just enjoy not having to use the central heating.

At Gr8Fires, we thoroughly understand that sentiment. But once the euphoria has partially subsided and you’ve got your thinking cap back on, we would suggest you follow these tips to make sure you’re stove is costing as little as possible and heating as much as possible.

1.Use dry kindling to light your stove
Lighting your fire with fast-burning kindling heats the firebox quickly. You’re essentially getting your stove heated up so your logs have less work to do.

2. Use seasoned wood
Wood burns far more efficiently when it has been seasoned. That means chopped, split and left to dry for at least a year. The reduced moisture levels mean you get more from your wood.

3. Use free wood
If you’re inclined to collect your wood from fallen trees, you can reduce the cost of your fuel to absolutely nothing.

4. Choose what type of wood to burn carefully
Different types of wood have a different burn. How quickly it burn and how much heat it gives off has a big impact on the performance of your stove. Ash, beech, apple, birch or hawthorn would be a good starting point.

5. Open the vents when lighting your stove
It’s common sense really, but sometimes people forget their school science lessons when confronted with a new stove. Open both air vents on your stove when lighting the fire because the oxygen will help the fire to get going.

6. Close the bottom air vent once the stove is going
Once the logs are burning well, close the bottom (primary) vent. This stops the wood from disappearing too fast and gives a steadier burn.

7. Wait for the logs to burn down before reloading
It’s nice to look at roaring flames, but as long as your logs are burning they are still heating your stove and, as a result, heating your room. Wait until the logs have been reduced to embers before adding more logs.

8. Remove your ashes – but not all of them
A thin bed of ashes can help your stove to burn well. Too much will block the flow of air and damage the efficiency of the stove though. It is important to find the right balance.

9. Get your chimney swept
The draw of air up your chimney is vital in ensuring the efficiency of your wood burner. Call upon the services of a chimney sweep at least once a year, twice if you’re a prolific stove user, to ensure there is no blockages.

10. Improve your insulation
Away from the stove itself, improve the insulation in your home to ensure all that new found heat isn’t escaping prematurely.

Check out our shop to see a range of accessories for your stove.

20 thoughts on “Top 10 ways to improve the efficiency of your wood-burning stove

    • Thank you fo your very useful tps Adam.
      We have just located to a cottage here in Devon and there is a small, fairly efficient woodburner in situ, but it is old and does not quite provide the heating output that we seek.

      We are now seeking to purchase a 5Kw Multi-fuel stove. Whaat are your feelings about buying a used woodburner ? I appreciate that you sell new models, but the outlay is obviously much greater ?

      What is your view on a Stovac Stockton 5 ?



  1. I am from a generation which was fully informed about wood burners and open coal fires , it was he only heating we had apart from paraffin fires , our school classrooms were heated by a pot bellied coal / wood burning stove .
    Sad that children today are not clued up on fires in general , when out ( playing )
    a fire was part of the games , especially when we became quite expert at lighting fires , which was the best wood for kindling e.t.c , how to find dry kindling when it was or had been raining , plus ” common sense ” has gone
    ” Out of the window “, I urge all parents and children to get out in to the woods
    and light a fire and cook some bacon or similar over the said fire , can’t beat it !.

  2. Why all of a sudden, when lighting my fire smoke starts to come out of the top vents. Why has my glass started going black.

  3. Hello Leon,
    Lay your fire with scrunched up newspaper, in balls, in twisted lengths, or twisted lengths, tied in a loose knot, with an end sticking up. I prefer the latter, as it slows down the burn of the paper, allowing the wood to light. Have some loose ends sticking up at the front, to light. Junk mail, envelopes, old personal mail , all work (used tissues, paper towel are very good at front for lighting ). Put a layer of very small sticks, dry leaves, bark, or strips of cardboard, then add your kindling. When lit, leave door ajar until it is really burning
    well, put logs on, leave door ajar until logs have caught.

  4. thanks so much for all the information and advice with all the emails I’ve received, when I do finally own one I shall be well educated in being a stove owner , Thanks.

  5. I have just had the wood burning stove installed & I feel as though I am burning too much wood. Sometimes, a bag of 10kg in 2 days, is that normal? It feels quite expensive? Is there an average weekly price?

    • Hi Yasmin, In regular humidity, 1kg of wood should yield about 4kW for an hour. So, it then depends on the size of your stove, how long the stove is in use, the density of the wood and how well seasoned the wood is.



  6. Appreciate your help! Our chimney was dripping like a tap, creosote like water from the back of the register plate & sometimes the stove pipe. I had been running it just warm, but cranked it up after reading your comment & drips stopped immediately. Assume the condensate has travelled back down the inside of the chimney liner & leaked out at the adapter to flow down the outside of the stove pipe or transfer to register plate thence follow gravity.

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