How to keep a wood-burning stove lit overnight

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Is it possible to keep a woodburner lit all night?

The answer is yes, but there is some skill involved. There’s also likely to be lots of trial and error involved. But with a bit of practice – and perhaps even a bit of luck – you should be able to keep your stove burning through the night.

Is it safe to keep the stove burning at night?
There is inevitably some risk attached to leaving a lit stove unattended for hours at a time. While this was not only commonplace but practically a necessity in many homes in yesteryear, nowadays some people would rather know that their stove is extinguished before they go to bed for the night.

Equally, we know from speaking to customers that being able to keep the stove in at night is one of the things that they’re most looking forward to about their new appliance. With that in mind, here is our explanation of the best and safest way to keep a stove lit overnight.

How to keep a woodburner going at night
As we’ve already mentioned, an unwatched fire always poses a slight risk so what you’re aiming for from a safety perspective and to ensure a long burn is to dampen the fire as much as possible before you leave it for the night.

The first step is to build up the stove with a good load of fuel about an hour before you want to go to bed. Place the fuel near the front of the stove to allow charcoal to build up towards the back. Before you go to bed, you should see glowing charcoal embers with no flames.

Secondly, close all the air flow dials to minimise the amount of oxygen getting to your fuel. This will encourage a slow burn.

You can further dampen the fire by coating the embers with coal dust or dross.

Starting the stove up the next morning
When you return to the stove the following day, open the air vents to allow more oxygen into the firebox as if you were about to light the appliance. If you’ve been successful, the fire should immediately start up again from the embers.

At this point you can add kindling and get a proper fire going once again.

19 thoughts on “How to keep a wood-burning stove lit overnight

  1. We keep our stove going overnight quite often we use logs most of day but night always put on a layer of coal in the morning it lovely and warm and saves the central heating. We live in a bungalow so all one level and 2 fire alarms one in the room of fire and one in hall outside our bedroom also 2 carbon monoxide detectors in the same areas. At first we were very anxious about doing it but now we are pleased we did.
    We go to bed about 10 and are up around 7 so keeps going around 9 hrs when we get up put a few coals on to liven it up then do logs for the day again but take extra care when emptying ashes.

  2. Beware of putting on wood and closing the vents before the wood has a chance to become charcoal. This will cause the wood to smoke and too much creosote and/or soot in your flue which will create subsequent blockages.

  3. We have the Aarrow Acorn (4KW and v small) multifuel stove. We use both logs and smokeless fuel (mainly homefire). As long as there are glowing coals (if not we add an hour or so before bed) then by turning off both vents the coals will still be glowing up to 12 hours later (has been known to be up to 18 hours). A layer of ash does help so we either have wood burning above the coals or simply put on a couple of our home made paper logs. The cat loves it!

  4. Ada m -Many thanks for your various emails and tips. Re overnight burning we have a Mendip Churchill 6 Pedestal and they do not recommend burning coal in a slumbering position!! Any thoughts? They do not mention logs in this situation!!

    • Hi John, Thanks for your kind words. The stove’s manual should always take precedence over anything you hear from us, so we wouldn’t even risk logs without checking with the manufacturer.

  5. top up with a layer of coal and cover with ash on my multi fuel log burner,been doing this for 45 years starting with my old open coal fire just like my father did before me.

  6. I own an ecco 9 the vent system is at best rubbish .the airwash vent is so thin it will not shut the fire down very well tried a new one just as bad apart from a new stove any ideas




  8. If it’s a good idea for overnight burning to reduce the wood first to charcoal – why not use up the old left over bar-b-que charcoal Any thoughts on that?

  9. If a wood burning stove is left with no combustible material near and door closed properly,what could possibly be a problem obviously the stove cannot catch fire so what could be the danger. Regards Richard.

  10. Just installing mine for the winter but mine has about an 1 and a half inch gap at the front between the grate and the fret without cutting the fret of I to the fire back is this going to be ok?

    • Hi Keith

      We’re not following, sorry. There’s a gap at the front of the stove and you’re worried you’ll lose fuel down it? It should be as the manufacturer intended, unless you’ve made any changes. Is what you’re calling a fret perhaps a fuel retainer to stop fuel rolling out when you open the door?



  11. a tip to you all, my mum & dad used to save all the tea before teabags but i supose they would do, and bank the fire up at night, it would keep it going all night. you had to use it wet. hope that helps. gloria

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