Why is my woodburner not burning well?

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There is no greater sight than that of your wood-burning stove roaring away, its flames licking against the glass and heating your room.

Equally, there are few sights more frustrating than a woodburner that’s not burning well, the flames struggling to get going and the room hardly heating at all.

So, why might a woodburner not be performing as you would expect?

Damp fuel

By far the most common cause of a stove that is not burning well is the use of damp fuel. When burning wood with a high moisture level, the energy created by the burning process is wasted on evaporating the water rather than heating the room.

As a result, the performance of the stove is affected and the fire never really gets going. You can check whether this might be the problem by using a moisture meter. Ideally, your logs should be seasoned until the moisture content is around 20-25%.

Wrong sort of fuel

Another possibility is that you are burning fuel that is not recommended for use with your wood-burning stove. Read the instruction manual for your appliance and make sure you only burn fuel types that are recommended by the manufacturer.

Blockage or draw issues

A wood-burning stove might also be unable to achieve a powerful burn if there is an issue with the draw of air through the stove and up the flue. The problem could be caused by a blockage in the flue (in which case a chimney sweep would be able to help you). It could also be caused by a lack of ventilation in the room, so that the stove is trying to draw back into the room rather than up the chimney. Another possibility is that it is due to a poor draw on the flue (perhaps because the property is particularly exposed), which might corrected with the installation of a suitable chimney cowl.

If you’re still unsure, you should consult with a competent heating professional.

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