How to future-proof your fuel burning habits
For many, the enjoyment of a warm log fire to warm the house during winter is a highlight of the colder and darker nights.
However, with the Government focusing to clean up the UK’s air quality by 2020, wood burners and multi-fuel alternatives are likely to come under fire. An estimated 10% of homes within the UK have an open fire or stove as an alternative for household heating. That’s about 2.5 million of us!
The impact of the Government targeting the domestic wood and coal burning industry is not yet certain as MPs consider how to adopt tougher air pollution standards. Problematic discussions on post-Brexit implementations means there are no clear outcome on fuel burning limitations, however the UK government is determined to stay true to their pledge of leaving the environment in a better state than we found it.
People burning wet wood on inefficient stoves are potentially poisoning themselves and their neighbours. Domestic wood and coal fires may not be the highest polluter in the UK, but they are contributing to a major environmental problem.
So what are homeowners doing wrong?
Burning wet or unseasoned wood
According to experts, burning wet or unseasoned wood and smoky solid fuels is the fundamental issue. Wet and fresh wood contains moisture that will create smoke and potentially harmful chemicals when burned.
Coal burning in densely populated areas
Burning basic coal can also produce dangerous amounts of smoke and fumes. Carbon dioxide emissions from the use of fossil fuels also negatively impact the environment.
Owning out-dated stoves that are not DEFRA approved
Old models of wood burning and multi-fuel stoves may not be burning as efficiently as you hope during winter. Under the Clean Air Act 1993 all the stoves in this section have to pass tests to confirm that they are capable of burning an authorised coal or other solid fuel, but can also cleanly burn unauthorised fuels such as wood. DEFRA approved appliances produce reduced amounts of harmful particles.
What can we do to help the future of fuel burning?
Burn properly seasoned wood
For optimal burning, firewood should be dried, or “seasoned”. The moisture content should ideally be less than 20 percent for the perfect fire wood.
Use smokeless varieties of coal
Swap your standard coal for smokeless varieties that are DEFRA approved.
Briquettes are made from waste wood, which means they are cheaper and deliver more heat. By offering a higher heat output, briquettes are more efficient fuel as well as being cleaner-burning alternative.