Tales From The Fireside
Over the last few weeks and months there’s been a lot of negative press regarding wood burners and open fires. So I’m going to give what really is happening and what the government is trying to do. Last summer DEFRA invited the Guild of Master Sweeps, HETAS and other concerned organizations to a meeting to discuss the Governments Clean Air Strategy. I have taken the relevant points and translated it in to normal English.
Is the government going to ban stoves?
No – there is nothing in the Clean Air Strategy that makes reference to this. Any appliance already fitted will be able to continue as normal.
Will the government ban future sales of stoves?
No, however the type of stove for sale may change. Its most likely they will have to be DEFRA-exempt appliances. This is good news because it means a greater choice of fuels (both wood or smokeless) in any area.
Is the government going to be banning coal?
It’s likely that the sale of bituminous house coal will be prevented in the future but sales of smokeless fuel will continue. No final decision has been made.
What about the sales of Logs in net bags?
Again the government has still not made up its mind. It’s a problem of control. Here at the Guild we advise NOT to buy logs in net bags as it generally unseasoned wood and the net holds water. You can’t burn wet wood.
If domestic stoves cause pollution why would I want one?
Stoves themselves are not polluting the way some people use them is. The truth is very few people are shown how to use the fire properly, so they rarely burn efficiently until they are either shown or ask or have the flue/chimney swept. I’m always very happy to help and give a demonstration on how best to use you appliance. Remember wood is sustainable. Also the more trees we plant the clean our air becomes.
My stove is more than 10 years old should I change it?
If you can afford it then yes. New stoves are very efficient even the very cheap and nasty ones are 65% efficient. A good one will be more than 80% efficient.
I have an open fire how efficient is it?
Depending on the fuel type, design of chimney etc. A rule of thump would be 20% to 30% efficient. Compared to wood burner/Multi-fuel stove they are 9 times more efficient.
Last question is air pollution getting better or worse. It may surprise you that all sources of pollution in the UK has been dropping year on year for the last 30 years (Source UK/Gov.) the exception is Nitrogen dioxide which comes mostly from vehicles.