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Are wood burners eco friendly?

If you've asked yourself, 'are wood burners eco-friendly?' keep scrolling to read our expert advice blog. We delve into all the details about wood burners' pros and cons, how good they are for your health, and the best ways to minimise their impact on the environment.

“Are wood burners eco-friendly?” we hear you ask. Well, considering people have been using log burners for centuries, you’d hope there was a reason for their popularity.

Log burners provide warmth and create a cosy atmosphere many people find comforting. However, with society’s increasing concerns about the environment and air pollution, the question of whether log burners are actually eco-friendly and good for our health is a pressing one.

Thankfully, we have all the answers for you in this blog. Keep reading to learn about the different types of fuel for log burners on the market, their impact on the environment and our health, and how to reduce pollution from wood-burning stoves.

Related contentHearth sizes and regulations for a wood burning stove.

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Types of log burners and their eco-friendly credentials

There are various types of log burners on the market, each with their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to their eco-friendly credentials.

Are traditional log burners eco-friendly?

Typically made from cast iron or steel, they’re efficient and can burn for long periods of time.

They’re the most common type of log burner. However, they’re also expensive and require regular cleaning and maintenance.

Are masonry log burners environmentally friendly?

As they’re able to heat a home for up to 24 hours with a single firing, they’re highly efficient and emit far fewer emissions than their counterparts.

Masonry heaters are made from bricks or stone. However, they’re often expensive to buy and require a professional installation, which increases their costs.

Are wood pellet burners environmentally friendly?

Wood pellet burners use compressed sawdust pellets as fuel, meaning they produce very little ash and emissions. This makes them highly efficient.

Furthermore, they require less cleaning and maintenance compared to traditional log burners.

However, the catch is they’re often more expensive to purchase and operate.

Are wood-burning stoves environmentally friendly?

Wood-burning stoves are environmentally friendly if used in the right way, along with the right type of wood.

Burning dry and seasoned hardwoods; for example, oak or maple, produces fewer emissions and are more efficient than burning softwoods like pine or fir.

Furthermore, modern wood-burning stoves are designed to burn wood more efficiently with fewer emissions.

do wood burners save you money in an energy crisis?

The best types of wood for log burners

Not all wood is created equal when it comes to heating your home. Some types of wood burn more efficiently and produce fewer emissions than others.

So, let’s take a look at some of the most common types of wood used in log burners.

Hardwoods

Hardwoods, such as oak, beech, and ash, are denser, burn more slowly, producing less smoke and ash.

Consequently, because they burn for longer periods of time and require less frequent refuelling, they’re ideal for log burners.

Softwoods

Softwoods such as pine and spruce burn more quickly and produce more smoke and ash.

Although they’re cheaper than hardwoods, you need to top them up more often. As a result, they produce more pollution over time.

Seasoned wood

Seasoned wood is left to dry for at least six months and has a moisture content of less than 20%.

Burning seasoned wood produces less smoke and more heat than wet wood, making it a worthy alternative.

Wet wood

Wet wood has a moisture content of over 50% and produces more pollution than seasoned wood. It also burns less efficiently, producing less heat and more smoke.

Related content: How much does a log burner cost to install?

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Pros and cons of log burners

Log burners have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to their impact on the environment and our health.

Pros

  • They use a renewable source of fuel
  • They can reduce reliance on fossil fuels for heating.
  • They can create a cosy and comfortable atmosphere in the home.

Cons

  • They can produce pollutants such as particulate matter and carbon monoxide.
  • They require regular cleaning and maintenance.
  • Burning wet or unseasoned wood can produce more pollution.

Are wood burners eco friendly? - Checkatrade blog

Are log burners good for your health?

Log burners can have both a positive and negative impact on your health. Although they offer warmth, comfort, and a hygge aesthetic, they also produce pollutants such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and carbon monoxide if not managed properly.

These pollutants are harmful to the environment and human health, while emissions from wood-burning stoves also contribute to air pollution and climate change.

Particulate matter

Particulate matter is a type of air pollution produced by log burners. It irritates the lungs and causes respiratory problems, especially in people with pre-existing lung conditions. (So, asthma sufferers take note!)

Carbon monoxide

Burning wood in a log burner can also produce carbon monoxide, which is a colourless and odourless gas that’s deadly if inhaled in high concentrations.

Nitrogen oxides

Nitrogen oxides (NOx) are a group of gases produced during the combustion of fuels, including wood. They contribute to air pollution and have a negative impact on human health, particularly on the respiratory system. They also react with other pollutants in the atmosphere to form smog and acid rain.

How to reduce pollution from wood-burning stoves

If used correctly, log burners are safe for our health. You can also minimise the environmental impact of a wood-burning stove by only burning dry, seasoned hardwoods, and ensuring proper ventilation in the room where the stove is located.

It’s also important to have a carbon monoxide detector installed in your home, which will detect any potential leaks.

Related content: Carbon monoxide alarm installation cost guide.

Final thoughts

  • Log burners are an eco-friendly heating source if they’re used correctly and with the right types of wood.
  • Hardwoods and seasoned wood are the best options for log burners as they produce fewer emissions and are more efficient.
  • That said, log burners can also produce pollutants that are harmful to our health if not used properly. That’s why it’s important to have proper ventilation and to only burn dry and seasoned wood.
  • Overall, log burners can be a great source of heat and comfort, but it is important to consider their impact on the environment and our health.

If you’re considering getting a log burner installed

After reading this blog, you might be thinking about getting a log or wood burner installed in your home.

Always make sure that you chat with a qualified log burner installer to get their advice and for an accurate quote.

Hit in your postcode below and get matched up with Checkatrade-approved log burner installers near you.

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FAQS

Are wood-burning stoves bad for your health?

Wood-burning stoves can produce pollutants such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and carbon monoxide, which are all harmful to your health if not used properly.

Emissions from wood-burning stoves contribute to respiratory problems, particularly in people with pre-existing conditions. However, if you use your wood-burning stove correctly with dry, seasoned hardwoods and proper ventilation, you’ll minimise the health risks.

Most environmentally friendly wood-burning stove

The most environmentally friendly wood-burning stove is a certified one – usually by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

It’s also one with a high-efficiency rating that’s designed with ‘secondary combustion technology,’ which burns off excess gases and particles and therefore produces fewer emissions.

Additionally, choosing the right-sized burner for your space and only burning dry, seasoned hardwoods reduces emissions and improves efficiency.

Are wood burners going to be banned?

There are currently no plans to ban wood-burning stoves in the UK. However, the government has introduced regulations to restrict the sale of fuels that cause the most pollution. This is to encourage the use of cleaner alternatives.

These regulations include the ban on the sale of wet wood and coal for domestic burning and the requirement for all solid fuels to have a label indicating their level of pollution.

Are log burners more eco-friendly than gas?

It depends on the type of gas being used. Natural gas is a fossil fuel that produces greenhouse gas emissions, while propane and other liquid petroleum gases produce fewer emissions.

However, burning dry and seasoned hardwoods in a log burner is a more environmentally friendly alternative to gas, as long as the stove is used correctly and with proper ventilation.

Is the UK going to ban log burners?

There are currently no plans to ban log burners in the UK. However, the government has introduced regulations to restrict the sale of fuels that cause the most pollution. They’re also encouraging the use of cleaner alternatives, as mentioned above.

What is the new law on log burners?

The new law on log burners in the UK includes a ban on the sale of wet wood and coal for domestic burning. There is also a requirement for all solid fuels to have a label indicating their level of pollution. These regulations are aimed at reducing emissions from domestic homes and improving UK air quality.

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