Wood burning stoves are a fantastic, stylish and economical way to heat a room in your home. They also allow you to burn wood from a wide range of different sources, making it very easy to find cheap fuel and keep energy costs down. However, not every kind of wood is suitable for use in a stove. In order to keep your stove healthy and get the best performance from it, you should avoid using the wrong type of fuel.
Wood that has been weatherproofed, protected against pests, or otherwise treated should not be burned in your wood burning stove. The chemicals that have been used in the treatment process can create fumes when burned that could be unpleasant or even dangerous. While most flue systems will take fumes away before they can build up, they were not designed with these types of gases in mind. As such, there is no guarantee that even with the best flue system will prevent treated wood from creating a health hazard.
Sheet wood that has been manufactured from chips, fragments or dust is not suitable for use in a wood burning stove. The principles behind this fact are much the same as those that apply to treated wood. As well as the raw, wooden material these products contain glue and chemical treatments. Many of these chemicals are the same as those found in other types of treated wood, and burning them can create hazardous fumes.
Gathering fresh wood can certainly provide you with a good source of fuel for your wood burning stove, but you should not burn it right away. Wood that is too fresh, especially green wood, can cause excess smoke and soot. This is unpleasant for you and bad for your stove. It will also burn less efficiently than older, dried wood. Before putting any fresh wood you gather into your stove, it should be left to dry out for at least a year. Preferably, it should be left for two years in order to produce the very best results.
Unless you have a multi-fuel stove that is designed to be suitable for coal, you should avoid burning coal. Wood burning stoves look very similar to other types of stove and this leads many people think there is no real difference, but in fact this is not the case. Coal produces different types of smoke and fumes, and it burns at different temperatures. Burning coal in a stove that has not been designed to handle this can lead to problems and potentially endanger your health. At the very least, the operational life of your stove will be significantly shortened.