Multi-fuel stoves are an excellent investment, but getting the most out of them requires some knowledge of how they work and what maintenance they require. This post will help you avoid common mistakes and keep your stove in top condition to enjoy for many years.
Many multi-fuel stoves are built with the latest clean-burn technology. This reduces emissions by re-igniting harmful particulates that are initially burned. Making sure the fuel used is properly seasoned, the clean-burn or eco design ready technology will burn pollutants away.
Lighting Your Wood-Burning Stove And Using Air Vents
Lighting a multi-fuel stove or wood-burning stove is relatively straightforward by following a simple method. Start by placing a firelighter on top of a fire bed of your chosen fuel. Cover this stack with small bits of kindling, then place the logs or briquettes around it. Light the firelighter directly, and once you see the fire start to burn consistently, add more fuel as required. You should find the fuel will catch alight easily once lit.
If you decide to burn wood, always leave some ash on the bed. If burning briquettes, they need good air circulation from below, so always empty the ash if you are using this fuel type.
Make sure the air vents on your stove are open once the fire has been lit to provide plenty of air supply to the fire. Once you are happy with the level of the fire, adjust the air vent to halfway to limit the oxygen supply; otherwise, you will burn through fuel too quickly. Most stoves have different air controls which impact how the wood burns so always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations to get the perfect fire.
If you want to revive the fire, simply add a few pieces of the kindling followed by your chosen fuel, and reopen the air vent to give the fire more air circulation. You can tame the fire or put it out by completely closing the primary vent.
How To Keep a Multi-Fuel Stove Burning
If you want to burn your wood burner longer or even through the night there are a couple of things you can do to get a slower extended burn.
The best way to build an extended fire is to load large pieces of wood into your wood burner packed tightly. This allows the fire to slowly spread from log to log, extending your fire for 6 to 8 hours or more. This type of burn maintains a low, steady heat that can stay burning longer.
A common mistake for many wood stove owners is to add large amounts of wood with the logs crossed over. This type of loading spreads the fire quickly, leading to a large fire that burns quickly. These hot fires produce a lot of heat very quickly.
If the wood burner is on a low setting, the fire can’t get enough air and will smoulder and create quite a smokey fire. So the trick here is to build an extended fire, where the front layer of wood insulates the back layer, preventing the fire from spreading too quickly and maintaining visible flames for hours.
So once your initial fire has burned down, it’s good to rake the coals to the front of the wood burner, then place six or seven large logs, tightly packed behind the coals. There will be enough heat output from the coals to ignite your logs without the need to add more kindling. The fire will slowly ignite the front layer and work its way slowly to the back giving you a slower burn rate and extending the fire.
Looking After your Multi-fuel stove
Keeping your Multi-fuel stove or wood-burning stove in good condition only requires some essential maintenance. Always remove the ash from your stove to avoid it causing any problems. Empty your ash pan regularly and make sure to fix it back in place.
The glass on your stove is the main area to keep clean; after all, it’s what makes a multi-fuel stove so attractive, so maintaining a beautifully clear view through the glass in your stove door is really important.
The common issue is discolouration on the glass from burning wood or burning coal; use a damp soft scourer or cloth to clean the glass and choose a specially designed product on the stove door. Always wait until completely dry before using the stove again.
Always look to hire a professional to sweep your chimney rather than trying to do it yourself. We advise doing this at least once a year to keep your multi-fuel stove efficient.
And of course, we always recommend buying a quality companion set to keep your stove and hearth looking its best.
What Are The Best Fuels For My Stove?
Unlike standard wood-burning stoves, a multi-fuel stove gives you a few more fuel options. No single fuel is seen as the best, although you should avoid burning unsuitable materials as these could be damaging and dangerous. We advise you never burn household rubbish, treated wood or painted wood, cardboard, or any other item that your appliance manufacturer doesn’t recommend.
If you’re burning wood on your stove, make sure it has been properly seasoned (dried out). The logs should have 20% or lower moisture content to stop excessive smoke and pollution. Please note that the sale of house coal and wet wood is being phased out in the UK due to them creating the highest level of air pollution and are the least efficient.
Seasoned wood is cleaner and more efficient to burn on your stove than wet wood and gives a better heat output. When you burn unseasoned wood on a log burner, the moisture inside the wood creates a high level of smoke and smouldering. This isn’t good for the air we breathe and produces particulate matter. It can also damage your chimney and stove beyond repair with soot, tar and creosote.