Wood is the cheapest fuel on the market and, from an environmental perspective, is carbon neutral. Basically, when burned, wood releases only the same amount of carbon as the tree absorbed when it was growing.
Not only that but wood – unlike coal, oil or gas – can be reproduced by planting new trees to replace those cut down. That way the Co2 cycle is maintained generation after generation.
To bring the carbon levels down to zero, wood must be burnt as efficiently as possible. As such, most of the leading stove manufacturers have invested a lot of time and money in creating exceptionally efficient combustion systems.
One of the key elements to the perfect log is the removal of natural moisture from wood in a process called seasoning. That involves natural air drying up anything up to two years in a properly constructed log store.
If you try to burn wood with high moisture content – naturally anything up to 90 per cent – the energy used to produce the heat is used to dry the wood instead. That means all you get is charred logs and tarred/smoked stove windows – not the sought after clean burn.
You can also buy kiln dried wood, which has a moisture content of around 20 per cent. That is the level recommended by stove manufacturers as it’s the level at which logs burn most efficiently and give maximum heat output. Kiln dried wood also causes minimal problems with stoves and flues.