The type of fuel you use in your stove can have a large impact on the emissions from your stove. As these emissions can be harmful, it is important to use the best fuel possible!

The fuel used must suit the stove, for example coal cannot be burnt on a log burner, log burners are manufactured differently to multi-fuel burners.


If your home is within a Smoke Control Area (SCA) then this will also affect which fuels you may use. Only smokeless fuels are allowed to be used in SCAs on normal stoves and both smokeless fuels and dry wood are allowed to be burnt on DEFRA exempt stoves.

Benefits of choosing the right fuel

Benefits of choosing the right fuel

Don’t be fooled by cheap fuel. Invest in good fuel and save in the long-run.

Reduce Chimney Sweeping

By using a more efficient, smokeless fuel, you will not need to have your chimney swept as regularly. This cuts down on maintenance costs throughout the year.

Decrease particulate matter released

This can lead to an improvement of the air quality in your area, which impacts upon your family’s health and the environment.


Wet, freshly cut, logs can contain up to 500ml of water per every kilogram of wood. When wood is of a high moisture content, the calorific value is lower, the calorific value is how much energy can be produced relative to the size of the wood being burnt.

Woodsure’s ‘Ready to Burn’ scheme is confirmation that logs have a moisture content below 20%. Kiln dried or seasoned wood which is below 20% may seem more expensive initially but due to the higher calorific value actually works out cheaper.

Wood which is not ‘Ready to Burn’ can only legally be sold in quantities larger than 2 meters cubed with instructions on how to season the wood.

As dry logs produce more heat per log, they are also easier to store and transport.

House Coal vs Smokeless Fuel

Traditional house coal produces a lot of polluting smoke which is bad for the environment, your stove and even your health!

Smokeless coal burns hotter than traditional coal and for up to 40% longer!

It is now illegal to sell house coal in the UK for domestic burning. The only exception to this is local sales in the Forest of Dean, this does not apply to Sefton.

Your coal merchant can provide advice on the different fuels available.

Alternative fuels


A compacted block of biomass for burning, they can have different materials inside them including wood, coffee and paper.

Briquettes made from materials such as coffee and straw have a lower calorific value and higher ash content than wood briquettes. So if you want more heat and less ash to clean from the tray per briquette, choose wood instead of other materials.

Wood briquettes also provide more heat per weight than seasoned logs which makes them easier to store and handle.

Other forms of wood

Aside from the popular logs, wood can also be burnt as woodchip, pellets, and hog fuel (shred). These four types of wood burn differently and so how you would build and control a fire differs between.

All wood options which are dried correctly will produce the same amount of heat for an equivalent weight and moisture.

How to season wood

All wood should be below 20% moisture when burnt, this reduces the amount of harmful pollutants emitted.
Below are three important factors to consider when seasoning your own wood.

Storage Conditions

Logs should be stored in a specially designed shed for seasoning, this shed will allow airflow which is vital to the drying proccess.


Wood must be left to season for a considerable amount of time, this will depend upon the conditions it is kept in but could take up to two years.

Moisture Level

To tell exactly when the wood is ready to be burnt, an inexpensive moisture meter can be used to monitor the moisture content of the wood.

Burning Correctly


Following good practice when burning

Thousands of homes across Sefton burn solid fuels in either a stove or an open fire. If you are one of these homes then you should take precautions to keep your children safe.

Most but not all of the problems related to Solid fuel burning are a result of ‘incomplete combustion’, this means that the fire is not burning to it’s full potential!

Never burn the following

Burning rubbish will emit obvious foul smells and dark smoke, this can be considered a nuisance to your neighbour. The particulate matter is also hazardous to health.
Varnished Wood
Alongside the issues for rubbish, varnished wood can release harmful chemicals when burnt which is also dangerous from a health perspective.
Driftwood can be highly dangerous as when burnt it produces dioxin, dioxin is carcinogenic and accumulates within the body over time.