The Dos and Don'ts of Using Your Log Burner

It’s the most wonderful time of year. No, not Christmas, it's log burner season!

Who else is planning on spending winter nights in front of the fire with a glass of wine in hand, lockdown or no lockdown?

When we first moved into a house with a log burner, we didn’t have a clue how to look after it or use it efficiently and suffered through a lot of half-lit, smoky, smelly fires. Speaking to our customers, it sounds like a lot of you have done the same so we’ve spoken to the experts to find out what we should be doing

Our experts

Lawson Wight Burnright

Lawson Wight

Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps and Burnright Campaign

 Sean Wilson, Founder of Hagley Stoves

Sean Wilson

Founder of Hagley Stoves

DO find a great chimney sweep

Ideally, you should get your chimney swept once a year to make sure there it isn’t a build-up of tar. If you’ve just moved and aren’t sure where to look, you can find plenty of certified local chimney sweeps here.

But don’t just ask them to sweep the chimney and go, they have a wealth of knowledge on all wood burning related things. If you aren’t sure whether the fuel you’re using is right, or you need some help using the air controls, why not ask for their advice?

As Lawson told us, your local professional chimney sweep can advise and help on all aspects of your fire and fuel.  They have to deal with the results of your burning habits and are genuinely interested in you getting the best from your fire - so why not have them demonstrate?


DON’T obsessively clean out the ash

My fellow clean freaks will understand the urge to clean out the ash every time you have a fire. However, Sean tells us that leaving a thin layer of ash (around an inch thick) actually insulates the stove, meaning your fire will burn hotter and last longer.

Don’t leave it there forever though! Ash can store moisture if left for too long, so make sure you clean it out at the end of the season, and every time it gets thicker than two inches.


DON’T over use the air controls

The vents control the oxygen supply to your fire. Having a lot of oxygen is essential for getting the fire burning so they need to be fully open to get it started. Once your fire is burning, the oxygen is a double-edged sword - the wood burns hotter giving you a toastier fire, but it also burns faster, so you use more fuel.

A lot of people will get the fire roaring then close the air controls as early as possible to make the fuel last longer and save money. However, when you cut off the oxygen supply, firewood stops burning efficiently and starts to smoulder. You’ll also get more smoke going up the chimney which can cause soot deposits and isn’t good for local air quality - read more about that here.  Lawson’s advice is to don't close the air controls too much, saying, "burn it hot and burn the lot!"


DO use the right firewood

Using the right firewood in your log burner is so important. As Sean told us, "after you’ve decided which stove, your next most important decision is which firewood."

The best wood to use in your log burner is dry hardwood, with less than 20% moisture content.  When wood is wetter than this, heat output decreases, pollution increases and the chimney soots up faster which increases the risk of a chimney fire. Burning wet wood also produces more smoke which will blacken the glass on your appliance.

As Lawson tells his clients, "burning wet wood is bad for your wallet, bad for your chimney and bad for the environment."

All of our logs are kiln-dried to below 20% moisture content so they burn long and hot, with very little smoke and ash deposits. Shop kiln-dried logs here


DON’T leave anything in it!

Letters to Santa, £5,000 in cash, a WW2 bomb and dead bodies are just some of the things that chimney sweeps have found!

Have you ever put anything other than wood in yours, or found anything strange in your chimney? Email us at and let us know!

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