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!

When we first got our 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 Log Burner Experts

DO find a great chimney sweep

If you have a wood burning stove, you should get your chimney swept once a year to make sure there it isn’t a build-up of tar or any other blockages which could potentially cause a fire. Getting your chimney swept regularly is also important for insurance purposes - if there was a fire and you weren't able to prove you'd had a regular chimney sweep, it may invalidate your insurance!

If you’ve just moved house, the best place to find a local qualified chimney sweeps is the Find a Chimney Sweep website

But don’t just ask them to sweep the chimney and go, they have a wealth of knowledge on everything related to wood burning. If you aren’t sure what fuel you should be using in your log burner, or you need some help using the air controls on your stove, why not ask your chimney sweep 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 from your log burner

My fellow clean freaks will understand the urge to clean out the ash from your log burner every time you have a fire. 

However, Sean tells us that, if you have an older stove, 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 your log burner out at the end of the season, and hoover up the ash once it gets thicker than two inches.

DON'T use any chemicals to clean your log burner

To clean your log burner, all you need is paper towels, clean water and a bit of ash. Let us show you how.

DON’T over use the air controls

The vents on your log burner control the oxygen supply to your fire. Having a lot of oxygen is essential for getting the fire burning so the vents 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, less smoky fire, but it also burns faster, so you use more fuel.

Some people 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.

Newer, Ecodesign wood burning stoves are designed so that the vents can't be fully closed to prevent smouldering and smoke.

Lawson’s advice is to leave the vents open most of the time. He says “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, cut to the right size for your wood burning stoves. When firewood has a moisture content higher than 20%, 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 Love Logs logs are kiln-dried to below 20% moisture content so they burn long and hot, with very little smoke and ash deposits. 

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 in log burners they've been services!

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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