The UK Government has confirmed that the sale of the most polluting fuels used in homes across the UK are to be banned within the next coupe of years to help reduce the amount of the most harmful pollutant (PM2.5) in the air.
Wood stoves and coal fires are currently the main source of the pollutant PM2.5 in the UK, ahead of both industrial and road transport emissions.
The two most polluting fuels, coal and wet wood, will be phased out by February 2021 for bagged coal and wet wood units under 2m3, and by February 2023 for the sale of coal through approved merchants.
For wet wood that’s sold in greater volumes than 2m3, it will need to be accompanied by advice on how to dry out the wood before use.
Wet wood can be one of the reasons, if not the biggest reason, for many problems associated with burning wood in either a fireplace or stove, including why your fireplace or wood stove:
- Won’t catch alight
- Won’t get going
- Isn’t getting hot enough
- Is smoking
- Isn’t burning efficiently
- Stains the glass
- Is getting blocked up more often
- Is smoldering
Not only will this change bring about reduced air pollution as a result of domestic wood burning, it will help reduce the likelihood these issues from occurring and make it easier for you to have a hotter and more efficient fire in your home.
To be able to burn efficiently in a fire, wood needs to be around 20% moisture content or lower. Wood that is higher in moisture content is harder to catch alight, harder to burn, and can produce less heat and more smoke as a result.
When buying wood to use on your fireplace or stove, you’ll typically find logs from your local shop or supplier that are either ‘seasoned’ or ‘kiln dried’.
Seasoned wood is left outside to dry but can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to dry, depending on whether it’s softwood or hardwood and what time of the year the wood was cut. Wood can also be kiln dried that vastly increases the drying process but the wood can cost more to buy.
Even though many sellers will state that the wood is seasoned or kiln dried, not all wood sold will be dry enough to be efficient at burning, and so the Government is aiming to crack down on the wood being sold that isn’t.
You can learn to tell whether wood is dry enough to burn by some of its features. Dried out logs are lighter, have less colour, can be cracking at the ends, and will sound more hollow when hit together.
Ultimately, the best way to ensure that you’re using wood that isn’t wet is by using a moisture meter.
A moisture meter simply reads the moisture content of your wood. Any wood with a moisture content of 20% or under will burn great in your fireplace or stove. As the moisture content increases over 20% the wood becomes progressively harder to burn effectively.
Will Wood Burning Stoves Be Banned In The UK?
No, wood stoves aren’t being banned.
Only the sale of coal and wet wood for domestic use is being stopped.
Wood burners are now very efficient at burning wood, while maximising heat and minimising the amount of pollutants and smoke being released.
You can read more about what the UK Government has stated in their press release article here.