Tips on wood fired heating in the home

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Phil in France_Normandy

We have a CH wood-fired boiler rather than a stove, but priciples are the same. Make sure chimney is mechanically (not chemically) cleaned at start of season, check all door seals are in good order (should not be able to pull a piece of paper through between doors and firebox when the loading door and ash/regulator doors are closed) and replace seals if necessary. In season use a catalytic cleaning log after 2-3 months if you get a lot of soot and tar build-up.

We can keep boiler burning overnight on one large log, with the CH pump off and thermostat turned to 55°. In the morning, fill with wood and turn thermo up to 70° to let more air in - turn it back to 60° once the fire is away again. One fill keeps it going most of the rest of the day.

John Gulland

Thanks for the tip of the hat to, Craig. It has been a labour of love for my colleagues and I since we put it online back in 1996.

Looks like Phil in France could use some of the tips on efficient operation from our site.

In thirty years as professionals in the wood heating field, we've found that keeping a fire burning and making heat with a stove, furnace or boiler is the easy part. The more challenging part is to do it without wasting wood and making a lot of smoke. Helping people to meet that challenge is one of the main reasons we put so much effort into the web site.

Craig McGinty

Thanks Phil and John for the comments, I'm sure readers will have taken away some useful advice and tips.
All the best, Craig


Some great advice for those who are firing up their wood burners now temperatures are dropping.

Professional installation is always advisable, as there have been instances of chimney fires in roof spaces due to diy installations.

As mentioned by Phil, “make sure chimney is mechanically (not chemically) cleaned at start of season”

Some French insurance policies stipulate that this is done, although not all. It’s worth checking your own obligations as you don’t want to be uninsured should a chimney fire occur.


Chris Comley

Some useful info, will keep it bookmarked. Might not hurt to provide an "international" section, for those of us not too worried about the situation in north america. :-) Any idea how many Kw of heat I can get from my 3 stere of oak?



Thanks for posting this, we've just bought our first stove (invicta pharos).

I have a question I hope you can answer.
Your wood burning guide states that there should always be flames when there is soild wood, but I have kiln dried oak and no matter what I do I can't get it to sustain a flame - rust a red smolder. People have told me that this is because oak is a smolderer - any thoughts or tips? Should I be concerned?

th george

looking to buy log burning boiler to do central heating, 12 rads but some large ones, also warm room have idea of size needed but need to know of a company that supply & install near to thiver/la coquille any answers would be greatfully recived

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