Are Log Burners Safe?


Log burners are continuing to grow in popularity in millions of homes throughout the UK, adding a rustic aesthetic and warmth to rooms. But with this increase in interest comes a rise in questions and concerns around how safe they are and what to look out for when it comes to efficiency and local legislation. Logs Direct are here to help answer these questions with our guide to how safe log burners are and what to look out for to keep them as safe and optimal as possible.


Are log burners dangerous or safe?

What are the common safety concerns associated with log burners?

The common safety concerns around log burners are carbon monoxide emissions filtering into the rooms they’re in and chimney fires. However, the concerns about emissions tend to come from improper installation and not using the appropriate fuel for fires. If a burner isn’t installed properly or any damage has been sustained, it can cause leaks, so having it installed by a professional is crucial. Similarly, chimney fires occur because of blockages in the flue that can become fire risks. Proper maintenance and cleaning prevent this, and they’re becoming more and more uncommon, with chimney fires representing less than 1.5% of total fires for 2022/23, which is a decline from the previous year.

How can I ensure the safe installation of a log burner?

To ensure your log burner is installed safely, always have an expert carry it out. By involving a trained professional from the beginning of your burning journey, you can be sure that everything is installed correctly and will operate as intended. If you’ve previously had one installed and you’re concerned about whether it’s been done correctly, calling out a professional to evaluate it and recommend or carry out changes will help to identify any issues and make sure they’re fixed in a timely manner.

Are there safety features I should look for when purchasing a log burner?

Modern log burners come with safety features to ensure they operate safely. One example is the air wash system, which draws the air inside the burner over the window. This keeps smoke and gases away from the glass of the door and keeps them stored inside the burn chamber, preventing the glass from darkening over time. Having protection from overheating is another important consideration for log burners. When purchasing a burner, you may consider installing a heat shield or other protective accessories as well. This puts a layer of separation between the heat source and your home's walls, preventing burning from transfer. For those concerned about sustainability and efficiency, clean burn technology is a system that incorporates hot air into the firebox slightly above the height of a normal fire. This creates a cleaner burn by reducing the amount of soot that ends up in the flue and the atmosphere.


Burning Effectively and Efficiently

What are the safest woods to use in my log burner?

The safest woods to use in log burners are kiln-dried hardwood and softwood logs. This wood has been dried for the moisture content to be less than 20%, which offers the most optimal burn and releases the lowest level of smoke and emissions. Softwood lights quickly and burns hotter and quicker, making it ideal for kindling to begin your fire. Hardwood burns for longer and offers a more consistent flame and temperature, so once your fire has been lit with softwood, stack it into a teepee formation to allow it to light naturally.

Can I safely burn other materials besides wood in a log burner?

Just because materials are flammable doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good idea to burn them. For example, wet woods that have a moisture content of more than 20% can produce more smoke and soot, resulting in clogged chimneys. Similarly, woods that have been treated or painted can emit harmful fumes when burnt, which can be damaging if inhaled. Keeping your wood burning to woods that have been appropriately dried and come with Ready to Burn certification can ensure the materials are safe for your burner.


Safety legislation for log burners in the UK

Are there fines or charges associated with log burner use?

One myth that has been circulated is that using a log burner in the UK can result in a fine of £300 and a criminal record. However, that is only if your burner doesn’t meet DEFRA-approved standards and isn’t eco-design-compliant. Most modern stoves in the market are within these restrictions.

What recent legislative changes affect log burner use?

No recent legislative changes have affected the use of log burners in the UK, with the last acknowledgement of them coming in January 2023 when the UK government admitted there were no plans or considerations around banning domestic burning. However, the government also introduced rulings on burners within designated “Smoke Control Areas”, which are only permitted to emit 3 grams of smoke per hour.

How can I stay updated on log burner regulations?

The best way to stay up to date on new regulations and legislation being introduced for log burners is by referring to the Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) who are the foremost authority on laws and legislations for log burners and stoves. Keeping informed on changing legislation can avoid fines and other repercussions and if a change to the laws occurs, the SIA will be well informed on it. Log burners are a great addition to any home’s atmosphere, but making sure you’re aware of the safest approach to using them and understanding the difference between myth and fact is crucial to the enjoyment of your use. Now that you understand the need-to-knows of safe usage, why not check out our kiln-dried logs that we sell at Logs Direct for the highest quality wood available, ready to burn!

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