Use Wood Logs to Heat Your Home

As gas and oil prices rise through the roof there has never been a better time to look at heating your home using wood logs as fuel.

New developments in wood stove technology has helped increase burning efficiency and control plus there are many wood stoves designed these days that will sit comfortable in any living room environment.

From traditional country cottage styles to sleek uber-modern works of art they bring a real warmth to your home and, if fitted with boilers, use the generated energy to heat radiators in other rooms.

Nothing beats the colour and atmosphere of a flickering real fire but if you are thinking about using wood logs on a wood stove to heat your home it's vital you plan ahead to ensure your stove works efficiently.

A lined chimney offers safety and helps ensure the 'pull' is just right to ensure your fuel burns well - not too little (smoking and difficult to start) or too much (racing through your fuel stocks and costing you a fortune.

Once you are sure your wood stove is correctly fitted and the chimney 'pull' is efficient as possible, it is vital to source the best possible wood logs you can find.

This is easier said than done. It is impossible to put into words to difference between unseasoned and seasoned firewood. Unseasoned wood logs are difficult to get lit, using up lots of kindling and firelighters. Once a flame has established it can take up to two hours before the fire is roaring well enough to heat up the water in the boilers and pumping round the radiators heating your home. Having to tend a struggling fire on a cold winter's night for a couple of hours before you can begin to feel any heat in your radiators is nobody's idea of fun.

What's even worse is that, if the wood fuel is really bad ie 'green' (full of sap having only recently been chopped) or damp (having been incorrectly stored) you can find yourself tending the fire all night, the radiators never get up to a decent temperature and it can quite easily go out and you have to start all over again. It also soots up your stove and chimney, reducing the stove's efficiency, making it even more difficult to heat your home as the winter months drag on.

Believe me - I've been there - and have the blankets to prove it!

However, well seasoned wood sparks up quickly and is crackling and burning at a very hot temperature in no time. Within 20 minutes the pumps kicks in, the radiators are red hot and with no smoke or fumes the fire looks gorgeous crackling away. More importantly, it can be left unattended for long periods of time and you don't use as nearly as much wood. Over the winter months, this can mean a considerable cost saving.

The thought of stacking wood, fetching it to the house, stacking it near the fire, messing around with firelighters and kindling may have put many people off already but doing it right can save on a lot of the hassle.

In an ideal world you have have enough wood logs to last a winter that have been stacked and left to season for two years. To heat a house using up to 8 radiators we are talking about 20 tons of well seasoned wood.

What tends to happen is that people buy the wood in hoping to throw it straight on the fire. You can buy seasoned wood but it may have only been left to season for six months which isn't enough to maximise burning efficiency. Basically, the longer the wood has seasoned the better it will burn and the less you will use making your house warmer and your wallet happier.

So my advice is - be prepared at least 12 months in advance, ensure you have adequate, covered wood storage space and source a good and reliable wood logs supplier.