Going Green: Best eco-friendly wood burners to warm your winter

Latest article from Angela Terry

Green Green campaigner and consumer expert, Angela Terry, separates climate change facts from fiction and here she explains how you can take simple, practical steps to help save the planet. Follow @ouronehome & visit https://onehome.org.uk/ for more advice.

Q: What is the best fuel for wood burners?

A: Wood burning fires are seen as romantic and cosy and, while they only heat one room, cost less than central heating.

Best Wood Burning stoves (photo: Adobe)Best Wood Burning stoves (photo: Adobe)
Best Wood Burning stoves (photo: Adobe)

As energy prices rise, so does the popularity of these heating alternatives. Recent figures show more than 35,000 stoves were sold from April to June 2022, compared with 25,000 in the same months of 2021.

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However, burning solid fuels contributes to indoor and outdoor air pollution, which is why if you are going to burn wood it is important to use good quality firewood and an ecodesign stove instead of an open fire.

The best fuel for use in wood burners is dry wood to ensure a warm home and less pollution. Hard woods, such as ash, oak or beech, produce more energy per log than cheaper soft woods such as pine. People often want ash, but most hardwoods burn well.

Don’t use wet logs

Wet logs burn badly, are harder to light and blacken the glass on your stove, even if it is designed to stay clean. They also create deposits that can stick to the flue and increase the risk of chimney fire.

Logs should be dry to the touch before you put them on the fire, preferably less than 20 per cent moisture. Moisture meters provide accurate readings but a cracked log is a visible sign that it has dried out.

Burning dry wood is better for air quality as well.

How much does it cost?

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With more demand for stoves, the price of kiln-dried logs rose by 50 per cent over the last year. Three to four metres cubed of kiln-dried logs for a wood-burning stove, enough for evenings and weekends between October and April, would currently cost £600-£650.

A new ecodesign wood burner that meets 2022 environmental guidelines could cost between £1,000 and £1,500.

An annual sweep of the chimney costs £60 and is essential to stop fires in the flue.

Store logs well

Whether you collect your own logs or have them delivered, it’s essential to keep them dry. Somewhere with good ventilation and covered from the rain will prevent the logs rotting or taking on more moisture.

Are they better for the environment than fossil fuels?

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Local wood from sustainable forestry is a renewable resource and one of a variety of fuels referred to as biomass.

Are stoves bad for your health?

Burning the right wood in the right appliances keeps emissions from stoves lower however, all solid fuels create tiny particles which are not good for your health. Burning timber that’s been painted or furniture to save money will increase toxic particulates - tiny pieces of "dust" that can float in the air.

They are small enough to enter into our lungs and can cause respiratory issues or exacerbate existing ones. The government has introduced measures to cut particulate emissions, including restricting sales of wet wood and coal in England.

Celebrity spot

Carol Vorderman is a huge fan of home insulation.

Carol Vorderman is a huge fan of home insulation (photo: Getty Images)Carol Vorderman is a huge fan of home insulation (photo: Getty Images)
Carol Vorderman is a huge fan of home insulation (photo: Getty Images)

Asked for her money saving advice on a Netmums podcast, the 61 year-old TV presenter said: "I've been a great proponent of insulate, insulate, insulate all my life. I am so old I've lived in various houses. It's the first thing I do - walls, floors, ceilings, everywhere I can insulate I do.

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"I live in this strange cocoon thing. I'm forever opening windows. I'm not sure if my heating is on or not, you know.”

Green swap

If you are buying new sheets for Christmas guests, think about swapping Polyester for bamboo.

Think about changing cotton for Bamboo bed sheets (photo: Adobe)Think about changing cotton for Bamboo bed sheets (photo: Adobe)
Think about changing cotton for Bamboo bed sheets (photo: Adobe)

Polyester is petroleum based synthetic fibre whereas bamboo is natural, breathable and will last longer because it’s stronger.

Be canny like Kate Moss with festive shopping

Model Kate Moss loves a charity shop (photo: Getty Images)Model Kate Moss loves a charity shop (photo: Getty Images)
Model Kate Moss loves a charity shop (photo: Getty Images)

Have you started Christmas shopping yet? For the best bargains and greenest approach to gifts, check out your local charity shops.

Model Kate Moss recently said: “I love a charity shop.

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"From the age of 14 to 19, I bought all my clothes in Oxfam. I still shop there.”

The good news is she donates to them too.

Thanks to canny, stylish shoppers like Kate, second hand stores lost their Scrooge-ish image long ago.

It now feels completely acceptable to source unique presents among the bric-a-brac and bookshelves.

Just think of it as giving a beautiful item a new home.

Asking your family and friends to do the same makes it fun - who can find the most gorgeous hidden treasure?

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It pays to start browsing early because you never know what you’ll find.

If you can shop in wealthy areas, you might find designer goods donated by well-off locals.

A friend of mine once found a perfect pair of Manolo Blahnik designer stiletto shoes for £25 in a local hospice shop.

She couldn’t believe her luck!

Costume jewellery and brooches can be chic gifts, particularly if you wrap them beautifully.

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If you can find silk scarves you can either gift those or use them as stylish wrapping.

The big interior high street stores are full of candlesticks at the moment but you can find some stunning examples in charity stores.

Coffee table books can make interesting and beautiful presents.

As do carefully picked vintage books.

When a friend moved to Glasgow recently I happened to find a wonderful 1940s guide book to the city in a Shelter shop.

She was delighted with that as a Christmas present.

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FARA, which supports children with learning disabilities, runs specialist children’s charity shops, full of games and clothes for little ones.

Vintage board games are a quirky and fun gift but you can often find unopened games still in their original wrapping.

TV presenter Mary Portas revolutionised second hand shopping when she created Save The Children boutique stores with brighter, less crammed shops.

The charity now also sells through resale website and app Depop. Although it’s a little pricey, it has lots of designer clothing.

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The Oxfam shop website also has some real treasures, easily separated into categories for faster shopping.

You can even find make-up in charity shops. Check it’s still in its wrapping and not out of date.

And, of course, as well as saving cash you are supporting good causes.

Fact or fiction

Cow burps are bad for the environment.


Methane from cows, and their manure, is far more potent than CO2, trapping heat 30 times more effectively.

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Their emissions have been studied by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

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