by Helen Powell of Design Hunter
When we moved into our new home last year a wood burning stove was pretty near the top of our wish list. It was something we’d always wanted but the design and layout of our previous home would have made installing one difficult, so we put the idea on hold until we moved.
The living room of our new house, a 1930s fixer upper, already had an original working fireplace, but it was in a pretty sorry state and crying out for an update. It did however provide the room with a strong focal point, which we knew we wanted to retain. We began dreaming of cosy winter evenings gathered around the fire with the dog asleep at our feet and how it would become the heart of the home.
But then at around the same time we became increasingly aware of stories in the media about wood burning stoves and new environmental regulations that are being introduced to tackle air pollution. Was it really such a good idea, we began to ask ourselves? Could we really justify the enjoyment we would gain from a wood burner if we knew that it was producing harmful emissions every time we lit it?
We started doing some research, and learned that while wood burning stoves tend to produce significantly less smoke and emissions than an open fire, not all stoves are the same - when it comes to eco credentials they vary quite widely. According to research, the type of appliance you install, how well it is used and maintained, and the type of fuel you burn can all make a big difference to how much pollution is created. So we decided that if we were going to install one, we would do so with these considerations in mind, and opt for a model that would produce the lowest possible level of emissions.
We were already aware that if you live in a smoke control area, as we do, you can only use authorised smokeless fuel or a DEFRA exempt appliance. However, from 2022 when new EU Ecodesign regulations are due to come into effect, all new stoves will need to meet agreed emissions standards, regardless of where they are used.
If you are considering installing a new stove it therefore makes sense to choose one that is Ecodesign Ready.
An Ecodesign Ready stove is one that has been designed to perform more cleanly. These stoves have been independently tested to demonstrate that they meet emissions and efficiency criteria for Ecodesign.
Independent research conducted on behalf of the Stove Industry Alliance has shown that Ecodesign Ready stoves can reduce emissions by up to 90% when compared with open fires. They are also more environmentally efficient than other DEFRA exempt stoves (the particulate matter emissions limit for Ecodesign is 55% lower than for DEFRA exempt stoves).
As well as being Ecodesign Ready, our Arada Farringdon stove provides a stylish new focal point for our living room and, most importantly, the dog loves it! We’ve also committed to taking what other steps we can to limit emissions by ensuring that we only burn dry, seasoned wood. Wet fuel produces more smoke which can cause polluting particles to be released, so it’s worth avoiding the damp netted bags of logs you sometimes see on garage forecourts. DEFRA recommend using wood with a moisture content of 20% or less. You can buy a cheap moisture meter for around £15 and use this to check the moisture content of your wood before burning.
Finally, don’t forget to book your stove in for an annual service and remember to get the chimney swept regularly as this will also make a big difference to how cleanly and efficiently it operates.
Guest blog by Helen Powell of designhunter.co.uk
See Design Hunter’s step-by-step guide to her Arada stove installation