If you are choosing a new stove for heating purposes you may be wondering
whether there are advantages to picking a Multi-fuel stove over a woodburning
They look the same, and both perform just as efficiently when it comes to heat
output, so does it really make any difference what fuel a particular stove uses?
Well, ultimately, the choice of fuel for your stove heater is down to convenience,
cost and in some cases environmental considerations.
A multi-fuel stove gives you the versatility to try out different options and decide
what best suits your needs. You should only burn one type of fuel at a time
though – “multi-fuel” doesn’t mean you can mix wood with smokeless coal, for
example. It’s a case of either/or.
In a multi-fuel stove you will normally have a grate and an ash pan whereas a
woodburner will usually have a solid base to burn on and you scoop the ash out
using a small shovel.
You can burn wood in a multi-fuel stove, of course, but you’re not restricted to
only burning wood in the form of kiln dried or seasoned hardwood logs, as you are with a woodburner.
A pleasant advantage of burning wood is you can leave the ash in the base of the
fire perhaps for several weeks at a time before removing some of the ash. Wood
actually burns best in a bed of ash. If you use smokeless fuel then you need to
remove all the ash after every fire you burn.
Most people who have multi-fuel stoves still prefer using wood as their first fuel
choice, because it is a nearly carbon-neutral form of heat energy: while it grows a
tree absorbs just about the same amount of carbon that is emitted from it as it
combusts in a woodburner.
If you’ve moved into a property with a stove already in place, check whether it is a multi-fuel stove before you start burning fuel other than logs of wood.
Check the operating manual to find out what the appliance is designed to burn and also how to use the stove. If there is no operating manual with the appliance then look inside the firebox. If it has a solid base inside with no ash pan, then the stove is designed for burning logs only – wood burns best on a bed of ash. You scoop the ash out using a small shovel. Wood ash can be disbursed over your garden, not the ash from smokeless fuels.
You can also check the Chimney Notice Plate which has important information which will tell you the make and model of the appliance along with the chimney description and what fuel the chimney is designed to burn. It will also note the installer name and date of installation. The Chimney Notice Plate is usually situated near the stove or next to your Home Consumer Unit or Fuse Box.
If the firebox contains a raised grate – and perhaps a riddling plate below which allows you to remove a build-up of ash and aerate the fire – then you probably have a multi-fuel appliance that can burn wood OR other alternative solid smokeless fuels.
Smokeless fuels require air to flow from below (hence the grate) while wood needs air from above to keep it burning efficiently. If you’re not sure what the ideal, recommended fuel is for your particular make and model of stove then find out by reading the instruction manual, or contacting experts like Dinghams Direct in Salisbury, Wiltshire, for advice.
Using the wrong fuel – or a combination of fuels at one time – could cause a build up of an acidic residue in the flue or chimney liner which may damage the chimney liner and may become dangerous.
Commercially manufactured from pieces of trees that are left after manufacturing items like decking boards and fence posts. These compressed “logs” have a low moisture content, are easy to store and handle, burn for a long time and are eco-friendly. We have a good experience using Salisbury based Sunny logs which are made out of 100% natural compressed waste wood chips from FSC responsibly managed British forests. They have a moisture content of under 10%! www.sunnylogs.co.uk.
You can use anthracite with a high carbon content which is harder than regular coal, more efficient and clean burning. Avoid ordinary house coal – meant for open fires – which burns at a high temperature and may damage and blacken your stove.
Whatever fuel you opt for in your multi-fuel stove, don’t forget to always prioritise safety and make informed choices to maximise the efficiency and longevity of your stove.