Please refer to the stove manufacturer’s literature in the first instance for specific user instructions.

Most woodburning or multifuel stoves have two air inlets-

  • one situated at the base of the appliance called the primary air

  • one at the top called the secondary air

Open all vents for the initial firing

Note: it is sometimes advantageous to slightly open the main door of the appliance for initial firing to pre-heat the flue way as quickly as possible.

Important – Do not leave the stove door open for more than 5-10 minutes due to the risk of over firing.

When burning wood only, the primary air (at the bottom) can be closed down after the fire is established, it is advisable to leave the secondary air (at the top) open at least until an approximate temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit (a stovepipe thermometer can be useful for easier running at optimum levels) has been achieved

Note: the secondary air is also the “airwash” control that sends preheated air down the back of the glass and keeps it clear- the hotter the stove is burnt and the more open the airwash control, the cleaner the stove glass will stay!

Appliances that are classed as “cleanburn” normally have a third air control / injection of air into the top of the firebox, this acts to re-ignite hot gasses (and can be visibly seen doing so!) giving additional heat output and fewer emissions (hence suitability for some cleanburn appliances to burn wood in smoke free zones).


The moisture content of the wood you burn is vital to the satisfactory running of your stove.

Freshly cut timber has moisture content of around 50% (by weight), most stove manufacturers expect you to burn timber with a moisture content of 10-15%.

Seasoning wood - by a process of storing the wood outside, covered over the top, but allowing air circulation for a period of 12 months would reduce moisture to around 20-25%, so allow 2 years seasoning for any fresh cut timber.

Moisture meters are available in store if required.

The problems caused by burning wet timber are:

  1. Loss of output from the stove - energy is expended transforming water into steam rather than heat output.

  2. Blackening of stove glass- due to tar content.

  3. Heightened risk of chimney fire - tar deposits will rapidly accumulate within the flue.

All stoves are capable of being “closed down” to burn at lower levels, at these lower levels of combustion, relatively higher levels of tar will be produced (as well as blackening of stove glass), so ensure that the stove is appropriately sized so that higher levels of combustion are possible with “normal” use as often as possible.

COAL BURNING: (Where a multifuel grate is fitted)