Multi-fuel stove or wood burning stove?
If you are looking for a traditional stove then you really need to choose between multi-fuel or dedicated woodburning.
- Multi fuel stoves
built with a grate in the bottom of the firebox, which allows you to burn coal as well as wood. This is because coal requires a supply of air to come from beneath, while wood burns best on a bed of ash, meaning dedicated wood burning stoves will not have this grate.
- Wood burning stoves
Stoves that have been designed specifically for burning wood. Generally speaking wood burning stoves will burn wood with more efficiency than a multi-fuel stove will, although this is not always the case.
Why is burning wood environmentally friendly?
When burning wood it is worth remembering that trees are composed primarily of carbohydrate. As they grow trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air and use the energy from the sun and water build themselves carbohydrate. When we fell the trees and after letting them season, we burn them for fuel.
In addition to heat produced while burning, carbon dioxide is also released. This CO² was trapped by the trees as it grew and is now released into the atmosphere. Most of the firewood available for sale commercially in the UK is sourced from properly managed and sustainable forests. This is where every tree felled is replaced with another. So any carbon released in burning wood is trapped again by a new tree. Because of this the total carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere does not increase because of burning the wood and does not contribute to climate change. The total carbon released by burning wood is no more than simply leaving the tree to rot.
There have been issues raised in that since the 1950s more and more parts of the UK have become smoke control areas. This does mean that you would not normally be legally allowed to burn wood. However there are a growing number of stoves which have been passed as exempt by the government. They burn wood very cleanly, meaning very low emissions and have been given official approval to use in smoke control areas.