Category: Fire Expert

How to clean your wood burning stove – a useful guide!

How to clean your wood burning stove, now is as good a time as any with the warmer summer months upon us.

Although wood burning is brilliant for generating heat efficiently, it can become messy if you don’t keep on top of maintaining it. Keeping it clean will also increase the lifetime of your stove.

Here are some tips to get your stove looking and performing it’s best

 

Firstly there are a few things you’ll need to check

  1. Examine the firebrick lining and see if it needs replacing  – the lining will keep the stove from overheating
  2. Make sure the chimney is cleaned. This will prevent chimney fires and help your stove burn more efficiently.
  3. Check the sealed door. You want a tight seal to make sure smoke doesn’t enter your house. The cord that’s around the door may need replacing on occasion.

Before you start make sure your stove has fully cooled.

Equipment you’ll need:

  • gloves
  • newspaper
  • a small ash shovel
  • a small brush
  • a metal ash bucket
  • household glass cleaner
  • cloth

It’s a good idea to wear protective gloves whilst cleaning your stove. Place newspaper on the floor around your stove then use a small shovel to remove all the ash into your metal bucket or container, you can use a hand brush to gently sweep any remaining debris.

You will find that if you have been using Firemizer there will be a significant reduction in the amount of ash produced, therefore making it easier to clean!

When your used Firemizer starts to deteriorate, ensure it is cold before removal. Firemizer can be recycled with your normal household metal waste.

Click here to order your replacement Firemizer.

Take the ash to a safe place outdoors away from any bushes or other materials that might catch fire. Leave for at least 24 hours before you dispose of it.

Apply glass cleaner to the glass and wipe using a cloth until the window is clean. If parts of the window don’t clean straight away, let the solution react for a few minutes before wiping. You can then use a dry cloth and hoover to clean the exterior of your burner.

Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions which came with you stove. The information provided is guidance only, and should be followed only in accordance with the guidelines of the manufacturer.

So now you know how to clean your wood burning stove, there is no excuse not to keep it looking spick and span!

 

Four Common Mistakes When Using Wood Stoves

Wood stoves are a great way to reduce your heating bill as well as providing aesthetic value to our homes.

However, burning wood takes some preparation and you have to make sure it is ready to burn safely through the winter months.

Below are 4 major mistakes people make with their wood stoves!

Not inspecting & cleaning your stove

You need to make sure your stove and chimney are ready for the season. There are a few things you’ll need to check

  1. Examine the firebrick lining and see if it needs replacing  – the lining will keep the stove from overheating
  2. Make sure the chimney is cleaned. This will prevent chimney fires and help your stove burn more efficiently.
  3. Check the sealed door. You want a tight seal to make sure smoke doesn’t enter your house. The cord that’s around the door may need replacing on occasion.

Don’t neglect these steps as you could be at risk of a chimney or house fire.

Not having enough fuel

Running out of fuel in the middle of winter is not ideal. It is best practice to have too much wood than too little. How much you’ll need will depend on several things;

  • How large your house is
  • The efficiency of your stove
  • They type of wood you’ll burn
  • How often your light your stove
  • Not storing your wood properly

Once you have your wood you need to make sure it is stored in the correct place it could affect the performance of your stove.

You don’t want your wood to get too wet as burning wet wood reduces the efficiency of your stove.

The best practice is to keep the wood out of the way in a dry shed and on a pallet so the air can circulate. Check out another blog about storing your wood!

Not having a backup plan

If something happens to your wood supply then you need alternatives. Some will burn quickly while others with smoulder for a while.

  1. Rolled old jeans
  2. Rolled paper logs
  3. Coffee logs
Bonus mistake

Not using the Firemizer winter pack! This will help you light your fire with an odourless firelighter and firemizer will increase your fire efficiency and reduce harmful particulates. 

Are you prepared for the winter season?

Brief History Of Fireworks

Fireworks originated in china around 1000 years ago by a monk. He was from the city of Liuyang in China, this is still the largest producer of fireworks in the world. A temple was built to worship this monk and the people of China still celebrate the invention of fireworks every April 18th. 

The Chinese believe firecrackers have the power to ward off evil spirits. Fireworks play a big part in Chinese new year as they are said to bring in the new year free of evil spirits.

Marco Polo is credited with introducing gunpowder to Europe in the 13th century. However many historians prefer the theory that the curators bought back black powder to Europe as they returned from wars in the middle east.

During the Renaissance, two separate European schools of pyrotechnic emerged, one in Italy and the other in Germany. The Italians focused on effects and stunning displays whereas the Germans stressed scientific advancement.

The English were so captivated by fireworks in 1487, they were used in the coronation of Elizabeth of York. Their popularity grew in Great Britain during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The queen liked them so much she created a position of fire master of England.

should we ban fireworks? 

Even with all the history and tradition, we cannot ignore the dangers of at-home displays for us and wildlife.

  • The loud sounds from fireworks cause distress for pets and in some cases have been known to cause heart attacks.
  • The fear they cause can often lead animals to flee into roads potentially causing accidents and vehicle damage.
  • Fireworks can also cause environmental damage through fires and the release of harmful chemicals.

Currently, there is not a ban on fireworks. However, some supermarkets have stopped selling them to the public for private displays. However, if you do plan to have a display please follow these tips;

  • Remover bird feeders several hours before lighting. This will stop birds coming into the garden.
  • Wait until late evening to ignite as there will be fewer animals in the area
  • Do not use fireworks near trees, birdhouses or nesting areas
  • Clean up all firework residue as this can be harmful to wildlife and the environment

For more information about fireworks and your pets you can click here 

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How To Build A Bonfire

As the 5th of November creeps up you may want to get ready and have the perfect bonfire!

Bonfire law

There isn’t any law in England and Wales about bonfires however there is a law about creating a nuisance. You can’t get rid of household waste if it will cause pollution or harm to health. Occasional bonfires are fine as long as there are no local bylaws in place that prevent it, you can check with your local council.

You must make sure the smoke doesn’t blow across a road and cause danger to traffic. You can’t burn anything that would cause pollution or harm public health. This includes rubber, plastic, oil etc.

Here’s how to build the bonfire:
  1. Make a circle with bricks or stones. If you want a permanent bonfire pit in your yard, you can dig a hole and then surround it with bricks or stones. Stand the tinder in a teepee shape in the centre of the circle.
  2. Make a teepee out of kindling around the tinder, leaving some gaps for oxygen to escape. This is also a good place to use any firelighters, why not use Firebuilder!
  3. Put some fuel logs parallel to each other on two sides of the teepee.
  4. Repeat this process up to five times, building the teepee in higher and higher layers

Once the bonfire is set up, drop a match into the centre of the teepee (or stick it into one of the gaps) to start the fire. Make sure the match gets all the way into the tinder layer of the teepee.

Be sure to have a supply of water on hand. Put out the fire completely, before going inside.

Watch out for wildlife

Make sure you check your bonfire pile for any animals especially hedgehogs as they love a woodpile. To make sure you avoid harming wildlife build your bonfire the day ou plan on setting it alight.

What to do with the leftover ash

This will be warm for a few days so wait for it to cool down. A small amount of ash can lower the acidity of your compost heap and help create an environment for red worms which help the compost thrive.

 

 

 

 

How to prepare for winter

It’s only 4 weeks till autumn and 8 weeks till winter and 117 days till Christmas. The cold weather will be on its way and it’s time to prepare your stove for winter.

chimineaThe chimney

Your chimney needs sweeping once a year to ensure it does not build up tar and creosote. Using Firemizer in your stove reduces the creosote in your chimney. The build-up of creosote will affect the efficiency of your stove and increases the risk of carbon monoxide going back into the room, especially with a blocked or a partially blocked flue.

Cleaning and maintenance

Check the glass of the stove door for any issues and now is a good time to clean it. You can clean the glass with wood ash and newspaper. Alternatively, there are stove glass cleaners available. Check out our blog on cleaning your fire!

Stove exterior

While the stove is cold you can touch up any paint and check if there is any rust. Rust can cause problems on cast iron stoves. Rub away the rust with a wire brush or steel wool.

Check rope seal

A tight fit and solid seal are beneficial for the efficiency and safety of your stove. This will create a smoke seal and stop harmful carbon monoxide from entering your home.

coalFire grates

The grates can get warn out by the high temperatures. A distorted or bad fitting grate can jam the stove.

Stock up on wood

Don’t be left out in the cold, stock up early on your fuel supply and make sure your wood is thoroughly dried and only contains 20% moisture as this could affect your stove efficiency.

Keep your eyes peeled for our Winter Pack, one Firemizer and 6 Firebuilders.

What To Do With Bugs In Your Firewood

However, you get your firewood there is a chance some small critters hitchhike their way into your home. These insects living in the firewood pose no threat to you or your home. They are either feeding on the wood, nesting or are overwintering under the bark.

bugsInsect Prevention

The best way to stop insects from getting into your home is to store your wood outside until it is ready to be burnt. spraying the wood with insecticides will not have much benefit and is potentially dangerous. This would not go deep enough into the wood to reach the insects.

Two insects that may cause problems are carpenter ants and termites. These can affect the house if stacked against the outside walls.

Carpenter Ants

wood that remains moist for a long period of time is a good place for carpenter ants to live. They do not feed on the wood but they hollow out pieces inside the wood for nesting. If the wood is bought inside the ants may warm-up and move from the wood however the likely hood of the ants nesting inside the house is slim. but stacking wood against your home may provide a route for the ants to enter your home.

Termites

wood that is stacked on the ground may be eaten by termites. There might be mud tunnels visible on the outside of the wood. Termites bought into the home in firewood can’t establish a new nest or damage your furniture. however, if the wood is stacked against the house this ould provide a way for termites to extend their feeding into your home.

If you find a termite infestation in stacked wood near your home then consult a pest management professional and have your home treated.

Bark Beetles

These beetles like dead or dying wood, this makes them quite commonly found in firewood. They tend to feed on wood in large groups so a log cut could contain hundreds of these beetles.

a lot of insects spend their winters under the bark of trees or in your woodpile. When bringing firewood into your home it warms the wood and these insects crawl out of the wood. Pillbugs, centipedes, millipedes, ground beetles are commonly found in firewood. They will not harm you or your house and need only be picked up and removed.

Everything You Need To know About Firemizer

Everything You Need To Know About Firemizer

 

Firemizer is a unique fuel-saving device made from stainless steel alloys that is easy to use and proven to optimise the performance of fuel in stoves.

How to use Firemizer

1. Remove Firemizer from the pack and simply place on the base of your fire or stove then build your fire with wood or coal as usual

2. Firemizer spreads heat evenly and makes your fire burn longer

3. After the fire has cooled simply brush the ashes off between fires

How it works

1. Firemizer slows the airflow to reduce the burn rate of fuel

2. Firemizer conducts heat evenly across the fire to ensure all fuel is fully combusted

3. Firemizer prevents small fuel fragments falling through the grate or being left unburnt in the ash bed

Benefits

In addition to a longer and more even burn, which can save up to 38% of your fuel costs and reduce creosote emissions by up to 57% Firemizer has several other practical benefits:

  • Easier to start the fire
  • Keeps all the fuel lit throughout the burn
  • Reduces the amount of unburnt fuel at the end of the fire
  • The fire requires less stoking and refuelling
  • Reduces the build-up of soot in chimneys and on the glass of stove doors.
  • Less ash is produced and needs disposing of
  • Less storage is required for fuel during the winter
Does size matter?

Firemizer should cover most of the base of your fire or stove but does not have to be an exact fit. If Firemizer is too big for your fire, wear protective gloves and cut it to size using household scissors. For really big fires you can place two Firemizers side-by-side.

Firemizer is available in the UK/Europe: 180mm x 420mm (7in x 16.5 in)

What fuels can be used?
  • Firemizer can be used with
  • seasoned firewood
  • Good quality coal
  • combination of firewood and coal
  • wood pellets
  • briquettes made from sawdust
  • other wood waste
What type of stoves can be used?

Firemizer has been designed for use in the majority of domestic wood-burning and multi-fuel stoves. The benefits may be reduced in specialist high-end stoves incorporating sophisticated engineering to control and pre-heat the airflow.

Will it damage my fire or stove?

No! Firemizer will help protect your grate or stove base from the intensity of the fire by spreading the heat more evenly. Firemizer has also been shown to reduce the emission of creosote by up to 57% which will help to reduce the build-up of soot in chimneys and on the glass of stove doors.

The working life of Firemizer can be reduced if you burn unseasoned wood or cheap coal containing lots of impurities. Firemizer is not designed for use with charcoal, very small husk pellets or some high-intensity coals.
How long will it last?

Firemizer will typically last for 500 burning hours – which is equivalent to 6 weeks if used for 12 hours per day. However, if some of the filaments start to break, there will be a reduction in efficiency if it is not replaced. Fragments of Firemizer wire that become detached with use will fall into the ash collection tray for easy disposal.

How is it maintained?

It could not be simpler. Leave your Firemizer in place for about 6 weeks and lightly brush off the ashes in between fires.

What about the ashes?

When using Firemizer the fuel will burn more thoroughly and there will be a considerable reduction in the amount of ash produced. The resulting ash will be a very fine powder with no lumps and will pass through the Firemizer grid. Any ash that does build-up can be simply dusted off before each new fire.

How do I replace it?

When a used Firemizer starts to deteriorate, wait until the fire has gone out and is cold before removal. Wear protective gloves to replace it with a new Firemizer.

Did You Know

Manufacturing a single firemizer will create 100g of CO2 but during its life, you are saving 30 tonnes of CO2 being produced and chucked into the atmosphere.

Read more about Firemizer here.

Five Wood Stove Myths That You Shouldn’t Believe

Fact or Fiction? Every product seems to have myths attached to it and wood burning stoves are not exempt from this. As Wood burning stoves have been a part of homes for hundreds of years there are many myths.

Here are five wood stove myths that you shouldn’t believe!

chiminea Stove flue doesn’t need to be swept

If you are using Firemizer in your stove even though it reduces soot in the chimney we still recommend you get your flue swept at least once or twice a year. The best times to have your chimney swept are just before the start of the heating season and after your stove has not been used over a prolonged period. The second time should be after the peak of the main heating season. As well as this, cracks could appear, or animals may nest in the chimney it is better to be safe than sorry as most chimney fires happen when the stove hasn’t been in use for a while. Check out our blog on cleaning your stove!

Stoves are bad for the environment

With the current climate change, emergency people are worried their stove could be harming the environment. However, this may have been true many years ago but as stoves burn off 90% of the fuel meaning this high efficiency leaves very little to up the chimney. In addition, burning wood is carbon neutral as it only releases the same amount of carbon dioxide as it took in.

Stoves burn the best when they glow orange

This is false, if you see a stove with patches of its glowing orange from the heat this is known as over firing. this will damage the stove. It can weaken the body of the stove and burn fuel at a faster rate.

Stoves are banned from cities in the UK

Many UK cities are smoke controlled areas where you can only burn a DEFRA approved stove. DEFRA stand for the department for environment, food and rural affairs, they have set a high standard for stoves to ensure a clean burn. Stoves with a low particle emission and very high efficiency are approved to burn in smoke-controlled areas. If you have an older stove using Firemizer is proven to increase efficiency and reduce particulate emissions by 72%.

coalI can burn anything on my stove

If you have a wood burning stove, you should ideally only burn wood. This should be well seasoned with less than 20% moisture content. Treated wood, for instance, wood that has been painted, creosoted and railway sleepers must not be burnt in your stove. These will release harmful pollutants into the atmosphere and could harm your stove.

If you have a multi-fuel stove, you can burn seasoned wood and smokeless fuels. Make sure that your smokeless fuel has less than 20% petroleum content with your fuel merchant before buying. A high pet coke content will overheat the internal components of your stove and will cause premature damage.

Modern stoves are not really designed to be an incinerator, so it is best to recycle your rubbish rather than burn it on the stove. Paper and newspapers can be used to start lighting the fire but never put any plastic on the fire.

 

Should you burn coal?

Currently, there is scrutiny over burning wood and coal in people’s homes. This is to help improve air quality in cities across the UK.
They say the domestic burning of house coal, smokeless solid fuels and wet wood is the single largest primary contributor of harmful sooty particles. Our mission is to refine and improve current conditions as using Firemizer can reduce harmful particulates by 72%.

This leads to the question, should we be burning coal in our homes?

 

These are some of the pros and cons of burning coal!

Pros

  • The most common type of coal is anthracite, the dense composition results in high enter efficiency.
  • The production of coal is on the rise and as a result, the stock of coal is abundant.
  • The cost of coal is low and remains stable compared to other heating sources.

Cons

  • Coal is a finite source, eventually, it will run out and damages the environment in a non-reversible manner.
  • Ash from the coal contains harmful metals, handling the ash with care is important and making sure the disposal of the ash is safe.
  • We all know coal damages the atmosphere, the release of carbon and sulphur dioxide makes coal the number one contributor to Co2 emissions.
  • The way to reach coal is environmentally intrusive, mountains become raised and abandoned mines pose a variety of dangers.

coal Coal and Multi fuel stoves

Multi-fuel stoves can burn coal and wood. But not all multi-fuel stoves burn wood as efficiently as a log burner would. This is due to wood needing to sit on a bed of ash with air coming from above. Coal requires an oxygen source from beneath it in order to produce an effective fire, this is why multi-fuel stoves have raised grates.

Never burn wood and coal at the same time. Coal emits sulphuric acid and combined with the moisture levels from wood creates a corrosive substance that can damage your stove system.

Smokeless fuels

They give out a higher heat and can last 40% longer than coal. More heat makes it into the room rather than being wasted up the chimney. Using Firemizer with your smokeless fuel will burn longer and you will use less fuel to heat your homes and spend significantly less money on fuel.

Smokeless fuels are much better for the environment, these fuels were created to make smoke free areas across the UK and improve air quality. Household Coal can create up to 20% more carbon monoxide than a fire that uses smokeless fuels.
Man-made smokeless fuels can be burned with wood. These can actually assist logs as it burns quicker.

We know that coal isn’t the best for the environment and nowadays there are plenty of alternatives if you are looking to make the switch however many people still rely on burning coal as their heating source.

More information on coal and the environment here! 

 

 

How To clean Your Fire!

After many cold winter months, spring has finally sprung! Now might be the perfect time to clean your stove you’ve been burning ruthlessly throughout winter. To get you started here are some helpful spring cleaning tips!

shovel poker and brush Tools

  • Make sure you have the right tools for the job.
  • Say NO to plastic, only use metal tools.
  • Use a metal shovel and brush but only sweep when the ash is cold!
  • Take care and wear thick gloves and use a metal bucket for ash.



Top tip; if you burn wood, it burns better with a little bit of ash left in the bottom so you don’t need to throw it all away.  Here are some more useful tips for what to do with leftover ash!

 

keeping the glass clean

  • Use damp newspaper or a paper towel and dip it in wood ash. This will help clean the glass of your stove. Another way is to burn a few high-temperature fires before cleaning, make sure you are burning well dried well-seasoned wood.
  • warm glass is easier to clean but make sure the glass is cool enough to touch!
  • Cleaning the glass regularly will help with build up.
  • Don’t spray water on to hot stove glass, as this could cause the glass to shatter or break.
Make sure you get your chimney and flue swept around once a year! Using Firemizer will help prevent lots of build up of creosote in your chimney or flue.

 

Air pollution

We can’t talk about cleaning without mentioning air pollution. Did you know that if you use Firemizer in your stove it reduces particulates and emissions by 72% and it works with Fire pits so you don’t need to stop enjoying the fire in this spring weather!

Safety

  • This is a good time to check your fire and carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Make sure you have a suitable fire extinguisher
  • Always be careful when dealing with fire!

With all these cleaning tips you’ll have a lovely clean stove in no time!

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