Wood fire

Common Misconceptions About Wood Burning Stoves


Modern wood-burning stoves and fireplaces offer a renewable, sustainable heat source with low emissions. There’s a lot of misconceptions concerning the environmental effect of wood-burning stoves. Since 2015, misinformation and a lack of understanding have unfairly humiliated wood-burning stoves for excessive emissions.


Wood burner in fireplace


Wood-burning stoves are polluting the planet

A 2014 survey incorrectly estimated that 6 million tonnes of wood were burnt every year. This would be equivalent to more than half of the wood used each year in the UK, including construction, packaging, and industry. The actual amount is closer to 1.75 million tonnes.


According to the media, a wood stove emits as much pollution as 15 diesel automobiles. This statement was based on unscientific tests in which a car travelled slowly while the stove burned quicker than usual. Researchers only examined exhaust-related pollution, despite approximately half of a car’s particle pollution coming from tyres and brakes. They ignored the fact that car exhausts are ground-level and chimneys emit air pollution. Modern stoves are so efficient, little fuel goes up the chimney and burning wood releases as much carbon dioxide as it absorbs. Read more about what the future looks like for wood burning here.


Sources of emmissions


Wood burning stoves are being banned but open fires are fine.

Another widely held notion is that wood-burning stoves are being banned, this is mainly due to inaccurate reporting, the only recent change in legislation is, that any stove manufactured after January 2022 must conform to new efficiency standards – ECO design. Also widely unknown, in Smoke controlled zones, certain fuels such as wood have been banned in Open Fires since 1956. However, you can burn wood in a smoke-controlled zone if you have a DEFRA Exempt stove. To reiterate the point, in London and other major cities, you can not burn wood on an open fire but you can burn wood on a stove.


It’s also worth noting that when using an open fire, it’s difficult to direct the heat where you want it and up to 75% of the heat produced escapes through the chimney. A wood-burning stove allows for more effective temperature control. Only 30% of heat is lost through the chimney when the door is closed. A wood-burning stove efficiently heats your home since most of the heat is emitted inside.


Open fire v wood burner


The truth about wood burning stoves

Modern wood stoves are crucial for a low-carbon future. Under the current price cap, a wood burning stove is a third cheaper than electric heating and 13% cheaper than gas central heating for the average home. Compared to an open fire, a modern stove uses around a third as much wood while producing the same amount of heat! Using local, renewable wood fuel helps reduce the carbon impact of home heating. When properly seasoned wood fuel (such as Ready to Burn) is used in a modern wood stove, the smoke is nearly undetectable. A modern stove can cut particle emissions by 80% compared to an older one. Manufacturers work to reduce this with each new burner.


Firewood burning stoves waste energy

Misinformation in the media and an inability to separate between high-polluting, inefficient traditional stoves and new, eco design wood burning stoves have led to these errors. Old stoves, which don’t burn as cleanly as Eco-design stoves and wood burners, waste energy and damage the environment, according to research. The research even includes bonfires, barbecues, outdoor pizza ovens, yard trash burners, and wildfires!


A stove is a great addition to any hearth, it looks fantastic and is a green way to heat your home efficiently and economically. At SweepSmart we offer fireplace and stove installations along with a comprehensive after-sales option. Feel free to contact us to make an appointment or get some advice – we’d be happy to hear from you.


wood burner


Check the facts

We know it’s annoying when articles claim something without providing any evidence.

Click here to view updated data and recent official studies: Home and Garden Fires in the United Kingdom: A Report from the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra), UK.

The level of particle matter in the air in the UK is at a record low.

The most recent data may be found at the National Statistics: Emissions Of Air Pollutants In The UK – Particulate Matter (PM10 And PM2.5) (GOV.uk)