We're moving into a house with one. Can someone tell me about the wood? Do you have to order it in or can you just use wood you find on a walk?! Probably a really dumb question but I have no idea, having never paid them any attention before.
'Found' wood will often be damp, and won't burn well. You will almost certainly need to dry it out first: stacking/storing it by the fire-place for a day or two will do it nicely. Unless you live by a forest, you are unlikely to be able to gather enough for all your needs.
Bought wood comes in different qualities. Cured/dried hardwood burns best and is most efficient. Softwood burns too quickly; uncured/green wood spits and does not burn well at all. Sometimes you can tell wood quality by eye, but not always, ime. If I were you, I'd buy wood from a few different sources and try to notice how it burns, before you settle on a regular supplier.
we have collected a load on our walks and dh is about to build his third wood store - they are only made of pallet size though and then he has split it to dry out and having purchased a moisture meter of ebay he has put all ones twenty and under in the to burn this winter pile and the rest is in the lets re measure at end of summer pile. anal eh!
Love ours too. We tend to pick up all of our kindling on walks and the dry it out for a few weeks. Kids love collecting in.
Top tip for cleaning the class - just dab some scrunched up newspaper in water and then in the ash inside the woodburner and polish the glass with it. Comes up a treat and no need to get the special (and expensive) glass cleaner.
Another woodburner fan here. Have cooked eggs in a frying pan on the top during a power cut before. We rarely use our central heating as the burner takes the chill off the rest of the house as well. It does generate dust though from when you sweep the ashes out.
Love ours and wouldn't be without one. As we are in a thatch we had to consult our insurers before fitting one. They gave us a short list of things we HAD to do. The main one being to get a qualified person to fit it, it should also always have a liner fitted in the chimney.
It's really not worth saving a few hundred pounds because a wrongly fitted wood burner can cause a very serious house fire.
Our old next door neighbours did everything on the cheap. They moved out last year and a couple with a new baby moved in. About 3 months ago their chimney coughs fire. It was an extremely scary thing to happen in the middle of the night. The fireman disconnected the wood burner and said it was very badly fitted(no surprise there) and the couple should not use it. PLEASE get it fitted properly (rant over)
Living in an old, listed building we need to use two all day every day during the winter (alternative would be running oil fired central heating). There does come a point when I get sick of cleaning them, fetching wood in from the wood store, making the fire, adding wood to the fire, etc. etc. It does start to feel like a bit of a chore after a few months...
Sorry to be a party pooper, but taking wood when you're out walking is theft. Belongs to the landowner - even publically owned woods its not yours to take!
Also, as others have said, you need properly seasoned wood - that means 18months - 2.5 years. (Wood should be felled in the spring, and that wood is not ready for burning till the following spring). You need to find a reputable log supplier - unscrupulous ones will sell you green wood or softwood.
If you're getting a new one fitted, its worth getting a multi-fuel stove so that you can burn coal. This winter was so long and last summer so damp, that you could not buy genuinely seasoned logs, so useful to be able to burn coal in emergencies.
The law doesn't actually say much about collecting firewood, funnily enough! It is true that most trees grow on someone's land, and such trees belong to someone, and so does their wood - so taking it would technically be theft. But bearing in mind that taking someone to court costs hundreds or thousands of pounds, you are extremely unlikely to be prosecuted if you are simply collecting fallen wood and not doing any damage.
The exception is Common Land. This is land available for use 'in common' by local people ('commoners') who often do have the right to collect firewood, and to do things like keep goats/sheep/chickens on it! Sadly, there's not much common land left - only 3% of land in England.