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Own a stove or open fire? Here are three ways to burn better

Reduce the negative impact your stove or open fire can have on your health and the environment in three simple steps.

By Rebecca Roberts | Last updated Dec 15, 2023

Own a stove or open fire? Here are three ways to burn better

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For many households, the allure of a crackling fire or the warmth of a stove adds a cosy charm to home life. Whilst it’s nice to have this, they also emit harmful particles (known as PM2.5) that can affect both your health and the environment. 

In fact, latest figures from a report on air pollutants in the UK state that emissions from burning in the home represent 27% of all PM2.5 emissions.

Enjoy your fireside moments but reduce the risk to you and your family by following three simple steps from the Burn Better campaign:

  1. Check it regularly 

  2. Sweep it professionally

  3. Feed it the right fuels

1. Check it regularly

One of the fundamental steps to safer burning is regular maintenance. If you have a stove, make sure you have it serviced once a year. A thorough service not only guarantees optimal functionality, but also addresses potential issues that could lead to increased emissions.

Stoves should be installed by a registered installer or a certified person from HETAS, APHC, BESCA, Certsure, NAPIT or OFTEC. If you’re unsure whether your current system was installed correctly, you can get this checked at your annual service.

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There are additional actions you can take to help maintain both your stove or open fire, including: cleaning out ash, cleaning the stove glass and outside the stove or open fire, checking firebricks for cracks and checking seals around the door.

2. Sweep it professionally 

Over time, soot and debris accumulate, obstructing the chimney flue and causing inefficient burning.

Having your chimney professionally swept at least once a year helps to remove soot and tar build up, reducing emissions and risks of chimney fires. Find out how to book a chimney sweep through the Burn Better website.

3. Feed it the right fuels

Your choice of fuel significantly affects the emissions from your stove or fire. Opt for cleaner-burning fuels that produce fewer harmful particles - like dry wood and manufactured solid fuels - and look out for the “Ready to Burn” logo.

When you see the "Ready to Burn" logo on your fuel, rest assured you're choosing the cleanest option. This logo is prominently displayed on the fuel's packaging or nearby on the shelf, accompanied by the manufacturer's details and a certification number.

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By using approved fuels, you not only reduce the release of PM2.5 into the atmosphere, but also enhance the efficiency of your appliance.

You should always check which fuel types are recommended for your appliance, too. Using the wrong one can damage your appliance, your chimney, and invalidate your warranty. 

To find out how you can burn better to reduce the negative impacts your open stove or fire can have on your family's health, visit the Burn Better website.

About DEFRA

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is the government department responsible for improving and protecting the environment. DEFRA is a ministerial department, supported by 34 agencies and public bodies. 

About the author

Rebecca Roberts is a writer, editor, and content marketing expert hailing from Leeds. Here at Mumsnet, she brings parents content designed to make life easier. Beyond her role as an editor here at Mumsnet, Rebecca can be found balancing life as a working mum of two toddlers and when she’s not at her desk, you’ll likely find her at a local playgroup, in a nearby coffee shop, or walking the dog.