Wood Burning stoves work best when lighting them on a bed of ash already in the bottom of the stove. In a Multi Fuel stove you can do the same if your grate is in the closed position for burning logs. Newspaper Firelighters Take some newspaper or plain paper but not glossy magazine or coated paper. Twist the paper andmake small donut shaped pieces, tucking one end inside the middle to hold the shape. Try to keep them fairly loose. You will need 4-6 of these depending on the size of your fire box. Then place 1-2 pieces of firelighter in the paper, near the front so you can easily light them. If you do not have newspaper, you can use extra kindling which the firelighters will ignite but use a larger piece of firelighter for this.
You need a good amount of kindling (small pices of chopped up wood, preferably soft wood as this get burning quicker and hotter. Depepnding on your fire box size you will need between 8-12 pieces to get a good flame going This will heat up the chimney which helps to create the draw required in the flue. Try to stack these in 2-3 layers and keep some space between them on each layer which creates a good air flow.
Fully open the air control(s) on the stove. Multi Fuel stoves has 2 and Wood Burners only have 1. You can use matches or a lighter, the lighter with the extended nozzle are quite good for this. Light the newspaper and or firelighters and close the door but leave it slightly ajar to create extra air flow being sucked into the stove over the kindling, which will help it to catch alight quicker. Some people prefer to put a couple of small logs on top of the kindling at this stage. You can also wait until the kindling is burning fiercely and then put a couple of small logs on then. Once the fire is burning really hot and well, close the door and shut off the bottom air supply if you are using a multi fuel stove and burning logs. Now you can add 1-2 larger logs on top, which should start to burn quickly with the stove up to temperature. If you are using a Multi-Fuel stove and burning smokeless coal, use the above instructions the same just replace logs with smokeless coal. On the Multi-Fuel stove the top air vent is generally closed after the stove has reached its temperature if you are using smokeless coal and you keep the bottom vent open, as coal burns with the airflow coming from below, whereas if you are using logs on a Multi-Fuel stove you would close the bottom air vent and leave the top air vent open as logs burn with air flow coming from above.
The Air wash system allows a curtain of warm air to pass over the glass on your stove. This helps to stop the glass from being blackened. If you close the Air wash slider this will reduce the amount of air passing over the glass and the glass will start to blacken but once you fully open it up again this should generally clear the glass within a few minutes.
It is better to put some smaller logs on first to get the temperature of the stove up to where it should be and then you can put larger logs on. If the fire has died down when you need to re-fuel, open up the air vent to maximum to get a good air flow into the stove and this will help the logs to catch fire again quickly. Burning logs with the air vent closed off will not allow the logs to fully combust and will create a lot of smoke and not much heat, which is not good for the stove or the environment. When you are burning logs at the correct temperature, the logs will also give off a gas and this will also combust, giving extra heat. Make sure you always buy well-seasoned logs with the correct moisture content. Some supermarkets are selling nets of logs and in Very small print it says these need to be seasoned before use!!! Which would be two years.
You can buy a wood moisture meter online quite cheaply, so It is worth buying one to make sure the wood you are burning is suitable and also you are not being ripped off from your log supplier as there are some unscrupulous ones out there selling freshly felled trees as seasoned logs when they are not. A good sign to look for is bark peeling away from the log and cracks appearing in the centre of the log. This shows it has been cut quite a while ago and the cracking shows where the log is drying out. One sign that you can tell if your wood is too damp, is the stove glass door will blacken up and the logs will not want to catch alight. DO NOT burn any wood that has been painted or treated with wood preserver or similar. DO NOT burn wood and coal together – There are many different views on this but from our experience, we would say not. If you have a Multi-Fuel stove either burn wood or Smokeless coal. It is ok to put the coal on at the end of the evening when you have charcoal left in the stove to keep the stove going for longer overnight The reason for this is that Coal contains sulphuric acid. Wood, even properly seasoned will have a moisture content between 12-25 %.
When the two fuels are burned together, the sulphur is released by the coal and water from the wood combine to create a horrible sticky black goo (creosote) that will stick to all parts of your stove and flue system, which can corrode it quite quickly and lead to other damage to the internal parts of your stove. When cooled the Creosote hardens and is very difficult to remove. If this builds up in your liner, chimney flue or Twin Wall flue pipes, this can lead to a chimney fire. Best practice is to only burn One fuel at a time. Also note, Smokeless coal (Anthracite) is the coal you should be using. Do NOT burn normal house coal in a Multi-Fuel Stove. Burning Correctly If you are burning your logs correctly, apart from when first lighting the stove, if you go outside and check the chimney pot, you should only see a clear vapour coming from the top. Most modern stoves are clean burning. They have a secondary burn feature where it helps to combust unburnt hydrocarbons, thereby producing much smaller particulates which is better for us and the environment. It is better to put a smaller number of logs on and burn hotter and cleanly then try to put lots of logs on and burn slowly with the air restricted. Doing the latter produces lots of smoke and very little heat, wasting your money and polluting the air.