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How To Keep The Home Fires Burning

How To Keep The Home Fires Burning
10 January 2019 James Brooke

Contura tips and tricks for the perfect, crackling, welcoming fire this winter.

When it’s cold outside, there are few things more comforting than the warmth and crackle of a freshly lit fire, but it’s important to light your stove or wood burner correctly for the best and most efficient burn.

Aptly named Phil Wood, Chief Firestarter and UK Country Manager for Europe’s leading wood burning stove brand Contura, says: “While we all like to think we can just sit back, relax and let the fire burn, in order to create a bright, clean and steady flame there are a few crucial things to consider.

“A few questions you should ask yourself include: What type of wood are you planning to burn, how many logs, and has the stove and chimney been swept clear?”

Read on for the top tips and tricks to creating an inviting, safe, and low-emission fire for the whole family to enjoy this winter.

  1. Type of wood

Before stocking up on fuel, you should consider the type of logs to burn. A mixture of species is best. Hardwoods such as ash, beech and birch will burn for the longest and create a bright flame. Avoid ‘soft’ woods such as pines, firs and cypress, which burn fast and produce a lot of smoke and tar in the chimney. It’s also worth remembering to avoid any wood that has been treated (typically varnish or copper compounds) or painted. Most waste wood like pallets, old furniture or fencing is all treated and should not be burnt.

  1. No wet wood

Damp logs burn poorly and give off more smoke, so make sure the wood you purchase has a moisture content of less than 20% – kiln dried is best. Always try to buy the best quality wood you can afford from a recommended supplier and look out for the Woodsure ‘Ready to Burn’ label, which guarantees an optimum moisture content between 12 and 20%.

  1. How much to burn

It’s important not to overload your fire, so start by placing two split logs in your stove. Kindling wood should be stacked in a crisscross pattern on top of these – doing this leaves space for all important air circulation. Don’t forget to add one or two natural firelighters (never kerosene) in the centre of the kindling to help get the fire burning. As tempting as it can be to throw on old newspaper or ripped up wrapping paper on the stove, both cause soot and blacken the glass in your stove meaning you won’t be able to enjoy watching the flames and will have more cleaning to do at the end of the season.

  1. Light it right

If using a wood burning stove, the trick to keeping that fire burning is to follow the lighting instructions in your product manual. This guide will also advise you about adjusting the air vents to maintain the correct air flow and combustion temperature. Let the door stand ajar for at least 10 minutes after lighting the fire, once burning well it’s time to close the door.

  1. Maintaining the flames

Once the flames have started to die down and the logs are glowing, open the stove door slowly to allow the pressure to equalize. You can then add two more split logs, only reducing the air supply by half once the logs are burning well. Make sure you don’t burn more than the manufacturer recommends though – it’s just two logs an hour in an Ecodesign Ready stove compared to eight logs on an open fire!

  1. Chimney SOS

As a minimum, the chimney and stove should be swept at least once a year. This is a job for the professionals, so do ensure your maintenance check is booked in. An annual check is important to trouble shoot any small issues, check all parts are functioning correctly and ensure the most efficient burn. After all a wood burning stove is for life, not just for Christmas.

For more information on Contura, please visit


Notes to editors:

  • Rooster PR will coordinate comment, interview and profile opportunities for Contura UK Country Manager, Phil Wood. The Contura PR team will also arrange visits to the nearest Contura Design Centre dealerships or the Contura showroom in Doncaster to see the product range.
  • Sources detailed in footnotes.

For further press information:
Elsa Findlay/Jo Kendall/Julie Aguilera
Rooster PR
T: +44 (0)20 3440 8930
E: [email protected]

About Contura
Contura is Europe’s leading manufacturer of wood burning stoves, offering an extensive range of classic and contemporary wood burners; from traditional insert stoves suitable for existing fireplaces, to freestanding statement models made with innovative materials such as soapstone.

Starting at £1,295, Contura stoves are premium yet affordable. Award winning, timeless Swedish design means the products complement or enhance any style of home, whilst also offering outstanding performance, maximum efficiency, practicality and ease of use.

Designed and assembled at the factory located in Markaryd, Sweden, and manufactured to the highest standards, Contura stoves are highly energy efficient, offering powerful convection, superior combustion technology and clean burning systems. Currently, 75% of Contura stoves are DEFRA Clean Air Act exempt and thus approved for use in Smoke Control Areas.

Contura stoves can be purchased through a network of 165 independent retailers nationwide.

Contura is part of the NIBE group, a Swedish manufacturing company producing world class solutions in sustainable energy across Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.

Contura is a founding member of the Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) in the UK.

For more information please visit