Burn Better

Defra has launched its Burn Better, Breathe Better campaign for the 2023/24 heating season.
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Burn Better, Breathe Better: Reduce the negative impact your stove or open fire can have on your health 

Defra has launched its Burn Better, Breathe Better campaign for the 2023/24 heating season.

The Defra UK Air website suggests using a stove or open fire at home is a major contributor of a pollutant called fine particulate matter (known as PM2.5). These tiny particles can damage your lungs and other organs and can be harmful to your health.

Making small changes to how you burn can provide benefits, including:

1. Improving the air we all breathe by reducing the amount of pollution produced.

2. Keeping you and your family safe by reducing the risk of chimney fires.

3. Helping you get the most out of your stove or open fire so that it performs better – by using less fuel to produce more heat.

The Burn Better, Breathe Better campaign is encouraging stove and open fire users to follow three simple steps: Check it regularly, Sweep it annually and Feed it the right fuels.

Check it

Regular maintenance of your stove or open fire means it will perform better, use less fuel to produce more heat, and produce fewer harmful particles. Book a visit from a HETAS Approved Sweep & Service Technician to check over your stove or open fire.

There are many regular maintenance tips you can undertake to ensure ongoing performance of your stove, from clearing out stove ash, to checking rope seals and cleaning the glass. Visit the HETAS Advice Hub for more top tips.

Sweep it

We always recommend having your chimney swept at least once a year. You will have no doubt seen our Chimney Fire Safety Week campaign and we will be reminding you again in January (through to March) when around 40% of chimney fires happen. We have approved sweeps all over the country and you can search for your local sweep here.

Feed it

Make sure you are choosing the right fuels for your stove. Choose cleaner alternatives, such as dry wood and manufactured solid fuels, as they produce less smoke and pollution than wet wood or traditional house coal (sales now banned in England) and are cheaper and more efficient to burn. Look out for the Ready to Burn certification mark when purchasing fuels.

Other things to consider

In addition to the Burn Better, Breathe Better principles of Check it, Sweep it, Feed it, there are some other simple steps to get the best out of your stove.

Always use your stove in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Learn how to best use the air controls for optimum burn and avoid slumbering your stove (unless your stove has been tested to do so).

Ventilation – all stoves require a sufficient supply of air for combustion to operate correctly and to ensure a good flue draw to disperse products of combustion to outside. How much air available within a property will be fully dependent on the property’s construction, any existing ventilation openings and any home improvements undertaken to increase its air-tightness. Learn more about the importance of ventilation here.

Lighting a fire – we have some top tips to ensure you can light your fire successfully.

Still using an open fire?

As much as 70% of the heat generated by an open fire disappears up the chimney and is far more polluting that an efficient wood burning stove. Consider upgrading to a Cleaner Choice stove, certified by HETAS and achieving at least a 50% improvement on current particulate limits for exemption, when measured using the more robust test methodology recognised within the UK. Find out more about Cleaner Choice certification here and search hundreds of certified stoves and boilers here.

For more information and to learn about the steps you can take to Burn Better this winter visit: https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/library/burnbetter/. A series of assets are also available on the UK Air website.


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