Top tips to get the most from your stove

top tips for your appliance
Flue & Ducting – Lowry

Find a brief overview of our top tips and click through to the full articles:

Lighting a fire

Lighting a fire can sometimes be difficult and there are countless guides on the internet. We have pulled together the best guidance available so you can get it right first time.

Different manufacturers have varying lighting techniques to aid ease of use and reduce smoke emissions. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions when using your stove. In the absence of manufacturer’s instructions, contact a registered installer or approved chimney sweep who will be able to offer appropriate advice.

There are two popular methods of lighting a fire:

  • Traditional Method
  • The Upside Down (or Top Down) Method

For both methods you will need a firelighter, kindling and your firewood. Remember to have appropriate safety gloves and equipment to hand.

Refuelling safely

Always follow the instructions for your appliance and generally, the following tips will help you to safely refuel your fire.

  • Check manufacturer’s instructions for appliance specific guidance
  • Have everything you need close by, gloves, poker, and new fuel
  • Refuel when down to glowing embers
  • Open the door by small amount, pause, to allow air pressure to adjust, before opening door slowly to refuel
  • Add fuel
    • Avoid overloading
    • Leave space for air circulation
  • Close the door
  • Allow fuel to burn on high before adjusting to desired level

Stove ash

Hot and cooling ashes can be a fire and carbon monoxide hazard.

Top tips for the safe disposal of stove ash:

  1. Make sure you leave sufficient time after a fire to let the ash cool and keep the appliance door closed.
  2. Make sure you have the correct equipment to hand, such as safety gloves.
  3. Use a galvanised steel or metal ash can or bucket that can be sealed to collect all the unwanted ash.
  4. Take your time to avoid any ash spreading across your room.
  5. Slowly transport the container outside of your house and dispose of it in a designated area.
  6. Do not allow ash to collect in the bucket inside your house at any time.

Some stoves operate with a small amount of ash, check your manufacturer’s instructions for the best practice for your appliance.


Slumber mode is when an appliance is purposely set at a low or minimum output normally for overnight burning to be revived in the morning without the need for relighting.

There are problems associated with using an appliance for extended periods at low output especially if the appliance is not designed to operate in this way. Similarly, these problems occur if the appliance is the wrong size for the room so that it must be turned down to low output to be comfortable.

The right fuel

Make sure you use a fuel type that matches your appliance’s operating instructions and warranty for a long, reliable, and safe service.

If you live in a smoke control area you can only burn wood in a Defra exempt appliance. Alternatively, you can burn authorised fuels listed by Defra in a non-exempt appliance.

From May 2021, wood sold in volumes of up to 2m³ in England needs to be Ready to Burn certified as having a moisture content of 20% or less. Suppliers selling larger quantities will need to provide customers with clear instructions on storing and seasoning so it is dry to burn. To find out how dry your fuel is, and whether it is ready to use, you can use a moisture meter.

Find your local Ready to Burn firewood supplier on the Woodsure website.

Manufactured solid fuels (MSF) that meet Ready to Burn standards are listed on the Smoke Control website, their ID code starts with MSF.

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