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Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Buying Firewood


So, you’ve taken the plunge and invested in a log burner for your home for a bit more atmosphere and the allure of the warmth of natural heat from a fire, and it’s time to stock up on fuel. If you’ve never used one before, you may not have thought about the importance of your firewood selection, but there are many common pitfalls you can experience.

This extends from first-time buyers to seasoned burners, which is why Logs Direct, leading suppliers of kiln-dried firewood in the UK, has outlined some of the most common mistakes buyers of firewood make.

Don’t ignore local legislation
Being unaware of regulations and laws for firewood can be the difference maker that results in being handed a hefty fine. For example, throughout the UK, the selling and purchase of wet wood and house coal in units under 2m3 has been illegal since May 2021. This is due to the levels of smoke and harmful fumes they emit when burning, so you should always aim to buy well-seasoned, dried logs.

Alternatively, you might be in a smoke control area. These are areas where local councils limit the amount of smoke that can be released by a chimney, which includes only being able to burn materials that are authorised. There are Defra-exempt devices to which these don’t apply, but you could face a fine of more than £1,000 if you burn an unauthorised fuel without said exempt burner. 

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Leicester Mercury
Smoke Control Area Map

If you’re wondering whether you fall within a smoke control area, there are helpful maps provided by the UK government. Research into your local authorities around other regulations will help keep you in line with sustainability practices for woodburning and avoid any legal or financial repercussions you might face.

Know your logs – the differences and the safety
It’s understandable that when buying firewood, your thought process is that it’s wood and it burns. There’s a lot more to choosing wood types, especially around how efficient and environmentally impactful they can be. The first important information is to know the difference between hardwood and softwood.

Hardwoods, such as oak and beech, are long-burning and produce large amounts of heat. These are perfect for the heating rooms of a home. Softwoods are light-fast and burn quicker, which makes them perfect for kindling. Understanding what type of wood you’re buying can help when building a fire for the right level of heat and time burning.

One thing that’s important to note is that the logs you’re buying must be dried sufficiently with a moisture content of less than 20%. The smoke from wetter logs produces more creosote that builds up in your chimney and can be a fire hazard. Becoming familiar with these woods helps inform your buying decisions and avoid mistakes.


Keep your burning sustainable
Buying sustainably has become a huge conversation for shoppers, especially as many are conscious of how their buying habits affect our environment and society. So, where the logs you purchase are sourced from becomes an important consideration when beginning your hunt for firewood.

If you’re choosing to buy online, you can do research into where the company sources their wood from. Buying British wood that has come from forests throughout the country means you’re avoiding additional emissions that come from transporting material overseas from other countries. This reduces the overall contribution to the carbon footprint before it’s even burnt.

Knowing that the logging has occurred without contributing to the endangerment of local wildlife, deforestation, or disruption of ecosystems is also crucial to sourcing more sustainably. Most log suppliers acknowledge their forestry practices and how responsible they are, as well as how they season their wood, so be sure to do ample research on who you’re buying from.

A healthy, hearty fire when the weather gets colder is enticing, but it’s always important when you’re buying wood to stay informed and make the right choices. Before you go into the browsing and buying, you should prioritise doing the appropriate research into local legislation and the types of logs you’re buying to stay as sustainable as possible. This way, you’re staying within the lines of the law, and you can enjoy your stove, fireplace, or firepit completely guilt-free.

Stephen Talbot, Sales Director
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