Phil Wood, Contura country manager for the UK and Ireland, provides information on the latest stove trends and offers tips on choosing the right wood and on how to look after your stove to maximise efficiency

“Wood burning stoves are common fixtures in many Scandinavian homes and are growing in popularity across the UK. Not only are they a better heat source than traditional open fireplaces, offering around 60 per cent more efficiency, the overall design of more contemporary models is on-trend and stylish, making wood burning stoves a statement product which more homeowners than ever are looking to invest in.”

Latest stove trends “The appetite for the smaller, more traditional cast iron stove models has contracted during the last 12 months. More consumers are now opting for the freestanding-style stove as open-plan living becomes ever more popular and the stove increasingly becomes a piece of ‘hot furniture’ that satisfies both design and heating requirements in one unit. The interiors trend of opening up the rear of a property into a lounge/diner or kitchen/diner, very often with a rear extension, creates the perfect space for freestanding stoves.

“It’s also more and more popular to install a stove where there may not be a chimney or the existing chimney is not in the correct position, as homeowners become more aware that steel chimney systems can be installed practically anywhere."

Getting the best from your wood burner “There are a number of simple things you can do to ensure you get the best out of your wood burner. We recommend an annual chimney and flue sweep to ensure the fire chamber and flue are kept free from blockages, allowing the stove to perform at maximum efficiency.

“Drier logs mean a much more efficient burn so if possible, go for kiln-dried wood. And if you invest in a soapstone surround, you’ll benefit from extra heat retention, meaning the stove will stay warm for hours after the fire has been extinguished without the need to add more logs.

“Good ventilation within the room will also help your stove’s performance by allowing the heat to circulate more effectively.

“The good news about Contura stoves is that they only need to be cleaned around once a month (even during periods of regular use), as the wood burns down almost entirely to leave only ashes, which can be raked through quickly after each use. Maintaining a clean stove is vital in order to protect it and the chimney from contaminants. This will improve the overall performance and efficiency and increase the stove’s lifespan.”

Choosing the right wood “When choosing a wood type, it’s important to take into account that generally the more you spend, the drier the wood and the better the burn will be. Cheap wood can very often have quite high moisture content, so we always recommend buying from an accredited British supplier to be sure of the wood’s origin.

“Kiln dried wood, and species such as ash, beech or birch, burns particularly well and is available in bags, making it very convenient to store. This is the more expensive option though, so if you have a suitable storage space you can always cut and store your own logs in a suitable wood-shed that allows air circulation. This ‘seasoning’ process can take 12 months depending on the species so you need to plan ahead. It’s also worth purchasing plenty of kindling and some natural, non-petrol based firelighters, as this is really handy to get the fire started without the need for dangerous flammable liquids.

“Woodsure, the UK’s woodfuel accreditation scheme, has recently launched its new ‘Ready to Burn' initiative, which offers a certification mark to suppliers who can demonstrate that their logs have a moisture content below 25 per cent, so if you’re looking for a guarantee, keep an eye out for the Ready to Burn label.”

Saving money whilst saving the environment “Modern, clean burning, Ecodesign-ready stoves reduce carbon emissions by up to 90 per cent. Contura heat chambers have been designed to have complete combustion and ensure hydrocarbons are re-burnt within the chamber, radically minimising their release into the atmosphere. This complete combustion process and clean-burning means the vast majority of Contura stoves are exempt from the DEFRA Clean Air Act and thus approved for use in Smoke Control Areas across the UK.

“What’s more, burning a sustainable and renewable energy source such as wood offers a better heating economy in the long-term as it reduces the reliance on energy from power stations used to power central heating; this can help cut electricity and gas bills as well as reducing your home’s carbon footprint.”



Fire By Design, Riverside Park Industrial Estate, Wimborne,

New Forest Woodburning Centre Ltd, Ricardo Way, Lymington,