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How Air Flow Affects Burning

an ruf block burning
A good flame needs air flowing through

The amount of air flowing through your stove is key to how well it burns

Air provides oxygen, so the fire burns faster with more air, and slower with less. Learn how to use the vents on your stove to become a master of wood-burning! The best way to do this is to experiment with your own stove.

As a basic guide:

High air flow means :

  • Your fuel may burn too fast
  • It will burn hotter
  • The stove glass will stay clearer
  • You get a good flame

Reducing the air flow means:

  • You get a longer burn time
  • Better temperature control
  • More soot build up on the glass

To keep the stove glass clear, ensure there’s some air flowing all the time. Don’t close the vents completely, and periodically burn hot to clear build up. Many modern stoves designed for smokeless zones have an air-wash feature. This means there’s a constant flow of air across the glass, keeping the glass clear and reducing build up of soot. This makes it harder to control the burn-rate.

It’s also worth remembering that reduced air flow essentially starves the fire of oxygen, meaning it burns less cleanly. You will get more soot and tar from slow burning, so it’s a good idea to let the fire burn nice and hot – with the vents open – on a regular basis. It doesn’t need to be for very long – just enough to heat the flue fully and burn off any particulates from slow-burning. This stops you getting into problems with your chimney but if you have been slow-burning for a while without ever burning it hot, get a chimney sweep to check your flue first. If there is a lot of tar in it, you risk a chimney fire otherwise.

Find a chimney sweep near you through the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps

Certain fuels burn faster or hotter, so check out the description of the burning characteristics to help you choose fuels that suit your stove. Have a browse through our full range of briquettes.

a chart showing the air flow instructions writen above

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