The dangers of burning damp wood

chimney clogged with soot and tar

What are the dangers of burning damp wood? We are sometimes asked why we don’t sell more logs rather than briquettes. The simple answer is that the moisture content of wood fuel needs to be as low as possible to avoid problems like the one shown in this photograph.

As winter progresses it becomes more and more difficult to obtain really dry wood for burning. We don’t sell logs that have a moisture content in excess of 20%. At the end of a hot summer like the one we’ve just had, it’s not too difficult to buy dry logs. Because of the fast-growing demand for timber to burn, by mid-winter much of the wood is often well in excess of 30% moisture content.

Burning wet logs produces a heavy smoke that condenses onto the cooler sides of the flue or chimney. This causes tar and acidic residues to build up, a major cause of chimney fires. These compounds also cause damage to the stove and flue. Burning damp wood can tar up your flue, making chimney fires a danger.

So, why are briquettes different?

Wood briquettes are made from already dried, very compressed waste wood. They have a consistently low moisture content, usually between 6-8%. This reduces the dangers of burning damp wood They cause very little soot and tar so are far safer to burn. They also don’t spit, which not only reduces the fire hazard substantially but is also greatly appreciated by pets!

Other advantages of wood briquettes are that they are clean and easy to handle. They don’t bring bugs and spiders into the house and they take up a lot less space in storage. For all but the most enormous stoves or those lucky enough to have access to free timber, they also cost less to burn, calorie for calorie, than logs. If you lack storage space for woodfuel, why not use our storage service and virtual draw-down system to take advantage of the best bulk-buying prices. Store your fuel with us and just collect it from our depot as and when you need it.

For more details please call on 01387 731210 – or why not just drop by our Heathhall depot and take a look at all the wood fuels that are on offer?

This site uses cookies.
ConfigureHide Options
Read our privacy policy

This site uses cookies for marketing, personalisation, and analysis purposes. You can opt out of this at any time or view our full privacy policy for more information.

Your basket is currently empty.

Return to shop

Quick guide to choosing the best Wood Fuel for your stove and lifestyle.

Wood Fuel Co-operative

*Break - We strongly recommend you break these briquettes in half (or less for very small stoves) because they do expand whilst burning and you don't want them to overfill the fire.
*Easy to light - We always use a Firelighter and Kindling Sticks to start our fires. Most briquettes are graded four stars to light because they are quite dense and require kindling.


  • All stove and flue combinations tend to have different burning characteristics. Fuel that works well in my stove may not work so well in your stove, and vice-versa.
  • Most modern stoves are more efficient than most older stoves, meaning a modern quality stove will burn fuel more economically and generate more heat over a longer period.
  • Always try to burn fuel with a 'lick of flame'. Smouldering fuel to try to extend burn time is bad for your stove, flue and the environment due to unburned particulate matter in the smoke.
  • Be prepared to break briquettes into smaller sections to fit into your stove comfortably. Many briquettes do expand whilst burning and you don't want them to expand onto the glass.
  • The chart above indicates which briquettes are easy to break. Some are small enough so they don't need breaking. This makes for a cleaner environment around your stove.
  • All briquettes, except Everyday Value and Hotmax, benefit hugely from using kindling to light them. I suggest five kindling sticks will be sufficient, meaning a net should last 30 days.