A response to concerns over indoor pollution from wood burning stoves

Some of you will have read the newspaper coverage of a piece of research done by the University of Sheffield which alleges the potential for damage to consumers health through indoor pollution caused by refilling wood burning stoves.

We write this having consulted with the Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) who share our view that while we welcome all research designed to make stoves safer, we have some concerns over the limitations of the study but do not refute that it was undertaken in good faith. The SIA also hope to commission a formal academic review of the study and have also contacted Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation with an invitation to discuss the findings.

As for continuing to use your stove safely, we would like to offer some advice that we believe will minimise any notional risks:

  1. Using a modern Eco-design appliance with correctly seasoned firewood reduces both pollutants and carbon emissions
  2. You should only be refuel your stove when the fuel bed is down to just glowing embers and the door should be opened slowly, with a slight pause, to allow adjustment of air pressure. It should also only remain open for the minimum time required to refuel safely.
  3. The air flow bar should always be full extended when refuelling to ensure a good flue draw into the machine.
  4. And finally, it is vital that your stove is serviced, and your chimney swept on an annual basis to ensure safe and efficient performance

We know that research of this sort can be concerning to users and understand that this can be worrying without some context around the findings. We believe however that while eradicating all risk of pollution completely from burning wood is very difficult, correct and responsible use of well-designed, Eco-design ratified machine will minimise this, to a safe level.