young couple choosing new wood burner

Guide for First-Time Stove Owners: Tips for Using and Maintaining a Wood-Burning Stove

Hello, fellow stove enthusiasts! We wanted to cover off something close to our heart: wood-burning stoves. Whether you've just moved into a new home equipped with one or you're considering adding a stove to your home, there's a lot to learn about how to use and maintain them properly. So, let's dive in and explore some essential tips for first-time stove owners.

Embrace the Basics

Before we delve into the intricacies of stove operation, let's start with the basics. A wood-burning stove is a heating appliance designed to burn wood efficiently and provide warmth and a focal point in your home. They come in various sizes, styles, and materials, but they all function on the same fundamental principle: combustion.

Choosing the Right Wood

The type of wood you burn greatly influences the performance of your stove. Hardwoods like oak, maple, and birch are excellent choices. The most important point to mention is that your wood should be sufficiently dry, a moisture content of 20% or below is required. Some stove owners only use kiln dried firewood for this reason. You can find out more on the pro’s and cons of kiln dried firewood here.

Lighting Your Fire

When starting a fire in your wood-burning stove, it's essential to use proper kindling and firelighters to get things going. Remember to leave enough space between the logs for air to circulate, promoting efficient combustion. We recommend using the ‘Top down’ method of lighting - our easy to follow guide can be found here.

Controlling the Heat

One of the beauties of a wood-burning stove is its ability to provide adjustable heat output. Most stoves feature air vents or dampers that allow you to regulate the airflow, thereby controlling the intensity of the fire. Experiment with different settings to find the perfect balance between warmth and fuel efficiency for your space.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Regular cleaning and maintenance are crucial for keeping your wood-burning stove in optimal condition. Remove ashes and debris from the firebox regularly to prevent airflow restrictions and ensure proper combustion. Additionally, book a professional chimney sweep at least once a year.

Safety First

Last but certainly not least, prioritise safety when using a wood-burning stove. Install a carbon monoxide detector near the appliance to alert you to any potential leaks - this must be positioned in accordance with Fit an audible CO alarm conforming to BS EN 50291 and positioned in accordance with Building Regulations Approved Document J
Keep flammable materials at a safe distance from the stove.


Owning a wood-burning stove can be a rewarding experience, providing warmth, ambiance, and a sense of connection to nature. By following these tips for proper usage and maintenance, you can enjoy your stove safely and efficiently for years to come. So, fire up that wood stove, cosy up with a good book, and enjoy the warmth of the flames.

Happy heating!

Written by Gary Walker 
Gary, owner of Swept. Chimney Sweeping Services in Huddersfield, is a HETAS trained and approved chimney sweep, co-founder of GD Logs (, and an award-winning direct marketing expert. Raised on a small holding with a passion for wood burners since the 80s, Gary is City & Guilds NPTC qualified in Chainsaws and Tree Felling. He advocates for sustainable heating fuels and possesses a passion for wood burning stoves. 

Back to advice page

We need your consent to load the translations

We use a third-party service to translate the website content that may collect data about your activity. Please review the details in the privacy policy and accept the service to view the translations.