Changes in Rules Surrounding Wood Burning Stoves – What they are and How they will affect you?

wood burning stove

Changes in Rules Surrounding Wood Burning Stoves – What they are and How they will affect you?

Wood burning stoves are a great way to keep your home warm and cosy during the winter months. They provide a low cost and highly efficient form of heating, but they must be installed and used in accordance with regulations in order to ensure that they are safe to use and also meet current legislation.

In the United Kingdom, there are several regulations which must be followed in order to ensure the safety of your home and the environment when using a wood burning stove. As of the 1st January 2022, new rules governing the design and manufacture of log burners came in to force under Eco Design 2022 Legislation. 

The aim of Eco Design 2022 legislation is to implement a rigorous and harmonised set of standards to ensure that all log burners and multi-fuel stoves sold in Europe meet stringent carbon emission limits.

This legislation will also operate in other countries to reduce the overall manufacturing, sale and use of high-polluting log burners and multi-fuel stoves, as well as incentivise the use of cleaner alternatives. This includes offering grants to install lower-emission stoves, such as those using pellet or woodchip fuels, and for those burning wood to use only sources of sustainably managed wood.

The programme will also set targets for the reduction of air pollutant emissions from existing log burners and multi-fuel stoves, by introducing new fuel standards, including measures such as improved combustion controls, smoke control areas and smokeless zones. As a result, all new woodburning stoves will now come with an emission certificate which shows that the stove meets environmental standards and limits or exceeds emission numbers. These certificates are designed to demonstrate that the stove produces an acceptable level of smoke and other pollutants and is an essential requirement for those who wish to use a wood burning stove in their home.

In addition, Ecodesign 2022 will provide funding to support promotional activities to raise awareness among consumers, makers, installers and retailers about the environmental benefits of cleaner stoves and encourage their use. Finally, it will create a monitoring and compliance scheme to ensure that the emissions standards set out in the programme are being met.

Why were regulations introduced?

New wood burning stove regulations came into effect in order to help reduce air pollution and improve public health. These regulations require all new wood burning stoves to be cleaner and more efficient than older models. The new standards will also help reduce emissions of fine particulate matter and other pollutants, which can worsen air quality and public health. This is part of the Government’s Clean Air Strategy 2019, which aims to reduce overall air pollution in the UK by 2030.

What if our current wood burning stove does not meeting standards?

The new legislation applies to new log burners. Therefore, you can continue to use your existing appliances. The exception here is that if the local authority has implemented a smoke control order in the locality where the property exist. A smoke control order is a legal measure imposed by a local authority which has the power to prohibit, or restrict, the burning of certain fuels in an area, in order to improve air quality. These orders are created and enforced under the Clean Air Acts passed by Parliament. Again, living in a smoke control area does not prohibit fires altogether. It simply means that there will be additional restrictions on what types of fuels can be combusted.

You can find further details in relation to smoke control orders and restrictions through this website –

Best practices when installing and maintaining your wood burning stove

The first rule is that all wood burning stoves must be installed by a qualified and registered installer. If you are unable to locate a Heating Installer through recommendation, you can check the tradesman register from a trusted competent scheme provider such as HETAS.

This is to ensure that the appliance is installed correctly and safely, as incorrect installation could lead to serious accidents or environmental damage if not done properly.

It is also important to note that all wood burning stoves must be fitted with an appropriate flue system, which should meet any requirements set out by the local authority. Without this system, the smoke produced by the stove will not be able to escape properly, leading to increased air pollution and also serious risk to health. A common cause of death duet to carbon monoxide poisoning is as a result of incorrect/non-compliant installation of the flue system.

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas that is produced when fuels such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal are burned. Poisoning can occur when these items are burned in an area with limited air supply, such as a closed garage or an enclosed area. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, confusion, chest pain, and loss of consciousness.

When you light your wood burning stove for the first time, you must also check that your chimney is working correctly. If it does not meet the required standards then smoke from your stove may enter an adjacent property or public area, causing a nuisance. It is important to regularly check that any chimney you have is free from blockages in order to ensure that smoke can travel up and out correctly – this should be done at least once a year by a qualified professional.

The most important thing you can do when operating a wood burning stove is to make sure that only dry, seasoned wood is burned. Burning green wood releases more smoke than dry wood, as well as releasing more toxins into the air – this can lead to local air pollution. In addition, wet or unseasoned wood will produce more smoke and can sometimes leave residues in the chimney.

Those who own a wood burning stove also need to ensure that their chimney is swept at least twice a year by a certified chimney sweep. This ensures that soot and ash build up is removed, which can cause hazardous blockages in the flue and lead to poor performance or even damage to the chimney itself. It is advisable to have your chimney swept before each heating season, as well as if you experience any kind of strange smells or visible smoke coming from the chimney when burning wood.

Finally, it’s important to remember that wood burning stoves can only be used in an enclosed container or open fire pit so as not to endanger anyone nearby with smoke or embers.

What are the rules surrounding a wood burning stove installation –

  1. Log burners should be installed by a qualified technician in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and any relevant fire safety regulations.
  2. They should be located in accordance with local building regulations, away from combustible materials such as wood and plasterboard.
  3. Ensure that the area around the log burner is free from flammable objects, including furniture, curtains, carpets and rugs.
  4. Ensure that you have installed an appropriate and correctly sized flue or chimney so that carbon monoxide and other gases created by burning logs can be safely dispersed.
  5. Fit a carbon monoxide alarm in the same room as the log burner.
  6. You should repair or service your log burner once a year, ensuring that it is fully functioning and operating safely.

Do you require building regulations for the installation of a log burner?

The answer to this depends on who fits the burner. It is best practice is to use a HETAS (Heating Equipment Testing and Approvals Scheme) recognised engineer to install the log burner. If you go down this route, the engineer is qualified to provide certification for the installation and will produce a certificate of compliance. You can then present this to your local council as proof of the works completed and complete the relevant registration of the works. If, on the other hand, you install the log burner yourself, or use a non-HETAS recognised installer, then you will need to arrange a visit from the Building Control Department of your local council to sign off the works once completed. They will also need to be notified before works commence.

 Do you require planning for installation of a log burner?

Not unless the property is listed. If it is you may need to apply for special permission to install a log burning stove, as this type of alteration requires the approval of Historic England or the relevant local authority.

What types of fuel can be used in a log burner?

You should not use any type of fuel other than logs in a log burner, as this could cause a fire hazard. This includes liquid fuels such as petrol, kerosene, or any other flammable liquid.

Are flu liners mandatory?

No, it is not a legal requirement to have a flue liner. However, it is recommended by many industry professionals, as a flue liner can help to ensure that the smoke from your stove or fireplace is released safely and efficiently.

 Do we need a carbon monoxide detector?

 Yes, a carbon monoxide detector must be installed in the same room as where the log burner is installed. Generally, a log burner should be installed correctly and with adequate ventilation to prevent the build up of harmful carbon monoxide.

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