Burning logs

Burning logs as a principal means of heating my large 1920s house cuts the household energy bill by half, and is carbon neutral.

It also helps to clean up the West Pennine Moors where I live and practice as a GP, and gives my patients a useful way to dispose of unwanted wood.

Using my metre long Sandvik bladed bow saw enables me to warm up twice — once while sawing the logs (an excellent form of exercise), and then again during their combustion. I also use a heavy duty polythene-shafted axe, which splits large logs rather like a knife through butter.

My main source of ‘green’ heat is a British-made Clearview stove, which space heats the entire house without link up to the central heating system. When at full power, it heats the chimney breast, both up and downstairs. The stove has a smoke reburn baffle that recycles the smoke back though the flames and so permits it to be used in a smokeless zone. However, it is still always advisable to season wood for 12 months in a covered log pile before burning to reduce smoke and maximise heat output.

The stove is fitted with an efficient damping mechanism that will easily enable it to simmer for up to eight hours, leaving embers on which to put the next logs in the morning.

A Baxi Burnall Underfloor Draught open fire services my other living room. This is much less efficient than the stove, but the seasoned birch burnt on this fire in very cold weather permeates the whole house with the sweet scent that only birch can produce, and affords a wonderful focal point to the room.

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