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Press article in the National Association of Chimney Sweeps trade magazine:

Is the message starting to get through? Are people starting to use drier wood?
I suggest the answer is still NO and will undoubtedly be the same for many years to come, so we all need to do our bit in educating wood users about the importance of dry wood and I am quite sure everyone tries, but is it working?

Here at Certainly Wood in Herefordshire we are seeing huge demand for our kiln dried wood – all hardwood and dried to approx 25% moisture content. This provides the end user with a consistently high quality fuel which burns with maximum heat output and most importantly burns clean. Not only do customers with wood burning stoves see the difference with a consistently clean glass, but they have the comfort of knowing their chimney or flue will also be much cleaner and certainly free from bad tarring. Chimneys and flues will still need cleaning, but think how much easier and profitable the industry would become!

We now supply to over 300 retail outlets around the UK, including Northern Ireland and news is spreading fast but we are really only just scratching the surface. So far we have promoted the benefits of burning dry wood via two main methods:

1. A leaflet which explains some of the fundamentals about the differences between types of woodand the significant increase in heat output that is gained from dry wood and of course the clean burn. This leaflet, with the support of most of the major manufacturers and distributors is placed inside stoves and given to retailers for helpful point of sale.

2. Our network of retailers often give a bag of kiln dried logs away with every stove they sell and this has proved to be the best possible way of getting consumers to see the benefits for themselves. They get started on the right quality and invariably decide to go to the local supplier for their regular supply but quickly wonder why their stove ceases to perform well and provides little heat.

Not only do we need to promote the right quality fuel, but almost more important is to ensure that it is stored correctly which is why we also sell log stores providing the perfect environment for storage and also for longer term seasoning.

Don’t let your customers be fooled by the word ‘seasoned’ wood as it means very little and also get them to understand that they should not buy wood by weight. We can all make sure our wood is heavy by ensuring a high moisture content, but this wood has no heat value. We are trying to get people to understand that they are buying a volume of energy when purchasing wood and the drier it is the better the heat output and therefore far better value for money.

Length of ‘seasoning’ is almost irrelevant, as it depends on wood species and how the wood is stored. Wood which is split into small logs and stored under cover with good airflow, will be much drier in 6 months than wood which is left outdoors in woodland in the ‘round’ for two years. At the same time, ash will need far less drying than more dense wood such as oak and beech, but once the same quality the latter will burn for longer.

Please visit our website for more information or if you would like to talk more about the opportunities of promoting kiln dried wood then either contact me or visit our stand at the forthcoming show in Harrogate.

Nic Snell 01981 251796