Why Is Wet Wood Being Banned?

The rules surrounding what fuel you can burn in your small wood stove have recently changed. From May 2021, the government has implemented a ban on the sales of wet wood and coal, which means that if you usually use wet wood to fuel your small wood burning stove, then you’ll need to find an alternative fuel source from now on.

Many people aren’t aware of the difference between wet wood and dry wood, and the implications of burning one instead of the other. At Salamander Stoves, we have over 18 years of experience in dealing with a wide range of antique, modern and contemporary small wood burning stoves – so we can fill you in on what wet wood is, why it’s harmful, and what alternative fuels you can use in your small wood stove which will be better for you, and for the planet.

What Is Wet Wood?

According to the new rules, wet wood is any firewood with a moisture content of more than 20%. This means that retailers can no longer sell freshly cut firewood if it’s still wet – it needs a certain amount of time to dry out before it can be classed as dry wood (also known as ready to burn wood). 

Wet wood doesn’t necessarily feel damp to the touch, as it refers to the moisture within the wood. Trees run on water – so if they’re harvested when they’re still alive, they have a relatively high moisture content. Typically, this is between 60-70% – meaning more than half the weight of the wood is actually moisture, rather than wood fibre. Under the new rules, the moisture content of individual bags of firewood must be reduced to below 20% in order to be sold legally.

What’s The Problem With Burning Wet Wood?

Burning wet wood is highly inefficient. The high moisture content means that wet wood produces more smoke and less heat in comparison to dry logs, which isn’t great for creating a cosy atmosphere! Besides this, there’s also evidence to suggest that burning wet wood releases more particulates – and it can also damage your small wood burning stove.

Like coal, wet wood emits pollutants when it’s burned, so it’s important to reduce these emissions as much as possible! Dry wood and smokeless fuels, on the other hand, release far fewer particulates into the atmosphere when they’re burned – which is one of the reasons the government is pushing for a shift to these preferred fuel sources.

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Reducing the amount of smoke and pollutants in the atmosphere is also part of the government’s Clean Air Strategy – a plan to make the air around us cleaner and safer to breathe. Wet wood creates a lot more smoke, which releases a significant number of pollutants into the atmosphere.

Burning wet wood can also be harmful to your small wood stove, as it produces a lot more smoke and ash, meaning that your stove will need to be cleaned more often. A build-up of ash and soot can stain the glass window of your stove. This will make it more difficult to watch the beautiful flames flickering away in your small wood burning stove! 

Burning wet wood can also result in more frequent buildups of soot in your chimney. If your chimney liner isn’t cleaned, creosote can form over time. Creosote is highly flammable, so it’s crucial to avoid creating excess creosote in your flue, as this can help prevent chimney fires and other potential dangers. The moisture that’s released from burning wet wood can also permeate any buildups of ash or soot. If you leave a dirty stove unmaintained, these buildups can corrode your flue pipes as well as your small wood stove.

What Are The New Rules Around Burning Wet Wood?

It’s clear to see why the government has introduced these restrictions – and we’ve been long-time proponents of burning wood that’s been properly dried out. It’s better for people, the planet, and for the efficiency of your small wood burning stove.

Here are the new fuel rules that all stove owners will now need to know about:

  • Retailers are no longer allowed to sell any bagged house coal or wet wood in units of less than 2m³.
  • Retailers can supply wet wood in volumes of more than 2m³, but they also have to advise customers on how to dry the wood to less than 20% moisture content before burning.
  • Solid fuels can only be sold and burned if they have a low sulphur content and low smoke emissions.

The government is also planning to introduce a labelling system to make it easier for small wood stove owners to identify fuels that comply with these standards. You can find out more about how the wet wood and coal ban will affect you here.

What Can Be Used As An Alternative To Wet Wood?

Luckily, there are plenty of alternative fuels you can use in your small wood burning stove instead of wet wood. Dry wood is a fantastic option, since this produces far fewer emissions than wet wood. But if you really want to do your bit for the environment, there are also many eco-friendly fuel alternatives available, including recycled eco logs, Hot Rod briquettes, and sawdust briquettes.

why is wet wood being banned for small wood burning stoves 3Eco logs are made out of waste material from the timber and manufacturing industries, such as sawdust and wood-shavings. These materials are then mechanically compressed to form a compact briquette. By purchasing this type of fuel for your small wood burning stove, you’re choosing to use a much more efficient fuel that also stops leftover wood from going to waste. These eco logs are perfect for our little Hobbit stove.

For more alternative fuel types, you can also take a look at our fuel reviews. There are so many innovative sources of fuel available that it’s worth exploring a range of options to figure out what works best in your tiny wood stove. From logs made from recycled coffee grounds to these brick-shaped sawdust logs, you’ll find lots of great recommendations in our review collection. 

What Kind Of Small Stoves Are Compatible With These Alternative Fuels?

Alternative fuels like eco logs and Hot Rod briquettes can be used in a wide range of small household stoves and tiny wood burners, but they’ll burn best in a small multi-fuel stove, such as our Hobbit stove

The Hobbit is specifically designed to burn coal, dry wood and eco logs, thanks to its carefully designed centre grate. This stops fuel from falling into the ashpan, while enabling a steady air intake to flow through the bottom door and up through the grate. When it comes to burning fuel and maximising your space, our small cast iron stove is highly efficient.

If you’re looking for a small wood stove which offers greater potential for stovetop cooking, our Little Range has a large stainless steel cooktop and a good-sized oven. It’s perfect for making stews and pizzas, and we have a downloadable cookbook which will provide you with a wide range of delicious recipes that you can make with the help of your small wood cook stove!

We want to help all stove owners get the most from their little wood burners, so check out our blog for more useful articles and information about our small wood burning stoves!

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Our Hobbit Stove Has Been Fitted!

"We had a Hobbit stove fitted this week by Alex Reay from Flues and Fires, and I just wanted to get in touch to say it is AMAZING and we love it! We have a lovely cast iron tiled fireplace which I was desperate not to lose when we installed a small wood burning stove, but until I found the Hobbit on Google, everyone told me it would be impossible to keep the fire surround. The Hobbit is perfect - not only does it fit very snugly, but it looks fantastic and the blue door complements the tiles very nicely. We are sitting enjoying a fire now and absolutely loving it! Thanks for creating such an amazing product."

Nicola Williams

Small Stove Review 10

The Best Stove Ever!

"It’s the best stove ever! It’s easy to light, very efficient, burns anthracite and stays in overnight (ours has been in for three weeks now). It even keeps a kettle of water at the ready for a cuppa! What more can I say, we love it! Just the thing to make our Yorkshire home cosy, and the cat loves it too!"

Lynn and Andrew, West Yorkshire

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First Small Stove Installation

Was looking for a small stove for my first self-install. Found Mark very helpful. Knowledgeable, friendly service. Stove burns well and generates lots more heat than the previous open fire. What is not to like?


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A Huge Thank You!

"Dear Mark and Gill, a huge thank you for designing and making the Hobbit stove! We had two different London-based fireplace companies tell us that we simply had to knock out the old cast iron and tile fireplace to fit in a woodburning stove, and that there was no other option! Then we found you online. We are delighted with our little Hobbit, which swallows up logs and kicks out a good amount of heat. Perfect for the winter! I will also be writing to the London-based fireplace companies to put the Hobbit on their radar. Best wishes."


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Delighted With Our Hobbit Stove!

"Mark, Gill, thank you for your assistance, we are delighted with our Hobbit! I fired it up this evening after taking all afternoon making a register plate to fit the opening."


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It's Brilliant!

"Hi Mark, here's a photo of the Hobbit installed in my Yorkist grate. It’s brilliant! It also throws out a lot more heat than the grate did."

Roger T

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Just to Say Thank You!

"I just had a chat with Gill saying how delighted we are with our little Hobbit stove, and to also thank you both for your attention to detail and excellent customer service!"


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The Little Hobbit Has Stepped Up To The Challenge!

"We just wanted to say how impressed and how much of a life saver our little Hobbit has been! It was fitted a few months ago in our holiday home in Rhu, Scotland, which is a large open plan conversion in a Victorian house. This weekend our boiler decided it was not going to play ball. The little Hobbit has stepped up to the challenge, providing heat to a very large area, about twenty eight foot by twenty four foot with a high ceiling of about eighteen foot, keeping the room reasonably warm, warm enough for us not to use cardigans!”

Alan W

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Very Pleased With Our Hobbit!

"We are very pleased with the stove and think it looks great! We restored our fireplace (it was hidden under plaster!) and the whole look is better than we hoped!"


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Absolutely Delighted!

"Just had our Hobbit SE installed in our Victorian fireplace and we are absolutely delighted with the end result. We felt passionate about preserving our lovely fireplace!"


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Our Pride And Joy!

"What a fantastic fireplace with the beautiful Hobbit stove. It fits perfectly into the small space and throws out a lot of heat. Here's a photo of our little stove, now our pride and joy and much admired by all who see and feel the warmth."

Chris and C

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"Just to bid you all a Happy New Year and to say how much we’re enjoying having our Hobbit stove! It was easy to fit with the help of your excellent ‘how to’ videos and we’re just awaiting our inspection by building control for the certification. The Hobbit has fitted neatly into the hearth vacated by the old gas back boiler (with a little cosmetic rendering) and never ceases to surprise us how much heat it can deliver to the point that the new condenser boiler is having an easy life, thereby saving us on gas bills too! Everyone loves having a ‘real fire’ in the living room."

Philip Baird

Small Stove Review 6

A Brilliant Little Wood Burner!

"The stove we bought from you is really starting to come into its own as the weather cools down. Here is a photo showing how much one of our dogs is enjoying it!"

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Brilliant Product!

"Just wanted to share a picture of our newly installed Hobbit. Absolutely delighted with it, and so pleased we were able to retain our existing fireplace as well. Brilliant product, thank you!"



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