What is the difference between multi fuel stoves and wood burners?

First you need to identify the differences between burning wood and burning multi fuels (mineral or solid fuels) such as anthracite or smokeless coal. To burn effectively, multi fuels stoves need air from underneath the fuel, known as primary air which is controlled from the bottom of the stove.

Multi fuel stoves will have an open grate to let the air through to the fuel.

Wood combusts using air from the top known as secondary air, which is controlled from the top of the stove that allows the wood to burn from top to bottom. Wood fuel will burn effectively on a flat base so wood burning stoves will either have a small grate or no grate at all. This will allow the build-up of ash to create a heat-reflecting bed to help the wood burn better and protect the stove's base.


Which is better, cast or steel body stoves?

It depends if you compare poor quality to high quality materials. As long as the stove is being used and fuel is being burnt within the manufactures guidelines, there shouldn’t be any problems. Lesser quality cast stoves have a tendency to crack and steel bodies to warp.

The day to day difference between the cast and steel is that steel stoves heat up quicker and therefore heat the room much quicker than cast iron.

Cast is the traditional material for building stoves, due to it being much heavier and having a greater mass of material. Cast tends to take longer to build up heat and is therefore slower to heat a room. Having said that as cast iron has a greater mass of metal in the body it will act like a storage heater distributing heat to the room hours after the fire has gone out.

A steel stove will do this but it won't retain it the heat for as long.

What is an SIA (Stove Industry Alliance) Ecodesign stove?

Ecodesign is an EU regulation designed to control emissions from appliances such as stoves. The guidelines will come into force in 2022. The UK will continue with this regulation after Brexit. In the case of wood burning and multi fuel stoves, Ecodesign provides much stricter limits on a range of emissions than the current EN13240 and EN13229 test regime (also set to change with the replacement EN16510), stoves will now be tested for NOx (nitrogen oxide), OGC (organic gaseous compound) and PM (particulate matter e.g. soot). Manufacturers have already designed and released stoves that ensure they will be Ecodesign compliant before the changes are enforced.  


What is an Airwash System?

An Airwash System is designed to help keep the glass clean and at The Courtyard we cannot think of any manufacture of an individual stove which does not have an Airwash type feature.

Please note, secondary air (air control at the top of the stove) and Airwash are the same. This means when the secondary air flow is in use, so is the Airwash. The Airwash is preheated air that is delivered by the secondary air and diverted down along the front of the glass by the baffle. The wash is achieved by air being drawn inside the chamber feeding the fire, in the process directing it over the baffle and over the front of the hot glass. This will ‘wash’ dry particles from the glass that have settled during the beginning of the fires cycle.


BE WARNED! The Airwash will not remove tars from the glass which are created by burning unseasoned wood with a moisture content over 20%, or fuels such as plastics or treated with chemicals. Wet (unseasoned) wood will produce moisture in the chamber, subsequently lowering the temperature within the chamber, which then reduces the efficiency of the Airwash. Prolonged periods of slumbering will also affect the performance, and result in manual cleaning.

Whilst burning just wood, the heat output is naturally reduced and limits how well the Airwash performs. This will become more apparent after slumbering overnight and the following morning. The stoves will produce a minor soot build up at the bottom of the glass as the fire dies down and the gases cool, do not be alarmed as this is normal. If properly seasoned wood has been used you should be able to easily wipe this soot away with a non-abrasive cloth, kitchen roll or newspaper without stove glass cleaner. 

Most multi fuel stoves recommend only using approved smokeless fuels (full list available on the HETAS website when not burning wood resulting in the secondary air and Airwash to not be needed. Smokeless fuels are cleaner burning and without burning wood do not need the secondary air. The primary air from beneath the grate should be sufficient to combust.



Why do I need my chimney sweeping?

Chimneys need to allow free passage of dangerous combustion gasses. Regular cleaning will remove soot and creosote, helping prevent dangerous chimney fires. Cleaning will increase the efficiency of some appliances.


How often does my chimney need sweeping?

The sweeping frequencies below are for guidance. Frequency will depend on a number of factors including: type of fuel, appliance used, duration of use, moisture content of wood fuel, type of chimney. A registered Guild sweep will be able to give advice on sweeping frequency during an assessment.


Smokeless fuel:

At least once a year



Quarterly when in use


Bituminous coal:

Quarterly when in use



Once a year



Once a year


Do I need to line my chimney?

The advantages of having a stainless flue liner fitted is that they have a continuous smooth chimney surface and with a consistent flue diameter. It maintains the flow and velocity of the flue gases which travel faster, this reduces deposits as the gases spend less time in the chimney to cool and settle. Flue liners improve the performance, cleanliness and lifespan of the flue.

Reasons you may need your chimney lining or relining?

1. If a previous flue liner has been installed incorrectly, tar and condensate may build up causing smoke and fumes to leak into the rooms on the upper floor.


2. Tar and condensation are seeping through the chimney stack walls leaving staining on the inside and outside of the house.


3. The flue is too large for the stove or fire and it’s not drawing the gases away properly; leaving smoke billowing into the room.


4. The flue never gets warm enough to draw properly, this often occurs when the chimney is built externally on the outside of the house. When a liner is insulated it increases the temperature of the flue gases and in turn improves the draw of the chimney since warm air rises.


Kitchen, Bedroom  & Bathroom Showroom:

01298 872 843

The Courtyard,

Commercial Road,




SK17 8NY

A Division of M. MARKOVITZ Ltd

© The Courtyard 2021

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