Open fires & wood burners: Your guide to staying warm this winter

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Winter is the perfect time to sit by the fire, with a cup of tea and your favourite book. Whether you have an open fire or a wood burner, here is our guide on how to stay warm this winter.

Open fires

Open fires are great, as the sound of crackling logs creates a cosy atmosphere, as well as giving your living room a traditional look & feel. Open fires are dual-fuel meaning they can burn both wood and coal. Coal is known to burn hotter than wood logs, so if it's a particularly cold evening opt for coal. Open fires are relatively simple to start up, just ensure you have a grate to protect your carpet or flooring from spitting embers. It is also important to get your chimney swept annually to clear any debris/soot, as this will limit the risk of chimney fires.

Wood burning stoves

Wood burning stoves are more expensive, yet slightly more flexible in that they can be fitted into an existing fireplace, or be made into a feature in the corner of a room. Wood burning stoves are safer for families with younger children and pets, and are also easier to keep clean than an open fire.


The type of fuel burnt is important, as some types of fuel are restricted in certain areas, due to the Clean Air Acts in the 1950s and 1960s. Check with your local council before burning, otherwise you could be fined.


You can now buy coal which emits much less CO2 and smoke than more traditional types. There are also varieties which burn longer and are denser, so you can make a decision based on your individual needs.


Kindling is small off cuts of logs or other wood products which catch light more easily and help to get the fire going. They are relatively cheap to buy, or alternatively get an axe and chop a log into small pieces (but be careful!).


There are 4 types of logs on the market:

  1. Kiln dried - suitable for wood burners and multi-fuel stoves due to having a high heat output.

  2. Seasoned dried logs - ideal for both open fires and wood burners. These need to be dried for 1-2 weeks

  3. Unseasoned logs - these are suitable for open fires and are a good option if you have a limited budget. However they need to be bought in the summer and stored in the dry ready for winter

  4. Heat logs - ideal for both open fires and wood burners, they are made of 100% wood waste, meaning they are eco-friendly and easy as they can be used straight away.

If you are looking to add a wood burning stove or new fireplace into your home, Harborough Stone is a specialist based in Market Harborough. Their specialist knowledge and craftsmanship is renowned throughout the county, and they’ve worked on a range of historical Leicestershire buildings. Harborough Stone offer bespoke, hand-carved, stone fireplaces that are beautifully crafted and provide your home with a real focal point. Not only will they design, make and fit your fireplace, but they can help you decide on the stove that best suits your home and family, and fit it too! For more details visit or call 01858 410033.