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A practical guide to correctly heating with wood

Some useful tricks to correctly use wood

The Interreg IV COME project A++ Boroughs has been implemented thanks to the collaboration of 8 Italian and Austrian partners: the Province of Udine, ringleader of the project, the Land Carinthia, the Province of Belluno, the Agency for energy of the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia Region, the Autonomous Province of Bolzano-South Tyrol, the Autonomous Region of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, the Ökoinstitut Südtirol and Energie Tirol. The project was concluded in August of last year and among the "tangible" results achieved through this project there is also an interesting handbook, produced in collaboration with Aiel, whose title is: "How to properly heat on wood".

The local administrations involved in the project all belong to mountainous areas, which are very sensitive to the topic of the particulate produced by wood fired appliances. Recent studies prove that without technological measures, but simply with a correct choice and lighting of the wood logs much could be done to reduce polluting emissions. Let's see what advice is included in the guide, which you may download fully here - available in Italian only).



According to the guide, the important things to be assessed when preparing or buying wood are:

  • the type of wood: it is recommended to only use virgin wood, uncontaminated and to obtain information on the properties of the wood and proper seasoning;
  • humidity: only dry wood must be used, because moist wood heats poorly, decreases the yield of the appliance, and produces polluting emissions;
  • the size: split wood should be preferred over round logs and logs of even sizes, preferably medium-small (25-33 cm length, 5-15 cm diameter).



The guide recommends to:

  • fill the wood from the top, instead of from the bottom as is the tradition, to reduce polluting emissions;
  • use very dry kindling or the suitable fire lighters to rapidly reach a high temperature in the burn pot, but avoid paper or cardboard that pollute air when burning;
  • prefer drawing fresh air in the ignition stage to obtain a vigorous flame, opening completely the air draft and only closing it when a good embers base has formed;
  • introduce the bigger logs later and not to excessively fill the combustion chamber;
  • always keep the appliance's door properly closed during operation.



Obsolete wood fired appliances are the main culprits for polluting emissions. There currently is in Europe a very wide-spread fleet of wood fired appliances, which in the most densely populated areas (North of Italy i.e.) exceeds one million pieces. More than half the generators are of the traditional type, with average age over ten years and a PM10 emission factor higher than 400 g/GJ.

There are many forms of incentives to replace the old wood stove, substained by local Authorities and Governments.

The guide recommends in general to purchase certified appliances and with supplementary acknowledgements for better thermal yield, low emissions and electrical consumption pursuant to the strictest European regulations.

You may have a look to the proposals of MCZ wood-burning stoves and MCZ wood-burning closed fireplaces on these pages.

Wood logs holder

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