By Christabel - posted on December 4, 2020

Burning better

Use efficient appliances, such as DEFRA exempt, EU Ecodesign 2022 or ClearSkies mark, and service and clean them regularly. ‘Burn Right‘ in your appliance, including not shutting off air or allowing the temperature to drop.

Types of appliance

Particulate matter pollution from domestic heating options:

More polluting 
Open fire
Non-DEFRA exempt stove
DEFRA exempt stove
Ecodesign stove
Biomass boiler
Oil fired boiler
Gas fired boiler
Electric heating
Renewable heating
Less polluting 

Wood burning stoves produce less smoke than open fires. DEFRA exempt stoves have been designed and tested to produce low smoke emissions and are required in Smoke Control Areas. 

Ecodesign stoves are a new, more efficient design which meet agreed lower emission standards. Regulations come into force in 2022, which will require all new stoves to meet Ecodesign standards. These replace existing regulations under the Clean Air Act which currently only apply in Smoke Control Areas and aims to raise the standard of appliances across the country. The Stove Industry Alliance has an Ecodesign Ready campaign, to identify wood burners that are already compliant with the new legislation, so consumers can buy more efficient appliances ahead of the 2022 regulations. 

Where you buy appliances

If you want to buy or upgrade your wood burning stove, choose local, accredited retailers to reduce transport emissions and find DEFRA exempt, Ecodesign or ClearSkies appliances. Search for HETAS approved retailers


Use accredited engineers, who will ensure the stove and flue is installed correctly. Get a carbon monoxide alarm to keep you and your family safe. Find HETAS approved installers


Always operate your stove in line with the manufacturer’s instructions and only burn suitable fuels. Don’t shut off the air controls too much or allow the stove to slumber, as this causes the burning temperature to drop, which wastes fuel, soots up the chimney and produces lots of air pollution. Your chimney should smoke when the fire is first lit and when adding more fuel, but should not smoke constantly, as smoke indicates unburned fuel and damaging particulates. Burn Right have a guide for starting a fire


Ideally you should get your stove serviced and maintained annually, to ensure it is working safely and efficiently and generates most heat and least pollution from what you burn. Find HETAS approved servicing engineers or OFTEC approved technicians


Chimneys should be swept regularly, up to twice a year. Soot and tar build up in the chimney reduces efficiency and increases the risk of chimney fires. Find qualified chimney sweeps through HETASGuild of Master Sweeps and National Association of Chimney Sweeps (NACS), who can also advise on good burning practices and addressing any issues. Signs of poor burning practices and issues include: blackened glass, constant smoke from the chimney, unburned wood or charcoal left when the fire goes out and tar or creosote in the chimney.

Find out more