Step-by-step instructions: responsible use of your Altech soapstone stove
Burning wood in a stove is easy. Anyone could do it. Using your wood-burning stove responsibly is a little more complex, however. The process of responsible stove use starts when you light your stove. We are happy to explain how you can responsibly use your Altech wood-burning stove.
The first step is understanding the way you use your stove.
It is important to become aware of your own behaviour when it comes to using your wood-burning stove. First, you should go outside while using your stove and take a peek at your chimney. Do you see any black smoke? If you do, you’re doing something wrong. If you only see white smoke and some air movements, you’re on the right path, and you’re already using your stove pretty responsibly!
What else should you keep in mind?
The behaviour of the stove user is one of the most important factors when it comes to responsible stove use. However, this process has other facets as well:
1. The stove itself; you should use a high-efficiency wood-burning stove, like an Altech soapstone stove.
2. The stove should be installed correctly; the stove should have adequate airflow and should be connected to a well-insulated flue.
3. The fuel; only use dry and clean wood.
4. Lighting the stove or fireplace; responsible stove or fireplace use starts with the lighting method. The Swiss method is a good way to light your stove. This is also referred to as the top-down method. This method allows you to avoid any issues in the initial phase.
Why apply the Swiss method?
Not every stove user is aware of their wood-burning behaviour, and some ‘simply’ use the traditional method to light their stove. This traditional method differs from the Swiss method in a few ways. If you apply the traditional method, you simply stack the blocks of wood. You then use firelighters to light them from the bottom.
Using this traditional method increases the risk of smoke pollution. That’s because this method requires a lot of energy to heat the wood and get the fire going properly. By applying the Swiss method, you can reduce smoke pollution by preheating the wood and steadily starting the fire. This way, you can responsibly enjoy the fire in your wood-burning stove.
The Swiss method, step by step:
Step 1: The first step of responsible stove use is using dry and clean wood. As such, it is important to measure the moisture level of the firewood first. The moisture level of a piece of wood should be no higher than 15 to 20%.
Step 2: Fully open the air supply of the wood-burning stove.
Step 3: Next, stack the wood crosswise. Use thicker pieces (about as thick as your wrist) at the bottom, and stack thinner pieces on top.
Step 3: Place a few pieces of kindling in crosswise orientation on top of the wood, and place one or two firelighters on top of those. Next, light the firelighters.
Step 4: Once the kindling starts to burn, slightly crack the door of your stove open for about 5 minutes to ensure the stove receives sufficient air/oxygen to properly light the wood.
Step 5: Once the kindling is properly alight, close the door. The fire will gradually make its way downwards and light the larger blocks at the bottom of the stack, resulting in a magnificent inferno.
Step 6: Once the fire is burning steadily, you can lower the air supply a little (three quarters open will suffice).