Burning Overnight: What You Need to Know

The Secrets to Successful Overnight Burning

Are you in search of the secrets to successfully burning overnight in your wood-burning or multi-fuel stove in 2023? Are you tired of meticulously tending to your fire throughout the day, only to wake up to a cold home in the morning? Well, you’re in luck! It is indeed possible to keep your fire burning overnight, ensuring a warm and cosy start to your day. In this guide, we’ll share the latest tips and techniques for achieving this feat in conventional stoves, explore stoves designed for extended heat retention, and address the potential risks associated with overnight burning.

The Basics of Burning Overnight

Before delving into the specifics, it’s important to understand that burning overnight is achievable but not without its challenges. The longer you aim to keep the fire going, the greater the likelihood of it extinguishing. Factors such as fuel type, air supply, and external conditions like wind and outdoor temperature all play crucial roles. Consistency and practice are key, as perfecting overnight burning may take several attempts. However, the satisfaction of waking up to a warm stove is worth the effort.
round woodburner flames

Safety Precautions

First and foremost, safety should be your priority. Leaving a fire unattended for extended periods is not recommended by stove manufacturers or experts. If you decide to attempt overnight burning, please proceed with caution. We’ve provided a safety checklist later in this post, which we strongly advise you to review before attempting this.
safety leather gloves wide

Multi-Fuel Stoves

For those with multi-fuel stoves, achieving an overnight burn is possible with some adjustments. Smokeless coal typically requires refueling every four hours under normal conditions. To extend this duration, reduce the air supply to a trickle, ensuring the vents beneath the fuel bed remain open for airflow. Avoid overloading the stove beyond the fuel retaining bar, and do not obstruct air holes at the stove’s rear. Leave space between the top of the fuel bed and the baffle plate. Additionally, a layer of ash from the ash pan can act as an insulator, helping to sustain the fire.

Wood Stoves

Burning wood overnight in a standard wood stove is more challenging since wood typically burns for only 1-1.5 hours under normal conditions. To extend this burn time, select hardwood with minimal moisture content. Stack the wood in the firebox with minimal air gaps between the logs to maximize fuel quantity. If your wood-burning stove has a riddling grate, consider closing the openings to prevent ash from falling into the ash pan, creating an insulating layer on top of the grate.
wood stove door open
Clock Blithfield 5kW Blue Brass vertical

Air Supply

Managing the air supply is crucial. Initially, when lighting your stove, open all air vents to facilitate ignition and temperature rise. However, to maintain an overnight fire, you must gradually reduce the air supply, transitioning the stove into a slumber or tick-over mode. The degree to which you can do this depends on your stove model’s air control capabilities. Maintain a small trickle of air to keep the fire burning overnight. Note that some DEFRA Exempt woodburners have restrictors fitted to the air supplies preventing you from fully closing the stove down. Therefore it is very difficult to achieve an overnight burn in a stove with this fitted.

fire flames and burning wood logs

Is Overnight Burning Recommended?

It’s essential to understand that most wood and multi-fuel stoves are not designed for continuous burning. Manufacturers often specify intermittent use. Burning at low temperatures for extended periods can lead to incomplete combustion, leaving unburned fuel in the firebox and potentially sooty residue on the glass. More concerning, though, is the unseen buildup of tar in the chimney, leading to high emissions and the risk of chimney fires. While you may enjoy having embers ready for the next morning, running your stove at low temperatures overnight might cost you and the environment more in the long run.

Alternative Solutions

Stoves are not designed for continuous low-temperature burning, as it can lead to incomplete combustion and tar build-up in the chimney. An alternative solution would be to select a stove with either natural stone cladding on the outside, or heat storage stones on the inside (or both). Both Heat Storage Stones and natural stone cladding – Soapstone in particular¬†can absorb the heat from the fire within and slowly radiate that heat out over a longer period of time, up to 12 hours in some cases which, if you time it right will mean that your stove is still warm in the morning when you come down and you haven’t had the fire slumbering for an extended period of time.

Specific Models to Consider

Some stove manufacturers have designed models specific for longer fuelling periods, which can also help you achieve overnight burning. Stoves such as these all have features inside them that help prolong a regular charge of fuel so you don’t have to load them as often:

xeoos twinfire eco green stove
Xeoos Twinfire
stuv 30 stove
Stuv 30 Series
dovre tai 45md stove
Dovre Tai

What about a Pellet Stove?

One notable benefit of pellet stoves, especially concerning overnight burning, lies in their exceptional burn time and convenience. Pellet stoves can operate for extended periods, often exceeding 24 hours, without the need for frequent refuelling. This extended burn time is made possible by the automated feeding of compressed wood pellets into the combustion chamber, ensuring a consistent and efficient burn. However, it’s essential to be aware that pellet stoves typically require an electricity supply to power the auger system and fans that control pellet feed and heat distribution. While this electricity dependency can be viewed as a potential drawback, the convenience and reliability of pellet stoves make them an excellent choice for those seeking hassle-free and extended overnight warmth.

Austroflamm Clou Pellet
Austroflamm Clou Pellet Stove

So, in summary while burning overnight is possible, it’s important to be aware of the challenges and risks involved. Stoves are not designed for continuous low-temperature burning, which can lead to incomplete combustion and tar build-up in the chimney. If you’re considering a new stove, look for one with features that facilitate long, clean, and safe burning. Consider the Xeoos Twinfire, Stuv 30 and Dovre Tai models and explore pellet stoves further to see if one of these stoves might better suit your needs.

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