As the latest wellbeing trend hygge shows no sign of slowing down, there seems to be no better time or excuse for snuggling and getting cosy in front of a wood burner.
Phil Wood from wood-burning-stove manufacturer Contura shares his expert advice on choosing, installing and using a wood burner.
1. Check local rules
It's important to find out if you live in a smoke control area.
A smoke control area means you can't emit smoke from a chimney unless you're burning an authorised fuel, or smokeless fuel (such as anthracite), or using a Defra-exempt appliance.
Lots of wood burners are Defra exempt, but not all.
In addition, many wood burners can only burn certain fuels, so find out before buying one.
2. Decide if you want a beam
Depending on the style of your room and wood burner, a 'floating' wooden beam can look great fixed above the opening in the chimney breast (see my how-to tip below).
However, the underside of any beam, lintel or shelf, etc, made of a combustible material must be at least 450mm away from the top of the wood burner - check with the manufacturer or installer for their requirements.
If you don't have enough space between the two, non-combustible wood-effect beams, such as ones made of metal, are safe to fit closer to the top of the wood burner, but are harder to find and can be expensive.
3. What kind of hearth do you want
Your wood burner will need to sit on a decorative hearth, often a stone slab, such as marble, granite or slate, which may already be in place.
"For wood-burning stoves, the hearth must be constructed from a non-combustible material with a minimum thickness of 12mm," says Wood.
"Where the floor temperature could be raised above 100C, there must also be a constructional hearth of at least 125mm below and in front of the wood burner.
“The size of this can differ between manufacturers, so it's worth checking."
A constructional hearth is typically a concrete hearth below the decorative hearth, which you often find in period properties with wooden floorboards, but may also be a concrete floor, for example.
4. Keep it clean
Keeping your wood burner clean is vital to protecting it and the chimney from contaminants.
"This will improve the wood burner's performance and efficiency, and increase its lifespan," says Wood.
"We recommend getting a chimney sweep to clean the chimney at least once a year to stop soot building up and ensure the fire chamber and flue are kept free from blockages."
He continues: "Also burn high quality kiln-dried wood, if possible, and have good ventilation in the room to allow heat to circulate effectively."
Extra ventilation isn't usually required for wood burners with a 5kW or less output, but for ones with a higher output, a permanent air vent to the outside is needed in the room to allow proper combustion in the wood burner.
5. Invest in drier wood
When choosing wood to burn, it's generally the case that the more you spend, the drier the wood, meaning it'll burn better.
Cheap wood often has quite a high moisture content, so try to buy from an accredited British supplier to be sure of the wood's origin.
Kiln-dried wood (and species such as ash, beech and birch), burns particularly well and is available in bags, making it convenient to store. This is the more expensive option, though.
If you have storage space, consider cutting and storing your own logs - use a wood shed that allows air to circulate. This 'seasoning' process can take at least 12 months, depending on the species, so plan ahead.
6. Energy efficient
A couple of logs can burn for around an hour on a wood burner, compared to (often) minutes on an open fire, meaning you use fewer logs and get the optimum energy out of each log with a wood burner.
Switching from an open fire to a wood burner with a flue will also eliminate the draughts caused by the open fire drawing air from the room.