Maintaining a clean wood burner is very important in ensuring safety and efficiency. To achieve this you will need to buy a good-quality burner and make sure that you are operating it properly.
Use the right fuel – Fuel needs to be dry and appropriate for the burner that you are using. Dry wood will burn more easily and will heat up at a faster rate.
Use kindling – You will need to start the fire with rolled paper and kindling so that you can generate a high level of heat quickly.
Allow air in during ignition – Air is essential for burning, so you will need to keep the vents open while the wood ignites. It is usually sensible to leave vents fully open for 20-30 minutes until the fire is roaring.
Use enough fuel – Most heaters are more efficient with more fuel. Three or four logs are better than one or two.
Close vents overnight – When burning overnight, you should ensure all of the wood is charred and then close the primary vent. By slowing the oxygen supply you will slow the burn.
Buy or cut wood in the summer – Storing the wood through the summer will ensure it is dry and will burn well.
Source:http://www.homeheat.com.au/heater_info_tips.htm houses were built with chimneys and fireplaces. A fireplace offered many advantages over hole-in-the-ground fire-pits. With a fireplace in the home, fire was more safely contained and there were huge advantages in the smoke being expelled from the building via the chimney.