Wood Stores: These need to allow the logs to breathe and remain dry.
Stoves have a recommended fuel which should be used; normally wood or coal. Check the owners manual or data plate if unsure. The data plate should be found close to the appliance itself, or next to the electric or gas meters.
Wood or Coal? The heat output of coal is much greater than that of wood, and coal burns for longer, too. However, ordinary 'house coal' produces a lot of soot, which means you'll need the chimney swept more often than if you use smokeless fuels. But smokeless fuels are more expensive. Any sort of coal burning releases ancient carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which apparently isn't good, and coal is a finite resource so we'll have to stop burning it sooner or later. Wood burns quicker and produces less heat than coal, but on the upside it's a sustainable resource, gives good strong heat, is carbon neutral as the carbon released is only what the tree captured during its life, and can often be had for free should one be inclined to be resourceful. Logs can create an attractive feature in homes and gardens, and you can also get warm twice with wood; once when you chop it, and again when you burn it!
Which Wood? Hardwoods such as Ash, Beech, and Oak have a higher density than softwoods such as Pine, Spruce and Fir. A higher density means hardwoods burn hotter, and for longer. For this reason most people in the UK prefer to burn hardwoods, yet as long as softwood is well seasoned, it's fine for burning, too. Hardwoods generally take at least a year to season, and softwoods at least two years. The sign of a well seasoned log is a moisture content of 20%, but around the 25% mark is good. You can buy moisture meters to check your logs, and your log supplier can tell you if the logs you are buying are hardwood, softwood, or a mix. You should be able to buy unseasoned wood at a more economical price if you have the stores to season it yourself. Alternatively you can buy Kiln Dried wood, which is dried in a kiln down to around a 20% moisture content. It's a bit pricier but burns with the greatest efficiency of any seasoned wood, although if the kilns are fired by fossil fuels then the wood has a carbon cost attached to it.
Try to avoid burning unseasoned wood, because it produces more soot and particles as it burns dirty, and leaves excess deposits in the chimney or flue. The same applies to wood that has been treated with chemicals or paint, such as old fence panels, posts, and railway sleepers. These chemicals create a build up of creosote in chimneys and flues. Over time, all of the above can lead to excess build up of tar and creosote, acidification and erosion of the chimney wall or flue liner, and of course, chimney fires.
Here's a rather poetic guide to the types of wood for fuel.
And here's a great guide to the cost per kw/h of the wood you buy and burn.
Which Coal? Coal works best for some people, and the use of a local professional coal merchant is recommended when sourcing supplies of coal. Smokeless coal is more expensive than ordinary household coal by weight, however over the course of a year smokeless coal is reported to burn with greater efficiency than housecoal, giving out more heat, for longer, and thus saving money, and trips to re-fuel the fire.