Wood burning has enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years, with many homeowners opening up old fireplaces in the face of rising fuel costs and a drive to reduce Co2 emissions.According to the Solid Fuel Institute, wood is the cheapest and greenest form of fuel and can even be available for free. Wood is a renewable and sustainable source of energy, releasing into the atmosphere the same amount of Co2 as the tree absorbed in its lifetime and no more than if it was allowed to rot naturally.
Although a roaring open fire may look good and provide all the traditional ambience of crackling logs and smoky aromas, when it comes to energy efficiency it is the least effective option for wood burning. An open fire may only be 15% efficient, so for every £1 spent on fuel, it only gives you 15p worth of heat and a fireplace will also draw any heat from the room it is in and lose it up the chimney when it is not lit.
However, this need not be the case. Today, there are high efficiency, glass fronted wood burning stoves, wood burning inset fires and wood burning cassette fires that can replace open fires and provide around four times as much heat output for your money. In simple terms, just enclosing the fire causes the temperature of combustion in a stove to rise to around 600°C, as opposed to just 270°C with an open fire.
A high efficiency wood burning stove, like the 85% efficient Stovax Stockton 5 Midline, will therefore use around 80% fewer logs to generate the same amount of heat as an open fire. So it follows that it will be around 80% cheaper to run, will emit 80% less smoke and your back will benefit from stacking, chopping, carrying and loading 80% fewer logs!
Furthermore, these glass-fronted wood burning stoves not only provide the best conditions for efficient combustion and heating but also come in a wealth of designs and sizes to suit most homes. Many Cleanburn wood burning stoves are now approved by DEFRA for burning logs in Smoke Control Areas too and Stovax now has the UK’s largest range from a single manufacturer.
Switching to a wood burning stove, wood burning inset fire or wood burning cassette fire gives a win-win-win situation – much improved heating efficiency, more heat for your money and a fuel that is better for the environment.