Whether you live in city terrace or a cosy country cottage installing a woodburning stove can transform your living space. It could also save you money and leave a greener footprint than traditional heating choices.
What do you want your wood burner to do?
This is the first question you need to answer. Do you want to heat your whole house including water? Do you want to cut your fuel bills? Do you want to do your bit for the environment? Or do you simply like the cosy glow of a real log fire? All good reasons to plump for a woodburner but all have their own challenges and differing costs.
Cutting bills and looking good?
To be fair the reasons most people choose a woodburning stove are probably not just one, but a combination of several of the above.
The idea of being able to turn the central heating down while the stove is lit and having the flicker of a real fire is a compelling one. Make sure you choose a stove with ‘clean glass’ system to get the best view of your lovely log flames. Adding a thermometer to the top of your stove will also help you keep it at maximum heat efficiency.
Well-designed woodburning stoves lined with vermiculite, a mineral which is used for thermal insulation, help to increase the stove temperature - improving efficiency. This saves money on fuel as less wood is burnt. It also helps to reduce carbon emissions.
Also, wood as a fuel is green, sustainable, renewable, and if burnt cleanly can be 100% carbon neutral because it gives off as much carbon dioxide when burnt as it absorbed during the lifetime of the tree. Add to that the even lower environmental impact of sourcing local fuel and you can see this really can be a greener option.
A replacement for your whole heating system?
If you’re looking at fitting a stove that will handle your whole heating and hot water requirements this can save you a lot in conventional fuel bills, over time, but it will be expensive to install. You’ll most likely find that this type of stove uses an automatic feed of wood pellets rather than hand feeding with logs – for obvious reasons. There are some grants available for biomass boilers through the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme and you can find more information via the energy saving trust.
How much will my woodburner cost?
Like most things, you can pay thousands of pounds for a designer stove or something made to measure if that’s what you want and the funds will allow! But, according to the National Energy Foundation, you should expect to pay in the region of £1,500 for an average woodburning stove. But, you’ll find the price varies a bit according to which size stove you require for your room. Plus growing sales are helping to drive down prices and now smaller stoves start at around £500.
Installing the average stove costs around £1000 depending on how much work is involved, what sort of chimney liner you need and what sort of base you choose. A full wood-heated system is much more expensive, with prices running into several thousands of pounds. (The cost of a pellet stove, including installation, could be upwards of £4,300 – but should make much bigger savings in fuel bills).
Where to buy your wood burning stove
You can buy woodburning stoves from local fireplace and stove specialists, directly from stove manufacturers including Aga, Esse and Jotul and at online retailers such as Stoves Online. There’s also plenty of good advice available on whether a woodburner or a multi fuel stove would suit you best. As with all household purchases it pays to shop around both with your stove purchase and your installer – it’s best to get three quotes as you would a building job.
So whether you’re looking for the comfort and warmth of a real fire or you want a greener way of heating your home - or both - a woodburner could be just what you’re looking for.
Use the HETAS website to search for professional woodburning stove installers, flue specialists and chimney sweeps.