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Is Burning Wood Cost Efficient?

There’s something extremely satisfying about a log fire, especially on a cold Winter’s night. It’s a combination of the smell, the noise they make and the different kind of warmth they offer that makes the whole experience a very cosy one.

 

In the past, not everyone could enjoy the benefits of a log fire but fast forward to 2017 and over 175,000 wood burning stoves are being sold annually and it’s become something of a trend.

 

Some people install stoves for show and very rarely use them (which is a shame!). Some people use their stoves ad-hoc and rely on central heating or another heating source to heat their home and an increasing number of people are using their stoves as their primary heating source.

 

Whether you use your stove recreationally or it’s constantly burning, having an understanding of the relative cost of wood burning is useful.

 

The first thing to remember is that stoves themselves aren’t exactly cheap. A basic model might cost somewhere in the region of £500 whilst an all singing and all dancing stove can be upwards of £2000. When working out fuel cost comparisons, don’t forget to take the stove cost and the installation costs into consideration.

 

The second extremely important point is that everyone’s requirements and circumstances are completely different and it makes a big difference as to whether you’ll save money or not. For example, many people that use a wood burner have access to free logs which will obviously save them a lot of money. Other people have enough space to buy huge amount of logs in bulk and enjoy savings from the economy of scale.

 

To understand how cost efficient wood burning will be for you, work out how much wood you will need over the course of a year and how frequently you’ll need to buy it. It doesn’t have to to be accurate (that would be quite difficult, especially if you’ve not bought firewood before) but try and get a good ballpark. If you’re really struggling work on the basis that every time you use your stove, you’ll burn 2-3 logs.

 

Once you’ve done that, go and get some prices from reputable sellers, selling British, sustainable kiln dried logs.

 

That should give you a good enough figure to do a rough comparison against your current heating source. And again, don’t forget the cost of the stove and the install.

 

As mentioned, your results will depend on your requirements and your need and ability to stock firewood. They will most likely differ from everyone else which is why there’s no simple answer to this question.

 

One of the best general indications that wood burning is cost efficient is a study from Which. They surveyed over 200 stove users to gauge whether or not their stove and burning wood saved them money. 60% of those surveyed believed that having a stove installed has saved them money. On that same note, 21% believed it didn’t and 19% didn’t care.

 

If you’re still struggling to make the numbers work, here are some tips to bring the cost down:

 

  • Large firewood suppliers often have heavy Summer sales. If you have the space, it makes sense to stock up in the Summer
  • Ring the suppliers for the best possible price
  • Only buy British firewood that contains less than 20% moisture (more heat output per log)
  • Keep your stove clean

 

Finally, if you live in a smoke controlled area, check the rules and regulations surrounding wood burning stoves. Fines could be imposed if you break the rules and that will obviously add to your running costs!

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