By Julian Patrick
By Julian Patrick
Below are 10 reasons to choose to have a wood burning stove in your life.
Okay it’s going to cost upfront to get it installed (under £1,000 inc. materials and stove if you choose wisely). But once up and running you can save on heating costs.
My wife, I and the dog settle down for the evening in one room, the room with the stove, and switch off the central heating. So many people sit in one room all evening and watch TV – whilst heating a whole house full of radiators. Okay if you’ve got a house full of kids you’re going to cause a riot as the little blighters start to turn blue – supply them with woolly jumpers ;).
It has been said that central heating killed the family – prior to invasion of the rads, families grouped together in one room, the room with the fire. Today’s kids are often scattered around the house, Facebooking and Xboxing and such stuff.
There’s free wood all over the place and the more you get used to looking the more you will find. Scavenging is fun. A friend chopping down a tree? Talk to him. Local shops that might throw away wooden pallets? Talk to them. Know any builders? Talk to them and grab the untreated stuff. Check those skips (ask before taking). One pallet will last about three winter evenings in a 5kw stove (as long as pallets have not been treated you can burn them and many are made of untreated wood). I purchased a small handheld electric cutter and a pallet is a pile of firewood in less than ten minutes. I also collect wood from along the coast after a storm. Need to buy wood for when the scavenging fails? Buy compressed Heat Logs by the pallet load and they work out quite reasonable (£3 a box of eight sort of thing). My goal is to buy a small piece of woodland some day, as an investment and for the log supply!
Google “wood stove increases value home” and see how many articles discuss this. “This Is Money” state that a woodburner can increase your property’s value by up to 5%! Wow, I’ll put four in, that’s 20%! Shirley Kenyon, lettings manager for Edinburgh based property consultancy CKD Galbraith, says “rental properties fitted with wood burners are highly sought after as tenants aim to ensure they can stay in control of their heating bills”.
Fairly obvious this one. In a power cut boilers (gas and oil burners) switch off. Storage heaters switch off. A few candles, a woodburner and a glass of wine certainly takes the stress out of the situation.
Obvious again. You know, the good thing about a wood burner is that there are no “control boards” to fail. no pumps or valves or heat exchangers.
Growing trees is good for the planet and whether wood is burned or left to rot in the ground it emits the same amount of carbon monoxide. Wood is also a “renewable” meaning that when trees are growing they absorb carbon dioxide and when they are burned (or left to rot) they release the same amount of carbon dioxide.
Open fires are about 25% efficient. This means that, for every log burnt, 75% of the heat is lost up the chimney. But a modern log burner is about 80% efficient so only 20% goes up the chimney. A HUGE difference and ensures every log provides far more heat to the room.
During my time as a stove fitter I fitted many wood burners and connected these to radiators. On such a “simple” system one would soon realise that keeping the stove/radiators hot required a lot of wood (a wheelbarrow full per day in a house with poor-average insulation). This wood required growing, felling, chopping, storing and drying out. Customers with these systems would take great care not to waste energy and would carefully monitor radiator settings and wear warm clothing to preserve wood (better to wear a jumper and use less wood than wear a t-shirt and use more wood). Owning a woodburner certainly opens ones eyes to the ease of “central heating using gas/oil” and the amount of energy used to heat a typical home that customers often do not think about.
For me anyway there is something about having a real fire in the house that links me to the earth, the planet. That might sound a little mad but maybe if you have a stove or open fire you’ll understand. Wood fires are simple – the same technology used by man since man first lived in a cave, the antidote to busy lives, stressful jobs, emails and technology. Chopping and storing wood is hard work at times but rewarding and relaxing at the same time. Stoves are fun, romantic, simple and warming. And the dog loves our little 5kw.
Julian Patrick is the author of The Stovefitter's Manual and an experienced wood burning stove installer (including solid fuel heating systems).
Laid down tools in 2013 to write The Stove Fitter's Manual and open a small shop in North Wales (the Wood Stove Hut). Launched Stovefitter's Warehouse soon after due to fast growth of sales.
Own stove is a DG Ivar 5.
Stovefitter's Warehouse is owned and managed by Julian Patrick, blogger and author of The Stove Fitter's Manual. Julian was previously a full-time installer of wood-burning stoves (including solid fuel heating systems). He laid down the tools in 2013 to write his stove manual and open a small shop in North Wales (the Wood Stove Hut, soon to grow into The Stovefitter's Warehouse).