Do log burners save you money?

3. WILL A WOOD BURNING STOVE SAVE ME MONEY?

This is not a simple question, with a simple answer, but in principle the answer is “yes” for the vast majority of people – but you have to take care to calculate your answer, and take into account the cost of buying the stove – and installation – in your payback calculation.

If a typical stove medium size costs around £350 including flue pipe and accessories, then the installation will cost roughly the same again and allowing for any additional building, plastering and redecorating costs, you will not see much change out of £1000. Therefore, your payback period, to get that money back from fuel cost savings, is likely to be a few years if your house is an average 3 bed semi.

Why will burning wood save me money?

Here’s a list of some of the reasons why owning a wood burner can save you a small fortune in heating bills:

Modern wood burners are energy efficient. They typically operate at 70-90% efficiency, meaning for each pound you spend on heating your home between 70 and 90p is converted into heat.

Open fires are only around 20% efficient, the rest of the heat (80p per £!) escapes up the chimney. Switching from an open fire to a stove could save you lots of money on fuel bills.

The best gas boilers produce similar efficiencies as modern wood burners, however the rising cost of energy means that your energy bill could be considerably higher.

According to a 2008 report commissioned by Centrica (owners of British Gas), the average annual domestic gas bill could cost over £1,000 within the next few years.

Wood can be sourced relatively cheaply and easily, saving you £££’s in the long run.

You don’t need to pay for a CORGI registered engineer when the fire goes out!

How much can I save?

That depends on a several factors such as how much you already spend on your fuel bills and what your initial outlay on a stove is. The bottom line is that you can get hold of wood for burning far more cheaply than you can buy gas, electricity or oil. The higher the price of these fuels, the more compelling the argument is for buying a wood burning stove and start saving money.

How long before it starts paying for itself?

It starts paying for itself almost immediately. Here’s an excerpt from a Guardian newspaper article written as recently as 31st Jan 2009:

“If your home has a working fireplace, don’t waste your time

with an open fire – replace it with a wood-burning stove. More

than a year ago, I spent £700 on buying and installing one in

our modern home and it has been a huge success. We salvage

waste wood from a skip outside a joinery and, combined with

sawdust briquettes (£1 a bag), use it to largely heat our home.

We still use the gas central heating first thing in the morning,

but once up we keep the stove going all day. The whole house

slowly warms up it makes particular sense if one person is at

home all day. It helps if you have an open-plan house, and wood

floors rather than expensive carpets.

We have slashed our gas bill in half, and save around

£350-£400 a year. The payback period is around two years.”

 

Of course there are other compelling reasons for buying a wood burning or multi fuel stove apart from cost saving. For many people, the main reason is the beauty and warmth of a real fire in their home. For some others they buy a stove big enough to use as a cooking aid on which they can stand pans or teapots.

Many others have gone even further and installed a wood burring boiler to run their hot water and heating systems for them.

Whatever your reason, there is no doubt that the rising cost of gas, electricity and oil over the coming years will drive more and more people to make the change to a stove that burns wood, logs or one of the other multi fuel options. Saving money in these recession hit times will be ever more important.

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