The Beginners Guide to Wood Burning Stoves
There are a number of ways to cut fuel costs in your home and add value to your property whilst doing so, but a large number of these options are often costly and invasive to input. Wood burning stoves have seen an increase in popularity through recent years as heating costs have soared and it’s easy to see why; they’re aesthetically pleasing, add character and can save you money on your bills.
There are so many options available and choosing the right wood burner or stove for your home can seem like a daunting task. In this blog, we’ll look at the considerations you need to make before any deciding what’s right for you and your home.
- What are the benefits of having a wood burning stove?
Comfort: The first and most immediately obvious benefit of having a wood burning stove is the cosy feeling they instil in your home. Many people choose to install one for this reason alone, but whatever the motive, a wood burner has multiple benefits; warm, stylish AND they can add 5% per cent value to your property.
Money saving: Wood burner installation is on the increase and it’s no wonder with the dramatic rise that many people have seen in their energy costs. Just using it to heat the room you’re in you can drastically reduce the amount of central heating you use so there are significant savings to be made on your energy bills.
Eco-friendly: The amount of carbon dioxide produced by a wood burner is roughly the same as a growing tree will absorb. As a carbon neutral option, wood burning stoves are eco-friendly and a much better option for the environment than fossil fuels.
Efficiency: A wood burning stove is more efficient than an open fire, releasing approximately 60% more heat into a room. As heat naturally rises, the majority produced by an open fire is unfortunately lost up the chimney.
- Does your location and lifestyle suit a wood burner?
Following widespread smog in the 1950s and 60s, legislation was introduced to control smoke emissions within the UK. There are now a number of smoke control areas, where it is forbidden to emit smoke from a chimney. With fines of up to £1,000 if you do break the rules, it is important to check whether your property is in a smoke control area before committing to the installation of a wood burning stove.
Space and lifestyle are other important factors that need to be taken into consideration before making any decisions. Is there space available for storing wood and keeping it dry before burning? Will you be able to stack and carry the wood from a log store to your fireplace? A small basket by the wood burner is great for those who are planning on buying wood in smaller quantities, but to buying logs in bulk is the most cost effective way of purchasing wood. If you want to make the most of this and maximise your savings, will it be practical to do so?
If you’re considering a wood burning stove as a design feature, it can seem rather expensive, but the cost will often be offset over time in the savings made on other forms of energy. Before looking at stoves and choosing one you like based purely on aesthetics, calculating the size of stove you’ll need to heat your room is a great place to start in terms of figuring out how much the entire installation will cost.
How well insulated your room is, along with the size of the room, will have an influence on the size and kilowatt of stove you’ll need to heat it. The more space you have, the bigger the stove and the higher the KW you’re going to need. As a guide, a large or higher kilowatt stove will be more expensive than a smaller one, but as with anything, a larger spend will mean a better performance.
So how do I know what size wood burning stove I need?
A stove that’s bigger than requirements dictate can mean that when in use, your room is uncomfortably hot and may also lead to fuel wastage, increasing your running costs.
Calculating what size you need can seem daunting but the following steps will help work out what kilowatt output you require in a wood burner.
- Measure the width, length and height of the room you are installing your stove in. Multiply the three measurements to get the room volume, i.e. width 4m x length 8m x height 2.8m = 89.6m³
- In new builds, divide this figure by 25.
- In a room with good to average insulation, divide by 15
- In a room with poor or non-existent insulation, divide by 10.
(If you’re unsure, divide the room volume by 15 as a guide)
This will give you the approximate kilowatts needed to provide warmth throughout the room.
Size is only the first consideration you need to make. In an older property, if you have a chimney that has been used for gas it may need lining. C0₂ emissions are a risk that needs to be taken seriously and so ensuring your chimney is fit for purpose is hugely important. Speak to a professional as there are a number of different methods of chimney lining and they will be able to advise the most suitable for your property.
The size of a fireplace opening is specified by building regulations and there are also rules on how close combustible materials can be to a stove. Bearing both these things in mind, you may need to alter the size of your fireplace prior to the installation of a wood burning stove, which can mean an additional cost.
The final thing you’ll need to think about when purchasing your wood burning stove is installation. Stoves must be fitted by a HETAS registered installer as any mistakes can be hugely costly and possibly also dangerous to rectify. If a stove is installed incorrectly, insurance can be invalid.
This blog was provided by Bradford’s Building Supplies