Log burners are becoming increasingly common in UK households due to property trends and rising energy bills. But can wood burning stoves actually save families money?
Experts say sales of log burners have soared in recent years, with 2020's growth coming due to upgrades in the home during the pandemic, while 2021's success is down to homeowners looking for ways to save money on heating the home as gas and electricity prices rocket.
But with the average cost of buying and installing a log burner coming in at £2,950 according to Checkatrade, households need to compare the cost of other fuels and think about a log burner's lifespan.
Latest figures from the Stove Industry Alliance suggest log burners could cost 71.4% less to run than electricity, 12.5% less than gas and 21.2% less than an air source heat pump. This is an increase on 2022 savings due to the rise in the average cost of electricity.
In 2022, the Stove Industry Alliance estimated a wood burning stove cost a third of the price of electric.
Using a wood burning stove on evenings and weekends between October and April will use about 3.5m3 of wood, the SIA estimates. Using this average, wood for the year would cost between £770 and £994 (£882 average) at current prices, according to the SIA.
But while a log burner heats one room very well and that warmth spreads to other rooms in the house, it's unlikely it will be sufficient to keep the whole home warm. Alternative sources of energy will also be needed, extending the repayment time.
Costs will also vary depending on the make and model of the stove purchased, the type of property it is being installed in, and the type of flue required. These prices can vary across the country.
The price of wood shot up in 2022, catching up with the increase in gas, electricity and oil. So the repayment time has actually extended in 2022 and 2023.
The cost of wood at the start of 2022 meant households would be spending between £420 and £490 at current prices, the SIA told us.
Burning wood for domestic heating is approximately 87% less carbon intensive than gas, 88% less than electricity and 74% less than an air source heat pump, according to the Nottingham Energy Partnership.
The Ecodesign Regulation that came into force in the UK on January 1 2022 means all newly manufactured stoves emit up to 90% less emissions than an open fire, the SIA says.
Last year, Mr Hill said: “An Ecodesign stove will use approximately a quarter of the amount of wood fuel compared to an open fire to give the same amount of heat. This cost effectiveness, combined with wood fuel’s renewable and sustainable credentials, and the ability to source fuel locally, helps to further reduce the carbon intensity of home heating, and means responsible wood burning has a clear role to play in our low carbon future.”
The Stove Industry Alliance’s top log burner tips:
- When choosing your stove, look for a model that is clearSkies certified to ensure compliance with Ecodesign.
- If you live in a Smoke Control Area, your stove will also need to be Defra exempt. All clearSkies Level 3 and above models are certified as Defra exempt.
- Visit your local stove retailer for guidance on choosing the right size stove for your property and for a detailed installation quote. You can find your nearest SIA Retail Group member showroom here.
- Always have your appliance installed by an appropriately qualified competent person such as a HETAS or OFTEC registered installer.
- Ensure you use quality wood fuel. Look for the Ready to Burn logo to ensure your wood logs are at or below 20% moisture content. Never use chemically treated wood or burn waste on your stove.
- Have your chimney swept at least once a year by a registered sweep. The Federation of British Chimney Sweeps has links to all the main sweep associations.
- Keep your stove in tip top condition by having it regularly serviced.