The traditional homely feeling with the glowing light and heat from the old fashion stove embedded with a antique oak fire surround appeared to be a thing of the past. The cosmopolitan influx of the 80’s and 90’s has seen houses up and down the country ripping out open fires and stoves and replacing them with modern Gas and electrical heating alternatives. As with many modern fashions, it would appear that the way we heat the home has done a full circle.
The first reason at the top of everybody’s list would be the cost benefits of installing a wood burning stove to the home. With fuel prices of Gas, oil and electricity constantly rising alternative ways to heat the home are currently being explored, with a wood burning stove proving to be the most efficient solution.
Facts about burning wood are as follows:
Open fires in the home are only 20% efficient – 80% of the heat from the fire ends up going up your chimney.
On current fuel prices burning wood to heat your home is currently cheaper to buy than gas, oil and electricity.
Each log burnt on a wood burning stove is between 70-90% efficient, so the log heats your home and the heat it gives off doesn’t escape up the chimney.
Depending on location and current fuel usage there are potential savings up to 3 times on using fuels like gas and oil.
The UK Government are highly supportive of wood burning stoves and in some areas grants maybe available towards the installation costs.
The other main factor in favour of installing wood burning stoves is that they are very environmentally friendly. Oddly, many people would assume the exact opposite since they can see that a wood burning stove is clearly burning wood and creating smoke that contains carbon emissions. They tend to overlook that the “clean” electricity that enters their house has itself been created by burning fuel – almost always a fossil fuel such as coal, gas or oil.
The main difference between the two is that wood, unlike fossil fuels, is renewable and in the course of growing new wood (i.e. trees) carbon is extracted from the atmosphere and locked back up inside the wood. The carbon in a tree is eventually released back into the atmosphere regardless, so burning it releases no more carbon than leaving it to rot. It is a more or less balanced carbon cycle. Leaving wood to root naturally also releases methane gases in to the atmosphere, which in its self is harmful to the environment.
The Solid Fuel Association is lauding the health benefits of burning a mix of coal and wood which, it claims promotes healthy circulation of air in a house and minimises condensation and also gets rid of mould spores which can cause bronchial irritation.
The fire also uses the chimney to rid the house of other gases and particles in the air which may give rise to asthma and hay fever.
The Association’s website claims:
“Medical research has demonstrated that people living in houses with solid fuel heating are significantly less likely to suffer from asthma and hay fever compared to those living in houses with other forms of heating”.