That’s the burning question on the lips of most of David’s customers lately.
He says he’s happy to be able to tell them that once you’ve installed a woodburner in your home your heating costs will be around a third of using electric heating appliances, and 13% lower than using gas central heating. That’s at current rates in mid-2022 – of course if energy prices continue to rise the gap will increase accordingly.
You don’t have to take David’s word for it – the figures he quoted come from the Stove Industry Alliance (SIA), which exists to promote the low carbon, low emission benefits of modern woodburners that meet Ecodesign Regulations and provide advice to consumers.
As most householders face the daunting prospect of rocketing energy bills everyone is looking for alternatives to traditional electric, oil and gas-powered central heating.
Many are calling back the past, remembering how previous generations relied on wood fires to keep the chill of winter at bay. Before central heating became commonplace in the 1970s most homes relied on fireplaces where sooty, smokey open fires blazed. Many kitchens harboured a wood-fired iron stove which radiated warmth while supplying a heat source for water and cooking.
The modern equivalent of those old iron stoves is a neat, stylish woodburner, technologically designed to be amazingly fuel efficient with low carbon emissions while pumping out plenty of heat.
A contemporary woodburner doesn’t need an existing chimney and can indeed solve your home heating problems, but at what cost? Is burning wood cost-effective compared to electricity, oil or gas?
We spoke to David Hardingham from Dinghams Direct at the company’s fireplace showroom in the city of Salisbury, Wiltshire, where there has been a steady increase in footfall since the price of gas and electricity began to soar.
David points out that the energy efficiency of a woodburner depends on its age and design.
According to the SIA the newest Ecodesign stoves – like those he has in his Salisbury showroom – use around five logs over a five hour period to produce 4kWh of heat. That translates roughly to 3.5 cubic metres of wood if you burn the stove from mid-October to mid-April during evenings and weekends. With the current price of kiln dried logs that adds up to around £450 for the winter period.
These stoves are efficient not only at heating the room they’re installed in, but also warming the whole house.
They also burn cleanly, and while you’re reducing your energy bill you’ll also be reducing your carbon footprint. Wood is one of the most environmentally friendly fuels that you can use – it is sustainable, renewable energy and virtually carbon neutral.
Prices of woodburning stoves vary on average between £750 to £1,500, while installation costs can be anywhere between £1,000 and £1,500, depending on the amount of preparation work needed.
If you have no chimney and want a log burner you will need to install a twin-wall insulated stainless steel flue system. The more contemporary designed Scandinavian stoves are most popular in these new chimney installations, and are more commonly installed in new properties and extensions. These stoves with flues can cost over £5000.
Once you have chosen a woodburner you like Dinghams Direct will give you the contact details of a local HETAS installer who will then carry out a home visit and quote you for the work including lining of your chimney. The installer will confirm the stove you have chosen will be suitable for your home and fit in your fireplace and then provide you with a quote for installation.