Why choose a stove?

Why you should choose a wood burning or multi-fuel stove over other types of household heating.
Posted on: 08/07/2015 - 09:23 | Comments:0

There are many ways to keep your home pleasantly warm during the cold winter months. So why choose wood burning stoves? Here is why:

Cost efficiency. With the prices of electricity, gas and oil rising sky high, heating our homes has become an expensive venture. New technologies such as photovoltaic cells and heat pumps cut those expensive heating bills, however, they require a huge investment which pays off only in two to three decades. Wood burning stoves are a lot less expensive to buy than the new technologies, while wood fuel is very cheap in comparison to electricity, gas and oil. A kilowatt of heat per hour costs about one fifth of kWh of electricity and about one third of kWh of oil and gas.

Unique warmth. Wood logs emit a unique warmth which makes the room feel much more pleasant than any other type of fuel. At the same time, wood burning stove emits heat long after it has gone out. This makes wood burning stoves unique in comparison to other types of heating including open fires. They look highly decorative and create a unique atmosphere in the room, however, open fires have been shown to “feed” on warm air and make the room feel colder rather than warmer.

Energy independence. Energy sources such as electricity, gas and oil must not be taken for granted. While gas and oil are non-renewable energy resources which means that they will run out one fine day, electricity must be produced somehow to keep up with the demand. To make things worse, most of the world’s electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels which, as mentioned earlier, are available in limited amounts. As a result, it is unrealistic to expect for the prices of the mentioned energy sources to get any lower in the future. In contrary to electricity, oil and gas, wood fuel is a renewable source of energy because the trees that are cut down for firewood can easily be replaced.

Reliability. With the climate getting more and more unpredictable, electricity power cuts that were virtually unknown all these years may become more common in the future. Now imagine a power cut during the cold winter. Brrr! But with a wood burning stove in the house, you do not have to worry about freezing in the middle of the winter. Unlike other types of heating including central heating, wood burning stoves do not need electricity to operate.

Eco-friendliness. In contrary to fossil fuels, wood fuel is carbon neutral which means that wood burning stoves do not increase the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Wood logs do emit carbon dioxide when burned, however, the carbon that is released during burning is neutralised by the growing replacement trees. This is due to the fact that trees absorb carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and release pure oxygen.

Posted on: 08/07/2015 - 09:57 | Comments:0

Climate change we are currently witnessing is probably one of the greatest challenges humanity has ever faced. The forecasts are highly pessimistic and if we all do not start to behave more environmentally responsible, the future is highly uncertain. Each one of us contributes to the rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere which is thought to be the number one cause of climate change. This, however, also means that each one of us can help reverse it.

Since the world’s forest play a highly important role in neutralising the effects of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, wood burning stove may not seem a particularly environmentally-friendly choice. But the truth is right the opposite. Wood fuel is classified as carbon neutral fuel which means that it has net zero carbon footprint. Surprised? Well, it is true. Let’s see why.

With every fallen tree, carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere increase because trees absorb this harmful gas and release pure oxygen. And while the wood is burning, the smoke that is released also releases carbon dioxide. So how can wood fuel have net zero carbon footprint? The thing is that carbon dioxide which is released when the wood is burned can effectively be absorbed by the tree that was planted on the site of the fallen one. And when the replacement tree is cut down, another one steps into its place. And this practice can go on forever. But even then, eco-friendliness is not assured.

In addition to making sure that the wood fuel is sourced from sustainably managed forests and plantations, it is also highly important to use energy efficient wood burning stoves. They give maximum heat output, produce little smoke pollution and do not need large amounts of wood fuel to create a satisfactory warmth even during the coldest winter months. The higher the efficiency of the stove (the best ones are operating with efficiency of about 85 percent), the less wood fuel is used. And the more the trees left standing the lower the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Just as important as choosing and operating wood burning stove efficiently is to choose the right wood logs. Your carbon footprint will not increase as long as you burn logs that are sourced from sustainably managed forests. But burning unseasoned wood for instance will not keep you warm during the winter nor reduce your heating costs as much as fully seasoned logs. These have up to 50 percent higher caloric value which means that you will burn less seasoned logs to achieve the same or even higher heat output than by burning unseasoned wood.

Considering that about 17 percent of carbon dioxide emissions are produced by households (for a comparison, business create 15 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions), mostly through heating, you can dramatically reduce your carbon footprint by heating your home with wood burning stove. And besides helping to save the planet, you can also save a great deal of money.

Posted on: 08/07/2015 - 10:00 | Comments:0

Given that the weather is becoming more and more unpredictable and that the prices of the traditional fuels are continuing to rise (and are expected to do so in the future as well), an increasing number of home owners is switching to firewood to heat their homes during the cold winter months. Wood is incomparably less expensive than electricity, gas and oil and is also carbon neutral which means that by burning wood, you will not increase your carbon footprint. However, since many people are having difficulties deciding between wood burning stoves and the traditional open fires, we will compare the key characteristics of both. So if you cannot decide between the two options either, the comparison below will hopefully make your decision easier.

  1. Energy efficiency. You will without a doubt save a great deal of money on heating if you switch to firewood, however, there is a major difference in energy efficiency between a wood burning stove and open fire. The latter is only about 15% efficient due to the heat loses through the chimney and the tendency to “feed” on warm air, replacing it with colder air. Wood burning stoves, on the other hand, have energy efficiency of over 80%. At the same time, they have a much higher energy output because enclosed fire reaches higher temperatures than an open flame. In a wood burning stove, you will burn as much as 50 or even 75 percent less logs than you would in an open fire to create a pleasant warmth. And by burning less logs, you will spend less money on firewood and emit less carbon dioxide.

  2. Aesthetics. Since wood burning stoves and open fires are typically installed in the very centre of the living room and often serve as its focal point, their aesthetic appeal is of course very important. At a first glance, an open fire may be a trendier choice. The sight of an open fire, after all, creates a very special atmosphere. However, where there is (open) fire, there is smoke and the latter can be very hash on your décor and furnishing. Wood burning stoves are much cleaner and are not any less trendy than open fires. They come in a wealth of styles and designs to suit just about every home but they also come with a glass front allowing you to admire the burning logs and give your home that unique sense of warmth that is created by the sight of fire.

  3. Safety. Both wood burning stoves and open fires are safe if operated correctly. But since stoves are enclosed with a heat-resistant glass, they virtually eliminate the risk of the sparks landing on the carpet causing an irreparable damage or even fire as well as prevent the burning logs from rolling out. Despite that, it is highly important to keep the stove well maintained and install a carbon monoxide detector that will alert you if the levels of this potentially very dangerous gas rise too high.

Posted on: 08/07/2015 - 11:02 | Comments:0

The sales of wood burning stoves have increased dramatically in the recent years. Many British households are switching to wood burning stoves to save money on heating which has become a major financial burden, especially for families that live in older or poorly insulated homes. But since a quality wood burning stove is quite an investment (the stove actually isn't the main expense but rather its installation which costs about £1,500), you probably wonder how much will you actually save by switching to a stove.

There is no agreement on how much a wood burning stove reduces the heating bills. A recent press release by the British wood burning stove manufacturer Chesney's in which it claims that a wood burning stove can cut the heating bills for more than £300 per year therefore attracted a lot of attention. But while some claim that this estimation is too optimistic, others claim that the savings are much higher.

It is important to mention that the £300 savings were calculated by comparing the cost between wood pellets and gas per 1 kWh. The savings can even be greater if switching to wood logs although the cost of burning logs varies greatly due to the difference in their prices. These range from £80 to over £100 per one cubic metre for fully seasoned logs. If you have the space, however, you can dramatically reduce the cost of wood logs by buying unseasoned logs and letting them sit for a year. Also, the savings of switching to a wood burning stove will be greater if you are currently heating your home with electricity.

In order to calculate the savings of switching to a wood burning stove, it is also necessary to consider factors other than the cost of wood logs. In comparison to other heating systems, wood burning stoves are relatively inexpensive and generally pay off within a few seasons. In addition, you can apply for a grant for installing an environmentally friendly heating system. But as mentioned earlier, there is also the installation which often costs more than the stove itself. As much as maintenance costs are concerned, chimney sweeping is virtually the only expense. It is recommended to be done at least once per year and costs about £50.

Bottom Line

Even though it is impossible to calculate how much will you save by switching to a wood burning stove, there is no doubt that you will spend much less for heating by burning wood logs than by using gas or electricity. But it is crucial to choose an efficient stove of the right size (output). Also, keep in mind that you can burn wood logs only in DEFRA approved stove if you live in a Smoke Control Area.

 

Posted on: 08/07/2015 - 11:18 | Comments:0

morso squirrel kitchen sceneThough the selection of advanced heating solutions is greater than ever, wood burning stove manufacturers report a dramatic increase of demand for their products. In the last five years, the demand for the good old wood burning stoves has increased up to 40 percent. There are several reasons why a growing number of home owners are switching to stoves, while the most commonly reported ones include:

- Lower heating costs.

With the oil and electricity prices continuously rising, many home owners who heat their homes with fossil fuel-powered heating systems are having difficulties paying their heating bills, while the renewable technologies that utilise solar energy, thermal heat, etc. are simply too expensive for an average consumer. Wood burning stoves, on the other hand, are very affordable, while the running costs are incomparably lower from their fossil fuel-powered counterparts.

The prices of wood burning stoves tend to vary greatly (expect to pay from about £600 to £1,500 for a quality stove plus about £1,000 for installation if your chimney is in good condition), while the cost of running depends on several factors including climate/average winter temperature, insulation and quality of logs.

- Good looking.

Stove designs have come a long way. In addition to the traditional country-style stoves, there is also a huge choice of contemporary and retro designs in a wealth of colours, making them very easy to incorporate into both contemporary and traditional homes. Furthermore, they often serve as the centrepiece of the room, while the sight of the burning fire gives the room a unique sense of warmth and creates a very welcoming and relaxed atmosphere.

- More efficient.

In comparison to open fires, wood burning stoves are much more efficient. They emit up to 85% of the heat as opposed to open fires where more than two thirds of the heat is lost, not to mention the cold drafts that are quite common when the fire is off.

- Environmentally friendly.

Despite the fact that deforestation is a major environmental concern, wood burning stoves are among the most environmentally friendly heating solutions. Of course under condition, that the logs are sourced in sustainably managed forests and that the stove is efficient. In this case, it is carbon neutral. Even though burning wood emits CO2 and other greenhouse gases, their amounts equal to that absorbed by the tree while it was growing.

- Abundant choices.

A huge choice of types, styles, designs and technologies makes wood burning stoves suitable for both urban and country homes, while DEFRA approved stoves can also be used in Smoke Control Areas.

Posted on: 08/07/2015 - 11:48 | Comments:0

Hi-Flame Alpha Multi-fuel burning stoveOver the past few years, sales of wood-burning stoves have been on the rise. Once seen as a quaint, old-fashioned way of heating a home, today they are one of the most desirable items to have, with both the National Association of Chimney Sweeps and the British Solid Fuel Foundation reporting an increase in business between 20% and 40%. So, why have wood-burning stoves become so popular again?

The extraordinary rise in gas prices

According to price comparison website Uswitch, gas bills have more than doubled in the last ten years, whilst most people's wages have hardly increased at all in comparison. There's worse to come. With the rapidly decreasing reserves of natural gas in the North Sea, the UK will be forced to import 70% of its gas by 2020, which will see prices continue to rise sharply according to the parent company of British Gas, Centrica.

Wood-burning stoves therefore make a cost-effective solution. With a relatively small upfront investment in the stove itself, it is possible to fuel the stove largely for free. Many people strike up a relationship with their local joinery company, who will have large amounts of wood that they simply throw away every month, and it's amazing once you have a wood-burning stove just how many dead trees you can come across on public land. Just remember to keep a saw in the car! Even if you choose to buy logs for the fire, it still can work out much more cost-effective than a conventional heater, and there is a certain amount of satisfaction that you are not lining the pockets of the large multinational gas companies.

Owning a wood-burning stove can get you fit

If you want a completely hassle-free experience with a wood-burner, then it is certainly possible, simply by purchasing ready-to-burn logs from a local supplier, delivered to your door. But for many, there is a certain satisfaction in getting their own wood and one of the results of this is that it can get you fit. As mentioned earlier, this may be from a local joinery or a local public woodland, either way, if the pieces don't fit into your stove, you're going to have to get sawing, and this certainly can keep you fit! In reality, most people go for a happy medium of sourcing their own wood and purchasing some from a supplier. This still results in substantial long-term savings compared to a gas-fire.

Wood-burning stoves are environmentally friendly

Wood is one of the most sustainable materials on the planet, it being a 100% renewable product that is in effect grown by solar power. Most wood that is sold in the UK is from sustainable sources, which means that for every tree that is felled, another is planted, the new tree in effect absorbing the carbon dioxide that is released when burning the old tree. Even using the excess wood from a local joinery or kitchen-fitters is environmentally friendly, as you're using wood that would have just ended up rotting in a landfill site.

There's nothing like the feel of a real wood-burner

This is perhaps the best reason for wood-burning stoves popularity. As the wind howls, the rain lashes and the frost begins to bite outside, there's nothing cosier or comfier than curling up with a roaring stove burning away. Comparable gas and electric fires simply pale away in comparison. They may look as nice as a wood-burning stove, but they certainly don't feel as nice on a freezing winter's evening.

Posted on: 08/07/2015 - 11:58 | Comments:0

How to Choose the Right Size Wood Burning Stove?

When choosing the right size wood burning stove, you should consider much more than just the size of the room. Factors such as window areas, insulation and your climate also play an important role in how well the room will be heated. So when you are using stove heat output calculators, make sure that they include the insulation factor as well. You are highly recommended to avoid the temptation to (just in case ) buy a larger stove because you will not be able to operate it energy nor cost efficiently. Also, keep in mind that the logs you burn matter as well in both heat output and cost efficiency of the stove. You are recommended to burn only fully seasoned hardwood logs.

What is ‘Exempt’ Wood Burning Stove?

If you live in Smoke Control Area, you will be recommended to look for an ‘exempt’ wood burning stove. ‘Exempt’ refers to the DEFRA ‘authorised’ stoves that have been tested and approved for Smoke Control Areas. You can find ‘exempt’ stoves on the DEFRA website or ask your retailer for an advice in the selection of appropriate stove. It is highly important to keep in mind that within Smoke Control Area, you are not allowed to use any smoke producing appliances including wood burning stoves with the exception of those that are determined by the DEFRA as ‘exempt’.

Are Wood Burning Stoves Cheaper Online?

Not necessarily but it is often possible to find high quality stoves at considerably lower prices online. This is due to the fact that online retailers have considerably less expenses with their stores than their offline counterparts who need to buy/rent appropriate place on a buyer attractive location, keep employees and the store open regardless of how many or little potential buyer visit it. Therefore they cannot afford to keep their prices as low as those who run online stores with a compact team and sell their products literally 24/7 at no additional costs. They also do not need large showrooms to display their products. This is why they can generate more profit even if they sell their products at lower prices.

How Much Money Will I Save with a Wood Burning Stove?

This depends on the size of your home, efficiency of the chosen stove and efficiency of wood you burn, and the type of heating you are currently using. However, if we know that 1 kilowatt hour (kWh) of heat produced by wood burning costs about one fifth of the same amount of heat produced by electricity and about one third of that produced by gas and oil, you can easily calculate how much money you will save by switching to wood burning stove. Please note that the calculation above counts only for the most efficient stoves that are burned with fully seasoned, quality hardwood logs.

Where to Look for Licensed Installers with Reasonable Fees?

Ask your friends, colleagues or co-workers if they can recommend you a professional to install your new wood burning stove or ask your retailer for an advice. Stores that are specialised in wood burning stoves and equipment typically know which installers will get the job done professionally without leaving you with an empty pocket.

Posted on: 07/07/2015 - 12:21 | Comments:0

Wood burning stove is one of the oldest, simplest and most efficient ways to heat your home. Its popularity declined after the Second World War due to convenient and inexpensive electricity, gas and oil fuelled heating systems. But due to the climate change and the rising costs of the mentioned types of heating which have become a serious financial burden for many UK households, many people are returning wood burning stoves to their homes. These, however, have changed a lot in the recent few decades. Today’s wood burning stoves are much more efficient than the mid-20th century models and much better looking. In fact, most have both practical and decorative value.

The main advantage of wood burning stoves over other types of heating is of course cost efficiency. They are relatively inexpensive, especially in comparison to the latest technologies that utilise solar and thermal energy, while wood fuel is a lot less expensive than electricity, gas and oil. For the same heat output, you will pay about one fifth of the price you would pay for electricity and about one third of the price of gas and oil. You must admit that this is more than a good reason why it is worth to consider installing a wood burning stove in your home.

Another reason why wood burning stoves are attracting more and more attention in the recent years is due to the fact that unlike fossil fuels, wood fuel is a renewable source of energy which has a net zero carbon footprint. Because fallen trees can easily be replaced, there is virtually no risk of running out of wood fuel. And since carbon dioxide that is released during wood burning is absorbed by replacement trees, the total carbon dioxide emissions equal zero.

The mentioned advantages of wood burning stoves, however, should not be taken for granted. There are many types of stoves out there and not all are as environmentally friendly and efficient as the highest quality ones. They are typically less expensive to buy but are more expensive in the long term because you spend more money on wood fuel. Heating savings and heat output also depend greatly on proper operation of the stove. In order to keep your home pleasantly warm without filling the stove like a stoker, it is highly important to choose the right size stove. And in the end, you need to burn the right wood logs. There is a huge difference in heat output if the logs come from a softwood or hardwood tree species as hardwoods have up to 50 percent more caloric value. Just as important is to burn fully seasoned logs that have at most 20 percent water content.

We are aware that choosing the right stove is not an easy job. In order to make your decision easier, enjoy the unique warmth of wood and save money on heating, we will provide you guidance in the selection process, help run your stove smoothly, choose the best wood logs, find a professional to install your new stove at a reasonable price and offer advice on anything you want to know about wood burning stoves. We hope you will enjoy our website!

Posted on: 11/09/2015 - 09:47 | Comments:0

Like it or not, the cold, winter months are fast approaching. With the rising detriment of staying warm, both to the environment and our bank balance, it seems our ancestors had the right idea swearing by an open fire.


Now we’re not suggesting you go totally primitive with two tree branches and lots of elbow grease – instead we propose a 21st century upgrade: Wood Burning Stoves are about to become all the rage.


A Wood Burning Stove conjures up images of great warmth, dancing flames and quintessentially British style. Not just aesthetically valuable, cosy and intimate, these stoves are also a friend to the environment; wood is co2 neutral, renewable and free to the forager.

And we’ve saved the best until last. As if you needed another reason to invest, wood burning stoves are a foodie’s dream, adding an effortless twist to a variety of tasty mealtime favourites. 
Yes, you read that right. Form an orderly queue…

 

Jacket Potato

The original comfort food, a baked potato is the perfect, simple dinner to warm you up on a winter’s weeknight.


Wrap your potato in two layers of tin foil and then, using a long handled toasting fork place it in a corner inside your wood burning stove. Move the hot wood and ash slightly to the side and go and occupy yourself elsewhere for an hour – (preferably in the stove’s close vicinity – the aroma from a cooking potato is not to be missed).


When time’s up, remove your potato from the wood burner and unwrap the foil to reveal the perfect jacket – crisp, earthy skin encasing light, fluffy potato - with a distinct taste you can only get from a real, open fire. The added smoky flavour goes well with the simple addition of butter, salt and a little pepper. Lunch is served!

 

 

Wood Fired Pizza

If you’ve ever been to Italy, you’ll understand the significance of an authentic, wood fired pizza and why the Italians are so passionate about them. The taste is worlds apart from the Chicago Town pizzas you find in the Tesco freezer aisle.


So why not give yourself an authentic Italian treat and cook your pizza the way it was meant to be cooked – over wood fired flames.


If you’re feeling adventurous, you can make the dough yourself, but for a quick and simple dinner time treat, buying it readymade is just as delicious.


Prepare the sauce using Italian staple ingredients: fresh vine tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and basil. Peel and finely slice the garlic, then fry in a good amount of olive oil until lightly coloured. Tear up a handful of basil leaves, and add them to the pan, along with your tomatoes. Use the back of a wooden spoon to mash up and squash the tomatoes as much as you can. Finally, add lashings of salt and pepper.


When your sauce comes to the boil, immediately remove the pan from the heat. Using a sieve, strain the sauce into a bowl – then put your smooth, tomato mixture back into the pan, bring it to boil, then simmer until it’s the perfect consistency for spreading on a pizza base.


Add whichever toppings take your fancy - (at the moment we’re loving broccoli, fennel, sausage meatballs and heaps of mozzarella).

 

 

Full English Fry Up

For a refined twist on the English classic, substitute gas for something a whole lot more authentic.

The traditional cooked breakfast is taken to new heights when cooked using real fire and solid fuel heat.

Simply place a pan on top of the wood burning stove and get frying for a Sunday brunch you’ll never forget.

 

Mulled Wine

 

Why stop at food? For a Christmassy take on stove gastronomy, fill a cast iron kettle with dry red wine, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, allspice, orange rind and sugar (or sweetener if you’re prepping for Christmas party dress season).

Let the delicious mixture simmer away, all the while filling your home with the sweet scent of Christmas.

 

 

Smores

These American favourites are classics for a reason – they’re pretty damn irresistible.

Pop a marshmallow on the end of a wooden skewer and hold briefly inside your wood burning stove, until nice and gooey.

Sandwich your melting marshmallow between two graham crackers (digestive biscuits work just as well) and add a piece of chocolate of your choice – heavenly doesn’t cover it.

 


Bread

Last, but by no means least, this cupboard staple tastes sensational when toasted by a real open flame!

Simply place your bread on the end of a long handled fork and toast to desired level of crunchiness. Spread with butter or jam and enjoy while still piping hot.

 

Have a recipe you think would work well cooked on an open flame? Share it in the comments section below!