Wood Burning Stoves Vs Open Fires

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.