Many people at this time of year begin to stock up on coal for the harsh weather ahead. You can easily go through 20 sacks of coal throughout the winter period, even though 70% of the heat from the fire goes straight up the chimney. Sure, open fire places are quaint and cozy, but there is definitely a cost-saving, more sensible alternative. Even if you love those lazy evenings sitting by the fire, you may want to think about investing in a wood-burning stove. So what are the benefits of having a wood-burning stove instead of an open fireplace?
As mentioned above, 70% of the heat from an open fire will go straight up the chimney. Obviously this isn't very good in heat retention terms, but it is also a massive loss on money as you have to pay more to have the heating on in order to heat the other room. Stoves have glass or another transparent material at the front, which allows in and around 20% of the stoves into the room directly. The remaining 80% is then blown around the room using a silent fan at the top.
Alternatively, you can get a stove which uses a back boiler, and this will use the remaining 80% heat to heat the water in the radiators and for your types.
The initial buying and installation of a wood-burning stove can be anywhere between €2000 and €8000. Quite steep, you may think. However, think of it in terms of: not having to buy 20 sacks of coal, not having to have the heating on in order to heat the rest of the house, and not losing 70% of heat up the chimney. In all of these savings, you will easily make your money back in a few years.
You may be put off buying a wood burning stove by the fact that it has quite a high initial purchase and installation cost. However, if you take a step back and look at it as an investment, you’ll realise the in a few years time, you will easily make your money back. Even better, if you have a steady supply of your own logs that you can add to the wood burner, you even save on fuel costs so there is next to no running costs as all!
Traditionally, the cosy open fireplace has an efficiency of approximately 20%, meaning in and around 80% of the heat from the fire is lost. Considering the amount of money that is being spent on it through coal and having to have the oil heating as a supplement, it simply isn’t good enough. The typical wood burning stove has an efficiency of between 70%-80%. Wood burning stoves produce less smoke, less ash and don’t require you to have other methods of heating in order supplement it. This means you are reducing the amount of smoke that goes into the atmosphere and reducing the amount of oil that you use, thereby greatly reducing your carbon footprint, simply by investing in a wood burning stove.
This article was written by Declan O'Flaherty, who has five solar panels, a small windmill and a wood burning stove installed in his house, just for good measure.
- Wood burning stove License: Creative Commons image source