If you had a choice - wood burner or gas fire? Help!

(39 Posts)
Grockle Sun 29-Dec-13 18:29:46

I don't have a chimney or hearth but want to install a fire.

I've always wanted a wood burner but, thinking about it, a gas fire seems like a better option:

No fuel to source
No cleaning
No lighting it then worrying if I have to go out
No ugly flue

The gas fire I've seen is beautiful - with a tiled surround, iron looking grate, just like the one that should be in my Victorian/ Edwardian house. But would a wood burner be better/ nicer?

Jergens Sun 29-Dec-13 19:15:05

I LOVE our wood burner. Would def recommend it over gas fire. Nothing beats sitting in front of it on a winter's night with a book and a glass of wine smile

littleredsquirrel Sun 29-Dec-13 19:18:44

Do you have a free wood supply? Do you have somewhere to store lots and lots of wood? Do you have somewhere to store paper and kindling? Do you want instant heat or is the heat source just a back up to decent central heating? Do you have a location for a woodburner where the pipe can go through a wall and continue upwards until it is at least one meter above the roofline? Do you have enough space for a large fire resistant hearth?

If so get a wood burner.

Well I think my username probably indicates where my feelings lie!

MakeMeJumpIntoTheAir Sun 29-Dec-13 19:27:25

I've got a woodburner but after being at someone's house with a gas fire - it is the cleaner and easier option. I prefer the look of a woodburner much more than gas fires, but it depends on whether you want ease over hassle.

WhoKnowsWhereTheMistletoes Sun 29-Dec-13 19:28:25

Our woodburner is in the middle room of our Victorian terrace where there is more space for woodbaskets, a large enough hearth etc and close to the back door for bringing wood in. We have a flame effect gas fire in the front room but only use it about once a year. If we had more space in there and a bigger fireplace (it's got a fabulous old fashioned cast iron surround which I would hate to lose) I would get another woodburner.

You probably need some sort of fireplace installer expert to come out and survey your property to see what would suit it the best and cost it all up for you.

Grockle Sun 29-Dec-13 21:03:08

I have:

no free wood supply although could probably get some
nowhere to store wood
central heating so fire would be backup - just a nice thing to have rather than a source of heat (unless particularly economical)
no chimney or flue but an outside wall...

I have contacted gas fire & wood burner people.

Thank you!

BabyMummy29 Sun 29-Dec-13 21:16:43

Inherited a wood burner when I bought this house. Hate it with a passion and have only used it about 3 times. Can't be arsed with all the buying of wood, laying and cleaning it out etc etc, Much easier to switch on the gas.

As for all this guff about "I leave the living room door open and it heats the whole house" - as told to me by the vendor - no it doesn't/

RRudolphR Sun 29-Dec-13 21:19:27

I love my woodburner.
We have if on every evening and no central heating on.

Love it

NigellasDealer Sun 29-Dec-13 21:20:43

would go for the woodburner

EasterHoliday Sun 29-Dec-13 21:21:52

you can get gas fires that look like wood burners - OH is currently googling them next to me right now!

WipsGlitter Sun 29-Dec-13 21:23:06

I'd love a wood burner.

specialsubject Sun 29-Dec-13 21:24:46

love our woodburner, but what littleredsquirrel says is absolutely right. We have all those things - and don't forget it produces dust so extra hoovering required.

no, it doesn't heat the whole house!

HarrietSchulenberg Sun 29-Dec-13 21:25:46

Wood burner. Gas fires may be instant heat but they're waaaaay more expensive than woodburners. If you've got central heating and aren't planning on using it that much then you'll be able to find enough free wood if you get out for walks.

PigletJohn Sun 29-Dec-13 21:41:24

you say you have no chimney or hearth. What will it cost to get one?

btw I would go for a multifuel not a woodburner. More flexibility in fuel, and a sack of solid fuel burns longer, and hotter, with more heat than a barrow of wood.

Do you have a free source of substantial logs? Are you willing and able to saw, split and store them? and carry them inside in cold weather? are you comfortable with bringing wildlife into your living room?

Catsmamma Sun 29-Dec-13 21:48:35

we have two woodburners, and I love them, but i have dh and teens to chops wood. I can do it, but it is knackering

as is an afternoon spent stacking a tonne of wood. As a family we can get it done in an hour or so, but that is three or four of us moving each and every piece from the drive to the woodstore

and the spiders!!

and the cats often take offence to the logs and try to pee on them. Which is nice. NOT!

So yes, they are lovely and warm, but lots of work and mess.

WhoKnowsWhereTheMistletoes Sun 29-Dec-13 21:54:25

We buy logs, so no chopping etc but we only use it one or two evenings a week and only use one load of logs (£50) per winter. It takes one person a couple of hours to wheelbarrow it from the drive to the back and stack it. If it is lit for hours and hours it does warm most of the (small) house, but really doesn't just over the course of an evening. It does make a bit of a mess too, sawdust, splinters and ash around the hearth. You need to factor in the cost of getting it swept too (ours costs £40). It is a luxury not a heating replacement for us. I do love it despite all this.

Grockle Sun 29-Dec-13 22:23:56

'wildlife' doesn't bother me but I am not able to split and carry tons of logs, due to illness. I can do a few but not a lot. And extra cleaning is not ideal!

Grockle Sun 29-Dec-13 22:48:52

Or electric... I think the one I liked best was electric hmm

Lucylouby Sun 29-Dec-13 22:51:19

We had an open fire in our old house. I loved it, but it was a lot of work and I expect a wood burner is the same. DH had to chop and log up all the bits of tree, cart it onto the wood pile. I then had to bring in a basket full each day, clean and light the fire, fill the coal scuttle etc. I had to go out side in the rain/snow/dark/cold to fetch the fuel for the fire. So, as much as I love the look of the fire,I'm not sure it's worth all the work. I didn't notice much extra dust as a result of the fire though

Pimpf Sun 29-Dec-13 22:53:10

Wood burner every single time. Was a life saver when our central heating system broke down last year. Is lovely to look at, heats very quickly and is easy to clean.

Saying that, unless you have a cheap supply of wood, it's not cheap, it can be a hassle to clean (unless you do really like it- which I do). The heat isn't controllable, I have been known in the past to have to open a window as its got too hot!!

Rascalls3 Sun 29-Dec-13 22:56:25

Our wood burner and open fire really were invaluable during three days of no power over Christmas. Fortunately I have a husband prepared to do the hard graft and plenty of free wood. Combination of coal and wood work best. Looks miles better than a gas fire. Not sure if I would be bother to light it very often if it was all down to me though!

MinnesotaNice Sun 29-Dec-13 22:58:00

What about a pellet stove? Don't personally know a whole lot about them, as we have always had a gas fireplace. My dad has mentioned them and is really keen to get one after they move house.
www.stovesonline.co.uk/wood_burning_stoves/Pellet-Stoves.html

Ragusa Sun 29-Dec-13 22:58:26

We have a multifuel and I don't find it too much hassle. No chopping wood - buy it pre-chopped by the pallett. Made a woodstore out of leftover palletts. Stacking it after delivery is a bit of a pain.

Even a small woodburner (say 4-5kw) should keep a small house warm in an evening. Our heating kicks off after it has been lit for 45 mins. I think gas fires are mostly decorative aren't they? Very inefficient....

OhYouMerryLittleKitten Sun 29-Dec-13 22:58:41

I adore my wood burner. It really does heat the bottom of my little house. I also love chopping and sawing wood even if my body doesn't. It appeals to my little house on the prairie instincts. I love being self reliant when we lose power too.

Ragusa Sun 29-Dec-13 23:01:22

I am not sure about venting it through a wall though. The fitting cost may well put you off.

guccigirly Sun 29-Dec-13 23:09:08

I have done a lot of research on this lately and the best way to go is multi fuel. It gives you the flexibility of not just using wood. WhoKnowsWhereTheMistletoes you can get an inset multi fuel log burner to fit into an original cast iron surround. I have found one by Esse that can convert my victorian fireplace to a log burner.
Also it is important to get one with the largest window you can with no bars across as the joy of watching the fuel burn is part of the experience. Some log burners have a type of glass that doesn't tarnish so that it is much clearer to see your fuel burn, but I have forgotten the name, Esse do them though.

HicDraconis Sun 29-Dec-13 23:11:29

We have a see through real flame gas fire - original plan was woodburner but then the council refused permission for new builds so then we looked at pellet burners (cleaner, easier to use, more Eco friendly). Then I saw a see through gas fire in the wall at one of the local pubs, loved it and insisted we get one smile love it, it's warm and friendly and cosy and easy! We have a part wall dividing an otherwise open plan living/dining room and it's in there.

WhoKnowsWhereTheMistletoes Sun 29-Dec-13 23:15:58

Thanks Gucci - I must admit I haven't seriously looked into it, but the opening is only about 18" wide by 24" high so I assumed too small. Our hearth is too small as well and we haven't really got room for log baskets, although we could just carry through a few at a time from the other room.

Agree with having multifuel, we only really use wood with ours but it's good to have the option of solid fuel. Also to minimal bars, ours is a two door design and the one in the showroom had each window divided into 4 squares, we asked for it to be just one pane in each and am glad we did so.

Ours is supposed to self clean the glass but doesn't, however a damp wad of newspaper dipped in the ash pan and rubbed over the glass does a brilliant job of cleaning it.

Follyfoot Sun 29-Dec-13 23:17:20

We've got a multifuel burner and a gas fire that looks like a multifuel burner. The multifuel is fab - it warms the bones of the house up, wouldnt be without it. It works best with a layer of ash in it anyway so only needs clearing out when both ash pans are full. As for cleaning the glass, its as simple as pulling out the airwash knob. It overrides our central heating too, so saves loads of money as we can get wood for nothing.

We never use the gas stove. It looks nice (because it looks like a wood burner), but it just isnt the same as the real thing.

Having said all that, a real fire does make the room a bit dustier and its a faff carrying wood up from the wood store. If both of those are an issue, I wouldnt go for one.

DameDeepRedBetty Sun 29-Dec-13 23:21:35

I've got one I hardly use - it's lovely, but I no longer have the free wood supply that I had when I first had it installed. I find that even if I forage for bits when I'm out with the dogs, it isn't enough to keep it fed.

It doesn't help of course that if I do pick up a nice chunk, the Labradors spend the rest of the walk slathering around me, jumping up, desperate for me to throw it for them!

ShrekTheHalls Mon 30-Dec-13 01:28:10

havent read the whole thread sorry, just the last few posts. we have both in 2 diff rooms obv. the living flame gas fire gets used daily. the woodburner gets used rarely as it's a pita although lovely when it is on. mucho faff in reality and hangs on availability of nice dry wood and the motivation to bring it in blush blush

Grockle Mon 30-Dec-13 09:54:46

Thank you so much for all the info. I think, because of my health, sadly a woodburner would be too much work and end up a bit pointless. So, that leaves me with gas or electric... does anyone know which is going to be better?

ShrekTheHalls Mon 30-Dec-13 10:17:41

are you thinking living flame type thing or fakey woodburner sort? there are good ones of both around. if you like the look of a woodburner then some nice (other fuelled!) ones - trying to reactivate my brain cell and remember where I saw them blush

PigletJohn Mon 30-Dec-13 10:36:39

The gas ones certainly do look better because they really do have flames. Although some of the heat goes up the chimney, electricity costs three times as much as gas so you will still come out ahead.

The glass-fronted ones are higher efficiency but do not look as good.

guccigirly Mon 30-Dec-13 10:59:35

Look at www.chesneys.co.uk and select gas stoves. They look like woodburners but are gas run. You can buy online. They are top quality stoves.

peggyundercrackers Mon 30-Dec-13 11:11:32

we made the mistake of putting in a gas fire when we renovated our house. the gas fire is rated at 11kw but to be honest if we put it on full and stand any more than a foot away from it you cannot feel any heat from it AT ALL - it is a complete waste of money. we have central heating so the fire is really just for show but isnt even good for that - it wastes lots and lots of gas too. we have now blocked the chimney off for the time being as all that happens now is we get a draft down it.

we live in an old victorian house so we have a chimney, hearth etc. but if i didnt i wouldnt put one in, I personally dont think its worth it.

Showtime Mon 30-Dec-13 13:22:26

We had a woodburner years ago, but even after paying top price for good, seasoned logs cut to size, we were always at mercy of supplier dumping big, green lumps on drive while we were out, and DH reckoned another winter feeding it would probably finish him off. I've a pretty live-fire-effect gas fire now, which I just don't bother using as radiators are so efficient and I prefer to block chimney to avoid draughts (altho these are not as bad as with woodburner).
Congratulations OP on making a wise choice, and thanks to PigletJohn for fuel-cost info.

Ragusa Mon 30-Dec-13 16:49:07

There should not be draughts with a properly installed woodburner wink

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