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Wood burning Stoves(40 Posts)
We have a Late Victorian / Edwardian house and have been talking about replacing our (hideous, 80s) gas fire with an open fire, or gas equivalent.
However, looking at heating prices etc I was wondering how economical and efficient a wood burner would be? The questions I have are these:
Would it heat the room above, or are they only really suitable for one room?
Do they work out cheaper than gas, once the cost of cleaning and wood are taken into consideration?
How much (roughly) would we be looking at? I'm working on the assumption that the chimney would have to be lined and cleaned in addition to the installation of the burner itself. The room is roughly 13x11 foot (with an additional bay).
Finally, those that have one - do you regret it, and what would you do differently (if anything) if doing it again.
Thank you for reading. We currently pay about £110 per month in gas and given the energy price war currently raging it would seem sensible, albeit optimistic, to think we could save money with an alternative.
When I said about heating the room I meant would the heat permeate through the chimney / floor!
Prices - we heat our house entirely with wood (wood burning Rayburn running central heating). Its hard to give exact prices, because it so much depends on what is available in your area, but if we didn't have anywhere to store wood & just bought cut split wood ready to burn, I doubt it would cost less than £150 a month over the winter months, say November to March, plus say another £100 for the rest of the year (right now we are only just starting to have the odd fire for heating). However that does all our hot water, central heating and a lot of our cooking.
Buying unseasoned wood in bulk, seasoning, sawing and splitting it ourselves obviously makes it much cheaper.
Just a wood burner - you'd use a lot less wood, but it wouldn't heat the whole house. Having said that, a friend has a woodburner in her sitting room and says in practice she doesn't need to put the central heating on other than in the very coldest weather. But, she is in a small reasonably modern terrace with a large family!
Other thing worth bearing in mind - even if you're buying a month's wood at a time, that is still quite a quantity to store, so you'd need a good sized undercover area. The smaller quantity you buy, the more expensive it gets per fire IYSWIM.
We have two wood burners (one is actually a multi-fuel stove) and to be honest, I'm not convinced that they will actually save us money in the short to medium term because of the quite high installation costs but they are lovely and give us a lot of pleasure.
To give you some idea of cost, we paid £900 to have the chimney lined and the stove fitted, plus the cost of the stove which was a fairly low-budget one at £500. We already had a heart, if we hadn't then it would have been extra. This installation costs were the absolute lowest I could find after shopping around pretty much every installer, although we do live in an expensive part of the country.
We pay £45 annually for sweeping for each stove plus the cost of wood which I would estimate to be around £150-£200 for using every evening and the odd weekend daytime. If you can source your own wood then this will reduce the cost but you need to be sure it's well-seasoned and not too high in oils which will tar up your chimney.
They do heat the upstairs to some extent, but they don't replace the central heating entirely, particularly when we all get in from work and school and the fire needs to be laid and lit etc.
As I said, they're lovely and they've probably added some value to the house but it will take a long time for us to recoup the costs.
Just out of interest, I've seen on the other thread about this paying £45 for the sweep - why not buy a set of chimney brushes (which cost about £45) and do it yourself?
We have a flue coming out the back of ours. I love our woodburner! We live in a bungalow though so if we leave all the doors open it does warm up the old house. I don't think we have ever paid for wood either, people are always throwing it out so we get off cuts for free like pallets and post on buy sell groups if anyone needs old wood shifting. Dp is quite hands on so cuts it up and puts it in our wood store. You'll be surprised how much you pick up for free! We keep a couple of bags of coal as reserve incase we want to leave it on before going out for the day and want to come back to a warm house. It's awesome! (Just about to put it on as we speak!)
why not buy a set of chimney brushes (which cost about £45) and do it yourself?
1. Because I don't particularly want to and I would have greater peace of mind from knowing that my fire and chimney have been professionally assessed for safety of the whole system once a year.
2. Because one of my chimneys is a really expensive metal insulated one and if I damage it I will be very cross with myself.
3. Because my house insurance requires it to be swept regularly and if the chimney caught fire and damaged the house I think it would be tricky to get the insurance company to pay out.
I love mine with a passion. It has paid for itself already in reduced as bills (down to £40 a month from over £100). If I did anything differently it would be to pay for the more expensive liner. I fret about ours now as it is a cheap 316/316 liner. I wish I'd gone for the 904. Really wouldn't have been that much more.
The installation and stove itself can be pricey. We paid 3.5k to have a top of the range, large (9kw) stove, the chimney lined and stove installed, plus building work to knock out the fireplace as there was a big hidden inglenook. Not cheap, and that is the main cost. Running costs aren't loads, but the installation and purchase is. Don't scrimp on the stove or the liner, they're important.
The heat is immense, ours heats the whole of the downstairs, easily. We love it but I wouldn't say it necessarily saves money.
Fair play, MrsMiniver. I know the chap who sweeps chimneys round here, & tbh I have just as much confidence in my/DHs ability to sweep it without damaging it and be aware of safety issues. (Not that there's anything wrong with him either - perfectly nice bloke, gave up being a teacher & went into the woodburner line, sure he would also do a good job.)
Also yes brand new stoves are dear but you can save money second hand. As well if your DP is quite hands on you can even get one that needs restoring! We got ours that needed restoring for 40 quid and it looks fab now!
Mam your room will only need a 5kw stove. Don't be tempted to get a bigger one because it is better to keep your stove running full and hot than running a bigger one slowly which creates tar to bung up the chimney.
My HETAS installer comes back once a year, checks all is well and all seals are intact and sweeps. He's great for £40!
150 worth of wood heats our entire house for around 2.5 months.
We end up using 2.5 loads of wood each winter, as the woodburner is only going solidly in the depths of winter.
Thank you so much for your really helpful replies! We've been trying to decide whether to go gas / open fire or wood burner and I think we'll definitely go down the wood burner route now. We'll get some quotes in and see where we go from there.
One more thing to add: if your chimney is lined, the chimney breast, and upstairs walls next to the chimney, won't get hot. The chimney liner will be surrounded by vermiculite (like cat litter) which is very insulating. We were rather sad when we had our chimney lined and realized we would now have to switch on the radiator in the room above our sitting-room!
Actually the chimney breast gets warm in the room above ours. Not hot (unless someone over burns the stove) but it does warm up nicely and the room stays much warmer than any other in the house. We don't have the radiator on much in that room.
So does the bedroom above which has the chimney breast going up to the loft in it in mine. It gets quite nicely warm - enough so that if I put the airer next to it over night the clothes are pretty much dry by morning. It just happens to be my bedroom
Our installer put just a couple of bags of vermiculite round the flue. He said the insulation just 1-2 metres from the stove would be enough to prevent condensation when the stove is lit. Seems to work fine anyway.
Just bumping this up- for prices.
Been quoted around £2K for a 5kw stove, altering the existing fireplace ( not too complex- just removing some bricks and making good) and fitting the stove.
This seems a lot as I am sure some people here before said they had it done for around £1K.
The stove itself was quoted at £850 - either Stovex or Parkray I think.
Our chimney is totally filled with vermiculite - I think we used seven bags in the end (it's not terribly expensive, so I overbought).
My stove was £650, I think, and is 7.4kw. It seems to be a bit more than that now though (this was 2010) when I look at the equivalent
If you source your own stove, you might save a bit. My installer charged £450. He provided a register plate and materials like cement/plaster etc. He opened out my fireplace, fitted my slate hearth, rendered the opening, lined the chimney and insulated it and fitted the top hat on the chimney. He provided me with a list of everything I needed to buy (hearth, liner, insulation, fitting kit), which cost about another £400-500 and I sourced it where I wanted (do buy a decent liner though, I'm kicking myself for buying the cheap one). I would ring round for a few more quotes personally.
we always use stoves on line (good customer service), and go for a multi fuel,
They will give you lots of really good advice (give them a ring) and supply the fitters.
Thanks- we don't need any work on the chimney. Al that is needed is to remove the chair brick, to make space for the stove, and roughly half a brick each side and one above the grate, fit 1 ft of flue, and then a cowl ( we already have a cowl but they said it was not the right sort )
well for insurance purposes you will have to have the chimney lined.
Really? Even if the chimney is fit for purpose? Mine wasn't, being a 1930's pile of crap, but some chimneys are fine (although stoves do work better with a lined and insulated chimney).
We had someone in to price quote ours and I was devastated when he said it won't fit !!we have an original fireplace with brown glazed tiles in a pretty arch on the actual hearth ( too shallow apparently) with an outer arch in the same brown glazed tiles with a large Victorian wooden style mantel.he said that we would have o remove it and even then he couldn't guarantee it would solve the downdraft that we experience at iMessage with the open fire ....what to do?