Interiors: Wood Burners for the home

I have always wanted a wood burner, and in an ideal world it would have a Aga as a big brother in the kitchen, and that would have an aerial wooden drying rack above it… and hey lets got the whole ‘country cottage’ hog and get a thatched roof and a veg garden too! I’ve digressed though… a wood burner would be lovely, but not viable in our home sadly! I have had friends who have put them in terraced homes that you’d not traditionally expect them to work and they really do! They’re a great source of heat, are cheap to run and aesthetically pleasing too! This post will tell you more

 

Wood burning stoves come in such a wide range of sizes and designs that it’s easy to heat a cosy sitting room with a traditional looking burner, or go for a chic contemporary design to give your open plan living space the wow factor.

Which wood burner?

Traditional cast iron matte black wood burning stoves are very popular in period style homes as well as upmarket modern spaces, and there’s a huge range of wonderful designs to choose from. If black is a bit too predictable for you, why not add extra dimension to your home’s décor and furnishings with an enamel finished burner in stark white or eye-popping pink?

You can choose from a range of pedestal, or wall-mounted versions. There are even wood burners that appear to be suspended in mid-air in the centre of a room. Another great choice is the classic double-aspect burner – some of the latest models have a show-stopping 360° design. If a free standing wood burner is too much of a feature for you, have a cassette model built in that fits flush with the wall, perhaps with an integrated log storage alcove.

 

How much heat does a burner provide?

Most wood burners are sold as individual appliances, designed to provide heat and a cosy atmosphere in one room. To give you an idea, a living room that measures 7 metres long x 5 metres wide x 2.4 metres high, might need a 6kW to 7KW wood burner.

Some stoves can be linked to a radiator-based central-heating system and supply hot water. These ‘boiler’ wood burners can service around a dozen radiators, while the 14KW models are able to supply hot water to around 20 standard-size radiators.

 

Are wood burners efficient?

Most wood burners operate at between 70% and 85% efficiency, while open fires in a house waste about 90% of the heat they generate by blowing the hot air straight up the chimney. But how does a wood burner compare to a conventional boiler-powered central heating system? Well, research carried out by the Energy Saving Trust reveals that a wood burning boiler system linked to radiators in a house would cost about £90 per annum less to run than a gas-fired boiler heating system.

 

What are some of the best features of a wood burner?

  • Airwash technology (fairly standard these days), works by drawing air down the inside of the window panel to help keep it clean. This air also helps the combustion process.
  • Clean burn systems draw in secondary and tertiary air, and boost thermal efficiency, which makes for a cleaner, greener burn.
  • Many models are now smokeless.

How to look after your wood burner

Maintenance is not an issue, provided you regularly clear out the ashes and remove any soot from the glass panels and inside surfaces. A wood burner should easily last you for 20 years or more. Keep an eye out for problems like cracks, holes in the ash pan, or any signs of rust. Most manufacturers recommend an annual service of the burner, chimney and flue.wood burner

What wood burns the best in a wood burner?  

As a rule, hardwoods are the best for fuelling a wood burner. A cubic metre of a hard wood weighs up to 50% more than a soft wood. Hardwoods such as ash, beech and oak, give a longer lasting burn and are therefore a lot more economical.

Make sure you have enough space to store your wood. Logs need to be seasoned for up to 2 years to reduce the moisture inside the wood before it is ready for burning. Hardwood logs will have been cut and split well before they’re used. Find a reliable local supplier of good quality logs who will charge you reasonable prices and can deliver these directly to you.

 

How much does a quality wood burning stove cost?

A small wood burner of 5KW size can cost as little as £250, but with installation costs and a new flue, you’re probably looking at somewhere in the region of £1,600. A constructional hearth (which may be required to meet Building Regulations) will cost around £250.

If you’re looking to buy a top of the range burner, or are after a boiler model that requires new pipework, then you’ll have to pay significantly more – this could be anything from £3,000 to £7,000 in total.

 

This post was written by Dakota Murphey, alongside fireplace specialists Wakeford Fireplaces, who were consulted for some of the information provided in this article.

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