Wood-burning or multi-fuel stoves are not only economical and hot; they can be sexy, stylish design features, too, as well as adding value to your home.
Energy prices are continuing to rise, and concerns over climate change are creating heightened environmental awareness. Increasingly, we are seeking sustainable solutions to the conundrum presented by our need to keep warm while reducing global warming. Not only in Britain, but across Europe, people are turning in ever larger numbers to wood-burning and similar, solid fuel stoves to heat their homes. Some even run them on home-grown or recycled wood.
As gas, oil and electric heating has become more and more costly and, in the case of gas and oil, environmentally menacing and expensive to extract, the price of wood has remained comparatively steady. Wood burners are also demonstrably more economical to run. Current estimates suggest that household fuel bills can be slashed by up to a third with the installation of a stove.
Up until now, most householders were simply replacing an open fire with a much more fuel-efficient wood-burning stove, mainly because open fireplaces lose warmth via the chimney, whether they are being used or not. According to the Stove Industry Alliance, wood is one of the most environmentally friendly fuels. Not only is it a renewable energy, but it is also virtually carbon neutral. The SIA claims the best models can achieve 80% efficiency. This compares to an open fire at 32%, and an open gas effect fire at between 20% and 55%. According to HETAS, the solid fuels industry body, using wood for heat costs 2.5p per kw/h compared with electricity at 11p and gas at 4p.
Of course, there are other options beyond the humble wood-burning stove and it is more than a matter of heating the living room. Cost-conscious and environmentally friendly households are also benefiting from multi-fuel stoves, wood-burning cookers, wood-burning boiler stoves and pellet stoves.
Then there is the question of style: how can a wood-burning or multi-fuel stove improve your interior design? Nowadays, wood-burning and other solid fuel stoves come in a wide range of styles that combine form with functionality, and elegance with efficiency – as well as being eco-friendly and simply beautiful.
What started life as a mere heating appliance has obtained a whole new functionality. They are still primarily used for heating interior spaces, but just as the traditional open fireplace adopted a highly decorative role, many modern wood-burners combine the attraction of the fireplace with elegant economy, or are stand-alone pieces of furniture-as-art, and the focal point of designer drawing rooms. It is their double function that makes them so versatile. Furthermore, a feature fireplace with a stove can add 5% to the value of your property! So chop, chop!