In recent times, more so than ever before, people are having to consider their outgoings much more carefully. With economies around the world having suffered from the recent pandemic, any way to bring down costs has been readily welcomed. Even aside from this, many people are looking to save on their energy bills, some of which are staggeringly high.
To heat your home and create a welcoming atmosphere, a lot of people are turning to the humble log burner. These appliances are ideal for many properties but there is always the worry that running them will put a lot of pressure on the wallet.
The reality of it is that a wood burning stove can vary in how much it costs to install and run. There are several factors that might affect this such as the type of stove you have and the fuel you choose. However, once installed, it is likely that the running costs will be significantly lower than your energy bills.
There is much more to consider, however, when choosing to install a log burner. So, while we would always advocate their use, it is important to understand what to expect before you commit.
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Is It Expensive To Install A Log Burner?
One of the biggest gripes of many homeowners is the cost of upgrading their property. Nowadays, even a simple repainting job can cost the earth. So installing a log burner is surely going to break the bank, right?
The cost of installing your log burner will vary massively depending on the model you choose. While there are some stoves that can cost under £1000, there are other, more high-end models that can quite easily triple that figure. Of course, this is just the upfront cost of the stove itself and likely doesn’t cover the installation.
You should also consider that you must have a hearth for your wood burner, which should be 12 inches in front of the appliance. Although, there are other rules surrounding this and each case may differ slightly. However, the hearth is typically sold separately and depending on what you have, you might expect to pay anywhere between £100 and £500.
While it is possible to install the log burner yourself, we would always recommend going with a HETAS registered installer to ensure that all building regulations are adhered to. If this is something you would like to know more about, we have a more detailed guide that tells you everything you need to know.
If you do not already have a flue or chimney in place then you will need to have one installed as well. This is not optional and is essential for the safe operation of your wood burning stove. While the cost of this may vary from job to job, again depending on certain factors, the average cost of installing a chimney in the UK sits at around £1700.
The cost of the installation of the log burner itself could be anywhere up to £1000 but once again, there are factors that will affect this. One of the most common reasons that the price may be bumped up is if a lot of structural work is required.
While it may seem a lot, these log burners can last up to 20 years when they are properly maintained. So you may see it as a long term investment. Furthermore, when it comes to selling your property, a wood-burning stove could boost the value slightly.
What Is The Cost Of Fuel?
One of the main reasons that people install a log burner is to save money on their energy bills, which have skyrocketed in recent time (more on that later.) But nothing in life comes for free so there is the cost of the fuel to consider. Again, there will be variants on this depending on what type of fuel you use and where you source it from.
It’s important to keep in mind that there are many Smoke Control areas around the UK where only pre-approved types of fuel are permitted. In this case, you may find that your options are limited, although there are a good selection of smokeless fuels that are permitted, so don’t let this put you off too much.
Wherever you live, it is a good idea to consider the environment and use fuels that aren’t going to cause any more damage than there already is. However, one of the greatest things about owning a wood burner is that you can, in theory, collect your own wood. This is essentially free of charge but there is the added consideration of drying the wood out, which in some cases can take upwards of two years.
For convenience, most log burner owners will purchase their fuel directly from a supplier. According to Which?, consumers are thought to use more than 1.25 tonnes of wood each year to run a single log burner. That sounds like a lot but when you consider that you can purchase a cubic meter of wood for around £116, it isn’t difficult to see that your annual costs won’t be as staggering as you might first think.
This figure applies to seasoned logs, however, if you would like to purchase kiln dried logs, which are typically thought to be much more economical, you can expect to pay a little more at around £135 per cubic metre. On average, a cubic metre will contain around 300 logs.
Finally, if you prefer to use wood pellets to keep your fire blazing, these can be purchased for around £120 for the equivalent of a cubic metre, which comes in at around 500kg. That being said, one of the best ways to get better value for your wood is to buy it in larger quantities. You will typically find that the more you buy, the lower the cost per log will be.
If you buy a cubic metre of logs, you might expect this to last you a few months over the winter. But much like every other factor, this will vary from home to home depending on how often the wood burner is used, its size and the size of the area you wish to heat.
As with any other appliance in your home, you will need to perform regular maintenance on your log burner. One of the most common annual costs will be to hire a chimney sweep. While a lot of people put this off, it is essential to have the flue regularly cleaned in order that it doesn’t become blocked and ultimately, a hazard.
The average UK chimney sweep will charge around £90 per clean. This is typically done on an annual basis although some homeowners prefer to have this done every six months.
Will I Save Money On My Energy Bills By Installing A Log Burner?
The burning question (no pun intended) on everyone’s lips is whether your log burner will cut the cost of your energy bills. The simple answer is probably. In a survey taken by Which? as many as 52% of people claimed that having a wood-burning stove had seen a reduction in their energy costs. However, there were also 37% of people who thought that there had been no noticeable difference. Take from that what you will but in any case, there is no denying that the cost of energy has gone up dramatically in recent years.
Comparison website USwitch recently declared that in the last year alone, the average UK household had seen a 21% rise in their energy costs. This means that we are now paying more than £220 a year more than we were before. It may surprise you even further to learn that most UK homes are now forking out a massive £1293, on average, every year on gas and electric.
In line with this, wood-burning stove manufacturers have seen an astonishing rise in sales; so much so that many of them have struggled to meet the new demands of customers. It is thought that there has been as much as a 20% rise in the sale of these appliances since the cost of energy has risen so greatly.
Some stove owners choose to turn off their central heating whilst their log burner is lit, choosing only to heat the room that they are in rather than the whole house, which can also have a major, positive impact on how much you may be able to save when having a log-burner installed.
Installing a log burner is undeniably an expensive venture. You have to consider the cost of the stove itself, the installation fee and any structural work that needs to take place. However, the cost of the fuel, on an annual basis does work out to be significantly less than the annual household energy bill.
That being said, it may take a while to break even but there are so many advantages to having a log burner aside from just saving money. They are an effective method of heating your home, may boost its value and of course, create a beautiful ambience in the room.