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Wood Burning Stoves VS Open Fires

Posted on 21 November 2016

 An open fire is ok if you want an occasional cosy blaze, but, there are a number of disadvantages. Open fires are very inefficient and most of the heat escapes up the chimney. Open fires are typically around 20% efficient

A wood burning stove re-circulates combustion particles and is designed to burn at a much higher temperature. This means gases present in the smoke are fully burned, which results in a thermal efficiency of around 80%. Therefor, you can get around 4 times as much heat from a log burnt on a modern wood stove, than from an open fire. A wood burner also radiates heat off the fire for many hours after it has gone out. The heat from an open fire heats only a small area, whereas the heat from a stove radiates over a much larger area.

You start an open fire and a wood burning stove, using the same methods. A couple of pieces of kindling should be placed on the bottom of the wood burner. Then place a fire lighter (crumpled up paper) on top, balance the kindling around the fire lighter like a wigwam then light it at the bottom. Once the kindling is burning well add larger, and larger bits of wood (thaxedstoves.com 2015).

Wood burning stoves are less smoky than an ordinary open fire, and produce less ash and mess. There is also the convenience to take into account. Even when left with just a bed of ash, a wood burning stove can be easily re lit by opening up the air vents and loading in more fuel. 

Wood burners are safer because the fire is enclosed so you don't get the danger of stray sparks or hot coals on the carpet, causing irreplaceable damage. Both wood burning stoves and open fires are safe when operated correctly. However, since the stoves are enclosed, with the heat-resistant glass, they eliminate the risks of stray sparks as mentioned. Also, with a wood burning stove, burning logs are unable to roll out.

Wood burners are increasingly looking more attractive, especially now as they are being designed with larger windows, so you are able to admire the roaring fire inside. Wood burning stoves and open fires are typically installed in the centre of the living room, and often serve as a focal point. At first glance an open fire maybe a trendier choice, as it creates a special atmosphere. However, an open fire means smoke, and in time this can be harsh on your decor and furnishings.

David Spencer (Stove Industry Alliance) says 180,000 wood burners were installed last year with close to 1 million homes in Britain now having one. The National Association of Chimney Sweeps have seen a 40% increase in buisness over the past couple of years as a result of this 'stove mania'.

With an ever changing climate, along with an increase in unpredictable weather changes, and with the prices of traditional fuels rising, there has been an increase in the number of home owners choosing to switch to firewood to heat their homes during the colder winter months. Wood is carbon neutral therfore, by burning wood, you will increase your carbon footprint. Wood is less expensive than electricity, gas and oil.

In a wood burning stove,  you will burn 50/75 percent less logs than you would in an open fire (woodburningstoves.co.uk). By burning less logs, less money is spent on firewood, and emits less carbon dioxide.

There are a number of manufacturers who design high-end wood burning ovens ready to enter the market. Offering fully automated ovens that no longer require people to cut up wood to put in their stove, as everything is being taken care of by the 'fire burning' machine. Making the purchase of a wood burning stove more appealing.

Wood is a unique material when it comes to providing warmth. It is reasonably priced, environmentally friendly and produces a distinctive flavour while burning, creating a pleasing and cosy home.

 

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