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The rise and rise of woodburners

PUBLISHED: 11:54 08 January 2018 | UPDATED: 11:52 09 January 2018

Neo wood burner available for Classic Stoves. Picture: Contributed

Neo wood burner available for Classic Stoves. Picture: Contributed

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With their benefits including reducing your carbon footprint and your monthly energy bills it is no surprise woodburners have become the hot must-have in homes.

Skagen 5 wood burner available from Classic Stoves. Picture: Contributed Skagen 5 wood burner available from Classic Stoves. Picture: Contributed

There is a kind of primordial attraction to a real fire. Nowadays, we may enjoy coming back to the warming, welcoming glow of a home fire after a day stuck in elephantine commuter queues rather than spearing a mammoth, but it still seems to appeal to something deep within us.

However, a roaring open fire with the heat escaping up the chimney has fallen from favour. Now it has to be a wood burner, which gives out five times as much heat as a regular fireplace and heats a far bigger part of the house.

More than one million UK homes are already using wood burning stoves and fireplaces, with average annual UK sales in excess of 175,000 units.

They have become a fashion statement with many now having inspiring designs that have made them ornamental focal points themselves as ubiquitous in a fashion forward home as an espresso machine or a retro US freezer.

Add to this their impressive green credentials and the fact they make you more energy efficient and less in thrall to the bills of energy suppliers and it is not hard to understand the popularity of woodburners.

Someone who has noticed the boom in popularity of woodburners is Andrew Reid, who owns Classic Stoves, a family-run business which has outlets in Long Melford and Stowmarket, and sells and installs units in homes in East Anglia.

He says: “We have seen a steady increase in the popularity of woodburners in recent years and put this down to an increase in interest from some in using a renewable source of energy, access to an alternative source of heat for others and overall as a lifestyle purchase.”

Wood logs are a renewable fuel provided that you purchase from a reputable supplier who sources from well managed woodland. Burning wood is also largely carbon neutral as the carbon dioxide given off during combustion is roughly equivalent to that absorbed by the tree during its growth. You can also factor in that when being burned the wood will give off less carbon dioxide than it would if left to decay naturally.

Renewable energy guide Green Match says: “Burning wood produces 0.008kg of CO2 per KWH, compared to gas 0.198kg and 0.517kg for electricity”.

Recent statistics from Kiwa GASTEC at CRE, the energy management and low carbon consultancy, training and product testing facility, confirm that replacing a decorative gas fire with a wood burning stove will reduce the carbon footprint of a house by 22 per cent, a figure that rises to 36 per cent when replacing an LPG decorative gas fire with a wood burning stove.

As a result, wood burning stoves are a practical way in which many householders could significantly reduce their carbon footprint, and with greater uptake encouraged, wood burning stoves offer a tangible solution to the government’s need to reduce UK carbon emissions and mitigate climate change.

Andrew says: “Installing a woodburner gets a big tick environmentally, as it is a renewable source of energy. Key to achieving low emissions is to burn dry, seasoned hardwood. The next generation of stoves with even lower emissions are now becoming available in line with new legislation.”

An open fire cannot match these emission reductions, producing 14 per cent more carbon dioxide. It is also far more wasteful with the heat it generates, as Andrew explains. “Woodburners are much more efficient than an open fire, where most of the heat is going up the chimney. Put it another way, for a third to a quarter of the amount of fuel used on an open fire, you will get the same amount of heat from a woodburner,” he says.

Classic Stoves offers a complete service from an initial home visit to discuss your best options through to a complete supply and fitting of the wood burner. Even if your home doesn’t have a chimney they may be able to help you.

Andrew says: “We will always visit to carry out a survey so we can give accurate advice and costings on both the type and size of woodburner, but also importantly the design of the flue. We will design and build both conventional and twin-insulated independent chimneys from scratch, as well as fit to existing chimneys, where it is safe to do so. Usually a job can be completed within a day to two days. Where a fireplace needs to be opened up and a chimney reconfigured, this may take a little longer.”

For more information on woodburners and whether they could work in your home, visit here or call the Classic Stoves branch in Stowmarket on 01449 678659 or Long Melford on 01787 313699.

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David Vincent

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EADT writer David Vincent has more than 40 years experience in Suffolk. He has explored the highways and byeways of East Anglia, meeting homeowners, developers and estate agents from Bury St Edmunds to Aldeburgh and Colchester to Diss.

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