Which is better - a Wood Burning Stove or an Open Fire?
It’s no secret that there has been an increased demand for wood burning stoves in recent years. With energy prices soaring, homeowners have turned back to traditional heating methods to keep their homes warm.
There are an estimated 1.5 million stoves currently in British homes, with 200,000 being sold every year, and this number doesn’t seem to be shrinking any time soon.
But what exactly is drawing people to stoves over a fireplace? Both are equally as traditional, but wood burning stoves seem to have come out on top. We take a look at the benefits of buying a wood burning stove to put an end to the rivalry once and for all.
Heating the home
While both fireplaces and wood burning stoves provide a focal point of comfort, no matter what room they’re found within, do they both have the same benefits when it comes to actually heating a room.
The simple answer – no.
Open fires, while giving off a homely smell, sound and feel to a room, they will only heat a small area. Most of the heat given off by an open fire goes straight up the chimney rather than actually providing heat to the home.
Wood burning stoves, on the other hand, burn at a much hotter temperature. This automatically means that you’re getting more heat from your fuel and you are able to warm a larger space in your home. On average, wood burning stoves will retain 80% of the heat that it produces, making it a clear choice for those conscious of fuel efficiency and cost.
Looking the part
Ultimately, this is down to personal opinion. Both open fireplaces and wood burning stoves have their own unique qualities, and this decision is largely down to the style of the room the stove is being placed within.
Open fireplaces can be stunning in the right setting, and the design of a masonry fireplace is truly unique. Combined with mosaic tiles, brickwork, stacked stone or marble it is easy to create a centrepiece that is 100% to your liking.
On the other hand, there is a lot of work involved in installing an open fire if your room does not already have a predefined chimney breast or a natural location for this to sit. While wood-burning stoves are limited in their aesthetic properties, the majority are free standing and you can adapt the room depending on where you are planning on installing the stove – they can even be installed in the centre of a room if you wanted them to!
Wood burning stoves also have a variety of variations in size and style and it is easy to choose from contemporary, traditional, freestanding or inset designs. While the product itself may not be as customisable as an open fireplace, the flexibility in other areas is definitely a benefit.
What about safety?
Open fires may look nice from a distance, but up close they can be very dangerous – especially if you have pets or young children in your home. Accidents can be prevented with shields and fire guards, but this puts a barrier between yourself and the enjoyment of the roaring flames. There is still a risk of burning or scalding if a wood burning stove is touched directly, but this is relatively minimal.
On top of this, wood burning stoves are not as susceptible to creosote build-up as open masonry fireplaces, as they offer a complete combustion process and often burn away the by-products completely. If creosote builds up in a chimney there is an increased risk of chimney fire, and it can be quite difficult to remove if not spotted quickly enough.
Heating your home with a wood burning stove is a great way to reduce harmful carbon emissions and lower your own carbon footprint while also saving yourself some money on your heating bills.
Wood is a renewable source and can be burnt in some open fires. Wood is carbon neutral, meaning that it releases no more CO2 than a tree does naturally in the forest.
Many wood-burning stoves have been rigorously tested and designed with this in mind, and have been produced to give off as little harmful emissions as possible. DEFRA approved appliances, in particular, have been designed for use in line with the Clean Air Act in the UK, making them legal to burn wood in UK Smoke Controlled areas. DEFRA approved stoves do not allow for wood to smoulder and produce excessive smoke, and because of this they naturally reduce the number of toxins they produce.
There’s a lot of factors at play when it comes to choosing between an open fireplace and a wood burning stove. However, for the team here at Stove Supermarket, we know which of the two we prefer.
We stock an extensive range of wood burning stoves, and also a number of accessories and parts for open fires. Why not take a look at our range here, or leave a comment below and let us know which you prefer – wood burning stoves or open fires?
- Matthew Wigglesworth