Thinking of buying a wood burner? Points to consider

The idea of a wood burning stove is a seductive one: comforting flames roaring away and something that gives a pleasing, comforting focal point to your living space. There’s nothing like traditional flames – even better if it’s minus the inconvenience of the traditional open fire.

Another major attraction is the fact you’re using renewable fuel sources to provide heat as opposed to resources such as gas and oil. You’re also being kind to the planet – burning wood is carbon neutral so you’re not adding to your carbon footprint.

It’s possible to go beyond just heating one main living area. You can use your wood burner to supply heat and water for the whole house. If you do this you’re being very eco friendly and removing yourself from the concerns of rising fossil fuel costs at the same time.

There are various points to consider before taking the plunge, however.

Assess your needs. This is vital – are you going to use the stove to heat just one room or the whole house? Make sure you select a model with the right heat output for your requirements.

Routine maintenance. With some types, you’ll need to clear away ash and relight it regularly. Will you find this a hassle? You’ll need your chimney swept at least once a year, too.

Fuel type. Wood is the eco friendly option, but check on your sources of supply. Is there a suitable supplier nearby? If you think you may need or wish to burn coal or a smokeless fuel, then you’ll need to buy a multi fuel burner.

To help decide whether a wood or multi fuel burner is best, this piece from Which? has some useful information.

Fuel storage. Have you enough room to store your fuel? Keeping plenty of wood close at hand takes up plenty of space.

Smoke controlled areas. Do you live in or near one? If so, you’d need to consider buying a multi fuel stove and burn smokeless fuels such as anthracite.

Building regulations. Make sure you’d conform to them. There are regulations concerning aspects such as the flue type, hearth dimensions and distance from other combustible materials.

Wood burner not a viable option?

If you think a wood burner isn’t such a good idea after all, is there an alternative for creating that homely atmosphere only flames can provide?

There may well be in the form of a bioethanol fire option. Using a smokeless, odourless and deposits-free eco friendly liquid fuel, these fires can provide heat and atmosphere. Take a look at internet sites to see what options are available. There are many types of fire ranging from the ornate type that can be sited on walls and surfaces to the wood burner-style varieties.

With no need to worry about chimneys, building regulations and fuel types and storage, a bioethanol fire just might be worth considering if a wood burner is too much of an undertaking.