According to an article on the This is Money website recently wood burners are in high demand at the moment with some potential customers even facing a 3-month waiting list. One supplier on the Isle of Wight, Charnwood, has seen sales increase by 20% on last year and there is a waiting list of four months for one particular model, the C-Four. It’s not surprising given that average energy prices have soared by 21% in the past year meaning the average household energy bill is now somewhere in the region of £1,293.
According to Charnwood marketing director Ced Wells, a wood burner should start paying for itself after five years saving up to 30% on fuel bills, which means that most householders buying burners see their purchase as an investment. A cord of properly seasoned hardwood is equivalent to around 130 gallons of fuel oil in terms of heat produced. A cord incidentally is a US unit of measure and represents a heap of wood 4’ x 4’ x 8’ in size.
As for the cost, it seems you should expect to start paying around £600 to £700 minimum for a good burner. For a 3.5 m x 3.5 m room you will need a 5 kW stove and some burners have back boilers so that you can heat your water.
The main cost however is the installation which should be performed by a wood burner installer who is HETAS registered and will set you back around £1,500. This includes sweeping and lining the chimney and doesn’t include the water heating option.
Dried hardwood costs around £80 to £110 per 1m3 including delivery, this will last you a good couple of months during the winter with a 5 kW burner but the prices may be higher in urban areas. However you can also buy wood pellets which are actually better for the environment because they emit less soot. Nevertheless, when it comes to a comparison between wood and fossil fuels with regard to environmental impact, it must be remembered that wood is a renewable resource whereas oil and coal aren’t. Furthermore, wood as fuel encourages the planting of trees which help to suck carbon out of the atmosphere.
As for savings, there are many ideas about how much money you will save. The Energy Saving Trust for example will tell you 10% of annual heating requirements, that is about £90 for a large three-bedroom semi. Other woodburner enthusiasts say the savings are higher.