It seems counter intuitive: burn wood, create carbon emissions and yet save the planet. Surely this isn’t possible. Well, we have been told that wood burning stoves and boilers can be energy efficient and that for most of us they are a great way to heat our homes and provide hot water. But is it really true? There are certainly pros and con’s for all renewable energy technologies and here, we will look at what is good and what is bad about wood burners.
- A wood burner will release less carbon into the atmosphere than is absorbed by the trees used to fuel it. This makes it carbon positive or at the very least carbon neutral.
- Wood is a sustainable resource which makes a positive contribution to climate change while it is growing.
- You can burn more than just wood and reduce your need to send other items to landfill.
- You will use less of other types of heating methods if your woodburner acts as a way of heating your hot water for your radiators. This is called a backboiler or possible a biomass boiler.
- A log burner requires very little in the way of feeding with each log taking around 3 hours to burn. Biomass boilers can have automatic feeders and use wood pellets which burn slowly.
- Anyone who installs a wood burner with boiler capabilities is entitled to claim the Renewable Heat Incentive.
- Locally supplied wood can be cheap and has a low carbon footprint.
- You should be able to install your wood burner without getting planning permission.
- The value of your home may improve due to the installation of a wood burner. They are considered very attractive to home-buyers.
- The cost of installation can be high at a minimum of around £4,000 for a basic model and up to £11,000 for a biomass boiler.
- You will need to store the fuel in a dry spot which may require the building of some type of shelter or shed.
- Wood which is delivered in bulk will be cheaper, but you will need the space to store it.
- You will need to clean out your wood burner on a regular basis and your boiler may need to be shut down to allow you to complete this messy job.
- Your flue and the boiler system will need to be checked once or twice a year and swept clean. Sometimes it is recommended that a flue is swept 4 times a year if it is used regularly.
- You will need another source of energy such as gas for when you do not have your burner running.
- You will need to ensure that your home is well insulated to get the most from your wood burner – however this is true of all renewable energy options.