How to save money by heating your home with log burners

The good news so far is that, possibly due to climate change, the UK winters have become milder. However with continuing cold snaps for December through to March predicted, for many consumers the financial burden of growing heating costs is concerning.

The combination of gas & electricity providers raking off significant profits year after year hits consumers in the pocket, particularly in these winter months. Specifically with domestic gas bills; these seem to be constantly rising in real terms. Do you switch providers, do you go for fixed cost plans or do you seek alternative heating methods?

Log burners now occupy over 1 million UK homes, with popularity in supply and demand increasing each year. With many more houses in the UK that are suitable for wood burning stove installation, is this the best route to cut your heating bill?

How important could log burners be to our finances?

A Q2 2014 report from the Office for National Statistics demonstrated that 23.5% of average household expenditure went on ‘housing’ – which includes gas and heating bills.

Household Prices

Oil barrel costs go up and down – gas has been creeping steadily up in price. For the right house owner, log burners could be an effective way of controlling ballooning fuel costs.

Do we buy wood burners to save money?

The fashionable, trendy appeal of the wood burning stove is undoubtedly a contributing factor to rising sales of over 175,000 units per year across the UK. However many of these households have both gas central heating and wood burners. 21 million UK homes are heated by mains gas (83%) so it is safe to say that there is a good degree of overlap.

What is cheaper – burning wood or using natural gas?

The methodology of energy performance for both efficiency and the environment is called the Standard Assessment Procedure or ‘SAP’. Studies indicate that it is 29% cheaper per KWh to burn wood than to use natural gas. An average annual gas bill would have cost £690 in 2013, so if you were to purely rely on wood burning stoves for heating you could save £200.10. This is compelling, particularly if your property would be well suited to log burners. The comparison against other fuels gets quite interesting. The cost saving for oil is a considerable 43%, 50% for LPG and 77% when benchmarked against electricity. For home owners in remote areas of the UK, heating oil costs can rapidly fluctuate and so burning wood could save nearly £300 per year.

Installation costs

Making the burning wood vs. using natural gas cost comparison work is where things get a little bit complicated. The consumer champion Which? estimates the total cost, including installation, of a log stove is usually around £2,000. The average for a gas central heating system is £2502, which is where gas has the upper hand because obviously this cost covers the entire house. The media have created a more negative angle against wood burning stoves for this reason, which focuses your attention around the multi-room installation cost in comparison to the longer term cost savings (and environmental benefit of using renewable energy).

Depending on how serious you are about saving money on your heating bills, don’t worry – help is at hand. To navigate around this disparity in installation costs and contribute towards ambitious carbon reduction goals in the next 30+ years, the Department of Energy & Climate Change created the renewable heat incentive, or RHI. Since 2014 the RHI has been extended to cover domestic renewable heating.

What is the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)?

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is the world’s first long-term financial incentive scheme using for renewable energy to heat property (commercial and domestic). If you are classed as one of the following then you can apply:

  • Owner occupiers (including second homes)
  • Private landlords
  • Social landlords
  • Self-builders
  • Legacy (those who installed eligible renewable heat measures between 15 July 2009 & 8 April 2014

The following heating system types are eligible:

  • Air source heat pumps
  • Biomass boilers and wood pellet stoves with a back boiler
  • Ground & water source heat pumps
  • Solar thermal (hot water)

Your heating system must be MCS certified and your installer needs to be a member of the energy consumer code (RECC) and be MCS certified as well.

Wood pellet stoves that qualify for the RHI

The Government provide a manufacturer and model list of stoves with back boilers that qualify. You may however find that the exact model you are looking to buy isn’t on the list or of course it could be marked as ineligible. Either way you can either request a review of its eligibility or of course apply if you and your stove retailer are very confident that the wood pellet stove with back boiler meets the requirements.

How much could I save on the RHI?

Based on the 15,000 average KWh usage (and no saving from cavity insulation) the government would pay you an estimated £11,900 over 7 years – £1700 per annum. You would need a green deal assessment of your property to firm up your numbers, with the result of an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). You can then apply direct to the Government for this financial incentive. A good place to start would be to get a green deal consultant appointment to discuss the different heating system options and get your EPC.

What is the environmental benefit?

The most positive model of burning wood is that while we are tree chopping, we are tree planting and the new trees soak up the CO2 emissions from the burned trees.

A recent DECC report suggests that burning waste wood from a felled forest is better in terms of CO2 emissions and works as ‘renewable’ when new trees are planted as substitutes.

Satisfied customers

See what our customers are saying about us:

“Thank you for the quick delivery and fantastic product, the dogs love the stove and I am even cooking on it. I would recomend you to anyone and thanks for all your help and support.”

“Brilliant, thanks for helping to design my flue system, it has passed all the regulations, I couldn’t have done it without you.”

“Just received your stove pipe, great product and super quick delivery, thank you for the great service.”

“Thanks for your help and support whilst purchasing my stove, you have been far more helpful than my local dealer who didn’t seem to have the time for me.”

“Your customer support team have been very impressive, thanks for your help.”

“I have just installed my wood burning stove, I bought one of your stove and flue packages and the level of instructions enabled me to manage this job on my own, which I never though I would be able to do. Great to find a retailer that realises how confusing all of this can be to a newbie, top marks!”

“Items are well priced and calling up for advice they seemed to know what they are talking about (Rarity these days) delivery took just over a week due to them holding all items until one item came in stock – would have been nice to have been told this as made arrangements for someone to be home to receive, other than that all ok.”

“excellent very fast will defo use again thank you”

“A totally efficient organisation with whom I look forward to doing business with in the future – thank you.”

“Fantastic service, great value, very pleased.”

“I purchased the Rosa stove, which came quickly and looks great.”

“thanks for speedy service. excellent item.”

“Best price I could find on the web and sensible delivery cost. Buy with confidence. A slight error was immediately rectified,no problem. Excellent customer service and will buy from again. Thanks.”

“I would recomend this company, very professional service.”

“After being let down by another stove company I found Glowing Embers and they managed to save my installation, many thanks.”

Our service promise

We aim to provide the highest quality of service, products and advice to our customers and in the rare circumstance that there is an error with your order, we will work hard to resolve the issue.

Our reputation has been sealed by our high service standards and we have been awarded the prestigeous Trusted Shops seal of approval, verifiying our commitment and proven ability to deliver excellent service.

Join our growing list of customers who are delighted with our service, we would be pleased to help you.

Stove care

Caring for your wood burning stove / multifuel stove

Your wood burning stove or multi fuel stove, with the proper care, should last you a lifetime and make a fantastic centre piece to any home. wood burning stoves are fairly easy to maintain but it will need some TLC over the years to keep them functional and looking their best.

What to burn on wood burning or multifuel stoves

All our wood burning stoves can run on a variety of different fuels, that is why they are also referred to as multifuel stoves but this does not mean that you can just burn anything on them. Unsurprisingly, they burn dry wood very effectively and can also run on coal and a wide range of eco fuels. Wet wood, straw and manmade, combustible products should be avoided as these can significantly shorten the lifespan of wood burning stoves and flue systems and can cause chimney fires in extreme cases.

Run your stove in

When your wood burning stove arrives, it is very tempting to light a big fire and sit back and enjoy your new stove but you should be gentle with your new stove and start with small fires. Wood burning stoves burn at very high temperatures and all the components of your stove need to bed in. Start by lighting smaller fires and gradually increase to a large roaring fire, that way wood burning stoves last a lot longer.

Cleaning wood burning stoves

Wood burning stoves will need cleaning but they do not need to be spotless. Allow a bed of ash to build up on the grate as this can enhance efficiency of wood burning stoves and only periodically clean and change this bed of ash.

Your stove glass will need regular cleaning, even with an airwash system to help keep it clear. Your stove’s door glass will become cloudy over time. To maintain that crystal clear view of you fire, you can purchase some stove door glass cleaner, which will restore your stove’s glass time after time.

You should regularly clean the air intakes of your woodburner as these are used to control the fire and to help keep the stove glass clean. Your stove’s air intakes can become clogged over time, so regularly check that they are operational and clean all the vents to ensure they are not blocked.

Sweeping your chimney or flue system

This is something that is easy to put off but it is very important. Clogged flues and chimneys can decrease the draw of your flue system and can cause chimney fires. Whether you have a twin walled flue system, a single walled flue pipe into an existing chimney or if you are using flexible chimney liner for wood burning stoves, you must still sweep your flue system.

With a clogged chimney not only is the risk of fire increased but your stove won’t operate as efficiently. In severe cases, the waste gases might not be vented properly and can start filling your room with deadly CO gases.

For this reason – always have a working CO alarm in the room with you and regularly sweep your chimney. You can purchase a CO alarm here and it could save your life.

You should sweep your chimney at least once a year. See our list of chimney sweeps in your area.

If you have a sealed flue pipe system your flue can be swept through your stove or for ease of access you can purchase a stove pipe with access doors.

Replacing seals on wood burning stoves

Over time the seals around your stove door and glass will start to perish and you will notice that your fires become uncontrollable. You can easily replace these seals with stove rope. You just need to measure the diameter of the existing rope and purchase some more of that size. You will also need some stove rope adhesive to fix it in place.

First, remove the old stove rope by a mixture of pulling and even gentle chiselling with a flat headed screw driver – just be careful not to damage the stove. Then make sure the area is as clean as possible, you can use water but don’t used detergents, as this can react with the rope adhesive. Then simply apply some rope adhesive to the area and feed in your new stove rope. You should now have a good seal once more and a fully working wood burning stove.

Faded cast iron wood burning stoves

Over time cast iron wood burning stoves can start to look a little faded and worn. This might be ideal for some tastes but the good news for those who want a snappier looking stove is that they can be restored to their formed glory very easily. Grate polish on its own can be very effective to bringing your stove back to black or for the more seriously faded stove, try some stove paint, which is easily sprayed onto the stove. If you are feeling creative you could also try painting your stove a different colour.

Stove installers

Installers Accross the UK

It is important that your system is installed correctly and efficiently both to ensure your safety and to have the system ‘signed-off’ by a professional HETAS engineer or a specialist from the local council, ensuring compliance with the legal requirements set out in document J of the Building Regulations. While some of our customers adept to DIY choose to undertake the work personally we are now pleased to offer a full installation service in the Mid-Essex area.

A specialist engineer can visit your property and conduct a full survey and provide a quote. We only charge a modest £25.00 for the service which is fully refundable should you go ahead with the purchase of the stove and installation.

For more information on installers in your area or anything else to do with this service, please email your enquiry to:

Building Regulations

Wood burning stove installations fall under legal Building Regulations and all installations must meet these requirements. All installations must be signed off either by your local council or by a HETAS registered engineer.

This current edition of Approved Document J (Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems), has been updated and replaces the previous 2010 edition.

It incorporates amendments made to reflect any changes arising as a result of the Building Regulations 2010. The changes mainly reflect regulation number changes as a result of re-ordering. There have been no amendments to the substantive requirements in Schedule 1 (ie Parts A to P) of the Building Regulations.

To download the full guide click here.