There are many benefits of wood burners. Obviously, wood burners cannot solve all of the need for a move to renewable energy sources but they can certainly help, particularly in locations where firewood is easily available.
Wood burners are primarily used to heat homes, but they can also act as a cook stove. In addition, with a wet back added, they can be used as a water heater. Wood burners produce heat by burning firewood in an enclosed chamber, which may or may not have a glass door. They are usually made of cast iron or steel and there are many different designs and sizes to suit any home.
A wood burner can be placed in most rooms of a house. Smoke and gases need to be drawn outside through a chimney or flue.
Wood burners in one form or another have been used for nearly 500 years. They have risen in popularity again in recent times because they have become more efficient and are a sustainable alternative to heaters that burn fossil fuels. Modern wood burners are much cleaner burning than older models.
The benefits of wood burners include:
Effective Heat Output
A wood burner can produce a lot of heat, meaning that the space it is in gets warm quickly and effectively. There is a range of sizes available with varying levels of heat output. It is best to choose a model that is appropriate for the size of your home or the space that it will be used in.
Creates a cosy atmosphere
When it’s miserable outside a wood burning stove provides a cosy atmosphere, with its combination of ample warmth and the visual impact of the flickering flames. A wood burner can really make your house feel more homely and comforting.
Wood burners are very energy efficient. New high-efficiency wood burners can be 70-80% efficient or more. This compares to less than 25% efficiency for an open fire.
With energy prices constantly increasing, more people are finding it too expensive to heat their homes with electricity, oil or gas. Because wood burners are efficient, and because wood can be a cheaper resource depending on where you live, they can save you money.
Reliable, durable and off grid
A wood burner is reliable because it does not need electricity, oil or gas power to function. So even in a power cut when other heating sources may not work, a wood burning stove can at least ensure your home remains warm. They are quite a simple, sturdy construction with very few moving parts that can break. If they are used properly they will work well with little maintenance for decades.
Wood is a carbon-neutral fuel if it is regrown sustainably. Even though wood emits carbon dioxide when it is burned, the amount given off is equal to the amount sequestered by a replacement tree which absorbs carbon dioxide and respires oxygen.
Wood is renewable, unlike fossil fuels. Trees can be used for natural services such as flood control, soil stabilisation, riparian management and habitat for other flora and fauna.
Sourcing wood fuel from waste, such as offcuts or unused pieces from timber merchants, can also be a good way to help the environment, as it saves waste wood from being put into landfill sites, and saves other trees from being cut down.
Generally, wood is sourced locally, certainly within a radius of 100km. Fossil fuels, on the other hand, may travel many thousands of kilometres from where they are produced.
Overall, the numerous benefits of wood burners outweigh any disadvantages. Wood is the oldest fuel used by humans for warmth and cooking. Wood is a renewable resource, and firewood is carbon-neutral if it is regrown sustainably.
Wood will continue to play an important role in a diverse, renewable energy economy.