Stay cosy with traditional wood burners

The price of gas and electricity continues to soar. Solar power isn't really going to be the solution any time soon, so more of us are looking at the old-fashioned option of wood burners as an alternative to keeping the central heating on all through the winter. There is something irresistible about a log stove.

Log on to natural heat

The initial set-up costs for installing wood burners can be a little daunting. You need to have an adequate flue or chimney, and sometimes this can require quite radical building work. Smaller models can be vented in the same way as a central-heating boiler, requiring less restructuring.

Wood-burning stoves can be as simple or as elaborate as you desire. Entry-level wood burners, suitable for warming up smaller living-rooms or bedrooms, start at around £400. Prices range up to several thousand pounds for stylish, state-of-the-art multi-fuel stoves.

Increasingly the design of stoves is no longer focused on fireplace models. Modern stoves can be integrated into an open-plan living space, inset into a chimney breast, or nestle discreetly in the corner of a room.

Sourcing logs

Sourcing logs can be an enjoyable part of the stove-owner's lifestyle. If you live near a country estate or farmland, you will often find that it is possible to have a trailer-load of seasoned logs delivered to your door. In towns, lumber yards or joinery companies often offer scrap wood and offcuts suitable for burning in stoves.

If you want to gather your own logs and windfall branches, ensure that they are dry and seasoned before you use them. This results in more efficient heat, and less soot clogging up your stove.

Rules and regulations

Before getting carried away with the idea of heating your home with wood burners, study the laws about burning fuels and the building regulations. UK regulations for a stove installation require a Class 1 chimney, with a minimum diameter of seven inches, that is air tight to prevent the leakage of gases.

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