Wood burning stoves vs fireplaces

Wood burning stoves vs fireplaces

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A quick article to end the burning rivalry once and for all.

As the focal point of warmth and comfort, it’s always good to assess the benefits and drawbacks to an open fire vs a wood burning stove for your home.  There’s nothing quite like the smell, sound and cosy feel an open fire brings to a room, but are you making the most of what’s on the market?  Efficiency, safety, and of course aesthetics are key aspects to consider. Read on to set the record straight - wood burning stoves or open fireplaces?

The range of fireplace designs and styles vary greatly - from solid stone to mosaic and brick just to name a few. You’ll be sure to find an open fire setup to suit your home, which may be trickier to find when shopping for a wood burning stove. As a relatively new alternative, which has a free standing fully contained design, naturally this is going to limit your interior design options. The nature of this contained design will also limit your senses to see, hear and smell an open fire.

Let’s look at the scientific element - it’s a well-known fact that open fires heat a small area, and most of the warmth goes straight up the chimney rather than warming your home. Although they appear to be a cosy aspect of a room, wood burning stoves redistribute combustion whilst burning at a much hotter temperature.  This means you’re getting a lot more burn power for your money - and there’s no smoke residue whilst it’s in full flow. You can reap three times more heat from one third of the firewood compared to an open fireplace. The bottom line is, an open fire loses 80% of its output to the chimney, whereas a wood burning stove will retain 80% of what you feed it, making it the clear choice for fuel efficiency, cost and eco-friendliness.

Regarding safety - an open fire can be dangerous for young children if not protected with the right shields and guards, as well as adding combustion particles to the environment that are inevitable with an open fire setup. A wood burning stove on the other hand is fully contained, which enables it to reuse the fuel it’s given until the fire is burnt out, and there’s no need to worry about any dangerous residues like wood pieces or hot ash spitting out in the process. Switching from an open fire to a wood burning stove can reduce the particulate matter output by as much as 80% if you live in the UK.

Your choice of heating appliance will depend on your needs - however if you favour aesthetics far more than anything else, and only light the fire occasionally, then an open fireplace is the right way to go.  However, if you prefer function and the unique free-standing style of a wood burning stove, you will be thrilled to see how this will benefit your home and cost to you. The wood burning stove heating power, whilst being the much safer option and not to mention its fuel efficiency will be sure to keep you warm on those cold winter nights.

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