Why wood burning stoves beat out open fires on chilly nights
Winter is upon us so once again we have to contend with those long, cold, dark and damp nights that chill the bones unless we have a decent heating system installed to keep us warm.
Open fires are nice to sit by but, unfortunately, they eat fuel and send most of the heat up the chimney. Wood burning stoves are a far better option and since I first discovered them, I have been greatly impressed by their efficiency and economy.
This is especially so if, like me, you have a supply of good, properly seasoned timber available. The days of burning wet logs and turf are, thankfully, in the past and it is now easy to obtain quality wood fuel from reputable suppliers.
There are others, of course, who might not be quite so reputable, so always have one of those handy little moisture meters at the ready to test any wood you are thinking of buying.
Most meters are about the size of a cigarette packet and give a reasonably accurate digital reading when you press the two pins on the top of the meter in to the log you are testing. Prices start at around €20 and they are available in stores and on the internet.
Modern wood-burning stoves have improved greatly on their earlier counterparts and can be fitted easily in to an existing fireplace or, given the designs that are now available, as a striking ornamental feature in a room. They provide real fuel economy while retaining the cosy look of a flickering flame.
Some come fitted with a back boiler to allow for heating radiators but I feel that this is not a great system as any I have seen tend to use too much fuel, with most of the heat going in to the radiators. The stove itself gives out far less heat as a result.
Most people find that if they have radiators heated by their stove, the room in which it is located lacks that lovely controllable warmth that you get from a stand-alone unit. Some of the leading stove suppliers confirm this and I quote: "A boiler stove uses an awful lot more timber than a wood-heating dry stove and, unfortunately, people believe that they're going to get that additional heat for nothing.