Carmel McCarthy, who lives in Craughwell, County Galway with her husband and teenage son, has had a wood-burning stove (a Charnwood 4kW) for five years. "We got the smallest one we could because of the room - the room would be desiccated if you had a larger one in," she said. It's a dry stove and they use it mainly to heat the sitting room, with another wood-pellet stove in the shed to heat their water. "We've had our own wood for the past five years because of a tree that came down on a site we were building, and so fuel hasn't cost us anything up to date," she explains. "We've just run out of dry wood, so we're going to start to burn coal in it this week, so we'll see how much that costs. But everything burns down to an ember and we're expecting it to be quite economical." The family has noticed considerable savings on heating bills since they got their stove. "We were in the house for two years before we had the stove and we would have had the underfloor heating on prior to that. It's on a thermostat control and it only kicks in when the temperature drops below 20 degrees. Once we hooked the stove up and started to burn fires, it raised the average temperature in all the rooms so the underfloor heating doesn't kick in as much as it used to - that has saved us a huge amount of money," she says. What she likes about her stove is the atmosphere it creates, its efficiency, the ability to control the rate of burning if you require, as well as its cleanliness. Would she recommend investing in one? "Evangelically. They are just fantastic and the amount of heat that comes out of them is brilliant," she says.
'We've saved a lot'