If you want to save money on energy in 2024, you might consider installing a wood burner. With energy prices rising this year, using a sustainable heat source like wood is an attractive option for many homeowners looking to cut costs. Read on as we explore the financial and environmental benefits of switching to a wood-burning stove and compare energy costs between the two.

On January 1st 2024, the energy price cap set by Ofgem increased by £94 per year for a typical household paying by direct debit. This raises the average total bill from £1,834 to £1,928 annually.

The price per unit of energy also rose significantly. Electricity increased to 29p per kWh, while gas rose to 7p per kWh. Standing charges increased to 53p per day for electricity and 30p per day for gas.

These latest price rises continue an upward trend in energy costs over the past few years. With further volatility expected, finding alternative heating sources like wood burners is understandably appealing for many.

compare energy costs of wood burning stove vs central heating

Installing a wood-burning stove offers a sustainable way to heat your home without relying as heavily on gas or electricity. An efficient model can significantly reduce energy bills.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, an average household in the UK could save between £260 to £720 per year by switching their primary heat source to wood. However, savings do depend on the age and efficiency of your current heating system.

Replacing an older gas boiler with a new wood burner will likely result in more significant savings than upgrading from a newer model. But in most cases, making the switch reduces annual heating expenses.

save money on heating costs when you install a wood burning stove

Before you compare energy costs between central heating and a wood-burner, you must factor in buying and installation costs. Prices can vary considerably based on your chosen model, size and extras.

As a rough guide, expect to pay:

On the higher end, some advanced models with decorative surrounds can cost over £4,000 fully fitted

Once installed, the main costs associated with running a wood burner are:

Chimney sweeping keeps the cost of running a wood burning stove down

Allowing around £500 annually for a modest amount of high-quality, kiln-dried logs and one sweep should give a ballpark figure. Extra costs may be incurred repairing or replacing parts as the appliance ages.

Remember that if you can source logs yourself, costs are even further reduced.

When you compare the energy costs of central heating vs. wood, you can estimate your 'payback period' – the time taken to recoup installation and running costs through energy bill reductions.

As an example:

Payback period = Installation cost / (Annual saving – Annual running costs)

So, in this case, the £1,500 install cost would be paid back in around three years. After this time, you begin making net savings against previous heating expenses.

Switching to wood as your primary heat source also has some valuable secondary benefits:

  • Increased property value: Installing a stylish wood-burning stove can add value when selling your home. Modern designs are very appealing to potential buyers.
  • Lower maintenance costs: Wood burners require fewer parts than a standard gas boiler and central heating system. This could reduce annual servicing and/or repair bills.

So, in addition to the savings when you compare energy costs, using a wood-burning stove offers extra financial advantages over the appliance's lifetime.

Aside from saving money on heating expenses, using wood offers sustainability advantages:

  • Renewable energy: Wood is a renewable fuel that absorbs carbon dioxide as trees grow. So, unlike fossil fuels like gas, it has less environmental impact.
  • Reduced carbon emissions: Wood burns very efficiently, emitting fewer greenhouse gases per unit of energy than gas or oil. Replacing a gas boiler reduces your carbon footprint.
  • Supporting responsible forestry: Opting for FSC or PEFC-approved 'sustainable wood' helps fund re-planting initiatives where logs are harvested. This keeps the 'circular' wood economy.

Choosing wood as a greener way to heat your home aligns with larger net-zero carbon goals. It's an eco-friendly choice with financial benefits.

Daily fuel costs become the main expense once you install an efficient, correctly sized wood-burning stove. Follow these tips to keep expenditures in check:

Burning high-quality hardwood logs like oak or birch costs less than waste softwoods, which require more fuel. Hardwoods have a higher calorific value per kg, producing more heat energy when burned.

Purchase seasoned logs with a moisture content below 20%. Dry wood burns more efficiently and cleanly than freshly felled trees.

Significant savings come from buying larger volumes of logs or wood pellets at once. Paying upfront for a year's supply often secures dealer discounts of around 10-15%.

Arrange local storage if buying pallets of fuel. Or, consider using a 'wood bank' scheme where logs are delivered as needed from large regional stockpiles. This results in saving on transport while buying bulk volumes.

Practice makes perfect when it comes to using your stove effectively:

  • Allow logs or pellets to fully ignite before closing the door
  • Refrain from continually 'topping up' small extra fuels
  • Set an economical burn rate for background heating
  • Let the flames die down rather than over-stoking before leaving or sleep

Monitoring fuel use over time allows for optimising running habits.

Prevent precious heat from escaping by plugging leaks and lagging pipes. Improving insulation reduces the warmth needed from your stove:

  • Seal cracks in floors/walls with flexible fillers
  • Install heavy curtains and rug up wooden floors
  • Top up loft insulation to 270mm+ depth
  • Target draughty doors/windows first in older properties. Every bit of heat retained means less burning fuel.

Arrange professional annual servicing and inspection to ensure your wood burner operates efficiently. Fixing minor issues like air leaks early prevents more significant fuel-wasting problems later.

It also satisfies warranty requirements and safety inspections, depending on your model.

Wood burning leaves tarry soot deposits inside flues, which accumulate over time. Having the chimney swept by a specialist removes these, promoting better performance and safety:

  • Improves flue airflow
  • Reduces risk of dangerous chimney fires
  • Lowers emissions using freshly cleaned pipes

Most stoves need sweeping 1-2 times yearly, depending on the use.

Don't immediately throw away ash remains from burned logs. After cooling, the potassium and calcium found in ashes make excellent fertilisers for gardens and farms.

Offer leftover ashes to keen gardeners or allotment owners for free, or use them yourself to save on buying commercial products.

Some advanced stoves allow the burning of alternative fuels like smokeless coal or pellets alongside regular logs. This adds flexibility if logs become scarce or overly expensive at certain times.

Multifuel ability lets you take advantage of the cheapest solid fuels season to season. However, before using a fuel, ensure it meets clean emissions standards first.

Are you ready to start saving money on your home heating with a wood burner this year? Check out our range of efficient, eco-friendly stoves here and find the perfect option for your home. 

Plus, making the switch has never been easier with free UK mainland delivery, 14-day no-hassle returns, and a range of finance options

Need support? Our friendly team can be reached via email at sales@directstoves.com or at 0161 376 4191.