Like wrestling with a complex formula, trying to ascertain the final cost of a wood-burning stove is a tricky, slippery task.
To pin down a total cost involves navigating a hefty host of variables. The ultimate price tag should take into account the whole process, from selecting your perfect stove right through to installation, HETAS registration and regularly topping up your fuel supply.
You may have heard certain thermal formulas buzzing around (that wood costs 2.5p per kilowatt hour compared to gas’ rate of 4p and electricity at 11p) providing mathematical proof that stoves outstrip ordinary gas and electric systems for efficiency. But what about the bigger financial picture: does the initial investment really translate into trimmer energy bills?
Currently, we’re riding a crest of popular enthusiasm for alternative heating systems – and amidst the eco-conscious biomass fuel, solar water heating craze, wood-burning stoves are topping the list. A trendy heating option, with over 175,000 wood-burning stoves installed each year in the UK alone, it’s still important to ask: does it all work out? Is there any truth to these much-heralded cost-cutting promises? How much, in total, will a wood burning stove cost?
Well, at Direct Stoves we’ve rounded up the following guide to investigate the true costs of purchasing a wood-burning stove. Walking you through average stove prices, installation add-ons, maintenance and those all-important bills, read on for our account of the real cost of wood burning stoves.
A standard wood-burning stove (taking secondary burn design, compact frame, and good efficiency for granted) can be anything between £300 and £4000 (and beyond!), with the higher end being the province of swanky designer stoves.
To give a sense of the national appetite, a recent study by Which? magazine revealed that 29% of their polled stove owners spent between £1000 – 1,999, whereas 13% spent considerably more, somewhere between £2000 – 2,999.
As you might expect, like the dizzying world of high street fashion, there are a large number of popular brands vying for attention, each with their own price tag. From the sturdy, reliable Hamlet Hardy range (between £300 – £400) to the classical elegance of Invicta Bohemes (approximately £4,300) – it’s fair to say prices can vary. It really just hinges on your individual circumstance; a mixture of interior design flair and your own spatial dimensions.
If you’re wrestling with deciding on the right stove for your living space, then try out our accessible stove calculator which takes away the stress of number-crunching.
Price: £500 – £1500 depending on size, design and specification
Installation is, naturally, a complicated process, and most estimates you’ll see will automatically include a number of “givens” within the fee ie. all the necessary authorisations, labour costs, materials etc.
Roughly, the figures will inherently account for the work of two labourers, use of strong flue pipes, stainless steel liner, a register plate to seal off the chimney opening, chimney cowl, a CO Detector, and HETAS registration.
There’s always a twist, though, and this time it revolves around chimneys. Specifically whether you have a pre-existing chimney, or if you require the installation of an entirely new twin walled flue system. The point can’t be laboured enough too, that you’ll need a fully qualified HETAS engineer to oversee both varieties of installation.
Before your stove is up and running, your chimney will have to be double checked for chimney damp, swept and fully flue-lined. As stoves require literal “breathing space” for air to circulate properly, the recommendation is around 100mm either side and about 40mm behind. So, in some cases, this may involve altering your chimney breast, or at least excavating your recess to see if there’s any further wiggle room.
Price: £1500 depending on the scale of work
Twin walled flue system
For those homes without an existing chimney, you’ll need to make special flue provisions. In this case, the operation is commonly known as a twin walled flue system (though also dubbed a double wall (DW) or high temperature (HT) flue).
Essentially, this involves constructing a long ‘clip-together’ metal tube – usually a 6 inch diameter – that points out of your wall or roof, taking with it the excess fumes. The tube parts will come with a twist-lock or push-fit system and stainless steel lining, hence prices can be steep. Both features working to stop tar deposits clogging the system as well as keep gases hot and air-tight sealed, with no chance of escape.
Cost average: £2000 depending on the scale of work
In the final stages, there are a few finishing touches before completion: the key one being fitting a hearth, whether that be slate or granite. With our highly competitive prices, this would come to around £200. Tiles are a slightly cheaper option, though the tenaciously durable nature of stone means it can cope easily with temperature fluctuations without cracking.
On top of this, you may find some retouching work to your surround is necessary e.g. restyling your fireplace lintels, or some plaster remodeling around the brickwork if there’s been any major changes.
Price: £200 depending on dimensions
Please note: our prices are just approximates to be used for scoping your stove installation. For precise budgets, your installer will provide a tailored quote.
Don’t forget to digest our tips on how to find a wood burning stove installer before you start searching too.
Wood Burner Fuel & Maintenance
To keep your stove on tip top form, it’s obvious to say that you’ll need to maintain a healthy fuel supply – in this case, wood logs.
The true economy behind refueling is a balance between your log type and how frequently they’re used. Dry seasoned wood logs (with a moisture content somewhere between 15 – 20%) are cheaper, having already been dried for between 1-3 years; whereas artificial kiln dried logs, rapidly sucked of moisture in the space of week, are more expensive.
Generally speaking, a 1m3 bag of seasoned logs, or aptly named “dumpy bag”, costs between £70 – 100 for seasoned wood, or £120 for kiln dried logs – and a normal stove running modestly through weekdays and weekends will use around 3-4m3 per year.
Finally, it’s always good to remember the time-honoured tradition of chimney sweeping: an annual sweep will cost about £60, ensuring your flue remains squeaky clean. In time, your stove’s hearth bed and fire bricks may need replacing too, but this is just something to have on the radar.
Energy Savings of Wood Burning Stoves
So, with an imaginary drum roll concluding our calculations, will the overall expenditure save pennies later down the line?
As you’d expect, this initial outlay takes a bit of time before you start reaping those efficiency benefits. Fortunately, studies by organisations with a strong green-energy conscience offer some very impressive estimates on the true amount of your saving.
According to the Energy Savings Trust, though there is some variation with the total amount saved all figures point in a very positive direction.
If you’re replacing an older LPG heating system with a wood burning stove, you can save up to £275 a year; but if it’s an electric heating system you’re upscaling then this could rocket up to £855 per year.
Average savings: £300 – 500 per annum
So there we have it, with all the precision permissible by the complex range of factors that go into a functioning stove, the figures side with biomass, wood-fuelled systems.
For any further information about the specifics of your stove – life expectancy, dimensions, air wash systems etc. – and how these play out in terms of cost, don’t hesitate to contact our experienced team!
You can find even more advice on the Direct Stoves blog…