Monday, January 30

What’s the Most Efficient Way to Heat a Pub or Restaurant?

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With the winter months rolling in, and energy prices at record-breaking highs, many landlords and restaurant owners are facing an energy crisis. If you’re a landlord or restaurant owner facing this dilemma, then keep reading and discover the most efficient way to heat a pub or restaurant…

The pub and restaurant energy crisis

So, how bad is it?

Following the outbreak of the Ukraine war in early 2022, and the cancellation of many major oil and gas projects in the aftermath of the introduction of lockdown restrictions in 2020, the UK is facing a major energy crisis. 

Put simply, gas and electricity is becoming unaffordable for individual households and businesses alike. 

Pubs and restaurants are no exception to this trend, with the British Beer and Pub Association recently writing an open letter to the government stressing the scale of the crisis facing landlords. 

As William Lees Jones, Managing Director of JW Lees, said, “We have publicans who are experiencing 300%+ increases in energy costs, and some energy companies are refusing to even quote for supply”.

His comments are echoed by celebrity chef Tom Kerridge who says energy bills at his pub have “jumped from £60,000 to £420,000”.

In the absence of drastic falls in the cost of energy, what then is the solution?

Looking to the past for your future heating needs

Luckily, there is a solution which is suitable for a huge number of pubs and restaurants across the UK. 

The traditional fireplace and stove. 

Stoves and open fireplaces used to be the primary way of heating the main drinking or dining area of a pub or restaurant. But, as energy prices came down throughout the latter-part of the twentieth century, most establishments switched to gas or electric central heating. 

As we’ve seen in recent months, it may be time to turn back to these heating technologies of the past to provide our future heating requirements.

The cost advantages of heating your pub or restaurant with a wood-burning stove

Whilst stoves may be viewed as an ‘old’ technology, the reality couldn’t be further from this. Thanks to huge advances in combustion technology, and the introduction of new energy efficiency legislation – stoves are now more incredibly efficient and clean.

And, that means stoves are more affordable to run than ever before.

As we’ve written previously, a wood-burning stove offers a remarkably efficient and affordable way to heat the main room of your pub or restaurant. 

According to research undertaken late last year by the Stove Industry Alliance (SIA), the average cost for one cubic metre of kiln dried wood logs is between £120 and £140. 

This same research states that a wood-burning stove costs about a third of the price of electric heating and approximately 13% less than gas central heating. 

The Energy Savings Trust has also endorsed wood-burning stoves, claiming that they can cut overall heating bills by 10%. 

Caveat – the SIA’s research was conducted in late November 2021. Since then, the energy picture has changed considerably. However, the sums still add up in favour of stoves. The cost of firewood has increased slightly, but the costs of gas and electricity have drastically outpaced this increase. In other words, wood-burning stoves remain a far more cost-effective way of providing heat.

A note on multifuel stoves

For added versatility and flexibility for your pub or restaurant heating, it’s possible to buy what are called ‘multifuel’ stoves. 

As their name suggests, these are stoves that are not only able to burn firewood, but can burn a range of other solid fuels too. They are the most flexible way to heat a pub or restaurant.

The types of fuels that can typically be burnt in a multifuel stove, include:

  • Anthracite.
  • Peat or turf briquettes.
  • Smokeless coals.
  • Ecoal – which is made from crushed olive stones. 

As you can imagine, installing a multifuel stove in your pub or restaurant will provide you with more options should the price of firewood in your area increase drastically. 

Tip – always check the manufacturer’s instructions to see exactly what fuels your chosen multifuel stove can burn.

How to beat the pub energy crisis

The benefits of heating your pub or restaurant with a stove

Aside from the obvious benefit outlined above – that stoves are a very cost-effective way of heating your pub or restaurant – log burners have many other benefits that we’ve detailed below. 

Aesthetics and ambience

What’s more enjoyable than sitting next to a blazing log burner on a cold winter’s day? 

Adding a wood-burning stove to your establishment will create an amazing focal point for your patrons. 

Add some wingback chairs either side of it, and you’ll have created the most sought after place in your pub to enjoy a pint of beer or a glass of wine. 

Wood-burning stoves also help to create a wonderful ambience, especially as the evening starts drawing in. If you pick a stove with a wide viewing screen, then you’ll find that the flames within cast their glow throughout your pub or restaurant. 

All in all, stoves make for an incredibly desirable interior design feature for pubs and restaurants alike. 

Easy installation

Unlike electric and gas-fired heating appliances, wood-burning stoves are easy to install in your pub or restaurant. 

With many pubs already having existing fireplaces, installation is usually as simple as placing the stove within the fireplace cavity and ensuring that there is a chimney flue liner in place. 

Whilst it’s perfectly acceptable to install a wood-burning stove yourself, we’d strongly recommend selecting a HETAS-qualified installer to carry out the installation. 

A HETAS-qualified installer will be properly trained to ensure that your stove is not only installed safely, but is done so in a way which is compliant with the Building Regulations. 

Your HETAS installer will be able to provide you with a ‘Certificate of Compliance’ which proves the installation has been carried out in a compliant way (this is for installations carried out in England and Wales).

Guide – for more information, read our guide to stove installation.

Renewable fuel

Unlike fossil fuels which deplete over time, wood-burning stoves use a fuel which grows back – firewood!

By installing a log burner in your pub or restaurant, you’ll be doing your bit to reduce your impact on the environment. 

Firewood is sold in several ways, such as cords, tonne bags, and retail bags. When shopping for firewood for your log burner, you can enhance your green credentials further by choosing wood which is harvested from sustainably-managed sources. 

Guide – for more information, read our complete guide to buying firewood for your log burner.

Environmentally friendly

Contrary to what many people think, wood-burning stoves are actually environmentally friendly, with the latest EcoDesign approved stoves producing very few emissions and particulate matter. 

EcoDesign stoves produce 90% fewer emissions than an open fire, and 80% fewer emissions than a 10-year-old stove. They really are cleaner than ever!

Plus, if you select a stove which is DEFRA-approved, you can use a stove in a smoke control area. That’s perfect if your pub or restaurant is based in a town or city. 

Firefox Widescreen Wood-Burning/Multifuel EcoDesign Stove

Firefox Widescreen Wood-Burning/Multifuel EcoDesign Stove

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Energy efficiency

Wood-burning stoves are also incredibly efficient, with some models being more than 80% efficient. 

This means that these highly-efficient stoves will make your firewood go that much further, reducing your fuel bills and keeping your establishment warmer for longer. 

Energy independence 

Another benefit of wood-burning stoves is that they (at least partially) free you from the big energy providers. 

Even if the worst happens, and we see rolling black-outs or brown-outs this winter, you’ll still be able to light your stove and heat your pub or restaurant.

Versatility

Wood-burning stoves are incredibly versatile appliances. Not only can they provide plenty of heat for your pub or restaurant, but it’s possible to buy wood burners with extra practical features. 

For example, it’s possible to buy cook top stoves which include features such as hot plates, grilling shelves, and even baking ovens that can be used to cook and heat a variety of foodstuffs and beverages. 

It’s also possible to buy boiler stoves which can be used to not only provide heat to your pub or restaurant, but also heat up water for use in your kitchen or central heating.

What size stove is right for my pub or restaurant? 

If you’ve decided that a wood-burning stove is the right option for heating your pub or restaurant efficiently, the next stop is figuring out what heat output you need.

Should the main drinking or dining area be roughly equivalent to the average domestic living room, then you’re going to want a wood-burning stove that has a heat output of about 5kW to 7kW. 

However, if your drinking/dining area is much larger, you’re going to want a stove with a much bigger heat output.

It’s important to pay attention to the heat output of your chosen stove, as if you choose a stove with too high an output for the available space, you’ll find that your pub/restaurant becomes unbearably hot. Likewise, if you pick a stove with an insufficient heat output, your drinking/dining area is going to feel chilly.

Stove calculator

To make it easier for you to figure out what size stove you require for your drinking/dining area, we have created a stove calculator. 

Stove heat output calculator

Simply input the dimensions of your room into the calculator (along with the level of insulation in the room), and the calculator will tell you what heat output you require from a stove.

Try out Direct Stoves’ stove calculator now.

Stove video survey service

Should you be anxious about using our stove calculator, then we offer a video survey service.

Simply book an appointment with our video survey service and one of our stove experts will arrange a video call and will be able to provide you with the relevant advice and information.

The best wood-burning stoves for pubs and restaurants

Are you going to make the leap to a wood-burning stove? Then check out our selection of log burners which are ideal for pubs and restaurants below. 

We’ve detailed stoves with a variety of heat outputs, from 5kW stoves ideal for small-to-medium sized spaces, through to the very largest stoves that are ideal for large, open-plan spaces. 

Wood-burning stoves

Below, you’ll find one of our smaller capacity wood-burning stoves (5kW), and a much larger capacity wood-burning stove (11kW). 

Esse One Wood-Burning EcoDesign Stove

Esse One Wood-Burning EcoDesign Stove

Esse One Wood-Burning EcoDesign Stove

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The Esse One is a classically-styled wood-burning stove that has quite some pedigree. 

Since 1854, Esse has produced wood burners for such historical greats as Ernst Shackleton, Scott of the Antarctic, and Florence Nightingale. 

So, if you buy this stove for your pub or restaurant, you’ll be in good company!

In terms of the practicalities, the Esse One has a heat output of 5kW and an incredible A+ energy efficiency rating of 82%, meaning your firewood will last so much longer. 

It’s also EcoDesign approved, meaning it’s very clean burning. As it’s DEFRA-approved, it’s also suitable for use in smoke control areas such as many towns and cities. 

The Esse One is also available with some optional extras including a log store stand, providing you with a tidy, convenient place to store firewood.

Hergom E-30 L Wood-Burning EcoDesign Stove

Hergom E-30 L Wood-Burning EcoDesign Stove

Hergom E-30 L Wood-Burning EcoDesign Stove

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Have you got a truly cavernous space in your pub or restaurant that you need to heat efficiently? 

Then the answer is the Hergom E-30 L. This is a stove with a frankly enormous 11kW heat output – enough to keep large rooms well heated. 

The E-30 L has the benefit of providing all of that heat in a highly-efficient way, too. It has an energy rating of A, and is 79% efficient – meaning more of your firewood is transformed into heat in your room.

Thanks to its large firebox, the E-30 L also has the added benefit of being able to burn awkwardly-shaped logs, helping you to eke out your firewood supply. 

The E-30 L’s large, robust construction and elevated legs make it an eye-catching stove that’ll create a focal point in your pub or restaurant. 

Due to its cast iron construction, the E-30 L will also continue to retain and radiate heat, even after the fire inside it has been extinguished. 

Multifuel stoves

Should you want the added flexibility of a multifuel stove – so you can burn solid fuels instead of just firewood – then check out the options below. We’ve detailed one smaller multifuel stove (5kW), and one larger multifuel stove (12kW). 

Woolly Mammoth 5 Widescreen Wood-Burning/Multifuel EcoDesign Stove

Woolly Mammoth 5 Widescreen Wood-Burning/Multifuel EcoDesign Stove

Woolly Mammoth 5 Widescreen Wood-Burning/Multifuel EcoDesign Stove

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If you’re looking for a 5kW stove that’s capable of burning solid fuels in addition to firewood, then the Woolly Mammoth 5 Widescreen has got you covered. 

This punchy stove has a commanding presence, and is ideal for larger fireplaces. Thanks to its large, 317 mm widescreen window, the Woolly Mammoth 5 Widescreen provides a generous view of the fire within – creating a comfy, cosy ambience for your patrons. 

Aside from being a well-proportioned and great looking stove, the Woolly Mammoth 5 Widescreen also packs some impressive EcoDesign-approved combustion technology. 

Thanks to its primary and secondary air intake controls, and tertiary air supply, the Woolly Mammoth 5 Widescreen is not only very clean burning but very efficient too. It has an energy efficiency rating of 77%, meaning you’ll get excellent value out of your firewood and solid fuels.

What’s more, the Woolly Mammoth 5 Widescreen is DEFRA-approved, making it suitable for installation and use in smoke control areas.

Ekol Clarity 12kW DEFRA-Approved Wood-Burning/Multifuel EcoDesign Stove

Ekol Clarity 12kW DEFRA-Approved Wood-Burning/Multifuel EcoDesign Stove

Ekol Clarity 12kW DEFRA-Approved Wood-Burning/Multifuel EcoDesign Stove

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Renowned for designing and manufacturing clean-burning, environmentally-friendly stoves, Ekol is a popular brand here at Direct Stoves. 

The Clarity is a good example of why. 

The Ekol Clarity takes the traditional silhouette and shape of a wood-burning stove, but adds a contemporary twist with smoothed, rounded edges, and a large viewing window combined with a bright stove door handle. 

Aside from its stunning looks, the Clarity also features solid cast iron inner components, dense refractory firebrick linings and a precision-engineered outer shell. This all adds up to create a stove which can be used with either seasoned firewood or a selection of solid fuels. 

It does all of this with efficiency. The Clarity boasts an efficiency rating of 77%, and is both EcoDesign-approved and DEFRA-approved, meaning it can be used in smoke control areas such as many towns and cities across the UK.

Heat your pub or restaurant with a stove!

Reduce the effects of the energy crisis on your pub or restaurant by switching to a wood-burning or multifuel stove today. 

Here at Direct Stoves, it’s our mission to make buying a stove online as easy as possible. 

We do that by offering FREE UK mainland delivery, 14-day no hassle returns, a range of finance options (including 0% finance over 12 months), and a video survey service to help you select the right stove for your pub or restaurant.

Find your perfect stove at Direct Stoves today

For more stove buying guides, information and advice, explore the Direct Stoves blog

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