Wood burning stoves are commonly installed within existing open fireplaces as a way to help burn firewood more efficiently, where the most amount of heat can be extracted from every piece of wood.
Wood stoves can be an expensive upfront purchase, with the more efficient stoves typically demanding a higher price.
However, the efficiency of a wood burning stove can mean using far less firewood compared to traditional open fireplaces, and the cost savings on firewood can be significant over the lifespan of a stove.
So does a wood stove save money?
The initial cost of purchase and installation of a wood stove means that a stove won’t save money in the short term, but over a longer period of time using a wood stove can help save money by reducing fuel costs, and the initial cost of the stove can be recuperated.
We have two stoves and, although they were reasonably expensive models, they have helped us save on firewood costs and keep the overall cost low.
We’ve been using our stoves for a number of years now and have been able to recuperate much of the purchase and installation costs.
We’ve discussed whether a wood stove saves money in more detail below using our own stoves as examples, and also discussed what the added benefits are of using a wood stove, as well as ways to help ensure you’re getting the most value out of your stove.
Does A Wood Stove Save Money?
Wood stoves are appliances in which firewood can be burnt efficiently to generate heat for a home.
Wood burning stoves can typically be expensive appliances, but the range of costs can vary from relatively inexpensive to very expensive.
The main factors that influence how much a wood stove costs can be the brand and its efficiency.
We’ve been using our wood stoves for a number of years and they each cost well over $1000 to buy and have installed.
You can find out more about the stoves that we’re currently using here.
Although these stoves were an expensive upfront cost, we’ve been able to save on firewood costs compared to using the existing open fireplaces that they were installed into.
Whether a stove saves money has to be thought of long term.
In the short term a stove can be a large expense but if it isn’t used or the house is sold then those costs may never be recuperated.
In the long term, the potential reduction in firewood used and the increased amount of heat generated over time compared to open fires can result in costs saved that can potentially come to more than the cost of the stove.
Wood Stove Saving Money
The main arguments for a wood stove saving money can include:
- A reduction in the amount of firewood used to generate heat compared to using open wood burning fireplaces or older, less efficient models of stoves.
- Increased heat output compared to open fireplaces as a result of increased efficiency and better design.
- The potential for a wood stove to increase the value of a home.
Wood burning stoves are designed to generate as much heat as possible from every piece of firewood burnt.
A wood burning stove works by controlling the fire through use of the air vents and by keeping waste gases inside the firebox for longer and at higher temperatures and pressures to help generate even more heat.
By using a wood stove to slow down how quickly firewood is burnt to help extract more heat, over time this can help to significantly reduce the amount of firewood used to warm a home and help to pay for the initial cost of a stove over a number of years.
While wood stoves can help to reduce the amount of firewood used for each fire compared to open fireplaces, they can also be far more efficient at putting out the heat into the room.
We’ve explained more about the efficiencies of wood stoves here but the efficiency of a wood stove can be much higher than that of a traditional open fireplace.
While the efficiency of open wood burning fireplace can be as little as 10%, wood stoves can have efficiency ratings for up to 90%.
Our own stoves have official efficiency ratings of between 70% and 80%.
The metal body of a stove radiates the heat out into the room, and wood stoves can be able to put out much more heat compared to open fireplaces.
Studies have shown that wood stoves can also help to increase the value of a home.
For more information we’ve explained whether a stove can increase home value in another article here.
Wood Stove Losing Money
The main argument for a wood stove not being able to save you money is the potentially large upfront cost of purchasing a stove and having it installed.
Wood stoves can be expensive appliances. Larger and more efficient stoves can demand a higher price tag.
Our own stoves cost in excess of $1000 to purchase.
Wood stoves also need to be installed correctly to help ensure safe operation. A sufficient hearth is required alongside a sealed flue, which can add to installation costs if not already present in a home.
Our multi fuel stove was installed within our living room open fireplace and the cost to have the chimney lined with a flue by a professional cost in excess of $500.
A wood burning stove can therefore lead to money being lost right from the start, but the benefits of a wood stove compared to an open fireplace means that this cost can be recuperated over a longer period of time.
Getting The Most Out Of A Wood Stove To Help Save Money
For a wood stove to help you save money in the long run the right size of stove should be installed for the amount of space you’re looking to heat, as well as using the stove in the right way to help get the most out of it.
To get the most out of a wood stove to help you save money:
- Use a modern and efficient stove. New models of wood stove need to meet more stringent emissions regulations and so need to be as efficient as possible to provide a clean burn. This means less heat being wasted up the chimney and more heat being provided to your home.
- The right size wood stove should be installed. If the stove is oversized or undersized for the room then it can lead to it being used incorrectly to compensate for too little or too much heat being produced.
- Use the stove correctly. A stove thermometer should be used in conjunction with the air vents to help keep the temperature of the stove in the most optimal range, where the most amount of heat can be produced from every piece of wood.
- Use the correct quality of firewood. Only dry firewood that is under 20% moisture content should be burnt in a wood stove. Properly seasoned or kiln dried firewood should be used to ensure that a fire burns as well and as cleanly as possible.
You can use a moisture meter to check the moisture content of your firewood.
For more information see our complete guide to seasoned firewood.
If you’re looking to have a wood stove installed then other factors should be considered alongside whether it saves you money.
For us, the main reasons why we would always choose a wood stove over an open fireplace are that:
- Wood stoves provide a focal point for our living rooms.
- A wood stove can burn for longer periods of time before refueling compared to open fireplaces, meaning less maintenance requirements throughout a fire.
- Any leftover ash between fires is kept hidden behind the stove door for less mess.
- A chimney becomes sealed as part of a stove installation and so fewer drafts can be felt throughout the colder months.
Depending on factors such as the brand, size, efficiency and installation location of a stove in a home, it can be quite expensive to have a wood stove installed in a home.
However the improved heat output and efficiency of a wood stove can lead to increased savings from a reduction in the amount of firewood used over time.
Wood stoves should be considered as long-term investments if looking to save money.