Wood burning stoves can be a great addition to any home.
Wood stoves can help to improve the efficiency and heat output of burning wood compared to using traditional open fireplaces, but the potentially large upfront cost of a stove needs to be considered when deciding whether or not a stove is the right choice for your home.
However, there are many reasons why a wood stove can be worth the initial investment, and so is a wood burning stove worth it?
A wood stove can be worth it if you’re looking to increase the amount of heat being produced from burning firewood in your home, while also helping to reduce the amount of firewood used. The efficiency of wood stoves can be much higher compared to open wood fireplaces and can make the initial cost of a stove worth it over a longer period of time.
We have a couple of wood burning stoves in the family; one of which was installed in a traditional open fireplace while the other was already installed when we bought a new build house.
We’ve therefore explained in more detail below using our own stoves as examples to explain why a wood stove can be worth it in the majority of circumstances.
Are Wood Burning Stoves Worth It?
We’ve explained what wood burning stoves are in more detail here, but they’re essentially metal fireboxes with doors, legs, and a stovepipe that allows smoke and waste gases to leave your home.
Wood stoves are primarily designed to overcome the issues with burning wood in traditional open fireplaces.
Open wood burning fireplaces can be very inefficient sources of heat. The Environmental Protection Agency explains that the efficiency of open fireplaces can be as low as 10%.
The main issues with open wood burning fireplaces are that:
- Much of the heat is lost up the chimney rather than being used to heat a home.
- The airflow into the fireplace can’t be controlled because open fireplaces are ‘open’ in nature.
- They can in many cases make a home colder by sucking warmer air out of a home rather than actually heating it.
- Not much heat from an open fireplace fire is radiated into the room. You may need to sit closer to the fire to feel the warmth.
We use our living room open fireplace to burn firewood throughout the winter months, but notice a massive difference between the heat produced from this open fireplace and the heat generated from our stoves.
Along with wood burning fireplace inserts, wood burning stoves are one of the main solutions that you can invest in to help produce more heat from burning wood.
We have two stoves in the family; one multi fuel stove and one wood burning stove.
The wood stove came with the house when we bought it and so was pre-installed within the living room open fireplace.
Our multi fuel stove (which we only use to burn firewood) was installed inside another living room existing open fireplace so that we could increase the amount of heat we were getting from burning firewood.
We have been more than happy with these stoves and think that the multi fuel stove was totally worth the initial investment we paid to have it installed.
The main reasons why we think our wood burning stoves were worth it are that:
- The increase in heat output from the stoves compared to the original open fireplaces from burning the same amount of wood is massive. You can really feel the heat being radiated from a stove even if you’re sat on the other side of the room.
- Less firewood used. As wood stoves create an environment where the rate at which the fire burns can be controlled by using the air vents, the fire will burn the wood much more slowly and we’ve noticed a huge decrease in the amount of wood we’re using for each fire. We use our own seasoned firewood from our property but if you’re buying in your firewood then using a stove can save on fuel costs.
- Less mess. Any leftover ash can be left within the ash pan and firebox and out of sight thanks to being able to close the door on the stove.
- Less maintenance of the fire. As the fire is more easily controllable with a stove we don’t have to add more firewood to the fire as often.
- Increased safety. A fire inside a wood stove is kept safely behind the door. There’s no need for a fireplace screen and we feel comfortable in being able to leave the stoves unattended during fires.
Investing In A Wood Stove
When it comes to deciding whether or not a wood burning stove is worth it for you and your home you’ll need to consider whether the initial cost of the stove will be repaid over the years to come.
A stove can be quite an expensive purchase but can be a very good investment if:
- You plan on staying in your home for a number of years.
- Burn wood regularly and for long periods of time.
- Want to provide a focal point for a room.
- You want to help increase home value.
If you’re not planning on moving home any time soon then a wood burning stove can be a worthwhile investment, especially if you already burn wood regularly in your home, or plan on doing so.
A stove can also create a focal point for a room in which you can decorate your room and furniture around.
Studies have also shown that having a wood stove installed can also increase the value of a home.
For us, wood stoves were a worthy investment in this regard because we didn’t plan on moving home (and still haven’t) and a stove creates a focal point for our living rooms in which we can enjoy and use while having friends and family over.
The costs of our own stoves were between $1400 (£1100) and $1800 (£1400). You can find wood stoves that are cheaper than this but we wanted stoves that would be efficient and last a long time.
While the efficiency of open wood burning fireplaces in terms of being able to generate heat can be as low as 10%, it’s typical to find wood stoves with efficiency ratings of between 60 and 80%.
The efficiency ratings of our two stoves fall between 70 and 80%, and it can be typical to have to pay more for a stove that has a higher efficiency rating. The higher the efficiency rating of a wood stove the more heat it is typically able to put out from each fire.
We’ve explained the efficiency of wood stoves in more detail here.
We also wanted our stoves to last a long time and so for us it was worth it to invest in more expensive stoves that were from reputable brands.
For more information we’ve discussed how long wood stoves last in another article.
Wood Stoves vs Other Types Of Fireplace
As discussed above, a wood stove can produce much more heat for your home compared to an open wood burning fireplace because they’re designed to burn firewood much more efficiently.
A wood burning stove can be worth it compared to gas fireplaces because you won’t need to have a gas line installed.
If installing a wood stove in an existing fireplace you only need to ensure that you have a big enough firebox, sufficient hearth and lined chimney in order to use a wood stove.
When comparing wood stoves to electric fireplaces, a wood stove is able to create a real fire with real flames and sounds, while an electric fireplace is only able to generate artificial flame effects and heat.
Is A Wood Burning Stove A Good Idea?
Having a wood burning stove installed in your home, either within an existing open fireplace or elsewhere, can be a good idea if you’re looking to generate the most amount of heat for your home from burning firewood.
Although wood stoves can require a high initial cost for purchase and installation, a stove can be worth it in the long run if you’re looking to stay in your home and want to burn wood regularly or for prolonged periods.
A wood burning stove can be worth it alone for the increased heat output from your fires compared to using open wood burning fireplaces, and you’ll save on firewood costs in the long run because you can control the fire more effectively in a wood stove to burn more slowly and efficiently.