Today is a great time to make that decision you may have been thinking about for a while. That decision to live a more environmentally friendly life, which will save you money and help contribute to a cleaner environment. We are under growing pressure to reduce our carbon footprint, and for very good reason. Our planets population is growing, and humans are consuming the natural resources at an alarming rate.
In many developed countries, around 20% of its carbon footprint comes from domestic heating, mainly as a direct result from burning fossil fuels.
In this article, we look at how you can take action, and adopt a greener life and save money at the same time through burning wood.
Many people still do not realise the huge financial and environmental benefit, which comes from using wood as a heating source. In recent years, wood burning stoves have increased in efficiency a great deal. When we talk about efficiency we are referring to the percentage of heat made by the stove, that directly goes on heating a room.
A modern stove has an efficiency of around 80%. This means 80% of the heat produced from a fire directly goes on heating a room. This impressive figure has been achieved by careful design and development of stoves, which looks at improving combustion, airflow and a number of other design critical elements found in stoves, across a wide range of manufacturers.
A traditional open fire by comparison only has an efficiency of around 25%. This means 75% of the heat it produces is wasted – usually going up the chimney into the outside environment. A key problem with an open fire, is that is draws heat from a room due to its open design.
A modern wood burning stove essentially burns less wood for the same heat output. Saving the environment, and of course, your bank balance!
Burning wood is great for budgeting. With wood, you know exactly what you have spent on heating. Buying wood in bulk allows you to know exactly what you are using, with no surprise bills like you can get with gas or electricity. This gives you peace of mind, and helps you to avoid excessive use of fuel.
Knowing what sort of wood to burn can further help reduce your impact on the environment, and to help you save money. The reason for this is essentially due to efficiencies that are inherent in different types of wood. Typically, hard woods produce a longer more efficient level of heat.
Ensuring your wood is correctly seasoned is essential. Wood, which is not seasoned is generally described as having a moisture content above 25%. Unseasoned wood will produce a poor flame, cause congestion in a chimney, which increases the risks of a chimney fire, and also carbon monoxide positioning. You are able to assess the moisture percentage of wood with a moisture meter.
Below is a list of good wood you should consider burning:
Oak – This hard wood burns slowly and produces a great heat output. Ensure it has been seasoned for at least two years before using.
Ash – Ash is a great wood for use on a stove. Unlike a lot of other wood, it can be burned when green due to its naturally low moisture content. However, like with all other wood, it performs at its best when its fully seasoned.
Mountain Ash– Also known as Rowan. It has an excellent heat output and burns slowly.
Thorn – Great if you want little smoke. Gives an impressive heat output and long burn rate.
Pine – Although this does produce a good level of heat, it can leave deposits in a flue, which can increase the risk of a chimney fire.
Cherry –This is an easy to split wood, which makes it an ideal option for people that cut their own wood. Cheery can crackle when being burned.
The Restrictions of Wood:
Despite the advantages of wood, there any be some disadvantages, for example wood does require more time to manage, to cut and prepare. Also a wood burning stove is generally suited to heating only one room, although some wood burning stoves can be used to heat water for a home’s central heating.
It is a slight step away from the mainstream, from convention. Only you can weigh up the advantages and disadvantages, based on your own circumstances.