Open fire versus Wood burning stove
Lots of people like the idea of a roaring log fire in winter, whether in an open fire of wood burning stove. With rising gas and electricity prices the option idea of heating your home with an open fire or log burning stove is also becoming increasingly appealing.
Perhaps you are considering opening up an old fireplace or installing a wood burning stove in your property. One of the things that may influence your choice is the initial cost involved, particularly if you are working on a tight budget.
Providing your existing chimney is sound (you should have it tested to ensure this). Fitting an open fire has lower initial costs than fitting a stove. The main costs will be to create a fire opening with a fireback, hearth and grate. You may also need to fit an appropriate chimney pot or cowl if you do not have a solid fuel approved one already.
If you are planning to install a wood burning stove then in addition to the cost of opening up the fire place there is the cost of the stove itself, along with a stainless steel flue liner if you are planning to line the chimney (if not you should ensure that it is sound and not leaking into your property or any neighbouring property) and the hearth and fireplace.
Clearly the cost of installing a wood burning or multi-fuel stove is going to be higher than the cost of opening up a chimney for an open fire and this may influence your choice. However, you should consider the long term cost of using the appliance. Typically an open fire operates at around 30-35% efficiency so an awful lot of heat goes straight up the chimney and out of your home. So in real terms for every 10 kilowatts of fuel you burn around 7kw is wasted.
Wood burning stoves are much more efficient with some manufacturers claiming figures of nearly 90% efficiency therefore over the longer term you will save money because you will be using less fuel than you would on an open fire.