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Log Burners / Multi-Fuel Stoves

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I've had a log burner installed, in the hope that it will reduce gas consumption. Whilst it's too early to tell if that will be the case as I'll only know that after winter I'm currently optimistic that I can reduce the gas bill.

The heating is on low and the log burner is throwing out quite a lot of heat, judging by what I'm burning I reckon that for about £40 coal/logs (maybe I'll need 2 or 3 more bags of cheap coal) that will last from now till about March. If I can get hold of any free/cheap wood I'll probably be OK into spring when it will no longer be needed.

Anyone else on here got a log burner heating the house? Have you saved money?

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I don't have one but many friends do and they get warmer houses for less money.

You can buy metallic wind-mill like fans that sit on top of the log burner and which circulate the heat - they work incredibly well and means you can heat more for less.

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I don't think you can throw in any old free wood (treated wood and thus chemical release). I know of people who use wood burners and they also have a plot of woodland. You have to chop it, dry the wood properly and store it properly. It takes good planning to do this right. I didn't think you could use coal in a wood burner unless it is multi fuel burner.



The chimney will need to be cleaned properly too.


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I don't think you can throw in any old free wood (treated wood and thus chemical release). I know of people who use wood burners and they also have a plot of woodland. You have to chop it, dry the wood properly and store it properly. It takes good planning to do this right. I didn't think you could use coal in a wood burner unless it is multi fuel burner.

The chimney will need to be cleaned properly too.

Perhaps I need to change the thread title but it's a multi-fuel that I've got.

Planning on getting shelving for the cellar to store wood on.

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I reckon that for about £40 coal/logs (maybe I'll need 2 or 3 more bags of cheap coal) that will last from now till about March. If I can get hold of any free/cheap wood I'll probably be OK into spring when it will no longer be needed.

If you can manage to March on £40 coal/logs then you're doing well. Our multi-fuel works fine and certainly no need for gfch when it's on but it can easily use £5 of smokeless/logs per night if it's cold.

Of course, buy your logs/coal in bulk in the summer and the price is very attractive but leave it to now and it's a different matter.

As said, be careful what wood you use. Cheap softwood is OK but you'll forever be feeding the fire and the chimney will need cleaning more often, treated timber is a no-no.

Well-seasoned hardwood will give lots of heat and stay in a good while so if you have the patience (and room) then buy it unseasoned or semi-seasoned and dry it yourself over a couple of years.

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You can burn all those horrible antiques and then get new furniture!

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As previous, log burners don't burn coal.

From what I've read, the only real difference between a "log burner" and a "multi-fuel stove" is that a multi-fuel stove will have a grate to hold the coal and a log burner will have a flat bottom. Logs burn better in a bed of ash, and coal buns better held up by a grate. You can always just add a small grate to a log burner and it becomes a multi-fuel stove. I've burned coal in a log burner and logs in a mutli-fuel stove, and there's no real difference in performance that I could tell (though I'm not an expert on it).

As for the initial post, I think you might need more than three bags of coal to make it through the winter. I rented a house before that had a big log burner that would warm part of the house (the part we used most of the time, about 1000 sq feet with minimal insulation), with the central heating used for the rest of the house, which we heated sparingly. To get through the winter and to keep part of the house we used at a comfortably warm temperature through the day, I went through about 30 bags of smokeless fuel, with each bag weighing 25 kgs. We also used some wood because I found that the fire burned better if you mixed 2/3 coal with 1/3 wood. It's generally also easier to get the fire going with wood, and then add coal when it's hot.

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Do a payback or discounted cashflow analysis. For example the log burner costs £3k including the installation costs, future maintainence, ongoing wood costs, etc and generates £200/ a year of savings in energy costs. There are the non-financial benefits - eg. The house might be warmer than with conventional heating.

The magazines would have you think a log burner increases the value of the house effectively above the value of the discounted cashflows. It is possible. I shot it down with an ex as personally I could not source wood at a low enough cost to be economically viable.

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If you can manage to March on £40 coal/logs then you're doing well. Our multi-fuel works fine and certainly no need for gfch when it's on but it can easily use £5 of smokeless/logs per night if it's cold.

Of course, buy your logs/coal in bulk in the summer and the price is very attractive but leave it to now and it's a different matter.

As said, be careful what wood you use. Cheap softwood is OK but you'll forever be feeding the fire and the chimney will need cleaning more often, treated timber is a no-no.

Well-seasoned hardwood will give lots of heat and stay in a good while so if you have the patience (and room) then buy it unseasoned or semi-seasoned and dry it yourself over a couple of years.

No real idea how much I'll have to use but currently it's checking out a huge amount of heat with a relatively small fire. The found found some compressed logs fairly cheaply and one of them seems to last all night. However the real test will be when it becomes cold. At that point we might need to put more on it.

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Do a payback or discounted cashflow analysis. For example the log burner costs £3k including the installation costs, future maintainence, ongoing wood costs, etc and generates £200/ a year of savings in energy costs. There are the non-financial benefits - eg. The house might be warmer than with conventional heating.

The magazines would have you think a log burner increases the value of the house effectively above the value of the discounted cashflows. It is possible. I shot it down with an ex as personally I could not source wood at a low enough cost to be economically viable.

This is what I'm hoping for, the cost of installation would be worth it. To keep the front room warm when it's really cold means keeping the heating on 24/7, the rest of the house heats up really quickly so even if it costs the same as currently we'll be better off.

However I got mine installed for less than your quote as I did quite a bit of the work myself.

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I don't have one but many friends do and they get warmer houses for less money.

You can buy metallic wind-mill like fans that sit on top of the log burner and which circulate the heat - they work incredibly well and means you can heat more for less.

Thanks for the tip, I think I'll invest in one, so far I'm impressed with the heat thrown out.

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We do much the same. Fire every night from November to March and only run the central heating for an hour in the morning to "take the edge off". I suspect that we get through about £120 worth of wood in a winter. Key in our area is to get your wood in the summer as it's much cheaper. We can store 2 tons at a time and so can season our own.

We haven't run the numbers, but I suspect our saving on gas pays for our wood purchase.

There are also intangible benefits: The dog also gets to enjoy sleeping on the hearthrug (if you want to see a vision of simple happiness its a dog snoring in front of a roaring fire after a long walk) and I get to indulge my inner caveman by lighting the fire every night.

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It seems that fires radiate heat much more than radiators, which mainly convect, and we feel radiated heat better than conducted heat (i.e. conducting to us from the conveted air).

Anyone worked out how many trees you need to be permanently self-sustaining in wood? Preferably hardwood, perhaps two years' worth of fuel and needs twenty years of growth? Makes it out of the question for most people to be able to do it :( Too long a timescale for the pathetically impatient short-sighted modern society too.

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We run the whole house on wood -- heating, hot water, most of the "oven" cooking and quite a bit of the "hob" cooking. We have a solid fuel Rayburn and a Clearview 650 wood burner. Thoughts for anyone considering this:

- You use a LOT of wood. We probably burn several tonnes a year, about a wheelbarrow full a day in the winter.

- You need to season the wood, stacked and under cover. I am currently splitting the 2017 wood.

- You need a trailer if you are going to get wood

- There is plenty of wood out there, but you need to be willing to get it, chop it up and load it. You'd need about 10 acres to be truly self sustaining.

If you are getting wood delivered, you are better off using gas. Delivered wood is very expensive.

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We run the whole house on wood -- heating, hot water, most of the "oven" cooking and quite a bit of the "hob" cooking. We have a solid fuel Rayburn and a Clearview 650 wood burner. Thoughts for anyone considering this:

- You use a LOT of wood. We probably burn several tonnes a year, about a wheelbarrow full a day in the winter.

- You need to season the wood, stacked and under cover. I am currently splitting the 2017 wood.

- You need a trailer if you are going to get wood

- There is plenty of wood out there, but you need to be willing to get it, chop it up and load it. You'd need about 10 acres to be truly self sustaining.

If you are getting wood delivered, you are better off using gas. Delivered wood is very expensive.

You should get your wood made into furniture, and then burn it! :blink:

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From what I've read, the only real difference between a "log burner" and a "multi-fuel stove" is that a multi-fuel stove will have a grate to hold the coal and a log burner will have a flat bottom. Logs burn better in a bed of ash, and coal buns better held up by a grate. You can always just add a small grate to a log burner and it becomes a multi-fuel stove. I've burned coal in a log burner and logs in a mutli-fuel stove, and there's no real difference in performance that I could tell (though I'm not an expert on it).

As for the initial post, I think you might need more than three bags of coal to make it through the winter. I rented a house before that had a big log burner that would warm part of the house (the part we used most of the time, about 1000 sq feet with minimal insulation), with the central heating used for the rest of the house, which we heated sparingly. To get through the winter and to keep part of the house we used at a comfortably warm temperature through the day, I went through about 30 bags of smokeless fuel, with each bag weighing 25 kgs. We also used some wood because I found that the fire burned better if you mixed 2/3 coal with 1/3 wood. It's generally also easier to get the fire going with wood, and then add coal when it's hot.

Years ago I rented a house in ireland which had both a coal fire and central heating. No insulation and big windows, built in the early 70s when oil was under 10p a gallon. When oil was expensive and we were burning coal we burned a bag, 25kg. , a week.

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indoor-tent-3.jpg

Don't forget about the indoor tent /bed canopy if it is cold at night that we mentioned on the other thread. The bedroom may not get heated, if solid fuel burners are exclusively the heat source. http://www.treehugger.com/energy-efficiency/south-koreans-using-indoor-tents-save-money-rising-heating-costs.html#14175475751231&action=collapse_widget&id=2312315

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This could be an issue for old burner installs

http://www.salvonews.com/story/antique-reclaimed-or-salvaged-wood-burning-stoves-and-the-law-x86256x9.html

....UK - Can old wood burning stoves which are not on the HETAS approved list be fitted legally into homes in the UK? This is a question which I have been trying to answer after I was told that some dealers have stopped dealing in antique wood burning stoves altogether because they had been told by customers that old stoves can no longer be fitted because of a change in UK regulations. HETAS is the official body recognised by the UK government to approve wood burning stoves and fuels, including installers and servicing.

Not only fitting old woodburning stoves has become more problematic, but most salvaged products, because of increasingly pro-new consumer and building regulations. Many changes were driven by manufacturers who saw standards as a way of making old and more durable building products obsolete. Most standards committees in Britain and Europe are composed entirely of manufacturers. If they were to be fair and representative standards committees should contain at least the same number of private consumers as they do industry reps.

Many new standards and regulations are ostensibly created to address health and safety and environmental concerns, which usually involve new testing and compliance systems to be created which can be costly for a manufacturer. The period of enforcement which follows often seems to preclude non-conforming products, including old reclaimed ones. When I write 'seemed to preclude' this is because if any change in law actually precluded antique reclaimed or salvaged items then before the law was changed the salvage sector would have to be consulted and a costed plan drawn up to reimburse it for the cost of disposing of all its antique reclaimed and salvaged stock....

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