Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Making the wood burner earn its keep

After fighting with a howling gale to get to Small's swimming lesson today, I must say that I'm very glad to be indoors tonight, and feel extremely thankful that the wood burner was installed a couple of months ago.

There are pros and cons to most things, and a wood burner is no different.  They seem to be becoming very popular though and I'm even seeing them advertised on the telly.  Sorry if I'm preaching to the converted here but thought I'd share a few tips on how to save a few more pennies (hopefully pounds!) while you use your wood burner.

The downsides that spring to mind are having to clear it out, although that's more of a pain in the butt than difficult - I might change my mind on that statement as I get older!   I have noticed an increase in the amount of dust, and it does struggle a bit on nights like tonight when there's a howling gale blowing down the chimney.  It also takes a while to get up to temperature, whereas one of the pros of central heating is that you can put it on for half an hour, get instant heat, and switch it off again.  Once the wood burner's going at optimum though, it radiates heat for ages and has dried the house out no end.

On the plus side, gas consumption has plummeted compared to what I'd normally be using at this time of year and I can honestly say that for the first time in all the years I've lived here, the house feels warm since I started using the wood burner.  Even with the central heating on and chomping through gas like it was going out of fashion, the house never really felt warm and was always damp.  Another plus is that although the gale is blowing down the chimney, I can't feel it any more thanks to the wood burner doors.  That's a major, major plus.

I do make the wood burner earn its keep though.  Laundry is put on an airer rack to dry in front of it, and because it radiates heat long after I've gone to bed - I don't "leave it in", I let it go out - it is usually dry enough in the morning to need only 5 minutes in the dryer to finish off.

The other thing I do is use the camping kettle on the top to boil water instead of using the electric kettle.  Once the kettle boils, which it does fairly quickly once the stove's up to temperature, what isn't used is put in thermos flasks to keep hot.  Rather a lot of tea gets consumed here, so anything that cuts back on electricity consumption is a definite bonus and the tea tastes no different to the ones made when I take a flask out with me.

Bed time hot water bottles get filled from water that's been heated on the stove, and I always try to remember to fill a last thermos before I go to bed so that it can be tipped into the electric kettle in the morning for an almost instantly boiling kettle and first cuppa of the day.

Anyone else have any tips for how to maximise use of a wood burner?  I'd love to hear them.

Keep warm and safe.  Until next time. x


  1. we collect newspapers on the train and bus when commuting. you could ask your neighbours for their newspapers instead of them putting them in the recycling?

  2. We love ours too and pop the kettle on it and the washing like you , we scavenge free wood from anywhere and once friends realise you will tidy their gardens in return for wood your never short. Regarding cleaning, wood burns best on a bed of ash so i only empty the ash once a week i save this for the garden . Our oil bill has halved this last year and the electric bill is down too long live the woodburner

  3. Boiling water on it is a great idea and making night time hot water bottles too. I love our wood burner, it warms the house like nothing else. CT.

  4. We have an airer over the stairs and the heat from the wood burner goes up there an dries a load a day. I've also bought one of those ecofans thats powered by the heat of the fire, to circulate the heat around the house more.
    The type of wood you burn makes a big difference as well!

    1. I'm dead jealous of your stairs airer, Kev. I remember reading that post and wishing I had one. That space was mostly boxed in by the previous owner and I haven't had the money or the courage to remove it! If it's anything like the rest of the house was, I dread to think what I might find in there.


Comments welcomed. Your words and encouragement make it all worthwhile.