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10 Reasons Not To Buy A Real Wood Burner

Updated on September 12, 2013

Why The Flame Of Excitement On Getting A Real Wood Burner Has Now Extinguished

I have had a wood burner in the house for five years but these days the only times it's used is when welcoming visitors. Yes it's nice watching the flames flickering inside, but in all honestly, that novelty soon wore off. I wouldn’t have one installed again, for these reasons:

1. Wood burners aren't cheap. You do pay a premium for a heater that adds character to your home.

2. They aren't simple to install. It's not usually just a case of placing the wood burner where it is to be located and starting a fire. It most cases the chimney will need lining which for all, but the competent DIYer, is a case of getting the professionals in. So installation costs can be added to price of the burner for a true idea of how much it will all cost.

Wood burner
Wood burner
Fire
Fire | Source
Wood storage
Wood storage | Source
Chop wood
Chop wood | Source

3. Takes time to the heat room. You can't set a timer for the burner to turn on for when you get home. The burner needs to be prepared with wood and kindling and it normally to takes a few minutes to get it going, once you’ve mastered the art.

4. Constant Attention. Once the fire inside is going, you can't just leave it to get on with warming the room. Neglect to feed it regularly with wood will mean a loss of heat and the fire going out.

5. They require maintenance like any heater. Twice now my wood burner’s glass has cracked and had to be replaced with special glass.

6. Affects on health. I have found that the wood burner has exacerbated my asthma symptoms, and researching on the internet, I found a lot of evidence on the harmful affects to health of wood and solid fuel smoke. Ok, the smoke and fumes given off is a lot less than an open fire but the door has to be opened to add more wood and there is the exposure to ash which gets in the air when cleaning out. Generally the house was more dusty when the woodburner was used.

7. Wood is not cheap to buy. If you have to buy wood and want to use the burner routinely it can work out very expensive. If you have access to free wood, all the better.

8. Storage. Storing wood takes space and ideally it will be kept covered as well. Storage limitations have to be considered.

9. Mess. Wood burners produce ash which has to be cleared out. Most models have a tray, which catches most of it, but transferring it inevitably results in it going where it's not wanted, when the tray is removed for emptying.

10. Cutting and chopping. Unless you're buying expensive pre-prepared logs and kindling, you're going to have to do a lot of cutting, splitting and sawing of logs. This takes time and hard work.

Since having a wood burner I have grown to really appreciate the other forms of heating in the house. Yes, it's nice to watch the flames burning brightly behind the glass panel, but in all honesty, the novelty wore off after a while. If you have access to free wood, not mind or enjoy the additional work involved, and find they don't affect any health issues you may have, a wood burner may be a good choice. But with plenty of other heating solutions now available, many of them as much if not more eco-friendly, I wouldn't be in a rush to have one installed again.

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    • jasmith1 profile image
      Author

      Adrian Smith 5 years ago from UK

      Given the choice now we would choose an electric version. The look is nice but as you say, real wood burners are high maintenance. Thanks for the info about rocket mass heaters, they sound interesting!

    • trainerlex profile image

      Lex 5 years ago from Denver, CO

      I have to agree with what you have here. Wood burners/stoves are a pain and require a huge amount of wood if used exclusively to heat your home. I was interested in them at one point as a "greener" way to heat my home. My theory was that since wood was more renewable than coal or natural gas, it must be better for the environment. After researching, I found it just wasn't true and the stoves were messy and high maintenance. However, I did discover rocket mass heaters in my reading and had absolutely forgotten about them until reading your hub. They are among the most efficient and eco-friendly wood burners out there. Thanks for the article! It's an interesting subject.