Wood-Burning Stoves – 7 Reasons Why They Are Better Than Open Fireplaces

Ultimately, if you are a die-hard fan of open fires, then nothing less than seeing and feeling the heat of the flames, with no intervening barriers, will do. You will probably not accept any form of enclosed fire. To you I say, each to their own and I can fully understand and respect your choice.

Many of you may feel that way. I also felt that only an open fire would do. However, what I found was that there are many, many advantages to an enclosed form of home fire, namely the wood-burning stove. There has been an upsurge of interest in these over the last few years, in keeping with the spiralling of oil and gas prices. As a result, there has been an increase in the range of stoves coming on to the market with a great diversity of sizes and styles, ranging from the older-fashioned traditional style through to ultra-modern and minimalist examples which would not be out of keeping in the most contemporary of homes.

There are now models where the viewing window is large as opposed to the older styles, giving the impression of an open fire. There are also many different construction materials. However, the principles remain the same, in terms of how they work and this is the basis of my belief as to why they offer an unbeatable combination of benefits.

1. One of the advantages a stove possesses over an open fire is the fact that they are inherently MUCH more efficient. An open fire typically radiates out only 20% of the energy being released from the fuel. If you do the math, that means 80% is going merrily up the chimney.

2. A wood burning stove’s efficiency figures are much, much better. I was astounded to learn that some stoves have efficiencies of up to 80%! Think about this; a stove is an amazing FOUR TIMES more efficient than an open fire!

3. The secret behind this super efficiency is that the combustion temperatures in a stove are much higher than an open fire. Therefore less of the combustible fuel gets away without being burnt, in a stove ie the gases are burnt much more cleanly. This leads to 2 further advantages…

4. Stoves are much less smoky than open fires. Obviously there is much less chance of smoke blowing back into the room given their enclosed nature, but even leaving that aspect aside, stoves burn the gases given off by the fuel more cleanly, meaning less smoke.

5. Stoves produce less ash than open fires, which means less trips outside to the cold and wet!

6. Again, due to their enclosed nature, stoves are safer due to the much lower risk of flying sparks igniting combustible contents of the room. This also means that if you have to go out for a period, leaving the fire unattended, you are much less likely to suffer the classic “My goodness, did I remember to put the fireguard in place?” dilemma! I reckon many marriages have been saved by this one benefit alone!

7. Stoves are much more versatile than open fires. If you wish to keep the fire on overnight, you can close the air vents fully which will keep the fire “ticking over” nicely overnight. This can rarely be done with open fires. In the morning, you just open the vents again and the reviving effects of extra oxygen will cause the fire to get up, yawn and stretch, and merrily get on with it’s task again of heating the room and occupants.

8. I know this is an extra reason (think of it as a little bonus ‘cos I like you so much), but it’s so good I couldn’t leave it out! Try keeping a pot of tea or coffee hot over an open fire! A wood-burning stove could have been custom built for that very purpose!

So there you have it; the reasons why I like wood burning stoves so much. There are also many other reasons why wood burning stoves make sense when compared to other forms of heating such as oil or gas fired central heating, but that will have to wait for another time and another article.