Burning passions: the benefits of a woodburner
- Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Words: Lauren Oakly
Fires were once not only a comfort, but a necessity for households who huddled around to cook meals and seek light during long, dark winters. Now, unless your house is off grid, purchasing a woodburner is seen as a luxury, and yet the trend is growing. This innate desire to hark back to old-fashioned ways was prominent during UK lockdowns — not only because people were spending more time at home, but because it saw people through a lonelier, confusing period in their lives.
Improve your home environment
Embrace the simple, cosy pleasures — knitted jumpers, warm drinks and roaring fires (otherwise known as the ‘hygge’ lifestyle by the Danish). With the increase in modern woodburner installations, social media is rife with photos depicting the country-style living room and logburner. Typical pictures feature freshly painted mantelpieces, an orange glow from the logburner, and a dog warming its bones while lying on a busily patterned rug. Whether you want a traditional stove for your cottage or a sleek centrepiece in your modern townhouse, Corinium Stoves in South Cerney sells and installs a variety of woodburners for your home.
Save money and reduce your carbon footprint
Cut down on your heating bill by choosing an energy-efficient, approved woodburning appliance and good quality firewood. ‘Ready to Burn’-accredited biomass fuels are cost-effective, carbon-neutral alternatives to central heating. Cirencester-based White Horse Energy supplies kiln-dried firewood and other wood fuels in bulk nationwide, with the Ready to Burn label. Kindling and firelighters are recommended to assist with starting a fire, but avoid overloading your appliance to ensure you’re heating your home efficiently without wasting fuel.
(If you live in a smoke control area, you must burn an authorised fuel or have a Defra-exempt appliance.)
Add value to your property
Getting your property professionally appraised? Provided that it’s well maintained, you can increase the value of your house by 5-12% with the addition of a fireplace. Original fireplaces are often boarded or bricked up, but it’s best to research your property’s architectural history and seek advice before knocking through walls. If your property doesn’t have one, there are plenty of companies who will create and install bespoke fireplaces, such as the Stone Art Cotswold company. Based in Stroud, they provide custom-made stone fireplaces and other carved stone features.
Restoring old fireplaces
If you’ve decided to dust off your neglected, boarded up fireplace, the first port of call is to contact your local chimney sweep. They’ll inspect the fireplace and flue for damage, soot, or for any wildlife. Built-up creosote must be removed, as the particles can block the flue and cause chimney fires. Fireplaces should be cleaned professionally at least once a year. Peacock chimney services (based in Lechlade) provides chimney sweeping services to the Cotswolds region as well as stove installation.
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Clean your fireplace
Regardless of how often you use it, check your fireplace regularly and remove debris after each use. Some stove manufacturers recommend you leave a thin layer of ash to insulate the woodburner and optimise burning conditions. Brush away the extra ash into a metal bucket to cool down outside before disposal. You can clean the woodburner’s interior and surrounding fireplace bricks with a scrubbing brush and cleaning solution. At the end of the cold months, remove all ash, otherwise it can cause structural damage. Protect the exterior of your woodburner from rust by using heat-resistant sealants, and use a dry cloth to dust surfaces. Make sure you have the right tools, such as those available from Moonstruck in Cirencester.
Although using your fireplace requires a bigger budget upfront, you will gain value from using it in the long run. It’s worth the effort, and there’s something irreplaceable about spending a firelit evening with the people you care about.