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Can a wood burning stove cut your energy bill?

We asked hundreds of stove owners to find out

Wood burning stove

There are a lot of factors that can affect how much your stove costs and could save you

We asked more than 200 stove owners* whether they believe getting a stove has saved them money on their energy bills – 60% said it had. But with the cost of buying and installing a stove as much as £5,500, is it worth shelling out?

A stove can be a great way to heat your home cheaply, especially if you can get fuel for free. But the cost of buying and installing one could outweigh the benefits.

Stoves are generally used to heat just one room, rather than as a way to heat an entire home. The majority of the people we asked have a stove as well as a central heating system. 

However, you can get a back boiler – this will use the energy generated from your stove to warm the rest of your home. But it will significantly add to your costs. 

Find out all you need to know about getting and installing a stove, including insider tips from stove owners and experts, in our guide to buying a stove.

Stove costs and savings

How much a stove could cut your energy bill depends on various factors, including:

  • how you use your stove and how often you use it
  • how well your home is insulated
  • the type of stove you choose and its wattage 
  • what fuel you burn.

Also, think about how much a stove might cost to install – it could be anything between around £750 and £2,000. A lot of factors can affect the installation price. For example, if you need a new chimney built or an existing one relined, this will hike the price. 

We’d suggest getting three quotes so you have a more accurate idea of what to expect. Particularly as 21% of our stove owners said getting one cost more than expected.

Once you have answers to all these questions, as well as your energy bill to hand, we’ll help you work out if installing a stove will save you money. You can use our unique calculation to give you a gauge of how much your stove will cost to run – go to stove costs and savings.

Ways to save with a stove

There are two main types of stoves: multi fuel or wood burning. 58% of the people we asked own a wood burning stove, and 41% a multi fuel stove. 

Multi fuel stoves can burn coal as well as wood, but coal tends to be more expensive. Burning coal is also less environmentally-friendly as it produces much more CO2 than wood. 

You can also get wood for free – for example, if you’re able to collect fallen branches from your garden or local wood. But you will need to have space and time to dry the wood out, as wet wood will burn far less efficiently.

Burning wood in a multi fuel stove is possible. But because these fuels burn differently, stoves are often optimised for one type. So some can’t burn both wood and coal efficiently. 

Visit our pages on multi fuel vs wood burning stoves to help you decide which to get. 

(*November 2016 survey of 242 stove owners and Which? members who have a stove as well as central heating.)

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