Log Burner vs Central Heating

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Log Burner vs Central Heating27th October 2023

Log Burner vs Central Heating - Are Wood Burners Cheaper to run than Gas?

With gas prices skyrocketing in the UK, many homeowners are looking for alternative ways to heat their homes that won't break the bank. One option that's gaining popularity is installing a wood burning stove or log burner. But are log burners actually cheaper to run than central heating powered by natural gas? Let's take a look at the key factors.


Fuel Costs

The biggest factor when comparing costs is the price of the fuel itself. Natural gas prices have risen dramatically, with the energy price cap set to increase to over £3,500 per year for average usage. Hardwood logs on the other hand have seen much smaller price increases. A cubic metre of seasoned hardwood logs costs £75-120 delivered.


So, on fuel costs alone, wood comes in substantially cheaper than gas to generate the same amount of heat energy. However, the efficiency and running costs of the heating system also need to be considered.



A modern condensing gas boiler can be over 90% efficient at converting the energy in gas to heat. Some of the latest models even reach 98% efficiency. Wood burners are generally less efficient, with typical older models having 65-75% efficiency. This means more logs are needed to produce the same heat output. However, the latest ECO Design modern wood stoves can reach 85% efficiency or higher, so the efficiency gap is narrowing.


In terms of distribution, radiators do lose some heat into unheated rooms. But a wood burner's heat is very concentrated in one area, with other rooms losing out. Strategic placement of the wood burner in a main living area that connects to other rooms can help distribute the warmth more evenly.


Installation and Running Costs

Adding a log burner or wood stove will require an upfront installation cost of £1,500-£4,000 including the unit, flue, and labour. A gas boiler replacement with a qualified engineer will cost £2,000-£3,000. Ongoing maintenance costs are low for gas boilers, aside from the annual service. Log burners and their flues need more frequent sweeping to remove ash buildup and creosote. This costs around £50-80 per sweep. Gas boilers only need electricity for the igniter and controls. The majority of wood burning systems do not need electric power at all.

With the right setup and use, a modern log burner can certainly save money compared to gas central heating based on current fuel prices. The savings will depend on:


  • - How much you use it - as a secondary heat source or a complete replacement
  • - Your home's insulation and heat demand
  • - The efficiency of your particular appliance and heating system
  • - Local fuel prices and delivery costs


Wood burners do need more maintenance and have higher upfront installation costs. But with gas prices predicted to remain high, using logs in an efficient modern appliance looks an attractive option to cut home heating bills this winter. Just be sure to get your chimney swept regularly!


Additional Factors to Consider

Here are some other factors that can determine whether switching to a wood burning stove will save you money:


Home Insulation

An energy efficient, well insulated home will require less heating input overall. This makes the potential savings from wood fuel greater compared to an older, drafty building. Investing in insulation upgrades like loft and cavity wall insulation improves the economics.


Heat Demand

The size of your home and number of rooms that need heating will impact consumption. More heat demand means more fuel needed. A wood burner may struggle to meet the full needs of a large detached house. Additional radiators or underfloor systems may still rely on some gas.


Access to Wood Fuel Supply

Sourcing good quality, affordable logs is key. Those in rural locations may have better access to local log supplies. Delivery costs can be reduced. Urban residents may find sourcing and delivering wood fuel more expensive from national suppliers.


Environmental Impact

While wood is considered carbon neutral over its full lifecycle, burning logs does release particulate pollution. This needs to be weighed against the carbon cost of natural gas. Newer wood stoves have much lower particulate emissions to reduce the health impacts.


Household Size

More people in the home means more heating needed. Families may find it worthwhile to switch, whereas smaller households may not use enough fuel to achieve real savings. The hassle of storing and loading the stove also becomes more significant.


Log burners can certainly save money compared to gas heating based on current fuel costs. But the actual savings achieved depend on the home, heating demand, appliance efficiency and fuel supply logistics. Each household's situation will determine whether wood burning can reduce their heating bills over the coming winter months.


In summary, given the extreme gas price rises seen in 2022, and predictions that prices will remain high this winter; installing a modern, efficient log burner looks an increasingly attractive option for UK households looking to reduce heating bills. For those with access to competitively priced wood fuel supply, and who take the time to use their stove efficiently, the potential savings over gas central heating could be substantial. While they require more maintenance and upfront cost, log burners can provide cheaper, renewable heat and reduce reliance on imported fossil fuels. For suitable properties and owners willing to adjust their heating habits, embracing the traditional log fire could prove a financial lifeline this winter.


And so if you’re looking for a range of quality stoves, look no further than UK Stoves! Click below to view our range to buy online. 





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