The heat is on - wood-burning and multi-fuel stoves for your home

Posted 25 January 2016 by Richenda Oldham

Wood-burning and multi-fuel stoves have environmental as well as economic benefits.

Picture this: a freezing cold night, with the rain lashing down outside, and there you are, all cosy and warm, snuggled up in front of a stove, sipping your cocoa. Sound good doesn't it? This heart-warming image is no adman's dream.

Stoves - and let's be clear here, these are the wood-burning or multi-fuel varieties we're talking about, not gas or electric versions - offer a practical and economically efficient way to heat a room by using a renewable resource - wood. Locally sourced wood is not only one of the cheapest forms of energy, it is also a carbon neutral fuel, as the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is the same as that absorbed by a tree while it is growing.  

Investing in a wood-burning or multi-fuel stove that can burn both wood, coal or smokeless fuel, will set you back between £500 to £2,000, depending on the make and model you choose. You will need to decide what style you want - traditional (cast iron) or contemporary (steel) - and finish/colour. Where are you intending to put your stove? In a fireplace, an open hearth or will it be freestanding? You will also need to consider which room you are going to heat and whether you want the stove to supply domestic hot water or central heating as well. 

Next on the list is fuel choice. If you are intending to burn only wood, then a dedicated wood burning stove is best, which burns logs on a flat bed of ash, with air for combustion coming from above. A multi-fuel stove will give you more fuel options, as you can choose to burn either logs, smokeless fuels or peat/turf briquettes. But it is wise to check first whether you live in a smoke controlled area, which means you will need to get a stove approved by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) if you want to burn wood. If you choose not to buy a Defra-approved stove, then you can burn smokeless fuels, such as anthracite, but not wood. 

You will also need to check that you are able to comply with building regulations, as there are specifications about how a flue is fitted, as well as the size of the hearth and the distance of the stove from combustibles. All of which could affect your choice of stove, so it's a good idea to speak to a HETAS registered installer first and to have them carry out a site survey first. They will recommend any changes that will need to be made to ensure compliance with building regulations. 


1 Sleek, contemporary Lawley woodburning stove, £1,675 from AGA, 

2 Traditional Bellingham 8kw steel bodied multi-fuel stove, £1,099, 

3 Modern Robeys Rina 4kw wood burning stove, available with either glass framed door, £1,897 or steel framed door, £1,749, 

4 Euroheat Nestor-Martin Harmony 13 multi-fuel stove, £1,242, 

5 Huntingdon 30 wood burning stove in ivory enamel finish, £1,975,   

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