It is that time of the year again where an age-old debate begins to rear its ugly head. The debate: which is better, wood burning stoves or open fires? With the new-age interior designers cosying up to wood burning stoves and the traditionalists favouring a roaring fire, it seems as though we are no closer to finding the answer. Luckily, in this article, Coal Hut are going to compare wood burning stoves and open fires, detailing their strengths and weaknesses, with the aim of crowning the victor.
Wood burning stoves
Wood burning stoves are a very efficient heat source. This is because of the fact that users can adjust the heat levels by utilising air vent controls. Besides heat efficiency, wood burning stoves may also be more favourable to your bank account as, on average, they require significantly less fuel than open fires. No more burning through your wallet or purse (if you pardon the pun).
Evidently, wood burning stoves are smaller in size than regular fireplaces. As a result of their smaller size, they do not possess the focal point qualities of an open fire and are therefore perfectly suited for inclusion within kitchens, breakfast areas and family rooms. And what’s more, their contemporary look gives any room a modern and trendy feel.
Because of the fact that wood is locked within a small, cast-iron casing, wood burning stoves do not require constant tending and are generally a lot easier to clean. However, we still recommend that the flue (a duct for smoke waste and gases) is cleared out on an annual basis.
In terms of a negative aspect of wood burning stoves, it should be noted that they can be quite tricky to start without any prior experience. We constantly hear reports of house owners giving up on their wood burning stoves and reverting back to wasting their hard-earned cash by putting the heating on. Luckily, Coal Hut devised a guide on how to light your multi-fuel stove in 5 easy steps, check it out!
Lastly, although wood burning stoves are generally a more efficient heat source overall, they fail to produce the same amount of heat as a roaring fire. In the depths of sub-zero temperatures during the winter season, many of our houses will require a blasting of heat to keep us warm and cosy, something which may be unattainable with a wood burning stove.
Nothing heats the entirety of a house quite like a roaring fire. When arriving home from a chilly winter stroll, an open fire is a perfect remedy to numb fingers and toes. And what’s more, open fires are typically a lot easier to light than wood burning stoves. This enables homeowners to heat their house fast - a necessity when Jack Frost arrives in town!
As mentioned in our Cooking With Wood blog, burning wood can produce a wide range of aromas which can permeate a house with a beautiful and inviting scent. Different woods produce different aromas, so it’s best to do your research on which scent you want to be associated with your humble abode.
Open fires, in stark contrast to wood burning stoves, never go unnoticed in a room. They draw guests together and foster interaction - perfect for entertaining your guests during your festive Christmas parties. A roaring fire creates a soothing atmosphere of relaxation - you cannot deny the homeliness factor that they provide.
However, open fires are definitely not the most efficient heat source. Due to the fact that airflow cannot be controlled as with wood burning stoves, open fires draw air from the entirety of the house up the chimney, negatively affecting their longevity. Although amazing in terms of heat output at any one time, those with an open fireplace know the struggle of constant tending and adding of coal, smokeless fuel or firewood.
As alluded to, open fires burn through fuels at a tremendous rate. Although this may be beneficial in terms of heat output, it can also result in a particularly arduous cleaning process. Fire ash and debris can get clogged up beneath an open fire and affect its performance, therefore, frequent cleaning is recommended.
Those with a contemporary home who would prefer: a consistent heat source throughout the day, minimal necessary fire supervision and cleaning and a less unobtrusive and more cost-effective heating method would be best suited to a wood burning stove. For a list of alternative fuels for your wood burning stoves, click here.
On the other hand, open fires are the perfect fit for the traditionalists among us who long for the homeliness factor, rich aroma and soothing atmosphere that comes with a traditional fireplace. Check out our amazing range of fuel products which will ensure that your open fire performs optimally.