Benefits of burning wood
Burning wood is one of the most environmentally friendly ways of heating individual rooms, or indeed your whole house, because timber is a carbon neutral fuel. It absorbs as much carbon whilst growing as it releases when burnt. Leaving wood to rot naturally releases as much carbon dioxide as it does when used for burning.
Heating with wood is not only environmentally friendly, but can also make good economic sense. Timber for fuel is typically up to 30% cheaper than oil or gas and with recent price rises in both, the savings are only likely to increase. An additional environmental benefit is that timber is usually sourced locally, so transport miles and associated emissions will also be kept to a minimum.
Wood burners are typically made from either cast iron or steel; cast iron allows more ornate or intricate designs and finishes, but is less tolerant of overheating (or over-firing). By contrast, steel is much more tolerant of the extremes of heat that wood burners can generate which is likely to translate to a longer lifespan, and modern technology can make it an even more efficient heat conductor. Wood burners operate at around 75% efficiency meaning that 75% of the heat generated by burning the wood is radiated out into the room and only 25% is lost up the chimney. By comparison an open fire is likely to operate at around 15-20% efficiency - so to get the same heating effect an open fire will need 4 logs for every one put into a wood burner! A further advantage of wood burning stoves is the less frequent need to have your chimney swept.