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  • FIRST POST
    • tintin00
    • By tintin00 31st Dec 17, 7:43 AM
    • 3Posts
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    tintin00
    Heating efficiency (stove vs open fire)
    • #1
    • 31st Dec 17, 7:43 AM
    Heating efficiency (stove vs open fire) 31st Dec 17 at 7:43 AM
    Hi Folks,


    I have been researching the potential for investing in a new heating system. I currently have an oil fired boiler and I use my open fire in the winter months if the temp dips to single figures. The open fire has an old back boiler which heats my water tank. My fuel bill is 550 a year for oil, and 220 for wood / coal.


    I was considering switching to gas however my plumber tells me that my current oil boiler is excellent (90% efficient) and I recently worked out that gas is 10% more expensive than my oil deliveries. I know that the general efficiency of gas by only heating what you use would bring this down, but not convinced of the savings due to the massive outlay. So for now I think I will stick to my oil boiler and all the tanks that come with it.


    That brings me to the most inefficient part of the system and one that I am pondering the most. What to do with my open fire / back boiler. We love the fire, but are painfully aware of the inefficiency. I am considering installing a stove, however I have been told that I cannot link this to my existing back boiler water heating system as the pipe diameter is too small and that will all have to be replaced at great cost. So if I go down the stove route the back boiler will have to be removed.


    And then I worked out the supposed savings. If we take an open fire as 20% efficient, and a stove at 85% efficient. My 220 bill of wood / coal would in a perfect world drop to just over 50 (which I would only believe if I see it!) So if we take the cost of the stove / flue / installation / fireplace at say 2K best case, then it will only pay for itself after 12 years! Stoves also appear to be a bit more labour intensive, with small ash pans and careful attention needed to ensure efficiency. My open fire is great in that we shove on whatever and the bucket requires cleaned every 4 fires.


    So is it worth it. Has anyone installed a stove over an open fire and then regretted it, even slightly?
Page 1
    • Swipe
    • By Swipe 1st Jan 18, 11:12 AM
    • 2,224 Posts
    • 1,178 Thanks
    Swipe
    • #2
    • 1st Jan 18, 11:12 AM
    • #2
    • 1st Jan 18, 11:12 AM
    Stick with the open fire. The cost of stoves has sky rocketed in recent years. 12 years is a very long time to wait to break even.
    • matelodave
    • By matelodave 1st Jan 18, 11:22 AM
    • 3,285 Posts
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    matelodave
    • #3
    • 1st Jan 18, 11:22 AM
    • #3
    • 1st Jan 18, 11:22 AM
    I doubt you'd get away with 50 worth of fuel for a stove, so make your payback period at least 20 years.

    You only buy a stove because you want one, not because it will save you money because it probably wont unless you can get free fuel.
    Love makes the world go round - beer make it go round even faster
    • A. Badger
    • By A. Badger 1st Jan 18, 4:39 PM
    • 5,162 Posts
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    A. Badger
    • #4
    • 1st Jan 18, 4:39 PM
    • #4
    • 1st Jan 18, 4:39 PM
    I agree with the two previous posters. Since they became fashion accessories for the glossy magazine brigade, stoves have become ridiculously expensive - and don't forget, you wouldn't just have to amortise the cost of the stove but you would no doubt have to fit a stainless steel liner, too.

    Just to add insult to injury, there is a good chance the latter would need replacement even before you had reached a break-even point.

    A well designed open fire is a joy to have in room and not as inefficient as some like to claim.

    I'm not an expert on gas vs. oil, incidentally, but I have always read mains gas is a fair bit cheaper. Are you certain your calculations are correct?
    • Gloomendoom
    • By Gloomendoom 3rd Jan 18, 2:04 AM
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    Gloomendoom
    • #5
    • 3rd Jan 18, 2:04 AM
    • #5
    • 3rd Jan 18, 2:04 AM
    I would agree with the other posters. Stick with what you have got.
    Advice; it rhymes with mice. Advise; it rhymes with wise.
    • silverwhistle
    • By silverwhistle 3rd Jan 18, 6:22 PM
    • 1,687 Posts
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    silverwhistle
    • #6
    • 3rd Jan 18, 6:22 PM
    • #6
    • 3rd Jan 18, 6:22 PM
    I'd agree with MatelotDave.

    A few additional comments. Not sure stove prices have particularly gone up more than you'd expect with the weak pound and people installing better quality stoves, but then I'm not a glossy magazine sort of person.

    Pretty well all my heating is using my stove. I did have the gas CH on on Christmas Day as I was going out, but apart from testing the system I haven't had to use it apart for hot water occasionally. I spend about 30/40 on briquettes a season but mix them with scrounged wood as I have the time to prep it and enjoy the exercise.

    Ash, as I only burn wood, I don't need to actively think about. The level builds up and then I take some out occasionally and shove on my raised beds or around the fruit trees.

    I wouldn't purely think of the cost saving any more than you would with the cost of a new kitchen, they're just lovely to have. No worries about power cuts either, and I've boiled kettles and cooked food on the top of mine.
    • Gloomendoom
    • By Gloomendoom 4th Jan 18, 6:43 AM
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    Gloomendoom
    • #7
    • 4th Jan 18, 6:43 AM
    • #7
    • 4th Jan 18, 6:43 AM
    I have a stove and there is no way it will heat our house to an even temperature throughout like the central heating does. Even to get the bedrooms remotely warm requires all the doors to be left open and the stove to be cranked up to a level that makes it uncomfortable to be in the same room.

    I have access to "free" firewood (if you ignore the costs of processing and transporting it), a stove and two open fires. I still use the gas central heating as the main heat source with the solid fuel appliances as a supplement.
    Advice; it rhymes with mice. Advise; it rhymes with wise.
    • FreeBear
    • By FreeBear 5th Jan 18, 12:05 AM
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    FreeBear
    • #8
    • 5th Jan 18, 12:05 AM
    • #8
    • 5th Jan 18, 12:05 AM
    I went from an open fire to an inset/cassette multifuel stove (almost) two years ago. The lounge had always been difficult to keep warm even with the central heating on and the fire lit.

    With the new stove, I can get the room up to a nice toasty 20-24C and in the morning, it is still around 18C after the fire has burned out overnight. The bedroom above benefits from a bit of heat radiating from the flue as well as warmth percolating up through the floor.

    A 25Kg bag of smokeless coal is lasting me some 8 to 10 days with half a dozen logs being burnt each day. Whilst the OP might save some money on fuel, I don't think it will be more than 25%. Having spent ~2.5K on the stove & installation, I don't see it saving me enough to break even in 12, 20, or even 25 years. Still, I feel it was worth the effort - No more hot embers spitting out and burning holes in the carpet, and it does look good.

    In addition to fitting the stove, I've also been going around the house plugging draughts and adding loads of insulation - Still got some way to go, but this has helped to keep the heat in.
    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
    • JosephBM
    • By JosephBM 5th Jan 18, 3:43 PM
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    JosephBM
    • #9
    • 5th Jan 18, 3:43 PM
    • #9
    • 5th Jan 18, 3:43 PM
    You don't have an open fire for efficiency.

    Most stoves either come with back boilers or can be fitted with them so I've been extremely shocked if you couldn't get one for the specific diameter you need to link to your current system.
    A back boiler is a simple construction so worst comes to worst I wouldn't imagine a custom one wouldn't cost the earth.
    • Gloomendoom
    • By Gloomendoom 6th Jan 18, 1:26 PM
    • 13,471 Posts
    • 17,684 Thanks
    Gloomendoom
    You don't have an open fire for efficiency.

    Most stoves either come with back boilers or can be fitted with them so I've been extremely shocked if you couldn't get one for the specific diameter you need to link to your current system.
    A back boiler is a simple construction so worst comes to worst I wouldn't imagine a custom one wouldn't cost the earth.
    Originally posted by JosephBM
    Depending on the level of integration you are trying to achieve, you may need to incorporate a Dunsley Neutraliser into the system.
    Advice; it rhymes with mice. Advise; it rhymes with wise.
    • tintin00
    • By tintin00 23rd Jan 18, 8:13 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    tintin00
    Thanks very much for all the replies. Very interesting and making me seriously consider keeping the open fire. The thought of ditching my Baxi back boiler to take a risk on a stove is enough to make me think twice. It heats up the water tank easy each night and the pipe run doubles as underfloor heating for upstairs (cats sprawled out across the pipe run)!

    I have been to more stove show room as they keep batting round this 20% efficiency for open fire. I personally do not buy that, but im not expert.
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