Comparing the cost of running a woodburner with the price of oil, gas and electricity in 2020

Everybody knows the benefits of a wood-burning stove for the comfort and cosiness of your home, but how does a woodburner fare financially when you combine it to other forms of heating.

Installing a woodburner is a big investment. It’s hard to put a value on the aforementioned increase in comfort and cosiness, and the improvement that might have on your quality of life or your enjoyment of your home. So let’s put aside than intangibles for now and look at operating a woodburner in purely financial terms.

Here’s how it compares to other popular forms of heating.

ENERGY TYPECOST (pence/kWh)APPROX. EFFICIENCY
Electricity21.09100%
Gas5.2790%
Oil5.7390%
Seasoned Wood6.4485%
Smokeless fuel8.5275%
Coal6.0675%

As you can see, wood is comparable to most other forms of heating and significantly cheaper than electricity (even after you factor in electricity being 100% efficient at the point of use).

It’s worth saying that those pence per kWh costs are approximate. Firstly, energy costs are measured in different ways and it is difficult to collate them in a way that is truly comparable. For that reason, we’re relying on the latest standardised energy costs prepared by Nottingham Energy Partnership. They’ve crunched the litres, therms, BTU, kWh, units, cubic metres and other units to create a cost per kWh that makes for a fair comparison.

Secondly, there are a variety of factors that impact energy pricing. Electricity costs will vary between supplier and tariffs; oil and gas prices constantly fluctuate on the whim of global markets; and wood and coal costs can change dramatically depending on how they are burned.

And the price given for wood is based on seasoned wood. You can significantly reduce the price per kWh by buying unseasoned wood and seasoning it yourself before burning it. Or, if you’re able to source free wood, you can bring the price per kWh down to zero. None of the other forms of heating offer that level of control and flexibility.

Talking of flexibility, wood is the form of energy that is most divorced from global finance and energy markets. Logs can always be sourced locally. Trade wars, price wars and actual wars in other parts of the world are unlikely to suddenly inflate the price of wood. When you’re reliant on gas, oil and electricity that depends on imported fuel in its production, the potential for escalating costs is completely out of your hands.

So, if you’re able to source free or cheap wood, using a wood-burning stove should reduce your heating bill significantly. Even if you’re buying seasoned logs, you’re likely to make a saving if you operate your stove efficiently and particularly if it lowers your reliance on electric heating.

Anecdotal evidence from our customers suggests a woodburner does cut heating costs for most households.

Learn more about operating your wood-burning stove efficiently or read about efficient woodburners.

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