Log Burning vs Central Heating – Which is Best for Your Home

Tuesday 06th Feb 2024 |

Making sure your home is warm during the colder months is crucial to keeping everyone comfortable, and gas boilers still reign supreme in the UK. Statistics from Uswitch show that 78% of UK households rely on gas central heating to warm themselves through the winter.

As the weather gets colder and the cost of living crisis affects families and homes, many might be considering joining the estimated 1.5 million homes with log burners installed according to figures from the Stove Industry Alliance (SIA). While you might want to make a wholesale switch from central heating to log burners, there’s a lot to consider with the decision.

There are plenty of positives to both, and you can use this guide to make an informed decision as to which one is the best heating system for your home.

Costs – purchase, installation, and maintenance

One of the key things many consumers will consider when looking at new installations in our homes is the money being spent. The cost of a new log burner can range from anywhere between £850 to north of £1,500, while if you’re looking to upgrade and install your boiler, the price of fitting according to Green Match can range on average from around £2,750 to £16,000 for both purchasing costs and installation.

One key difference is while central heating systems come with monthly bills to pay, log burners only require you to pay for the amount of kiln-dried firewood or other seasoned Ready to Burn wood that you need to last you for the colder months.

It’s also important to consider the long-term costs you could face between both central heating and log burners. This can be regular checks required by your gas and energy provider on your boiler, to cleaning and maintenance that you need for your burner.

Log burner fireplace with burning logs, handmade wooden toys, lantern and logs around, selective focus; dark vintage style toned photo

What’s the best for efficiency

When selecting a heating system, making sure that heat distribution is consistent and efficient is a priority. Central heating is designed to provide warmth throughout your entire home, while the heat from log burners is best for a single room and the area around the stove. Leaving the doors of the room open means the heat can rise throughout the house, and the person who has the bedroom above the stove gets a warm chimney breast.

If you’re looking for a single system for your home that heats every room at once, then central heating is the best way to go. Log burners are a fantastic and efficient choice to provide a cosy atmosphere to a room or space within your house. Plus, with the right installation and ventilation, the heat can even spread throughout more easily.

Impact on environment

There’s a lot of misinformation around the environmental impact of both central heating systems and log burners that can be dispelled. Firstly, natural gas provides the source of power for central heating systems and while it’s much cleaner than other fossil fuels, these systems still produce around 2.2 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.

Log burning, on the other hand, is much more environmentally friendly than many reports have suggested. This is primarily due to previous data and research not separating domestic log burning in homes from bonfires and open outdoor fires, which can be significantly worse when it comes to emissions due to a lack of sorting of the fuel used.

For those who choose a log burner, it’s important to remember to use dry and well-seasoned woods that have a moisture level of 20% or lower on the internal of the logs. Wet and treated woods can release harmful pollutants into the air that can linger and settle in the lungs.

Atmosphere and aesthetic

Something that’s incredibly important to homeowners is how it can add to the atmosphere and aesthetic of your home. This is a category where central heating struggles, as while it can effectively and efficiently thaw out your home in the colder months, it lacks a lot of the visual appeal that you gain from log burners.

There’s so much ambience that can be added from wood-burning stoves to anywhere in your house. From the sounds of the wood crackling and the flames catching and dancing, it can add a homely vibe that is impossible to replicate. And it doesn’t get better than curling up in front of it to drink in the heat alone, or with a larger group for gatherings.

When deciding on which heating system to choose between log burning and central heating, there’s a lot to consider, but each one suits different needs. If you want to add a homely, comforting look to a single room that also requires quick heating, then adding a log burner to that space can make a world of difference. But, if you’re looking to provide consistent warmth throughout each room of your house, central heating is the way to go.