Burning wood fuel for heating is a tradition that goes back to the times of ancient man. Providing a sense of comfort that is unique and self-sufficient as well as being good for the environment. In this article we look at the environmental and functional benefits of installing a wood fired fireplace, as well as what type of fireplace might be best for you.
Environmental benefits of woodfire
As winter approaches you might start to think about more cost effective and environmentally friendly ways to heat your home. But did you know that burning firewood replaces our reliance on coal, which powers a lot of home electric heating and air conditioning solutions? Burning wood is carbon neutral, particularly if the fuel is sourced from sustainable suppliers. In NSW installing a wood burning fireplace will score better within BASIX requirements than any other form of heating besides wind or solar.
Firewood is ‘stored energy’ and is comparable to other forms of green energy like solar and wind power. Stored energy is part of the earth’s natural system, making it more environmentally sound than burning coal.
Types of fuel you can use for a fireplace
All wood can be used for a fireplace as long as it has not been treated. Dry timber is critical for obtaining clean burning non-polluting fireplaces. Dry timber is usually obtained by purchasing through a reputable firewood merchant or leaving wood split for a long period of time to ensure the internal core of the wood dries to a suitable moisture content that will ensure no smoke and high heat. The Firewood Association of Australia has a list of reputable suppliers on their website. These suppliers are also confirmed suppliers of wood from sustainable sources and are therefore Greenhouse friendly. Railway sleepers have also recently been banned by the Firewood Association of Australia and are not recommended for burning in fireplaces.
If you’re unsure what types of fuel you can use in your fireplace, consult with your manufacturer, who should be able to provide you with a full list of accessible fuel sources.
Saving bills and landfill
Wood burning fireplaces can drastically reduce your electricity and gas bill, in some cases, a savings of more than half of your utilities cost. Finding good wood for burning needn’t be a chore either. Sourcing offcuts from local joiners and woodworkers means you can have fuel for the fire and help reduce landfill. Think about what businesses might use wood materials in your area, and see if they can provide you with free access to wood fuel.
Visibility over your costs and expenses
If you’ve been paying attention to your gas bill over the past few years you’ve probably notice the price of gas is rising. Heating the home through coal and gas is only going to get more expensive. As our population grows, these fuel sources will also have more of an impact on the environment.
When you burn firewood there isn’t any surprise bill at the end of the month. You know exactly how much it costs to get firewood to your home and keep your family warm and cosy throughout the cooler months.
Other benefits to having your own fireplace
Being better for the environment than other heating alternatives isn’t the only reason for installing a wood fire fireplace in your home. Crackling fireside ambience provides a unique and interesting counterpoint to your living space.
Outdoor entertaining no matter the season
Rounding up the whole gang for some outdoor adventures doesn’t always go down well in the middle of winter. Instead, most of us are content to stay snugged indoors around the telly, putting entertainment and social life on hold throughout the middle of the year.
With an outdoor wood fireplace your entertaining area quickly becomes a warm winter wonderland. Roast marshmallows over an open fire. Uncork your favourite bottle of red or enjoy a few ales with friends and family. Wood burning outdoor fireplaces mean winter weather is no longer a barrier to a fun and entertaining backyard event.
If you rely on electrical heating, your home is at the mercy of the power grid. Particularly in rural areas where a single fallen tree can halt power for days there’s a real chance you could be without heating in the middle of winter. A wood burning fireplace gives you more control over your energy needs. So long as you maintain a steady supply of wood fuel on the premises you’ll never be without a fire to keep the house warm.
A more intimate relationship
Regardless of the other benefits you get from woodfire, there’s something unique about a fireplace that is just more intimate, secure and homely. There’s clearly something magical about fire. Only with a fireplace do you get the crackling sounds, flickering firelight and natural warmth of wood.
Cooking on a wood fire
Whether it’s roasting marshmallows with a mug of hot cocoa, soups, mulled wine or skewers, wood fuel fireplaces offer a fun and cost effective alternative to cooking on a gas barbecue or turning on the oven. Create the perfect winter meal while warming yourself by the fire for a cosy evening in with family and friends.
Types of wood burning fireplaces
Factory built heat circulating fireplaces consist of a universal firebox typically set into a wall or feature area with a receded flue for disposing of smoke. Slow combustion fireplaces are often freestanding with a door to control heat generation and fuel burn. Both offer a number of aesthetic, functional and cost benefits over ducted air, gas or electrical heating.
Factory Built Heat Circulating Open Fireplaces
Offering attractive ambience and an endless variety of fascias and finishing to blend perfectly into the decor. Open fireplaces are the hearth that warms the home, creating a centerpiece for your living space that feels both welcoming and modern.
There’s no limitation to where you can place an open fireplace, be it retrofitted into an existing home or as part of a new build. These are the most common types of open fireplace you can install:
- Inserts: Insert open fires are recessed and single sided. They can be designed with fascia to suit your home and fitted with a universal firebox for outstanding looks and toasty warmth.
- Double-sided: The universal double sided wood burning fireplace offers a unique opportunity to capture warmth throughout multiple rooms and a create a unique design feature within the home.
- Freestanding: For homes with high glass windows and ceilings, the free standing fireplace opens up the beauty of your surroundings by centering entertainment and conversation around an open fire.
Slow Combustion Fires
The classic look and feel of a slow combustion heater offers both striking looks and provides efficient functionality. Advancements in the latest designs mean newer models can offer airway systems for clean viewing through the window and robust build materials for a lifetime of wood fired burning.
- Freestanding: Clean and effective, free standing slow combustion fireplaces come in a variety of modern and classic designs to help heat any room.
- Double-sided: create an outstanding signature look while heating two rooms at once with an effective and stylish double-sided slow combustion fire.
- Insert: Blended seamlessly into into a feature wall, inserts create a classic look without taking up excess floor space. Receded, air flow can be controlled through the flue and by locking the protective door which also prevents stray ash from leaving the firebox.
Build or buy: What’s the best option for you?
So you’ve decided that a wood burning fireplace is the best option for your home. The question remains, should you build your own fireplace, or buy one and have it installed by a professional? Consider the following when it comes to making your decision:
Winter is coming
With the weather cooling winter is just around the corner. Purchasing a fireplace for your home means it can be delivered and installed right on time for winter. A DIY job means you have to fit it around your schedule and hope you get it finished before the weather cools.
Preventing excessive draw
Many DIY fireplaces suffer from excessive draw due to a lack of damper and smoke shelf. It’s a build flaw that, while looking impressive, means the fireplace must burn more wood to produce as much heat as a better quality unit. Purchasing a professionally made and installed firebox ensures better fuel efficiency throughout the lifetime of the unit.
Safety and compliance
While we don’t often think about compliance around the home, fire poses a significant risk to our home, family and guests. Few home-built fireplaces are built with comparable safety standards as ones built and designed by fireplace professionals.
Design, build and material quality
There’s a lot of little things that go into making an excellent fireplace. Considerations like the ratio of the chimney to the firebox can make all the difference to an efficient and easy to use unit, while quality heat resistant materials mean the fireplace won’t crack and damage after prolonged use.
Consult with a Jetmaster professional
Jetmaster’s range of quality wood fireplaces offer wood burning solutions for just about any home or outdoor area. Talk to a professional at Jetmaster to find out how we can help you heat your home this winter, and for many more to come.