When it comes to heating our homes price is often the most important aspect, and rightly so, as we’re all looking to save money wherever we can, and as often as we can.
In this fuel price comparison guide we’ve sought to offer a range of comparative costs for heating the average British home. We’ll also explain why burning solid fuel offers such fantastic value compared with other heating methods.
How We Heat Our Homes Today
The modern home often utilises a number of heating methods. Many houses throughout Britain use a gas fired central heating system, and will often supplement this with an open fire or multi fuel stove, decorative gas heaters, or a form of electric heating. There are also a large number of homes that are not connected to the gas grid, and rely on heating sources such as solid fuel, electricity, liquid petroleum gas (LPG), and heating oil.
Many households, regardless of their primary heating systems are also beginning to heat their homes with renewable technologies including biomass boilers (which primarily burn wood pellets), heat pumps, and solar water heating systems.
TABLE 1 - Comparative costs of fuel for space heating an average sized room in England and Wales.
The figures below show the average costs of fuel for space heating an average sized room. Some of the lowest figures here belong to the smokeless fuels Anthracite, Taybrite, and Homefire, when these fuels are burnt on a multi-fuel stove.
Total Annual Heating Cost (£) (inc. VAT)
|House Coal||Open Fire||361|
|Anthracite Nuts||Multi-fuel Stove||186|
|Homefire Smokeless Coal||Open Fire||492|
|Homefire Smokeless Coal||Multi-Fuel Stove||243|
|Taybrite Smokeless Coal||Multi-fuel Stove||220|
|Wildfire Coal||Open Fire||368|
|Kiln Dried Logs||Multi-fuel Stove||484|
|Wood Pellets*||Wood Pellet Stove||199|
|Electric Standard||Electric Fire||517|
|Electric Economy 7||Electric Fire||254|
|Gas||Decorative Fuel Effect||768|
|LPG||Decorative Fuel Effect||1107|
*find out more at www.woodpellets2u.co.uk
Which costs less to run – an Open Fire or a Multi-Fuel Stove?
Though both provide ample heat, the modern multi-fuel stove offers a significantly improved efficiency, which in turn will reduce the cost of your fuel bill. The design of a multi fuel stove means that much less of the heat produced by your fire is sucked up the chimney
If you currently burn smokeless coal or logs on an open fire, you’ll see a massive increase in both efficiency and performance when changing to a multi-fuel stove. As seen in TABLE 1, burning Homefire Smokeless Coal on an open fire costs £492 annually, but only £243 if burnt on a multi-fuel stove.
This gives a 37% efficiency rating on an open fire, and a massive 65% on a multi-fuel stove.
Homefire has an excellent sustained heat output, and a long burning time which can be up to 40% longer than that of traditional house coal. Those who make the switch to smokeless fuel usually find that they are refuelling the fire a lot less often, helping to save money in the long term.
How does Solid Fuel provide even better value?
Many households with a real fire, wood burner, or multi fuel stove find that the use of their fire in one room is enough to heat the whole house.
Your fireplace doesn’t just heat the area around it. It’s constantly drawing in cooler air from around the room and heating that too. When warmth from the fire is sucked up the chimney, it also heats the chimney breast, and the areas surrounding it.
Modern solid fuels are highly efficient, and burn for a long time, keeping your home at a comfortable temperature for longer.
Why you should replace your decorative fuel effect gas fireplace with a multi-fuel stove
Not only does a multi-fuel stove have a heap of benefits over a gas effect fireplace, it will also pay for itself!
For example, If you were to pay £2000 to buy a multi-fuel stove and have it installed, then burnt Homefire Smokeless Coal at a cost of £242 per year (space heating a single room – see TABLE 1), you’d save up to £525 per year! So through fuel savings alone your multi-fuel stove would have paid for itself in just under four years.
With a multi-fuel stove you also have better control over your fuel supply, are free to choose from a variety of fuels, and your heating is unaffected by disturbances in gas or electricity supply.
Heating with kiln dried logs
We always recommend burning kiln dried logs over seasoned, or unseasoned varieties. Our kiln dried logs are dried to an average of less than 20% moisture, which ensures that they burn more efficiently, and with a higher heat, making them more cost effective than seasoned or netted logs.
Kiln dried logs can be burnt on open fires, multi-fuel stoves, and wood burners, and can also be burnt alongside coal or smokeless coal.
TABLE 2 - Comparative costs of fuel for space and water heating an average sized 3 bedroom semi- detached house in England and Wales.
Solid fuels also provide a pleasingly low result when used in both space and water heating in the average 3 bedroom house. When using solid fuel for heat and hot water, usual methods include open fires and room heaters with a back boiler, radiators, and domestic hot water cylinder.
Total Annual Heating Cost (£)
|Phurnacite Smokeless Coal||1312|
|Taybrite Smokeless Coal||1201|
|Electric Economy 7||1314|
|Gas (condensing combi boiler)||902|
|Gas (non-condensing combi boiler)||1018|
|LPG (condensing combi boiler)||1300|
|LPG (non-condensing combi boiler)||1467|
|Heating oil (condensing combi boiler)||1076|
|Heating oil (non-condensing combi boiler)||1128|
Financial Benefits of Using Solid Fuel as a Primary Heat Source
As you pay for your coal, logs, or smokeless coal before you burn it, solid fuel gives you total control over your heating costs. Historically, solid fuel costs have risen slower than gas and electricity costs, and show fewer seasonal fluctuations than heating oil and LPG.
Find out more about Biomass Heating
Wood pellet boilers are an increasingly popular heating method which are of particular benefit to rural households, and households off the main gas grid.
Some of the many advantages of wood pellet boilers are a reduction in carbon emissions, government backed financial incentives which pay you to use renewable heating systems, more stable fuel prices, and extremely advanced boilers that require minimal maintenance and are easy to control.
To find out more about biomass heating, or to buy wood pellets for your wood pellet stove or boiler, please visit our sister site Woodpellets2U.