ad collaborative post // If you are considering having a log burner installed, you’ll likely have many questions, including whether or not they are more effective than central heating. In today’s guide, we’ll look at this question to find out how both options compare prices. Let’s dive in!

Photo by Matt Seymour on Unsplash

Introduction to Log Burners and Central Heating

Note: Whether you opt for a log burner or central heating, a qualified heating engineer must be hired for the installation process. Be sure to consider searching for a ‘heating engineer near me’ to find a suitable installer.

So, what exactly are log burners and central heating and how do they differ? Let’s take a closer look.

Log Burners

Quite simply, these are stoves used to generate heat by burning timber logs. Of course, as you’d imagine, there is still a range of designs and styles to choose from, but the underlying means of functioning are the same.

Aside from being fairly eco-friendly, it is known for being a cost-efficient way of heating a space. To expand on the point regarding how environmentally friendly log burners are, it should be noted that they produce just 0.008kg of CO2 per kWh, while gas gives off 0.198kg of CO2 per kWh, and the figure rises to a whopping 0.517kg, in the case of electricity.

Central Heating

A central heating system may rely on gas, oil, or even an electric boiler. Alternatively, central heating systems can use heat pumps.

Whatever the case, this type of heating system has a centralized heating unit that is designed to heat up hot water that can be then used for heating the property or/and direct hot water use. When it comes to boilers, there are several primary types, namely combi, heat-only and system boilers.

Natural gas combi boilers are by far and away the most common approach to heating a household in the UK. However, both boilers and heat pumps as well as each fuel option and system design of the boiler have their own pros and cons.

Installation Costs: Log Burners Vs. Central Heating

The first consideration in determining which of these options is most cost-effective is the total cost of having a log burner or central heating installed. By total cost, we mean both the cost of labour for the installation and the standalone cost of the log burner/central heating.

On average, the total installation costs are as follows:

  • Log Burner – £1,000 to £8,000
  • Gas Boiler – £1,000 to £4,000
  • Oil Boilers – £500 to £2,000
  • Electric Boilers – £1,000 to £5,000
  • Underfloor Heating – £3,000 to £9,000
  • Heat Pump – £5,000 to £35,000

As you can see, the overall cost of opting for a log burner or central heating can vary widely. The cost of either will depend on the size, quality, and brand you choose. Therefore, whether or not a log burner will be more cost-effective as far as upfront costs goes will depend on a range of factors.

Running Costs: Log Burners Vs. Central Heating

Running costs are a bit more concrete, however. For instance, one woodburning stove tends to use approximately 3.5 mᶟ of logs for the winter season, covering mid-October up to mid-April, assuming that you were to use the stove in the evening and on the weekends.

That would mean you’d face an overall running cost of approximately £420 to £500 for this time period. All in all, with or without the current Energy Price Guarantee (EPG), that would make it less expensive than running a central heating system. Of course, using a log burner would be more limited in that you wouldn’t be able to heat your entire home with it.

However, if it can meet your needs and you take all the necessary safety precautions, a log burner could significantly reduce your heating bills. However, a log burner obviously cannot be used to provide hot water. The issue here is that you’d still need to keep your existing heating system for this reason. What’s more, you should not leave a central heating system off all winter or else you run the risk of the pipes freezing over.

So, as you can see, while log burners certainly can be more cost-effective (even when installation and running costs are both considered over a sufficient timespan), they do lack many advantages of central heating.

But if a log burner can meet your needs and you ensure your central heating does not freeze over during the winter if you need it to meet your hot water needs, then a log burner can certainly be worth it.

Note: To find out how to keep your boiler/central heating working safely through the winter when you are using it far less, be sure to consult a Gas Safe Register engineer. Safety is paramount when it comes to any gas appliances, and indeed safety is very important for using a log burner too.

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