Particularly now, nearly 200 years later, when reliance on others (in heating terms at least) means forking out ever huger sums of money for gas bills, electric bills: the kind of stuff everyone took for granted as little as two decades back. Buying wood burning stoves is an excellent way to rediscover a little bit of self reliance in the home – and put a whole lot of style back into it while one is about it. Welcome to the modern world of old fashioned heat and light.

A wood burning stove is an alternative both to an open fireplace (dangerous, smoky, prone to causing soot damage) and the use of central heating. Indeed, in a well enough planned home, a wood burner can even replace central heating altogether: depending, of course, on the size of the home and the location and quantity of flue pipes leading away from the stove. Wood burning stoves are extremely economical and highly environmentally friendly. When they’re lit, they make a beautiful addition to any room – a real centre piece, the flames glowing invitingly from behind a glass door – and, once the fire has died to embers, they put out enough heat to last for a whole night.

Choosing a wood burner for decorative purposes allows home owners to add a real dimension of comfort and cosiness to their living areas without jeopardising either the house itself or its occupants. Unlike an open fire – which, while beautiful, is certainly not the thing for a home with young children – wood burning stoves are completely enclosed. That means no inquiring hands playing, quite literally with fire – and that, in turn, means complete peace of mind for worried parents. Modern wood burners are enclosed in extremely heat resistant material, so the outer parts of them, while warm, will not burn.

They look fantastic – modern, with a hint of the classic Victorian living room about them – and they require very little in the way of maintenance. An open fire needs regular cleaning and general looking after in order to keep it going. Wood burners only need to be emptied and swept: because they don’t use coal, there’s no soot to worry about; and because they use modern flues, which are designed to get rid of smoke effectively and without fuss, they don’t require the attendance of a chimney sweep.

Heating bills tend to get somewhat stratospheric, when the British winter hits. Using wood burning stoves can cut a heating bill way below half. Rather than depending on overpriced energy companies to keep home and family warm when the nights draw in, a person who installs a wood burning stove can keep a close eye on the exact amount of fuel used: and wood is a lot cheaper, per hour of heat, than either electricity or gas. With such a stylish way to reclaim some self reliance from the heating companies, it’s a wonder we don’t all have them. Once the initial outlay has paid itself back (which, in terms of bills, it does rather quickly), one’s home is heated and lit in outstanding fashion for a fraction of the mass-produced price.

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