High demand for wood-burning stoves with a devastating energy crisis

Demand for solid fuel heating has risen sharply as Britons turn to wood-burning stoves to combat rising bills amid a crippling energy crisis. As the country enters a harsh winter with temperatures well below zero, snow and ice falling, families are choosing to install wood-burning stoves as an alternative heating option, hoping to save some money.

The company has “seen unprecedented demand for solid fuel heating this winter,” said Bruce Allen, CEO of Hetas, a nonprofit that works in wood burning and biomass appliances.

He told This is Money: “Demand has reached the point where some of our certified chimney sweeps and heating installers have to confirm bookings well into 2023 in order to keep up with the number of inquiries they receive.”

In some cases, wood burning can be cheaper than central heating. Bruce Allen said that seasoned logs are “the cheapest home heating fuel after kerosene, costing homeowners 10.37p per kWh versus 12.81p per kWh for mains gas and 39.21p per kWh for electric”.

But an expert warned that people who use wood-burning appliances should be careful not to expose themselves to harmful pollutants that could increase the chances of disease.

According to Professor Catherine Knox, a mechanical engineer at the University of Leeds, doing so creates a lack of adequate ventilation, which could increase the risk of spreading Covid and influenza, while also increasing the risk of damp and mold, which can lead to respiratory infections. infection.

Professor Noakes, who helped shape NHS and government policy during the pandemic through her role on the SAGE panel, urged Britons to open their windows at “sporadic” intervals and turn on the extractor fan after using the wood stove.

Professor Noakes said: “I have a real concern that some of the things people do actually have a ripple effect.

“So if you’re indoors, for example, and you don’t turn on the heat and keep the window closed, not only will you reduce ventilation, but you’ve also created a situation where you might be exposed to more moisture and mold, which has a knock-on effect on your health.”

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Meanwhile, homeowners are also being urged to seal gaps in doors and windows as a way to mitigate soaring energy bills this winter.

People were also advised to adjust boiler temperatures and switch appliances off the wall, as part of a new multi-million pound media campaign including advice on “simple, low or no cost measures” to make “significant savings”.

The government launched the Everything Adds Up initiative on Saturday, to raise awareness of “straightforward” measures people can take to cut their bills during the colder months.

These include lowering boiler flow temperatures from 75C to 60C and switching off plug-in appliances, which ministers say could save around £170 combined each year.

Households are also being urged to reduce heat loss by putting ventilators around doors or adding clear film across windows, with the potential to save an extra £60 a year.

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The £18m initiative will run ads across a number of platforms, with TV broadcasts set to roll out in the coming weeks.

It marks a break from the position of the previous administration, when an attempt to introduce a similar public information campaign was stymied by concerns that energy-saving measures were too “nanny case”.

Business Secretary Grant Shapps said it would be difficult for him to “guess other people’s motives” when asked why the move was frozen during Liz Truss’ term.

He told BBC Breakfast: “All I can say is I think it’s a good idea. It did, and the government put their hand in the pocket and paid for all this energy subsidy, which is, as I said, a massive package. It’s something we can do up front.” .

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