FIRE vs Fire

FIRE is all about keeping it simple, saving money, life simpler lives.  So, why on earth did this Gentleman’s Family go about and spend over £2000 on a brand-new firebox / wood burning stove and its installation?

Well, the main reason for installing the firebox is that both the Lady and the Gentleman love fires!  There’s something primeval about fire, with it’s hypnotic glow and flicker.  It also keeps you warm – which is something that is important in Scotland in a big old house in the middle of winter.

The firebox is also part of the plan that we have for the house that we live in. The stove itself was around £500 and installation another £1500 – although that did include a lot of work to fix the old fire place.  It was something that we knew needed to be done to the home when we bought it – but it’s taken us 30 months to get round to tackling it.

The fire sits in the dayroom at the front of the house and would have been used as a living room back in the day, but since we moved in we’ve not used the room much at all.  In winter it was closed off and left cold and we stored things like tyres, toys and bikes which weren’t needed.  Come summer ’17 and with the Master becoming mobile, we decided to turn it into a play room (complete with full sized camping tent for the Master to play in).

This year we have decided that it should be a guest bedroom / family room.  We decided that having a fire downstairs would be a good way to heat up the house and we are converting the room to put a bed and furniture in there.  Hopefully we can rent it out on AirBnB (referral link)  for some shekels before the arrival of the Little Lady in October and it will be used for visiting guests and an improvement on the current arrangements.

Family Finances

But on the topic of family finances, does the new fire make sense?  Should we have done it or should we have just put up with what was there before?

Practically speaking, the fire we chose (Purefire Curve 7.4kw wood burning stove) will allow us to us the room more all year round.  It also provides a point source of heat which is missing downstairs and will probably help heat the rest of the air in the house.

Heating with Gas is around 3.2p/kWh with our Bulb account (referral) and the boiler around 90% efficient so a total cost of about 3.5p/kWh.

Heating with Wood is a bit of a different calculation.  The wood had a calorific value per kg which decreases with the moisture content.  Wet wood won’t heat you well.  I’ve learnt that buying dry wood is very important and I measure the wood to buy between 15-20% moisture content. Hard wood has around 17 MJ/kg of calorific heat which is around 4.7 kWh/kg

The Purefire Curve is about 80% efficient – since a lot of the heat goes out the chimney – and Our wood costs about £55 for around 400 kg of wood or 13.75p/kg.

Cost per kWh therefore is = cost per kilo / (energy per kilo x efficiency) = 13.75 / (4.7 x 0.8) = 3.65 p/kWh.

So, that makes burning wood about the same price as burning gas.  So – I can’t pretend that burning wood is a way to save money can I?  And the cost of the firebox itself is not inconsiderable (but not as much as owning a TV)

Ok, overall it seem like a terrible investment – it’s cost a lot of money and it’s costs more money to run.  But the decision to get the fire was not one of the head, it was the heart.  This is to be our fire in our home and if it makes the place more homely, then that’s worth a lot to us.

It’s still a bit too warm now to put on the fire – but it’s the best time of year to get a fire put in.  We’ll have some pics of our new fire with flames in it later this year when the temperature drops.

Below is what our fire looks like upstairs – it really makes the house a home.

Upstairs fire.jpg



  1. You’ll never make the business case for a wood burner, though I’m impressed you could get the cost down that much. If you have room to sotre it, you can dry it yourself in a log store, it is the Spring winds that do the heavy lifting, and the summer warmth gets it ready for the Autumn. But you need cubic metres of wood to get through a winter if you are using it as a primary source, and you still can’t shut your central heating down because you need hot water, and you need to keep the whole house warm enough and dry enough else you will get mould.

    As you say, it’s a heart thing. But it does give you resilience, and chopping wood ain’t bad exercise, either. From personal experience, though, when you find yourself scrounging pallets around the neighbourhood and cutting them up for firewood, then somewhere along your FI journey you took a left when you should have taken a right 😉 BTDT


    1. you might be right about the business case – but our house as single glazed sash and case windows. To convert to double glazed would have cost us between £18,00 and £27,000. Assuming a 20% reduction in heating bills (very generous) it would take between 100 and 150 years to pay off.
      So, an easy decision.

      For the fire what can I say, we just love the fire. We could easily spend £2,000 on a TV and stereo system but we haven’t.
      Also I could say that like on Location Location Location, putting in a £500 fire “adds value” to the sum of £5,000 to the house – but I don’t think that’s a sensible perspective – price is what you pay and fire is what you get. 🙂


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