Firewood vs Gas Heating

Firewood vs Gas Heating

Gas heating vs a wood fire – while you really can’t beat the warmth and atmosphere of a roaring wood fire crackling away, flames dancing – environmentally – is it worth it? How does a wood fire really compare with gas heating?

Lovely roaring open fires are great, they add a sense of cosiness to a room, while providing heat, and nothing beats watching dancing flames but is it energy efficient? A lot of people worry about the trees and costs to the environment. Is it okay to spend hours curled up in front of a wood fire, or should we be using gas heating instead?

Open fire – while it looks romantic, is actually the most wasteful way to warm your house. Open fires are inefficient with up to 85% of the heat generated by your fire going up your chimney instead. You are really warming your chimney – more than you are warming your home.

If you have an open fireplace, now is the time to *ditch* it, the modern wood-fed slow combustion heaters of today are the more energy efficient options, they warm your room better, and they can look just as *pretty* as your open fireplace does. When you use one of the new style heaters only 50% of the heat, you are generating is lost.

Unfortunately for lovers of log fires – gas heating performs even better with only 20% of the heat generated – wasted.

When it comes to cost, gas heating is the winner. If you are lucky enough to live in a rural area where you have access to free (or cheap) firewood, you can be looking at upwards of $100.00 per tonne of wood. Combustion heaters will usually burn through roughly 3 tonnes of wood over the course of winter, of course, this depends on where you live and for how long and how often you have your combustion heater working.


Fuel Fact of Firewood and Gas Heater


Fuel Facts

  • When it comes to gas heating, it’s NOT as simple as just converting your old pot-belly style stove over to gas. Gas is a fossil fuel and therefore is NOT a renewable energy source. If you don’t already have a connection to a natural gas supply in your suburb or township, you will need to be connected to the system, or have gas transported to your home.
  • Natural gas is NOT available everywhere in Australia. At an 80% connection rate Victoria actually, has the highest rate of connection.
  • You can get around this problem by having bottle LPG connected to your home, while this system works it’s more expensive to get your bottle continually replaced than it costs to have natural gas plumbed in.
  • When it comes to Timber – it IS renewable, and apart from the transport, it is essentially carbon-neutral.
  • When it comes to a low CO2 output, a slow combustion wood fire heater beats a reverse cycle air conditioner or gas heater hands down.
  • Naturally, it takes trees many years to grow, and they need to be dried out for at least two seasons to optimise their energy output. You also need a lot of storage space. Of course, there are questions surrounding wood – the impact tree removal has on wildlife and if the trees are coming from sustainably logged forests or plantations.
  • For some *pollution* is also a problem, in some areas such as Canberra, Launceston and Armidale where many homes use wood fire heating you can see a thick brown haze hanging over those towns – thanks to all that smoke. This is known as *particle pollution*.
  • A slow-combustion wood heater of high quality is almost carbon neutral
  • Obtaining wood from a sustainable source isn’t always easy, and even if you do have a good supply of wood, you should still consider the pollution from wood fires
  • Do you live in an area that is prone to particle pollution? Does a lot of smoke seem to *pool* in your area? Do you live in the city and suburbs, or, are you in a more rural setting? Some locations like valleys or the inner city are better off using gas heating.

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