How much are energy prices likely to rise this winter?
The energy price cap is currently £1,971 and with a further predicted increase of 51% due this October and perhaps even more in the New Year, these are unprecedented times.
Not only is it now the time to seriously start to look at ways to reduce those rising bills, but also to reduce reliance on the supply of gas and power through our national grids. Fuel security is becoming ever more relevant.
So, here are our tips for saving money this winter:
1. Is now the time to move away from my open fire and buy a wood burning stove?
Government statistics indicate that nationally, there is still 40% of wood burnt on an open fire. This figure rises to 70% in London, despite the fact that wood burning on an open fire is not allowed under the current Clean Air Act.
New Ecodesign woodburning stoves are designed with improved burn efficiency to produce 90% fewer emissions than an open fire and 80% less emissions than a wood burning stove manufactured over 10 years ago. Perhaps more importantly when it comes to saving money, a modern Ecodesign stove will burn a lot less logs. An older stove will burn about 20% more logs than an Ecodesign stove and an open fire up to three times as many logs.
2. How important is the choice of stove when buying a new woodburner?
Whilst considering upgrading your old stove, replacing the open fire with a new stove or putting in your first ever wood burning stove make sure you take the right advice to buy the correct appliance. You really don’t want to be spending more on a large appliance because it ‘looks right’ in your large sitting room, when actually you only need a smaller stove that will give off more than enough heat.
If your appliance is too big for the room, you will end up opening the windows and letting out all the heat – somewhat false economy. Having said all that, remember to open the sitting room doors to help the heat move around the house. To find the best and closest stove retailer we recommend you find your nearest Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) Retail Group showroom here
3. Should I look to heat less rooms in the house?
Recent data from Gemserve* suggests that homes with gas central heating that adopt this method will save on average £131 per year, the equivalent to 8.5% saving on heating bills. This assumes using a wood burning stove whilst turning down the gas central heating to 18oC for a 3-hour period during winter evenings, on average 5 times a week.
How much more could you save if you turned the heating off in every other room and just heated your kitchen and living room and relied on heat from the wood burning stove? Personally, I do like a cooler bedroom where you can snuggle up under the warm and cozy duvet!
One additional benefit of this approach is that it will significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Burning wood for domestic heating is approximately 10% as carbon intensive as gas or electricity. Using renewable and sustainably sourced firewood instead of gas results in typical carbon savings or over a half a tonne of CO2 per year*
4. How important is it to ensure my wood burning stove is running efficiently?
If you have an older stove and cannot afford to upgrade just at the moment, make sure your stove is serviced by an appropriately qualified competent person such as one who is HETAS or OFTEC approved. You may have never even considered this but it may well be letting in too much air and not providing an efficient burn – this leads to less heat and probably means you will use more wood than you need.
5. How often should I get my chimney swept?
When did you last have the chimney or flue swept? There are several reasons for keeping your chimney or flue clean. A clean chimney not only ensures maximum draw for your fire and therefore efficient combustion in the chamber, but it prevents the build up of soot and ultimately tar which of course can lead to chimney fires. Chimney sweeping also prevents blockages that can result in carbon monoxide poisoning in the home. Make sure you use an approved sweep – The Federation of British Chimney Sweeps has links to all the main associations and sweeps are a valuable source of information for good practice and advice.
6. How important is it to burn the right fuel on my stove?
I choose my words carefully here as I know so many people will be thinking that the beauty of a wood burner is that you can forage for free seasoned firewood and use waste wood and old pallets and it’s all free firewood.
Well, that is partly true of course, particularly if you have your own woodland or the odd tree falls in the garden – a great way to save money. However, just a word of caution, your freshly cut wet wood must be dried to below 20% moisture content before burning and to be done properly, this could take 2-3 years – anything over 20% and it’s just false economy as you will burn far more wood for the same heat. Also, never burn chemically treated or painted wood on your open fire or stove as it really won’t be good for you or your appliance.
If you are buying your firewood and do not have the space to store and ‘season’ your own, look for suppliers that carry the Woodsure Ready to Burn certification. This guarantees the wood to be dried to below 20% and of the correct quality.
….and in terms of our tips for saving money when buying from Certainly Wood, we recommend the following:
7. How much can I save by buying my firewood etc in larger quantities?
The key of course here is space. If you work on using approx. 3-4m3 of firewood each season when using the woodburner evening and weekends, and you are buying ready to burn, kiln dried logs, you actually don’t need that much space. Stack along the wall of your garage, or buy one of our log stores which provide convenient and neat storage beside the house. Our stores hold 1.5m3 of logs (stacked volume), so over half your likely requirement for the winter. The log store can just about be filled with our 50-bag pallet, or our 1.6m3 bulk bag.
Buying our large (1.6m3) bulk bag of kiln dried logs over the much smaller 0.8m3 bulk bag will reduce your cost by as much as £46 per m3. Buying in the bulk bags rather than the small bags also saves money and of course packaging.
If you use kindling, buy enough for the whole season. Our 8 box kindling will save you 79p per box.
Our Flamers natural firelighters can be bought in larger quantities too. Just by buying the 200 box, against the 24 box you will save 7.5p per firelighter.
Buy our new and unique KindleFlamer natural firelighters and you won’t even need the kindling – saves money and space – a real win win!
8. How much can I save with loyalty points?
As with all loyalty schemes, at first glance it might seem only a little bonus but it’s surprising how it can add up with the more you buy and its not just adding more points the more you buy, there are other ways to earn more points.
We are always flattered to see so many positive feedback comments from our customers on Feefo about the quality of our products and the service we provide, but how often do you recommend us to your friends, but not make the most of the potential points you could earn. For every friend you introduce to buy from Certainly Wood, you get £10 worth of loyalty points – do this 10 times and that is £100 worth of loyalty points.
Points can also be earnt by signing up to our newsletter or just creating an account. So many ways to save that can make a real difference.
9. How much can I save by buying in the summer?
Nearly every summer in July and August we run a ‘Summer Sale’ when you can get stocked up early and save money. Often up to as much as 10%, but often the opportunity to earn more loyalty points too on every purchase. You need to make sure you are signed up to the emails so that you receive notification of these offers. Why wait till the darker evenings when you can get your logs stacked away nicely in the summer in the knowledge that you have save a bit more money.
10. Is it possible to spread my payments?
This is becoming more and more common with online retailers such as Klarna and Clearpay whereby at no extra cost, you can make your purchase and then pay in 3 installments, usually over a period of 2 months.
We make this available through Paypal. When you get to the checkout, select pay by Paypal and this will take you to your Paypal account and you can select the Pay in 3 option – it’s really very easy. This might just help to take the pain out of buying more stock now at lower prices, but paying over two months.
*Source: Domestic Burning, households bills and the environment. An analysis by Gemserve, commissioned by CPL industries – Apr 2022
NS – Aug 21 2022