There is a misconception among some in the media that people are installing wood-burning stoves purely for aesthetic appeal. However, the reality is there are many reasons including energy independence and security, significant well-benefits, supplementing other renewables, off grid living etc. The fact a wood-burning stove looks nice and makes a home feel like a home is usually just a bonus.
When people do talk about ‘aesthetics’, however, they are often underestimating just how sizable this benefit can be. The Charnwood Wellbeing Survey 2021 showed wood-burning stove owners enjoyed significant well-being benefits. While this is connected to how a stove ‘looks and feels’ the effects on the people and families are far from superficial.
Studies have shown how hearth and campfires can influence arterial blood pressure and defray the costs of the social brain through fireside relaxation. Here is a section from the study:
‘Results indicated consistent blood pressure decreases in the fire-with-sound condition, particularly with a longer duration of stimulus, and enhancing effects of absorption and prosociality. Findings confirm that hearth and campfires induce relaxation as part of a multisensory, absorptive, and social experience.’
Here are some quotes from Charnwood customers discussing the well-being benefits of their stoves.
“You can just gaze into the fire and be taken away from the stresses of work. It gives opportunity for the family to come together and talk. Talking just seems to come easier when siting around the stove.”
“Watching the stove in full display is almost hypnotic and has great relaxing properties. It also has a back to nature feel and without any electrical devices in the room is perfect for de-stressing.”
“Fire is deep within the human psyche and sits in a happy place in our limbic brain. You get lost from the day to day in a fire – it’s a little bit of wilderness in the order of the day to day.”
“The stove just provides a much-needed atmosphere on a cold winter’s night. You feel relaxed, cosy and there is something about it that just welcomes you into the living room. I couldn’t live without it.”
Energy Security (Stoves provide a real sense of security)
There are many other wellbeing benefits that come from owning a stove including the peace of mind people get from feeling they have proper energy security.
“We love our log burner. It makes us feel warm, safe and secure. It helps heat the whole house, which has proved an asset in power cuts. Nothing beats sitting in the living room with the warmth of the fire in the depths of winter.”
“Lighting the stove after a walk by the sea during winter is a joyful experience. Has helped to alleviate the worry of power failures as we live in an area prone to electricity outage during bad weather. Just knowing that we have our lovely stove for independent heat and low light is fab.”
“Back up for central heating given no of power outages,”
“As an electric-only house, we wanted a plan b during a power cut to heat the home”
“more efficient than previous coal fire and, in extremis, if gas supply fails or is too expensive, will provide warmth.”
“Having a wood burner means I am less vulnerable in power cuts. I can still have heating, boil a kettle, cook food if I need to.”
As you can see, even when considering just the aesthetic appeal of wood-burning stoves, this isn’t purely a superficial quality as some with agendas would like you to believe. The well-being benefits associated with wood burning, even infrequently, are significant and provide people with an important tool for dealing with stress and extracting greater joy from daily life.
People install a wood-burning stove for the multiple benefits outlined below. The fact there are so many is the REAL reason people choose to install a wood-burning stove.
-Renewable source of energy
-Lower start-up costs
-Independent of weather variability
-Supports other renewables
-Promotes sustainable living practices
-Provides energy independence & security
-Significant well-being benefits
-AND YES, they look great too!
We understand the well-publicised desire to improve PM 2.5 emissions from all areas of society, including wood burning. However, modern wood-burning stoves are part of the solution, and it would be far more productive to acknowledge ALL their benefits and not look to invent narratives to manipulate public discourse.
There’s no denying that a wood-burning stove looks great, but it is far more important to acknowledge how it makes you feel.