One of the more enjoyable choices to have to make during construction or renovation is whether to use a log burner or an open fire. Both provide a focal point for your interior design plan as well as warmth and the ambience of burning wood in your home during the winter. And with heating costs on the rise, it’s no wonder people are looking for cheaper alternatives to heat their homes! 


In this article, we compare the two options to help you choose the best one for your project. We consider everything from how they might affect your heating bills and their environmental impact to maintenance.


Which Will Cut Your Heating Bills?

While using a log burner or open fire can help to reduce your heating bills by relieving some of the strain on your boiler, an open fireplace could contribute significantly more to your overall heating costs by jeopardising your home’s thermal performance. A 200m2 floor area and 2.4m ceiling height house with current Building Regulations insulation and airtightness but a single open fireplace will have a maximum heat load of 17.5kW and  space heating energy needs of 17,700kWh per year.


When the fireplace is removed, those figures fall to a 10kW peak and 10,500kWh per year. That’s about a £450 difference per year. A significant portion of that loss could be avoided by using a flue-blocker when the fire is not set alight. There are some issues with these, such as how to insert it while the fire is still burning and you want to go to sleep, but they work otherwise. For this reason, the log burner wins this round. 


Which is More Eco-Friendly?

The first factor to take into account when contrasting the environmental credentials of a log burner and an open fire is the issue of airtightness and how an open fire reduces the thermal efficiency of your home. A fireplace is said to have the same impact on a home’s heating requirements as leaving a window open, and we’ve already discussed how this will affect your heating costs. As a result, your boiler will have to work harder to keep your home warm, using more fossil fuels and producing more carbon dioxide emissions. Your home may not be airtight enough to use more environmentally friendly heating systems, such as air source heat pumps, which are essential to an eco-friendly home.


The fuel you burn also affects how environmentally friendly your open fire or log burner is. For instance, burning wet wood results in lower efficiency and higher emissions. The sale of wood with less than 20% moisture content has now been subject to new regulations that were taken into effect back in 2021, learn more here.


But open fires don’t always have to burn logs. Eco-options like bioethanol fireplaces use a sustainable fuel and harm the air quality less by producing no smoke, no particulates, or any carbon monoxide. However, all log-burning stoves currently on the market are required to adhere to Eco Design 2022 standards, resulting in even higher log burning efficiency and lower emissions. Once again the winner of this round is the log burner. 



The chimney of an open fire needs the most upkeep when there is an open fire. To make sure the chimney is secure and in good working order, this needs to be swept once a year and checked for any damage. It is also necessary to clean the grate of an open fire after use, removing all ash and debris.


It’s also recommended to clean your log burner after each use when it comes to maintenance. By burning the right kind of wood, you can keep the burner clean and prevent soot and creosote buildup while also reducing smoke and pollutants. You must clean the glass in addition to removing the ash, soot, and debris. The majority of manufacturers specify that wood-burning stoves require annual maintenance, which includes chimney sweeping. Making this round a tie. 



Does having an open fire in your new home make any sense as our houses become more airtight? It’s possible, but there are other, superior options available, such as log burners, which provide more efficient wood burning, are safer to use, are more environmentally friendly, and lessen the risk of compromising the thermal efficiency of your home.


We pride ourselves on providing only the best service to our customers at The Green Olive Firewood Company. So, if you require any additional information about our firewood products or how to use them efficiently and safely, please contact our expert team with any questions. Please call 0203 018 1918 or fill out our online form to reach a member of our team. To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter and Instagram!