Log stoves and boilers

Logs are a well established traditional fuel. They can be burned in conventional stoves or in more sophisticated boilers.

Log stoves

Stoves are a widely available, simple technology. They are considerably more fuel efficient than open fires, and can be found in a wide variety of different shapes, sizes and designs. If you are keen to heat your house with woodfuel on a limited budget this is probably the cheapest option. Even if you only use a stove instead of your normal heating method for two weeks at either end of your heating season, you are still making an important contribution.

Things you should know

  • Logs have grown in popularity during recent years, so many installers have a waiting list for installation
  • If you don't already have a chimney you will need to have a flue installed at the same time. This can cost as much as the stove itself. Even if you do have an existing chimney it may need lining.
  • Where do you intend to get your fuel from? See our fact sheet on heating with logs for more information.
  • Are you in a smokeless zone? If you are and you want to burn wood then your choice of stoves will be restricted to approved appliances (Further information is available here)
  • It is important that your fuel is dry (most manufacturers specify 20-25% moisture content (wet basis) or less)
  • Many softwoods and hardwoods make excellent fuel provided they are dry.  Softwoods spitting is far less of an issue in an enclosed stove or boiler than on an open fire

Log boilers

Log fired boilers are a logical step up from stoves. They range from systems designed for hot air space heating to be used in workshops, run on off-cuts, to boilers designed to run domestic heating and hot water. While some systems are at the basic, simple end of the market, employing robust, reliable technology, some boiler systems are highly efficient, with sophisticated controllers offering the option of zoned heating.

Things you should know

  • Log boilers are almost without exception batch fed, this means that they operate with an accumulator tank.  This allows the fuel to be burned efficiently at high temperature and allows for flexibility in heating demand and heat production.
  • The system itself and bulky fuel mean that these systems are usually relatively large for the amount of heat they produce; it may be necessary to consider installing it in a shed outside the property it is to heat.
  • Because of the bulk of the fuel used and the necessity for manual loading these systems are not suited to very large installations. Log boilers up to 80 kW are readily available
  • Are you in a smokeless zone? If you are, then your choice of wood boilers will be restricted to approved appliances (Further information is available here)
  • Logs can be a significant commitment in terms of moving material by hand. Ask yourself whether even if you are able to move them at the moment, is it realistic to expect that you will be able to in ten or twenty years time?


What's of interest

Domestic heating with logs

General information about heating your home with logs (PDF - 1MB)

Wood as fuel

Information about using conventional firewood logs for domestic heating in both traditional log stoves and boilers, and modern, high efficiency batch type log boilers (PDF - 1.7 MB)

Wood as fuel - Technical supplement for fuel suppliers

A technical supplement to Wood as Fuel aimed at log suppliers and individuals processing logs for their own use (PDF - 968kB)

Biomass Heating: a guide to small log and wood pellet systems

First in a series of three technical design guides from the Biomass Energy Centre.  This guide covers small scale systems suitable for a domestic house or similar sized projects (PDF - 4.0 MB)