Wood burners and open fires both burn logs or coal as a means of providing heat. But, despite the similarities in their basic operation, there are some big differences between traditional open fires and wood burning stoves. The following are some of the reasons that you might want to choose a stove over an open fire:
Inefficient open fires
Open fires are highly inefficient. In fact, it is estimated that they are only 20% efficient, with the rest of the heat created escaping out of the chimney. In contrast, a wood burning stove is 80% efficient. This means that you will get considerably more heat from your logs when using a wood burner.
Stoves heat more space
With an open fire, most of the heat goes up into the chimney. Heat that doesn't escape only covers a relatively small area of the room, directly in front of the fire. It is possible to sit on the other side of the room from an open fire and feel chilly. The heat from a wood stove radiates over more room and creates a better environment for everybody.
Less mess from a stove
Open fires look beautiful, but not once the fire is finished. Even during the fire, they create more smoke than a stove, and once logs have been burned, they leave ash and other mess. Although stoves do have some residual ash, the amount is far less than with an open fire, not least because you will have to burn fewer logs to achieve the same results.
Wood burners are safer
Wood burners are safer. No matter how big the fire, it is contained within the stove. Sparks and hot coals are unable to spit out, which happens regularly with a coal fire. This can save your rugs, your pets, and makes a wood stove a safer option than a traditional open fire.
Heat the rest of the house
Stoves can also be connected to their own pipework system. These are pipes that can run through the room, and also through other rooms in the house. It is even possible to use these pipes to warm water, as well as to radiate heat through bedrooms and other cold spots. The room above an open fire may benefit from the heat that is put out by the chimney, but that's it.