Rising gas prices trigger a rush to buy logs and stoves as people turn to wood stoves for heating in winter

Log sellers, stove installers and chimney sweeps are seeing increased demand as consumers try to avoid rising gas prices by switching to wood stoves for warmth.

Firewood companies say sales have jumped nearly 40% from the same period last year, while stove installers report a “significant increase” in demand in recent weeks, I can reveal.

Meanwhile, chimney sweeping companies said phones had “gone off the hook” as people rushed to make appointments.

The wholesale price of gas has climbed 500% over the past year, which has had a ripple effect on household energy bills.

Ofgem has already raised the price cap – the maximum energy companies can charge people on standard variable tariffs – by £ 139 and is expected to raise it by hundreds of more pounds in early spring. Households whose plans have ended are already seeing their bills increase sharply.

Fears of rising energy bills are leading many people to turn to wood stoves for heat. Matt Harrington, COO of Harrington Woodfuel, a UK firewood supplier based near Birmingham, said I this week’s sales are up 39 percent from the same period last year.

“What we’ve seen over the past four weeks, especially since the announcement of the energy increases, we’ve certainly seen an increase in sales,” he said.

Andy Hill, chairman of the Stove Industry Alliance, the UK’s association for the woodstove industry, said it was a similar picture across the country.

“With rapidly increasing fuel costs, wood burning is becoming more profitable and our members are reporting increased demand for firewood supply as concern grows over the financial impact on families. rising energy prices, ”he said. I.

Chimney sweeps report a “manic” demand for their services. “Our phones have been ringing about this with people worried about how they will warm up this winter,” said David Sudworth, owner of Mr Soot, a chimney sweep company based near Wigan.

“Of course, this time of year is always busy for sweeping dates. But there has been a noticeable increase in the number of people having their chimneys swept due to the current situation. ”

David Sudworth, owner of the chimney sweeping firm Mr Soot, said demand for his services had been ‘manic’ in recent weeks (Photo: Nick Fairhurst)

HETAS, the solid fuel standards association, said searches on its website for chimney sweeps were up 13% year on year, while searches for stove maintenance were up 28%. “There seems to be more activity,” said Bruce Allen, CEO of HETAS.

He urged households with working fires to have their chimneys and stoves swept before use.

There are also signs that an increasing number of people are considering installing a stove for the coming winter.

HETAS said its registered installers were “very busy,” a point echoed by Norfolk-based stove installer Neil Andrews, who said: “We have seen a significant increase in inquiries due to the increase gas prices, etc.

According to data provided by the Stove Industry Alliance, it would cost around £ 420 to use a wood stove in the evenings and weekends during the winter months, compared to £ 480 for gas heating for the average household during of the same period under the current price cap.

Air pollution fears

However, scientists warn that an increase in the use of wood-burning stoves would dramatically increase levels of toxic air pollution, especially in city centers.

Wood stoves have become increasingly popular, with around 175,000 sold in Britain each year. A 2017 government report said they were becoming a “lifestyle choice” for many households.

Home use of wood-burning stoves and other solid fuel stoves is already considered the leading cause of particulate pollution in the UK, according to government modeling released last year.

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Professor Jonathan Grigg of Queen Mary University in London, a pediatrician and expert on the effects of air pollution, has expressed concern about the risk if inner city households start to use their wood stoves more this winter.

“I think we have to take this very seriously,” he said. I. “If it goes from a cosmetic thing to people using it to heat their homes, then I think we might have a major problem on our hands.”

“A shift towards people using more wood, even if they are in Defra [Department for Environment] approved wood stoves, will contribute to more pollution which will harm the health of people.

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