How to heat your home for free with a wood burner.

Its no secret how cold the UK gets in winter and I would say I’m a person who feels the cold. We all dream of free heating! The Little Miss Fire household started December last year with two serious heat related problems.

  1. A very old fashioned and ineffective back boiler that cost a fortune to run
  2. A gas fire that sucked up cash while providing a small amount of heat (after three hours)

We survived December 2017 in our new house with just these two ineffective forms of heat. Since we had just bought a new house, purchasing or upgrading our boiler or fire really wasn’t an option. The option of free heating wasn’t even on our radar.

Fast forward one year and we’d survived -3 temperatures. Plus the feeling of a tornado blowing into Littlest Little Miss Fire’s room in our ineffectively heated house. Hot water bottles, electric heaters and multiple layers all helped ease the severe cold.

Mr Fire grew up in a house with no heating when he was younger so he’s well versed to the cold. I wasn’t best pleased to be cold constantly but I did the best I could. Even the Littlest one was a real trooper despite having a barking cough and asthma related chest pains.

The new boiler

After some thought and a considerate amount of research we decided to upgrade our heating situation. Firstly with a new boiler.


Worcester Greenstar 30i

Now our boiler regulates the heat in the house and makes sure it never gets too cold. Sounds fantastic! Only worry was the extra cost all this “regulating” would have on our budget. It isn’t free heating by any means.

One lunch time Mr Fire and I had a talk about heating and it would be better to be a company owned and provided by the government (a post for another day I think) We both questioned if it would be possible to heat our house for free.

We’ve always liked the idea of solar panels however we don’t have £6k to spend before April (when the government tariff is set to end) plus it would take at least a decade to recoup this.

The wood burner

Mr Fire mentioned his family had a wood burning stove in their old house. He recalled how they were able to run it using free wood they had obtained.

We both immediately set to work researching and pricing this concept. One month later and we introduce you to our new wood burner:

Closet thing to it on amazon to show you!

This costs us nothing to run! Zip, nada, zero. Yep that’s right, free heating! It also bought a fan to go on top of it. This means it heats up the entire house so that the heating seating doesn’t need to come on.

Where do we get free wood from?

Easy, we asked round local farms, mills and laborers. They all had bits and bobs of softwood and hardwood that they let us have – for free! Most of them were actually happy to give it away.

If you had to buy the items for the wood burner it would probably cost a pretty penny as we’d need logs and plenty of them!

How do you heat your house?

8 comments

  1. Like you we have recently installed a wood burner although haven’t been as resourceful as you in finding wood. We had some trees cut down in our garden and are using those at the moment but they won’t last forever. I may then try your tactic.

  2. There is a potential cost to a wood burner from an environmental level and it’s certainly the case if you just go for the cheapest wood burner that you an get your hands on. We didn’t do that instead we got a DEFRA approved wood burner (if you don’t know about them then its certainly worth a google.) What quite a lot of people don’t realise (because reporting the news can’t possibly cater to every different situation) is that there is an environmentally friendly way to heat your house with carbon neutral wood burning. As this isn’t really a sensationalist headline it won’t appear in the news. We use soft wood from broken pallets. We get these from Corn mills, builders merchants and various other places.

    We have made our decision with all the facts in mind surrounding a wood burner. It is certainly more environmentally friendly then gas central heating, the wood burner being free for us is just a happy by product.

  3. My father’s house has a good log-burning stove and one of those little fans that keeps the place toasty all winter without a need for heating. We have our log fire going all winter long, and like you scrounge for free wood where possible. My current wheeze is collecting fly-tipped pallets and timber whenever I see it, but I use it sparingly. I mainly get bulk deliveries from local farmers of good, kiln-dried hardwood once a year.

    A note of caution worth mentioning is that a lot of off-cuts and pallets are made of tanalised wood or (pre 2006) treated with arsenic, copper and chromium, and as such the ash and smoke can be very hazardous. As it’s generally cheap pine too it will burn fast and hot, and may deposit a lot of ash and oily deposits, so be prepared to sweep chimneys regularly to prevent chimney fires!

  4. Hi,

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Great advice adn well worth a mention. We are actually really careful about what we burn since we have our little one in the house (I’m trying not to say I’m obsessive…)

    Since we know all the people who we get the pallets from we are able to ensure we only burn untreated and safe wood.

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