Gas price hike sparks rush to buy logs and stoves as people turn to woodburners for winter heating

Wood sellers, stove fitters, and chimney sweeps are seeing a surge in demand as consumers try to avoid gas price hikes by switching to wood-burning fires.

Wood fuel companies say sales are up nearly 40 percent year-over-year, while stove installers have reported a “significant increase” in demand over the past few weeks. I can betray.

Meanwhile, chimney sweep companies have said that phones are “ringing off the hook” as people rush to book appointments.

The wholesale price of gas has increased 500 percent in the past year, which has had an impact on household electricity bills.

Ofgem has already raised the price cap – the maximum energy company people can charge at standard variable rates – by £ 139 and is expected to increase it by hundreds of pounds in the spring. Households whose fixed-price contracts have expired are already seeing a sharp increase in their bills.

Fear of rising electricity bills leads many people to turn to wood burners for heat. Matt Harrington, operations manager at Harrington Woodfuel, a UK firewood supplier based near Birmingham, said I Sales this week are up 39 percent compared to the same period last year.

“From what we’ve seen in the past four weeks, especially since the news about the energy hikes, we’ve definitely seen a surge in sales,” he said.

Andy Hill, chairman of the Stove Industry Alliance, the UK’s wood stove industry association, said there is a similar picture across the country.

“With fuel costs soaring rapidly, wood burning is becoming increasingly cheaper and our members report increased demand for wood fuel as concerns grow over the financial impact of energy price increases on families,” he said I.

Chimney sweeps report a “manic” demand for their services. “Our phones rang off the hook and people were worried about how to keep warm this winter,” said David Sudworth, owner of Mr Soot, a chimney sweeping company based near Wigan.

“Of course, this time of year is always full of expansive appointments. But due to the current situation, the number of people who have their chimneys swept has increased noticeably. ”

David Sudworth, owner of Mr Soot’s chimney sweep company, said demand for his services has been “manic” over the past few weeks (Photo: Nick Fairhurst)

According to HETAS, the standardization association for solid fuels, searches on its website for chimney sweeps have increased by 13 percent compared to the previous year, while searches for stoves have increased by 28 percent. “There seems to be more activity,” said HETAS boss Bruce Allen.

He urged households with working fires to sweep their chimneys and have the stove serviced before using it.

There are also signs that more and more people are thinking about installing a stove for the coming winter.

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

According to HETAS, using a wood-burning stove on evenings and weekends would cost around £ 420 during the winter months, compared to £ 480 for gas heating for the average household over the same period below the current price cap.

Fear of air pollution

However, scientists warn that an increase in the use of wood burners would significantly increase toxic air pollution, especially in city centers.

Wood-burning stoves are becoming increasingly popular, with around 175,000 units sold in the UK each year. A 2017 government report said they are becoming a “lifestyle choice” for many households.

According to government models released last year, the use of wood burners and other solid fuel stoves in the home is already recognized as a major contributor to particulate matter pollution in the UK.

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Professor Jonathan Grig of Queen Mary University of London, a pediatrician and expert on the effects of air pollution, said he was concerned about the risk if inner city households were to use more wood burners this winter.

“I think we have to take this very seriously,” he said I. “If it goes from being a cosmetic thing to being someone who uses it to warm their homes, then maybe we have a big problem.”

“A shift towards more wood consumers, even if they are in Defra. are [Department for Environment] approved wood stoves, will contribute to more pollution that will harm people’s health. ”

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