Win a stove and much more this winter, while saving on your energy bills

It is pretty well-know nowadays that an open fireplace and chimney is a very wasteful form of heating you home. The sustainable energy authority of Ireland (SEAI), maintains that a traditional open fire has an efficiency of between 10 and 30%. Energy efficiency is essentially ratio between the energy input i.e. your coal, wood, Oil, wind, solar radiation and the useful energy output, heat for your home & water, electricity, etc.
As mentioned an open fire has an efficiency of around 20%, nowadays most solid fuel stoves have an efficiency of 65-80%, with some wood pellet boilers up to 85%. If we take a typical value of 75%, this means that you need one bucket of fuel instead of 4 buckets with an open fire. For a typical house which probably spends around €800-€1200 on solid fuel per year (eg 2 bags of coal per week September to april) with a more efficient stove a homeowner can halve their fuel cost saving them €400-600. With a typical stove costing €1000-€1500 depending on the size and modification to the flue and fireplace, a stove could be paid back within 2/3 years and then you are saving €400-600/year!!!!! This is without taking into account the rising cost of fuel and energy. Having a stove instead of an open fire means that not only are you using a more efficient system but the system is more responsive so if you want hot water heated from your back boiler then a stove will be much more faster that your back boiler from an open fire.
As part of the SERVE Community ProjectTEA is analysing the temperature profile of sitting room with chimneys/open flues and one with a sealed flue/stove. With our initial pilot scheme we saw a temperature difference of 5˚C between houses with an open flue/traditionally chimney and the sealed type for a stove over the cold winter months of last year. Not only will this mean that the open fire is inefficient to start but also has to heat up colder air which means that it uses more fuel to heat the cold air when the open flue/chimney. This difference is caused by the chimney, a hole in the roof, employing the stack effect meaning that the hot air in the room leaves the room very quickly compared to a system when the flue is closed.

Aside from the financial implications of have what is a hole in your roof, you also have to take into account the health issue that a colder house might have on the occupants’ health. If you have a house when the temperature is constantly fluctuating, it can lead to the winter flu/colds and other typical ailments associated with the cold weather. Having a draught free house and a well insulated house keeps the houses temperature constant and your body temperature constant.
Open fires also have a higer fire risk due to sparking etc in addition to excess dust and soot being emitted. Asthma sufferers may find their symptoms worse after spending time in dusty environments. For both stoves and an open fire, it is strongly recommended to get a carbon monoxide detector as exposure to this may cause death, a detector costs €20.
For a chance to win a high efficiency stove, including installation, enter the European Citizens climate cup (ECCC). All people who have entered the competition by the 30th of October will be eligible to win. The ECCC is a energy savings competition between homeowners where the winners can win prizes up to €2,000 with the national winner winning a trip to  award ceremony in Brussels. With monthly prizes for participants, newsletters on energy saving methods, energy news and much more visit ie.theclimatecup.eu for details and tips. As part of the climate cup we will be holding 8 free energy saving clinics around Co. Tipperary over the next 3 months, please check local newspapers and ie.climatecup.eu for more information on these upcoming events.

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