Wood-burning stoves have become a key talking point in England as the cost of gas and electricity soars, and people have started to burn wood for heat.
The stoves have also become popular because of the cosy atmosphere they can lend a house, and many, especially in affluent urban areas, have noticed the distinctive wintry smell coming from chimneys as they walk around their neighbourhoods. Some people also believed burning wood must be better for the environment than using gas.
But there have also been warnings that stoves cause significant air pollution, releasing fine particulate matter known as PM2.5 that has dire health implications. Politicians have called for their use to be urgently reviewed.
If you have a stove and decide to remove it, you will need to pay someone to do it, unless you are experienced with DIY. When hiring someone, ensure that person is certified and insured, and it is safe for them to proceed.
The person will have to extract the appliance from the chimney, then lift the stove out. A contractor may need to be found to take it away for you, but ensure they recycle it. If not, you can recycle it yourself by finding a metal recycling centre.
Some stoves are suitable for conversion into gas or electric, where you can enjoy the warmth without the guilt of spreading dangerous particulates.
Ask a contractor if your burner can be fitted with a gas fireplace insert, which is installed within the firebox of the existing wood-burning fireplace. It can cost between £600 and £1,800, plus the cost of installation. Electric options are cheaper as they do not have to be vented to the outdoors, and usually cost about £300 to £1,200. For those who will is the look of a real fire, there are LED screens that can add ambience.
Sign up to Down to Earth
The planet’s most important stories. Get all the week’s environment news – the good, the bad and the essential
Alternatively, if it is more for decoration than necessary heating, you could remove it entirely and use the space for something else.