Home Is Where The Hearth Is

Home is where the hearth is… For first-time buyers especially, deciding on the right type of solid fuel burner can be confusing. If you need continued support in your property-buying journey, Eldron can provide clients with advice on all aspects of your new home.

Here is a brief breakdown of some merits and disadvantages of the most popular types of solid fuel burners.


An open fire is the most traditional method of solid fuel burning in homes. The homely image of a roaring, crackling fire on a cold winter’s day is certainly picturesque – but is it the best choice?

open fire at home

One of the most important points to make is that an open fire is not the most efficient way to heat your home. Most of the heat (around 80%) is lost up the chimney, and the remaining heat is only provided to the one room. Open fires are, therefore, hard on fuel and can potentially be economically draining.

Many regions in Ireland – including Dublin, Cork, and Sligo – are specific smokeless fuel zones (you can find a full list of these areas here). Though there are many benefits associated with smokeless fuel (it burns for longer than ordinary coal, and has much lower emissions – meaning it is far better for the environment), some people find it difficult to light. If you are in a smokeless fuel zone and have an open fire, there are some easy-to-follow guidelines on how to light a smokeless fire to be found online.

When considering the practicalities of an open fire in your home you may also want to think about the associated safety risks of naked flames, particularly in carpeted rooms and in houses with children.


A back boiler can make an open fire much more efficient.

This device allows the open fire to produce hot water and heat the radiators in a house. This effectively means that the power of your solid fuel burner is not limited to a single room. However, there are risks associated with back boilers – particularly back boilers which have been left redundant, which can lead to explosions.

hot water at home


Stoves can be a great solution to the open fire’s issue of wasted heat. In contrast to the poor heat efficiency of an open fire, an enclosed stove has an efficiency of about 80%. This effectively means that a stove uses a quarter of the amount of fuel as an open fire for the same heat output.

The inclusion of a back boiler with a stove will also (as with an open fire) heat radiators and provide hot water for your home.

Stoves can be a decorative feature and add beautiful quaintness to any home. However, they also carry some safety risks: the surface of the stove can become incredibly hot and may lead to injury if touched. It is also vital that you install a carbon monoxide monitor in a home with a stove.

stove at home


Electric fires do not create the same ambience as an open fire, and can often look artificial. There is no option of a back boiler, so an electric fire can heat only the room it is in. As it runs on electricity, there is the possibility of blowing a fuse and it cannot be used during a power outage.

However, an electric fire does have significant advantages and it may be the right choice for some:

  • As there are no real flames involved, an electric fire is safer than an open fire
  • They are perfect for apartments as no chimneys are needed
  • Very minimalist designs are available, so electric fires can be perfect for modern, contemporary properties
  • The heat output is fully controllable on many of the latest models, meaning that you can choose to have a heat-free fire in the middle of summer!

It is important to take the advantages and disadvantages of all solid fuel burners into account before you decide on which is the best choice for your home. Here at Eldron, our relationship with the client can continue beyond “Sale Agreed”: not only can we help you buy the right property, we can also advise you on renovations and property projects, and recommend experts in all aspects related to your home. 

If you are interested in any of our services, why not book a free consultation with us to see if we are the right company for you?

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