What are the benefits to investing in a woodburning stove?

Are you part of the 85% of UK homes that are currently relying on mains gas for heat? With the volatility of international gas markets leading to unprecedented price rises, these feel like uncertain times. In this blog we will look at how owning a woodburning stove can redress the balance and bring some much needed certainty to our lives.

What are the benefits to investing in a woodburning stove?

With the energy price cap rising 54%, millions of households will see their bills rise by around £700 to £2,000 per year. According to The Office for Budget Responsibility, this represents the largest fall in living standards since 1956.

With this being the case, there’s never been a better time to look at the benefits of investing in a woodburning stove.

Eco design woodburning stove benefits:

Affordable and good value for money

  • A good quality stove can last many decades and provide an affordable source of heat for low-income households. The upfront costs are significantly less than wind or solar power and indeed far less than a heat pump. The majority of components used within a stove are modular and can be replaced when or if they wear out, further extending the life of your stove.
  • Locally sourced fuel
    Using a wood stove means you can source reasonably priced fuel locally and sometimes for free.
  • Whatever the weather
    Woodburning stoves can produce heat for prolonged periods, whatever the weather conditions.
  • An ideal emergency/low frequency heat source.
    A woodburning stove provides a 100% self-contained heat source. For those of you who live in a region that suffers from occasional power cuts, you will know just how valuable this is! A wood-burning stove can provide heat and even a way to cook food when you need it most.
  • Environmentally friendly
    Wood is a carbon-neutral fuel as it gives off the same amount of carbon whether it is burnt or decays naturally. The carbon released from burning wood is balanced out by the carbon absorbed by the tree during its lifetime.
  • Wellbeing benefits
    Owners report significant wellbeing benefits directly as a result of owning and using their woodburning stoves.


Woodburning stoves vs wind, solar & heat pumps

We support all these other technologies, however, there are significant upfront costs for these solutions that make them less realistic options for many people. Also, battery storage is not where it needs to be to fully support the world’s energy needs. Therefore in 2022, a wood stove is the most viable option for the majority of people affected by energy price rises. The table below breaks down and compares some of the key financial information surrounding the different technologies.

How to save on your fuel bill – free sources of wood for your stove!

  1. After a storm
    Storms bring wood foraging opportunities! After a storm, fallen trees and branches become available which, with permission, you can collect, season and use for firewood – all while helping to tidy up your local area.
  1. Industrial woodworkers
    Woodworkers, sawmills, and joiners near to your home are worth contacting to find out if they ever have any off cuts of wood that they need to get rid of.
  1. Freecycle websites
    Whether it is left over wood from a recent home improvement or a tree that had to be cut down, people often advertise free wood on sites like Gumtree and Freecycle if you are happy to collect it.

It is however very important to make sure that wherever you source your wood from and to make sure it is untreated, free from paint, finishes and other potentially harmful substances. Also, do not burn it unless it has a moisture content of less than 20% which you can check with a moisture meter. This reduces harmful emissions and will increase the lifespan of your stove. For a list of the best types of firewood check out Charnwood’s very helpful Firewood chart.

The elephant in the room!

Are woodburning stoves bad for the environment?

There are lots of myths circulating about wood burning stoves being bad for the environment, but they simply aren’t accurate. Whilst wood burners can give off fumes containing microscopic specks of soot, using approved fuels and a modern appliance significantly reduces the risk of this.

As of January 2022, all stoves sold must now meet with Eco design regulations which ensure a much cleaner burn. If you are burning wood correctly, it can become part of a carbon-neutral process, being balanced out by the carbon absorbed by the tree as it grows.

It’s also important to keep in mind that, as long as trees are replanted and woodland is responsibly managed, using wood for fuel can be part of a sustainable energy process.

(source: Charnwood Stoves, HoP)

HoP and Stella’s Voice

Hutchesons of Portsoy has donated 5 containers full of brand new, kitchen and bathroom furniture and accessories to local charity, Stella’s Voice.  Each container holds thousands of pounds worth of new and boxed bathroom and kitchenware. The proceeds secured will be given to vulnerable families in Moldova who have been fleeing from the war-torn Ukraine.

A report by The Council of Europe (https://bit.ly/3zQroIY) dated 17 June 2022, reports that Moldova has taken just under 500,000 refugees from Ukraine. Moldova, which has the largest concentration of refugees per capita, has also appealed for international help in dealing with the numbers arriving.

Stella’s Voice works in Moldova to protect vulnerable children and young people from human traffickers.  At its various locations in the UK, Stella’s Voice runs several reuse and recycling projects to help fund the work of the charity, whilst working towards a better environment by diverting hundreds of tons from landfill each year.  Stella’s Voice also works with several supermarkets by collecting items that have been damaged or are near their use by date.  These items are then donated locally helping some of those in most need in the local community.

European Director for Stella’s Voice, Mark Morgan adds, “we are most grateful to Hutchesons of Portsoy for this great donation which has come at a time when people are in great need, having fled Ukraine for their lives.”

The idea for this charitable initiative came from Mike Wiseman who recently joined the team at Hutchesons of Portsoy. During one of their regular team meetings, the matter was raised on what should be done with all the boxed furniture.  In his new position as Store Person, Mike talked about Stella’s Voice and all the good work they do protecting young people from human trafficking. Mentioning all the old stock in HoP’s warehouse, Mike suggested donating everything to this local Peterhead based charity.

As Managing Director, Neil Hutcheson says, “all the team were immediately on board with Mike’s fantastic idea.  We immediately reached out to Stella’s Voice to see if they wanted to visit us and have a closer look at all the old (but new!) stock in our warehouse. I think that the staff from Stella’s Voice were pleasantly surprised when they realised that everything was brand new and still in boxes!”

HoP made the decision to move away from installing new kitchens and bathrooms to enable this family run company to focus on the main business activity. With HoP’s annual sales having seen a 100% increase over the past 12 months, the business needed to make much needed space available, to cope with the dramatic increase in stock being delivered on stie.

HoP is proud to be the North East of Scotland’s number one supplier and installer of gas, electric and wood burning stoves and fireplaces plus wood burning and electric range cookers. A family run business since 1961, owner and director, Neil Hutcheson has been on the frontline of change since taking over the business from his father back in 2000 when the company focused on the installation and maintenance of central heating systems.

With 2 showrooms located in Midmar and Portsoy, HoP houses one of the largest displays of fireplaces and stoves outside of the Central Belt.

By donating 5 container loads of boxed kitchen and bathroom furniture to Stella’s Voice, HoP will be making a significantly positive contribution to helping those less fortunate.

Choosing the Perfect Outdoor Fire Pit for You

Summer has officially arrived, which means it’s a great time to start prepping your outdoor space for the season ahead. And nothing adds cosiness and light to a garden quite like your very own fire pit!

Since time immemorial, communities have gathered around a fire to discuss important issues or celebrate. It’s an almost forgotten ritual, but one which is undergoing a modern revival. And why not? Fire pits are a smart addition to your outdoor space for several reasons. Not only are they the perfect gathering spot for entertaining your friends and family, but they can also be used to cook and grill everything from marshmallows to fillet steaks. Some styles even function as pizza ovens for some extra culinary chutzpah.

Even better, contemporary fire pits come in a wide range of styles, meaning there’s guaranteed to be one to suit every budget and lifestyle.

Here are our top tips for making sure you choose the right fire pit for you.

Wood Burning or Gas?

The first thing to consider is what type of fuel you want to use. Traditionally, there was only one option for a fire pit – wood! And there’s no doubting it does replicate most closely that ‘campfire’ feel which many people are looking for when they’re in the market for a fire pit. A wood fire pits is also a great choice if you want to try your hand at a bit of fire pit cookery, with different types of wood producing very different – and delicious, flavours.

On the other hand, wood burning fire pits can be a little messy. Just like a campfire, they give out plenty of smoke.

Free Standing or Built In?

Traditionally, a residential fire pit tended to be little more than some large bricks or stones surrounding a hole in the ground. Luckily, these days there are far more choices available. Most commercially available models are free-standing and offer both versatility and easy installation, and you can purchase a free-standing fire pit for as little as a few hundred pounds. By way of an alternative, a built-in fire pit offers permanence and stability and can be a great choice for the fire pit cookery enthusiast. Plus, it can also be used as a central part of a landscaping theme.

Generally, fire pits don’t require professional installation, but if you opt for a model that uses natural gas or requires an electrical connection, make sure you hire a gas fitter and/or electrician to hook it up.

How big?

Hand in hand with a decision about whether to go with a freestanding or built in option, you will also need to work out what size is going to best suit your needs. So, determining where your fire pit is going to go and how you plan to use it is probably a good place to start. Smaller designs like fire bowls are ideal for compact gardens and are often portable for placement versatility. But if you want to make a bolder statement, then a larger stationary fire pit table may be just the ticket. The best thing to do is consider just how you intend to use your fire pit, how much space you really have and also how much time and money you want to spend on purchasing one.

The Look.

Last but not least, it’s important to think about what look you’re after because this can dramatically change the look and feel of your entire outdoor space. Fire pits, literally, come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and can be crafted from a number of different materials. You could opt to keep things sleek with a matte black design, or add some shimmer and shine with silver, copper, or bronze styles instead. Decorative details like ceramic tiles, mosaic surfaces, and themed cut-outs can also lend extra charm. But once you’ve landed on the right look for your landscape, you’ll be amazed by just how much of a difference a fire pit can make to not only the visual appeal of the space overall.

Generally, woodburning fire pits don’t require professional installation, they are straightforward and hassle free to assemble and position.

Why not visit our showroom in Portsoy and see which outdoor garden stove matches your needs and requirements?


The UK Government’s latest figures for particulate matter emissions was updated on 22 February 2022.

It reveals that indoor wood burning is responsible for less than half the emissions previously speculated (17% rather than 38%). This is based on the latest data which now recognises errors in the previous data set.

17% is still significant, however, this figure includes all wood burning from open fires and old closed faced stoves. This suggests there is significant room for improvement as we know that Ecodesign stoves are 90% more efficient than open fires and 80% more efficient than stoves 10 or more years old. The SIA has established that Ecodesign stoves are in fact currently contributing just 2.7% to emissions.

A government study in 2016 reports 40% of domestic burning is from open fires, while we know that Ecodesign regulations only just came into force this year. Therefore, there is real potential for significantly reducing the PM output of domestic wood-burning by encouraging open fire users and those with an old stove to upgrade to an Ecodesign stove.

Commenting on the latest data Andy Hill, chair of the Stove Industry Alliance, said:

“We welcome the revisions to the government’s statistics on PM2.5 from domestic combustion sources that have been announced. The SIA has long maintained that the volume of wood fuel used to calculate the previous figure had been significantly overestimated, and this has now been officially acknowledged.”

“There is huge potential to lower PM2.5 emissions from domestic combustion even further by encouraging homeowners to upgrade their open fires to an Ecodesign stove, such as a clearSkies certified appliance. These stoves produce up to 90% less particulate matter emissions than an open fire so the further reduction in emissions levels that could be achieved is significant. A professionally installed, regularly serviced modern Ecodesign stove used with correctly seasoned wood fuel* is a very low carbon, low emission, sustainable and cost-effective way to heat our homes.”

It is important to remember that a world without any PM emissions is not a realistic goal – certainly not with the current technology available and so it is right to pursue a strategy that seeks to minimise PM levels while maximizing the benefits of various heating solutions. With oil and gas prices rising and with the existing limitations of wind and solar power, there is absolutely a need for an efficient domestic combustion solution which Ecodesign stoves provide.

Ecodesign woodburning stove benefits:

  1. Woodburning stoves can produce heat for long periods
  2. Allowing them to work in conjunction with wind, solar and other energies helps make these great technologies more viable – they are not in competition with each other.
  3. They are an ideal emergency/low-frequency heat source.
  4. Wood is a carbon-neutral fuel as it gives off the same amount of carbon whether it is burnt or decays naturally. The carbon released from burning wood is balanced out by the carbon absorbed by the tree during its lifetime.
  5. Ability to source fuel locally and without fracking and deep-sea oil drilling.
  6. A good quality stove can last many decades and provide an affordable source of heat for low-income households.
  7. Significant well-being benefits as a result of owning a wood-burning stove

(source: www.charnwood.com/news)


2022 has arrived!

Thank you to all our clients who have supported us through what was quite a challenging year.

We appreciate that we are not the only small business who has had to go through and manage all the supply chain difficulties. We also are not the only home improvement company which is currently managing the continuing tidal wave of new enquiries.

Again, thank you for your patience and understanding. New enquiries are our life blood. We will continue to do our utmost to provide the best service for all our new and existing customers but
please bear with us we are a small team, a family run business.

With the arrival of 2022, Hutchesons of Portsoy aims to have a successful, smooth year without any unforeseen restrictions coming into place.

And now for some exciting news!

We are delighted to announce that HoP are hosting a free Everhot cooker sales and taster demonstration here at our showroom in Portsoy.

Range cooking has long been a firm favourite and if you are a complete Aga, Stanley or Rayburn fan, then upgrading to an Everhot electric cooker might be something to consider. With their reputation as a premium product, Everhot range cookers are all:

100% efficient

Have low running costs

Do not require any maintenance

And with this in mind, who would not want to swap their old range cooker for a brand new one especially as we will be promoting free installation and delivery plus offering some fantastic HoP
exclusive event sales promotions!

From 11am to 2pm on Friday 28 Jan, Everhot will be demonstrating how their electric range cookers not only enhance your kitchen and culinary skills, but also provide a warm and radiant
background heat perfect for today’s way of living.
All Covid regulations will be followed and social distancing measures will be adhered to.

For your free space, please follow this
link and provide very brief details (for Covid compliance).

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Covid-19 Update

We would just like to take this opportunity to thank all our clients for bearing with us at this particular time.

Hutchesons of Portsoy along with many other small businesses are still experiencing supply chain challenges and of course, from the continuing effects that Covid-19 has on our daily lives.

HoP are still experiencing an incredible high level of new enquiries, which we are so thankful for. We are a family run business and have a wonderful, but small complement of office staff.

Please bear with us when it comes to telephone calls. We will always respond to each and every call that comes into our office. It may not be as quick as you would like, but we promise to return every enquiry.  With this in mind, there is no need for you to call us more than once, as this only delays us.

Your questions and queries are really important to us and rest assured, we are doing our utmost to manage the current situation.

Our staff make our company.  The health and wellbeing of the team is of paramount importance to HoP. We all try our best to provide the best possible customer and installation service across the NE of Scotland, it’s who we are.

Since lockdown, our staff have experienced some distressing social media posts and telephone calls. They are not equipped or, deserve to be treated in a way which negatively affects their mental health.

These past 2 years have been a very testing time for everyone. We recognise that in times of stress and anxiety, situations may become exacerbated, but we just like to remind everyone that in such times a little kindness goes a long way.