One retailer reports a 165pc surge in ordersWood burning stoves sell out as families look for ways to keep warm
Wood-burning stoves are vanishing from sale as desperate households look for old-fashioned ways to beat the energy crisis.
A recent surge in demand, coupled with Covid manufacturing backlogs, means that certain models will not be available until next summer at the earliest, manufacturers have warned.
Retailers said consumers were looking for alternatives to electricity and gas to heat their homes after energy prices soared following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
In some cases customers have been buying several log burners at a time, retailers said, as households had been spurred into action by fears of winter blackouts.
Choice Stoves, an online retailer in Lancashire, said in a notice posted on its website that it had suspended online orders given the “UK stove shortage”.
Another firm, Backwoodsman, based in the Scottish Highlands, said it had been “inundated” after orders soared 165pc in the last year.
Claire McIntyre, of Backwoodsman, said this had caused delays for buyers. She said: “There have been occasions where the waiting times have jumped from, say, three months to six months almost overnight.”
Ms McIntyre added: “If we place a new order with Woodwarm, which is a manufacturer in Devon, we’re talking about June for delivery. Companies are actually thinking about forward-ordering for next winter in order to have available stock.”
With lockdowns damaging supply chains and putting foundries out of business, the industry has buckled under this surge in popularity. A shortage of materials, like cast iron, has added to its woes.
Supplies of Scandinavian brands – such as Contura and Jøtul – are running particularly low. Retailers said Hwam stoves, made in Denmark, would not be available until 2024 in some cases.
Demand for these models is high across Europe. Max Barlow, of Reading-based retailer Bonfire, said German households had also been turning to wood-burning stoves after suffering issues with gas supplies from Russia.
Although shortages are less severe among domestic brands, some – including Charlton & Jenrick or Charnwood – have also been subject to delays.
Nick Astley, of Preston supplier Fuelmizas, said: “Your waiting times have gone up to eight, nine, sometimes 16 weeks for the British brands.”
For models made overseas, this is closer to 44 weeks, Mr Astley warned.
He said households had shifted away from heating their homes with energy from the National Grid, galvanised by “bonkers” price increases.
Mr Astley said: “People are just wanting to get away from gas and get into woodburning, that’s the constant theme. What we get a lot of is people saying we’ve been thinking of doing this for five or six years.”
Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed electricity and gas prices increased by 54pc and 99pc respectively in the 12 months to September. However, the demand for burners has also increased the price of wood. The cost of kiln-dried logs rose by 50pc over the same period, according to price tracker Skuuudle.
Although energy bills have been capped by the Government, Jeremy Hunt announced in Thursday’s Autumn Statement that support would be tapered from April next year.
As a result, the average household will pay out £3,000 a year – a £500 increase on current levels. Those who rely on alternative fuels like heating oil or coal will receive a £200 handout.