Fireplace and furnace stock running out in Estonia

A fireplace.
A fireplace. Source: ERR

Soaring electricity prices and fear of blackouts have sent people buying and installing fireplaces. Demand for heating elements is so high that manufacturers are having trouble keeping up.

Andrus Schults, sales consultant for Kaminakoda, said that demand is the highest he has seen in his 30 years in the business. So many people want a fireplace that the shop is running out of things to sell. "Even such stove-makers' staples like chamot bricks are hard to come by."

The situation is the same elsewhere in Europe. Schults said that European heating element makers are receiving four or five times the usual number of orders.

"I hosted a factory representative last week. They have opened three new production lines, hired hundreds of additional workers, while all of it requires materials. Things are not forecast to get better in the near future," Schults remarked.

Interest in furnaces, fireplaces and stoves first peaked during the coronavirus pandemic, said Hannes Puu, manager of Kaminakeskus.

"Many tried to move to their summer homes. But these were mostly meant for summertime use, meaning they did not have enough heating elements," Puu suggested.

Interest spiked further when gas and power prices started climbing last fall. "Most customers are private residence owners who had previously switched to electric heating and heat pumps," Puu described.

But there are also apartment and terraced house owners, people from the city and the countryside. Demand for cheap stoves is highest," Puu said. "Ready-made metal stoves that provide heat and can be used for cooking. People want products in the cheaper €500 price group, while those are the hardest to come by," he suggested.

Schults said that if 20 years ago, people wanted the most powerful fireplaces, buildings have become more energy efficient since then and fireplaces more modest. "There is also great interest in devices that accumulate heat. This causes power to be distributed much more evenly in the room with the heating element."

Fireplace sellers admit that customers are looking for alternatives to relying on the electricity and gas markets. Once bought, stacked firewood stops getting more expensive. While sellers still have some products in stock, fitters have their hands full, with waiting times stretching into months.


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Editor: Barbara Oja, Marcus Turovski

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