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Heat briquettes v Wood logs

edited 6 October 2017 at 1:02PM in Green & Ethical MoneySaving
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kah22kah22 Forumite
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edited 6 October 2017 at 1:02PM in Green & Ethical MoneySaving
Riddle me this

I’m about to order fuel for my woodburner. The most obvious choice would be hardwood; something like ash or birch

However, while trying to find a local supplier who done kiln dried logs I stumbled across heat logs suitable for enclosed fires such as a wood burner

These heat logs do seem to offer advantages: they’re cleaner, easy to store. On the other hand the initial outlay is more expensive

My difficulty lies with the actual log. The content, or at least some of it, appears to be soft wood, but the moisture content seems minimal and they are compressed quite tightly. So I’m wondering if when compressed they are as good as hardwood and if £ for £ they offer less value, the same value or more value than the traditional log?

Glad to hear from those with experience of heat logs -good or bad

Kevin
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Replies

  • EctophileEctophile Forumite
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    From personal experience:-

    Logs are highly variable. Some burn really well, some don't. Some burn fast, some slow. I have yet to work out which is which - it seems completely independent of the type or age of the wood. The main plus for wood is that it can be bought cheap, or even gathered for free, if you don't mind storing it.

    Heat logs are a lot more consistent within any given brand. They burn quite fast and hot compared with most logs. Go for dark-coloured ones, that look as if they are painted with wood stain, as they are more highly compressed. The low-pressure ones puff up in the stove and then fall apart. Heat logs must be kept dry. If allowed to get damp, they first puff up, then fall apart into a pile of sawdust. Heat logs can be cheap if you buy in bulk, but you will need a dry store to put them in.
    If it sticks, force it.
    If it breaks, well it wasn't working right anyway.
  • zeupaterzeupater Forumite
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    Hi

    First question is how much burning you will do, followed by the size load you've got space to store ...

    Regarding heatlogs ... great if you want to impress someone for a couple of hours at Xmas ... however, you can't beat decent hardwood for serious burning, but make sure it's well seasoned or the majority of the energy will simply be consumed in boiling off the moisture ! ..

    If you can, get a tipped trailer load with a decent percentage of Ash/Oak ... if lucky you'll find a supplier offering barn or kiln dried logs - If really lucky & the barn ones have been fully seasoned, split then barn stored for a decent time they will usually burn longer & better, and should be much cheaper !

    HTH
    Z
    "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit. " ...... Aristotle
    B)
  • kah22kah22 Forumite
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    As a trial I’ve just bought two packs of Verdo heat logs, 12 logs, from HomeBargins at £2.79 a pack cc 47p per log. It seems a reasonable price. Can’t find any other ones locally

    How cost effective or how good are they, or other heat logs for that matter. While I’m still experimenting my initial thoughts are that they do seem to produce good heat. So giving that I use 4 logs per night (winter’s coming) that’s about £1.90 for 5 hours heat. A pallet (576 logs) costs £279.

    I’ve been in contact with a log supplier and he’s offering 12 nets of birch at £74, 24 nets of birch at £134, 12 nets of ash at £76, 24 nets of ash at £138. He recons that 16 nets would fill a dumpy bag. The logs are kiln dried. Buying the occasional pack and building up a stock that way I’m wondering if a mix and match would be an idea. The heat logs just to give that boost if needed

    To my surprise my local garage and supermarket only stock softwood! so I’ve no real way of testing. Any of you guys carried out tests? I have ample storage space
  • EctophileEctophile Forumite
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    I have found that logs in bags from garage forecourts or DIY stores are often soggy or barely seasoned.

    Buying in nets is generally more expensive than just buying logs loose, either by the builder's bag full, or just the back of a pick-up truck filled with logs.
    If it sticks, force it.
    If it breaks, well it wasn't working right anyway.
  • edited 15 October 2017 at 6:01PM
    zeupaterzeupater Forumite
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    edited 15 October 2017 at 6:01PM
    kah22 wrote: »
    As a trial I’ve just bought two packs of Verdo heat logs, 12 logs, from HomeBargins at £2.79 a pack cc 47p per log. It seems a reasonable price. Can’t find any other ones locally

    How cost effective or how good are they, or other heat logs for that matter. While I’m still experimenting my initial thoughts are that they do seem to produce good heat. So giving that I use 4 logs per night (winter’s coming) that’s about £1.90 for 5 hours heat. A pallet (576 logs) costs £279.

    I’ve been in contact with a log supplier and he’s offering 12 nets of birch at £74, 24 nets of birch at £134, 12 nets of ash at £76, 24 nets of ash at £138. He recons that 16 nets would fill a dumpy bag. The logs are kiln dried. Buying the occasional pack and building up a stock that way I’m wondering if a mix and match would be an idea. The heat logs just to give that boost if needed

    To my surprise my local garage and supermarket only stock softwood! so I’ve no real way of testing. Any of you guys carried out tests? I have ample storage space
    Hi

    You need to consider the content of my previous post or you may be paying £hundreds more than you need to ... a pallet load of those heat logs will physically be 0.9 cubic meters & weigh around 950kg - at a cost of £279, so just under £300/tonne or ~£310/cbm ..

    As previously mentioned, our logs are locally sourced and tipped onto a pile at the side of the house and then loaded to a log store (I'm building a new one this week!) ... If you can't have loads tipped there are plenty of national suppliers who will deliver loads of crated kiln dried logs, but they're relatively expensive ... your £279 would only buy you 2cbm of crated kiln dried hardwood logs from .. https://www.logsdirect.co.uk/kiln-dried-hardwood-crate-2cbm.html .. but even at that price you'd be getting more value by either volume or weight and still have the advantage of not having to stack from a tipped load!!

    When it comes down to it, it all resolves to what you want to outlay up-front, how much you'll burn and how much storage you have available ... but you need to start thinking/comparing by volume & moisture content, not nets or bags .. even when talking tipped loads you'll need to know the physical trailer size ..

    HTH
    Z

    #edit .. Note: the £2.79 pack are 6's not 12's & the current offer seems to be the same in-store single price/pack as they would be in pallet size bulk deliveries ...
    "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit. " ...... Aristotle
    B)
  • kah22kah22 Forumite
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    Zeupater Many thanks for your detailed reply

    Correct me if I’m wrong here. According to my potential supplier a 1.2m3 Crate (450kg) of tightly stacked kiln dried ash firewood will cost £150 and if my figuring is correct that’s equivalent to £348 for 950Kg. (Weight for weight the jumbo bags worked out more expensive )

    The heat logs on the other hand work out at £279 for the same weight, £69 of a difference.

    Storage is no problem and there’s no difficulty in outlaying the £279

    Have I got it right. Am I correct in assuming, therefore, that heat logs will give me more bang for my buck. I live in Northern Ireland and we do seem to pay a premium for all our fuels.
  • zeupaterzeupater Forumite
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    kah22 wrote: »
    Zeupater Many thanks for your detailed reply

    Correct me if I’m wrong here. According to my potential supplier a 1.2m3 Crate (450kg) of tightly stacked kiln dried ash firewood will cost £150 and if my figuring is correct that’s equivalent to £348 for 950Kg. (Weight for weight the jumbo bags worked out more expensive )

    The heat logs on the other hand work out at £279 for the same weight, £69 of a difference.

    Storage is no problem and there’s no difficulty in outlaying the £279

    Have I got it right. Am I correct in assuming, therefore, that heat logs will give me more bang for my buck. I live in Northern Ireland and we do seem to pay a premium for all our fuels.
    Hi

    I've always worked on ash at ~650kg/cbm at 20% .. therefore if 10% around 550kg ... Ash(10%) in a 1.2cbm crate weighing 450kg would suggest 375kg/cbm stacked, so ~1/3 air gap, which seems excessive if well stacked & represents what I'd normally expect when tipped ...

    A 1.2cbm crate should contain slightly more than 1cbm of well stacked wood logs, therefore if Ash(10%) I'd expect 550-600kg to be more realistic ... then again, there's stacked & there's well stacked ...

    Anyway, I don't like 10% wood - it does burn hot, but tends to burn too quickly. Much of the kiln dried wood we have tried has measured 10% moisture on the outside, but if split and remeasured the core has invariably been much higher, obviously a result of suppliers placing unseasoned greenwood into the kiln ...

    If you do get good kiln dried, look to store in a constructed waterproof store or indoors or it'll simply suck-up any moisture available, in which case the additional cost over well seasoned is wasted ...

    If you're not sure ... whilst the 6 pack heat-logs are on offer at the same price as pallet loads, why not take a delivery of one £150 crate-load of Ash and spend the difference on the heat-logs to compare then make a decision on what to have delivered for next year ...

    HTH
    Z
    "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit. " ...... Aristotle
    B)
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    zeupater wrote: »

    If you do get good kiln dried, look to store in a constructed waterproof store or indoors or it'll simply suck-up any moisture available, in which case the additional cost over well seasoned is wasted ...

    HTH
    Z

    Hiya, silly question, but being my usual nosey self, I noticed stacks of wood etc at the DIY centre. I then noticed the large crate full of bags of kiln dried timber.

    But many of the bags had 'stretch marks' and small holes, presumably from banging against each other. My thought then was that these would quickly acquire the moisture level of the DIY centre's outside shopping areas.

    Is that right, or am I overestimating the moisture dash to get inside the bags?
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

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  • silverwhistlesilverwhistle Forumite
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    I burn scrounged wood that I prep and season myself (I'm retired so regard the time and exercise as gym time:-) ). In addition I get some of those Verdo briquettes from the same source, picked up when I'm passing. I don't rely on them but they're easy to store inside on the floor underneath a built-in bookshelf in my lounge, and another bag of them split in 2/3 bits in my log basket to add at the beginning of a burn. When it has been wet and miserable it's good to have something dry and handy indoors.
  • zeupaterzeupater Forumite
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    Martyn1981 wrote: »
    Hiya, silly question, but being my usual nosey self, I noticed stacks of wood etc at the DIY centre. I then noticed the large crate full of bags of kiln dried timber.

    But many of the bags had 'stretch marks' and small holes, presumably from banging against each other. My thought then was that these would quickly acquire the moisture level of the DIY centre's outside shopping areas.

    Is that right, or am I overestimating the moisture dash to get inside the bags?
    Hi

    I wouldn't worry too much about the odd hole in a bag myself, but if they were in nets then it's a different matter ...

    Picked up a load of treated wood for building a new log-store on Saturday & started the build today ... this one will have better ventilation to improve seasoning and I'll build-in some flexible compartments to separate different age stock. Initially 2 x 1.5cbm bays each of which can be easily sub-divided ... It's also being built with ease of expansion at the heart of the design so that more bays can easily be added if necessary ... lots of room for spiders, cobwebs & woodlice, but that's how we intend to go ... effectively taking seasoned logs and 'barn-drying' for a year-or-so ourselves ...

    So what's this got to do with kiln-dried logs? .. well as soon as they're out of the kiln they start absorbing moisture from the air, which at this time of year is usually pretty high (Oct/Nov fogs) .. If half of the new store was filled with a load of kiln dried delivered now and the other was full of logs which had been drying since last this time last year, I'd not be surprised if the moisture content in both loads was the same by Christmas ... If I was taking kiln dried, it'd be stored inside the garage & around the fireplace (we stack ~ 1 week in a brick alcove next to the burner & couple of days in a massive log basket on the hearth just for those nasty periods when you just can't be bothered to go outside!)

    HTH
    Z
    "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit. " ...... Aristotle
    B)
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