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What are the benefits of heat logs?

Stack of heat logs Ready to burn heat logs

If you are fed up of having wet wood you may well be thinking that a move to using heat logs will actually be the best way forward, but there are just a few things you need to think about first.

What are heat logs?

Quite simply, heat logs are manufactured logs and can be of varying sizes but typically 6-8 inches long and 2-3 inches in diameter. Often referred to as briquettes although this term also refers to much shorter pieces which are used in chimeneas or barbecues in a similar way to charcoal briquettes.

They are made from a process of taking a finely chopped up raw material and compressing at very high compression rates up to 1000kg/m3. The higher the compaction the better the quality of log which should have a higher calorific value and hold its shape.

They are made from a huge range of raw materials although the common denominator will be the fact that it will always be made from biomass. Materials range from softwood and hardwood sawdust to peat, straw, paper, rice husk, rapeseed and there was even a company that used to make them from leaves!

Benefits of heat logs

Because they are made up from sawdust or similar very small pieces and compacted, the resulting log will be homogeneous i.e. consistent in composition and quality, and will always be very dry with a moisture content below 10%. Every log will therefore be the same and almost guaranteed in quality with a very high heat output. Many people regard them as a major step forward from standard wood logs, but this is generally when compared with wet logs. Being so dry, the energy output per volume is very high, therefore storing heat logs is efficient on space.

Disadvantages of heat logs

Firstly, if you try heat logs and find them to be a complete revelation from your standard logs, just bear in mind your logs may not have been very dry, so do try some really dry logs such as kiln dried to compare - you will find little difference in heat output.

Heat logs will always be packed in small waterproof packs, usually 10kg, so you cannot buy them loose in bulk, like logs. These packs, most importantly keep them dry as the majority of heat logs will absorb moisture very quickly causing them to expand and ultimately disintegrate. They must be stored in a dry area and you cannot afford to damage or pierce the bags as this will allow moisture to enter the pack.

Heat logs can often expand when being burnt, so be particularly careful when burning on an open fire as they can expand and fall out! The flame tends not to be as nice as with natural wood logs and because heat logs cannot be bought loose in bulk, they can be more expensive than traditional logs. Try and buy heat logs that carry the HETAS 'Quality Assured Fuel' logo to guarantee the quality and be careful not to buy heat logs that may have been made from contaminated wood waste i.e. waste wood that may have been treated, painted, or glued at some point. Also, be aware that some heat logs can produce quite a lot of ash.

These are really more for the occasional user, perhaps using the fire on the odd weekend, but less likely for the regular evenings and weekends user.

Comments

18 thoughts on “What are the benefits of heat logs?”

  • Daphne

    I use hardwood logs and flamers. I have used your kindling but find it rather short in the woodburner. If the wind is blowing,and drawing fast, I use half a heatlog to ensure the fire keeps in, together with a good log. They are also useful in times of short supply of hardwood.
    It is essential to halve them - a sharp tap on a sharp edge is easy.

    Reply
  • Martyn Smith

    I prefer your Kiln dried logs , more aesthetically pleasing in a log burningl stove . O K as a. Reserve

    Reply
  • Martyn Smith

    I prefer your Kiln dried logs , more aesthetically pleasing in a log burningl stove than heat logs . OKAs a reserve

    Reply
  • Rodney Green

    Are heat logs perhaps useful as a "starter" log when you first light the fire (with Flamers and kindling). I ask this because my natural logs are sometimes too big (I don't have a log splitter)to catch light easily.

    Reply
    • nicsnell

      You can use heat logs to start the fire, but personally I think logs are better as they have more of an edge to catch light. You are right to point out that you do need slightly smaller logs to start the fire, but having said that I do find that with the kindling and Flamers, the kiln dried logs should start ok

      Reply
  • Geoffrey Mercer

    The kiln dried logs are the most effective fuel the I have ever used..

    Reply
  • John

    We also use a mix - heat logs and kiln dried wood. I find the heat logs at 10% help to keep the fire very dry and hot - but the kiln dried wood gives it a nice long real wood burn. One pallet load of each gets us through a winter.

    Reply
  • Kevin M Regan

    We use a mix but with firewood becoming so expensive compared with just a few years ago we are now using 70/30 to heat logs and saving a lot of money!

    Reply
  • John Naylor

    Hi I used HotMax logs once, the end result after using them for six days was a blocked flue and the inside of a six months old Clearview stove covered in a thick layer of tar my recommendation stay well clear of these products

    Reply
  • Paul Newton

    I have used heat logs rather than kindling since the late '70s.
    In the days before kiln dried logs I used them as the basis of the fire -boiled off the damp and sap of logs and restored a fire when it was spluttering. I have had little need for them in the last two or three years but this year the rain has just soaked the logs to saturation and I am using them to boost the fire. Incidentally i cook on wood so they are ideal for grilling or bread making.

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  • Bertie Esmond

    ALWAYS BUY IN PLASTIC BAGS
    Kiln dried logs just like heat logs need to be bought and stored in unpunctured plastic bags. I have loose kiln dried stored in a log store and they are no better than the not very seasoned local logs I buy. They reabsorb moisture and end up after a year back over 25% moisture, pointless. However at similar age the plastic bag ones are great.
    Sadly this is something Certainly Wood didn't seem to know, or were certainly unable to advise me on.

    Reply
    • nicsnell

      Thanks for your comments but you are not exactly right. Logs dried down to 15-20% moisture as ours will be, won't really absorb much moisture and certainly not the amount you suggest. In plastic bags they won't absorb moisture even with the small puncture holes we put in the bags to allow the wood to breath. All my logs at home are stored in my log store and what I find is that even if they do get a bit of moisture onto the surface, this is the surface that will actually dry the quickest. I never have a problem on burning quality. I agree with you that the heat logs MUST be in unpunctured bags as these really do re-absorb moisture and of course expand too. In this respect the logs are better. Sorry you thought we were unable to advise on this - it is something that we are fully aware of the facts

      Reply
  • Chris

    I tried heat logs last winter (not from Certainly Wood) and bought 1 tonne. I stored in a dry wooden garage and also in a verandah. They were kept in the bags as supplied but still absorbed moisture. This caused havoc with the chimney and at one point we had liquid creosote-like fluid dripping out on to the hearth. It also eventually blocked the chimney. They burn great when dry but don't let them get damp or store in bulk! Have tried many suppliers of logs over the years but none burn anywhere near as well as the kiln dried.

    Reply
  • John Naylor

    I store my kiln dried logs in a large wood store under a large carport then move them to a smaller store on the covered patio, I have found the moisture content after a wet year to increase to 20-25%. So the logs are brought into the house day one, then stacked at the fire side day two, then into the basket ready to burn day three moisture content then is around 7-19% and the stove is burning now at it's best. I hope this helps, damp wood slows the flue from heating up and helps smoke deposits to stick so stacking logs by the stove does help (not to close though!!!)

    Reply
  • Andy Watkin

    If you recommend heat logs are sold in unpunctured plastic bags why do you sell yours in cardboard boxes?
    Also would help if sold in smaller quantities

    Reply
    • nicsnell

      Andy, good point, I forgot about that ! Cardboard is obviously fine but obviously these boxes need to be stored in a dry area. We do supply these in half pallets of 54, are you saying that is still too much? If so my only concern would be a smaller quantity would become rather expensive on delivery cost -
      Nic

      Reply
  • basil romaya

    Iam asking who sell heat logs near me.
    thank you

    Reply
    • nicsnell

      Basil, not sure where you live, but you can use our postcode search facility to see who holds stock near you, but I suggest you also ring them first. Here is the link http://www.certainlywood.co.uk/nearest-retailer
      Nic

      Reply