Fire Logs vs Wood | Comparing Manufactured Logs vs Real Wood
As heat costs continue to rise across the USA, many Americans are looking for new options to heat their homes.
For many Americans, cordwood has long been their primary or secondary heat sources. While cordwood heat is as old as our country, there might be another option these homeowners would appreciate.
While 100% of Wood FireLogs are not new, most Americans are still unaware of them. When you ask most Americans about ‘fireplace logs’ they think of the waxed logs that are used to create an “atmosphere”. These waxed logs have been marketed very successfully, but they are not intended to provide heat.
How we make them:
The 100% wood FireLogs we produce contain no waxes, no binders, in fact, no additives of any kind. At Bear Mountain Forest Products, our FireLogs are made from clean Douglas fir, Cedar and White Fir sawdust.
The sawdust is compressed under extreme pressure to form our FireLogs that weight 7# each. The extreme pressure ‘melts’ the resin in the wood and acts as a natural adhesive to keep the log from falling apart.
The #1 difference between FireLogs and cordwood, more heat:
The primary difference between FireLogs and cordwood is the moisture content of the wood. Fresh cut cordwood will contain up to 50% moisture.
Even after several years of drying, most cordwood will still contain 20% or more moisture. When you burn cordwood, much of the energy is used to boil off the water in the wood. You can see the results of by looking at the smoke. Heavy smoke signifies inefficient burning due to high moisture. The smoke contains steam, as well as pollutants that adversely affect air quality.
In the case of Bear Mountain FireLogs, we remove most of the moisture before making them into FireLogs. By running the clean sawdust through huge dryers, we reduce the moisture content to around 6%. Consequently, when you heat your home with FireLogs, the fire is much more efficient, with virtually no smoke being produced. One FireLog can produce nearly 70,000 BTU’s of heat.
As a general comparison, one pallet of Bear Mountain FireLogs (240 each) has an equivalent heating value to 1 ½ cords of good quality cordwood.
What other benefits do they offer?:
There are numerous benefits that may or may not apply to each woodstove heater.
- Ease of Use: There is no need to cut, split or haul FireLogs.
- Cleanliness: No more dirt in the house, spider or insects in the wood.
- Easy to store: One pallet of FireLogs will take up approximately half the space of an equivalent heating quantity of cordwood.
- Clean Burning: Since most of the water has been removed from the wood, your fire will burn with virtually no smoke. In most areas of the country (check to be sure in your area) you can still burn FireLogs in an EPA certified woodstove on “no burn” days.
- Long burn times: In a good tight stove, one FireLog can burn for 8-10 hours. Due to the density of these logs, you can get many hours of heat from just a single log.
Are there disadvantages to FireLogs?
As with all good things, there are trade-offs. Some of the tradeoffs are:
- No outdoor storage: Since these FireLogs are so dry, they will tend to swell and deteriorate if moisture is allowed to contact the FireLogs. As such, they need to be kept dry and covered.
- They are harder to start: Due to the high density of the FireLogs, it will take more than a few pieces of newspaper to start one. Ideally, a small kindling fire should be made before adding the first FireLog.
- Availability limitations: These type FireLogs are not being manufacturer in all areas of the country. If there is no local supplier, freight costs may make them too expensive.
Is the market growing for Fire Logs?:
As more people have learned of the benefits of these type Fire Logs, sales have been rising dramatically. This is especially true where cordwood has become difficult to find or very expensive. With the EPA air quality restrictions becoming more widespread, we would expect that clean burning options like 100% Wood FireLogs will continue to grow rapidly.
In conclusion, it is never easy to change a habit that has been in place for decades. For many decades Americans have been heating with cordwood, and many will continue.
For the customer that wants to save some money, heat more cleanly or is tired to splitting and stacking, these 100% Wood FireLogs offer some nice benefits. If nothing else, let them know that alternatives do exist and let them make the choice!