Monday, April 15, 2013
Fuel Blocks Test
Fuel blocks are designed to be burned in normal wood burning stoves in good condition. Like pellets for pellets stoves, they are made from recycled sawdust. The blocks come in different sizes and shapes. These blocks are about the size of a loaf of bread. They are packed in plastic wrap, three to a bundle.
It seemed like a good time to buy a few packages and see how they perform. The days and nights are cold enough for a good test, but it's not zero with howling winds either. Another inspiration to try them is my dwindling woodpile. Much of my remaining wood is hard to get to because of ice and snow still on the ground.
How do they perform? Short answer, pretty well. They ignite as well as very seasoned hardwood. They don't seem to put out quite as high a temperature as seasoned hardwood, but they burn for a longer period of time. Two blocks in my kitchen stove last all night and provide enough hot coals to start fresh wood in the morning.
I'm not keen on buying something that's wrapped in plastic, but there's no way around it. Fuel blocks must be kept dry. If they get wet, they fall apart and turn back into sawdust. When unwrapped a small amount of sawdust falls out of the package onto the floor. Of course, it's dry, clean and easy to sweep up. Natural firewood sheds bark, dirt, ants, and spiders. Compared to firewood, the blocks seem to produce less smoke and ash.
Most people mix fuel blocks and firewood and that works well. It is possible to successfully burn nothing but fuel blocks and that works fine too.
Fuel blocks are not to be confused with Duraflame or similar logs. Those contain waxes and other chemicals that make them unfit for use in woodstoves. Duraflame type logs are designed for burning outside in open fireplaces.
Would I buy it again? Maybe, if the price is right. I'm thinking a pallet of fuel blocks stored inside the house would be handy. It would be nice to have the options of not trekking through the snow to the woodshed.