Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Fuel for Thought

Along with our lovely wee cottage, we have adopted a real fireplace.

We stupidly didn't use it last year - due to our 'townie' fear of burning the house down and the fact that the previous owner has been burning coal rather than wood, our epic room changing (is it a dining room?  a living room?  a general purpose room?) and first year with new baby in the house, we just didn't bother.

Owen in front of our derelict fireplace last year!

Which was daft.

As soon as we cracked on with it one blustery cold evening, we began to understand how much we lost by NOT burning it last year.

It's so, so, SO lovely to have a real fire crackling away in the background.  I suppose that it is extra work, what with the cleaning of the grate etc, but on a cold night out in the sticks, it's just what you need.

We had been burning the wood from the woodshed , which wasn't the best, but anyone who has a fireplace knows that the less money spent on burning fuel, the better - after all, burning money?  Not a nice feeling.

Burning wood is nice - there's the crackle and the roar - there's also the spitting and the flaring.  You have to watch out for that!

Once it's been going for a few hours it is lovely - but it can be tricky to get going.

I was made up when the people at Lekto Wood Fuels sent me a sample of what they have to offer.

bark briquettes

Over the last couple of weeks I've been alternating my usual wood with the Birch sawdust briquettes and the Bark briquettes.

Both burn a lot longer and a lot easier than traditional wooden logs.

They smell nice too - when I took them out of the pack to store in my indoor wood pile, they smelt very fresh and lovely.  They were easy to stack too, with none of the usual splinters!

So why burn briquettes?

Here is some info I found on the lektofuels website:

  • Humidity – Briquettes are always dry. Their moisture level is only as high as 8%, while well-dried firewood comes in at 20%. This is an important factor, because the higher levels of moisture that any heating fuel contains means you feel less heat coming off the fuel. High-moisture wood fuel also burns slower and fills your flue with creosote and soot. Low-moisture briquettes are always ready to use.
  • Environmentally Friendly – Wood briquettes are eco-friendly. They are made from by-products (pure sawdust or bark) of the sawmill industry. No chemical additives or binding materials are used in their production. Briquettes are a carbon-neutral fuel. While burning with briquettes, the amount of CO2 emitted is no greater than the amount the tree absorbs during its growth cycle.
  • Reliable Product – By purchasing briquettes, you will always receive what you ordered, because the weight and quality for each package of briquettes is constant and does not vary from one package to the next. Each piece of these briquettes comes to you in the same size, weight, and shape. Each briquette has the same burning characteristics, and our customers become quite proficient at burning them.
  • Packaging – Briquettes are packed in simple, clean, transparent plastic bags. They are easy to stack and store. Briquettes require significantly less storage space than other wood fuels.
  • Ash – Briquettes produce very little ash. Their actual ash content equals around 1% from sawdust, and about 4.5% from bark. Since our briquettes are produced without adding any binding materials, the resulting ash from this product can be used as a fertilizer in your gardens.
  • Value for the Money – Briquettes are economical to use, they last longer than any firewood, they burn steadily, and they produce even, intense heat.

They were very clean to burn - the ash swept up easily and I even found I could simply add it to the soil in my garden.

There was little to no sparking AT ALL, so were great for a novice like me - they sat in the grate without any sparks or flares, making them ideal for burning when the kids were going about - I didn't have to worry about any embers jumping out (although OF COURSE I always take every precaution and have a HUGE fire-guard)

The best thing they sent me to try, along with the briquettes, were the natural firelighters.

natural firelighters

Made from sawdust and straw, and in a pellet form, they took quickly and burned for around 15 mins each, helping my fire to really get going.

Check out Lekto Wood Fuels for more info on what they provide.

Meanwhile, I wish I could provide a photo of my lovel lit fire, but I'm almost 100% sure now that Owen has managed to send my phone to landfill as I cannot find it anywhere!  I hope to rectify this situation soon, but it is driving me absolutely crazy.  It has been a month now and no sign of it whatsoever.

Ahrgh!  Kids!

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