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Eco Log vs Cord Wood

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by chris2879, Jan 28, 2011.

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  1. chris2879

    chris2879 Member

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    Well... I am a first year burner and fell into the advertised "seasoned" wood lie. I have a cord of oak that was seasoned in log length for 1 yr and split and stacked in a 12ft tall pyrmid generated from the wood processor. I do not think that this is the ideal seasoning situation; and i found a few pieces of the concrete slab in my cord, which to me indicates that it came from the bottom of the heap! Lucky for me I got my hands on about 1/3 cord of real seasoned wood which was awesome, but know its gone...

    I started looking at Eco bricks or bio bricks. They are safe to burn in a wood stove? How many do you put in at a time? What is the BTU output of them vs cord wood? Do you think I can mix a eco bricks with my damp wood?

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  2. agartner

    agartner Feeling the Heat

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    If you do a bit of searching, you'll find more than a few threads on what I like to call "solid fuel" for woodstoves. These products are designed for woodstoves. Some woodstove manufacturers poo-poo anything but seasoned cordwood and claim using anything else will "void the warrantee". Most solid fuel manufacturers also claim that a ton (2000 lbs) is "equivalent" in heat output to a cord of wood. Being a full time brick burner, I would tend to say that they're not too far off the mark. Burning bricks often will take a bit of "experimentation" based on the type of brick and your stove. Some like some airspace, others like to be packed tightly together. Bricks pack a lot of BTU in a small package with very little moisture, typically under 8%. Best thing to do is start small, say 4 to 6 bricks at a time, and slowly build up brick loads until you find what works best for your stove.

    And yes, you can mix bricks and cordwood - and they can help cordwood that is "questionable", but do keep in mind that every BTU you use to boil water is one less BTU used to heat your house. Better to let your cordwood sit and season properly and use the bricks to get the maximum BTU you possibly can out of them as heat for your house.
  3. fredarm

    fredarm Minister of Fire

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    Yes the bricks are safe to burn. I usually burn four at a time with a couple of splits, but if you're just burning bricks you could use more. They work well with less-than-dry wood, just put the bricks on the bottom and the wood on the top. The bricks will burn first and dry the wood out. Go to the Biobrick web site and they have suggestions for starting a fire and burning with them. They say a ton of bricks is equal to a cord of wood, but my unscientific impression is maybe a bit less--they don't seem to put out quite the BTU's of well-seasoned hardwood.
  4. fmer55

    fmer55 New Member

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    i too was using "seasoned " wood for a while until i got fed up, i tried one sleeve of envi bricks and ordered a pallet teh next day, i absolutely love them, keep airflow completely shut down from the time secondaries appear and i can get an hour hour burn as opposed to a 6 hour burn from actually seasoned wood. another ples is the lack of bugs dirt, leaves etc. and after ayear of burning wood which my wife did not load a single load of, she now has absolutely no problem throwing a couple of brciks in.......and one last thing, they burn virtually to nothing, i clean out my firebox once every ten days or so, havent had to empty my ash can since i ordered the pallet a month ago. and one last thing, i have no interest in the company at all, which i am sure it sounds like i do with all the gushing i am doing......they make it a pleasure while i wait for my wood to season, but even once that happens i will will still use the blocks and mix the two together

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  5. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    How's the VC treating you? I will need to replace the Intrepid in the coming years and the Montpelier would fit the area.

    And, how much did a pallet cost you?
  6. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    If you can't get good dry fire wood. I think this is a good choice.
    I've read many complaints about fresh bought fire wood not being wells seasoned enough
    to burn.
    If you don't have good dry wood, you won't have an enjoyable fire.

    Finding a local dealer other than around high population areas may be tough.

    For those who need dry wood now, a good choice.
    If you have limited storage & no way to season fire wood for a year or 2, a good choice.

    http://www.biopellet.net/instructions.html

    I don't know the cost vs fire wood. $300/ton is a bit steep, compared to a cord of fire wood.
    For me, I cut my own wood & it wouldn't be cost effective,

    Look cool in the stove
    Looks like a loaves of spam :) (just being funny)

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  7. fmer55

    fmer55 New Member

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    pallet cost 295, delivered and rolled right into the garage, while wood around here goes for about 200-220 for "seasoned wood", and ill tell you, i dont burn 24/7 but i burn as much as i can and have found that the pallet which i am 2'3rds of the way thru, is lasting just a tad longer than a cord and i am getting longer overnite burns. My next step in the wood game is to become a gatherer, but the

    As to the vc, i absolutely love it, there are a lot of naysayers here but as with any stove you have to find what works for you obviously. Have you seen the newmerimack from vc? firebox is almost twice as big, windows are huge. it really is a lovely stove, takes up a bit more room though. If the merrimack were out last year i would have went with it, but i love the montpelier nonetheless
  8. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Yes, the Merrimack has my interest as it will fit in the area where the Intrepid is. I am one of those that have bashed VC for their previous catalytic design, their everburn set up, their cost on parts, their wait time on parts, and their lack of customer service. But the Merrimack and the new 2-in-1 stoves seem to show they are moving in the right direction. If the reviews stay positive on the new Defiant I will purchase one to replace the Vigilant in the next few years.
  9. Eric Gradoia

    Eric Gradoia New Member

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    I've burned both Envi Blocks and Eco Bricks with good results. I think the Envi Blocks gave a longer, hotter burn than the Eco bricks, it may be because they are larger (and weigh about 6 lbs compared to the Eco brick at about half that), but they also seemed denser while burning. Both are a good backup to cord wood, its just the price that's the killer. The vendors I bought these from attribute the high price to trucking costs (Envi blocks come out of Pennsylvania and Eco are from Ohio). Both go for about 250-270 a ton (they say equal to a full cord) around me. When you get your cord wood for free, that's a lot of bread. You just have to figure out what your time cutting, trucking, splitting, and stacking works out to be.

    You do have to be careful burning them, they've go a lot of energy stored in them. Get use to burning a few loads to learn how they burn in your stove.
  10. obrien040362

    obrien040362 New Member

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    I bought a pack and they do burn nice

    But I don't see the value

    using 12,400 btu per pack (generous)

    one pallet = 81 packs x 8 bricks per pack x 12400 btu/pack = 8,000,000 btu +/-

    One cord of oak is 24,000,000 btu's

    So it takes 3 pallets to make 24,000,000 btus (one cord of oak)

    Eco Bricks is 250/pallet or 750 for three pallets

    A cord of Oak is $150 to $180 delivered to my driveway
  11. fmer55

    fmer55 New Member

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    you should start buying all the seasoned oak you can and drive it to northeast and you will no doubt retire before you even drive back to ohio, or rensellear, or cal tech....or wherever you math degeree is from
  12. ruserious2008

    ruserious2008 Member

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    hey Chris,
    I'm a newbie too but maybe a few months ahead of you. I too got suckered into the "seasoned" wood (Burns GREAT the guys wife told me and I believed her- it hisses with steam coming out of it in reality:(
    Got some good 3 year seasoned stuff from someone moving away and then also bought a ton of eco bricks. I have a smaller stove and heat 2 or 3 rooms in general so I put one eco brick, one dry piece of wood and one not so dry and they burn great. As someone said every btu spent boiling water out of the wood is wasted and also that water can cool your stack when it condenses and increase creosote build up so keep an eye on that if you burn the wet stuff. And I'm jealous of the guy that gets oak for $150-180 a cord. Can't even get it green and unsplit here in NH for that price:)
    So...I got stuck and had to burn that green wood this year (next year I'm going to be smarter with what I buy and also will be cutting and stacking wood this summer to start seasoning my own for 2+ years out) but with the season being short consider saving that green wood for future years and just burning the eco bricks if the math works. I can get them at $250 per ton which is about the going rate for a DRY cord here. At $150 a cord I'd forget the eco bricks. Wonder how my wife will react to price of wood being a factor on where we should retire:)
  13. dafattkidd

    dafattkidd Minister of Fire

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    fm you can buy firewood for $150/cord split and delivered on Long Ilsand. You just have to buy it a year in advance and let it season. Here's a craig's list ad. http://newyork.craigslist.org/lgi/for/2246436980.html

    I haven't bought from them. I'm a scrounger, but if I had to buy, I'd buy from this guy. Hope that helps.
  14. henkmeuzelaar

    henkmeuzelaar New Member

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    I have no skin in the solid fuel game but it seems to me that your math may be off substantially.

    A 1 ton pallet of Bio Bricks or Enviro Blocks should contain 2204 lbs.

    At the usually accepted 8300 or so btu/lb heating value for these dry, compressed wood blocks we are talking well over 18 million btu per pallet.


    Henk
  15. obrien040362

    obrien040362 New Member

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    There web site says 9000-14000 BTU per Brick. I used 12,400 in my example.

    Is there more than 81 packs on a pallet?
  16. henkmeuzelaar

    henkmeuzelaar New Member

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    I waited a bit to see if perhaps some of the other responders who have actually bought compressed wood bricks by the pallet might tune in about the pallet weight.

    Just browsing on the web, though, my strong impression is that in the US full pallets of compressed wood brick typically weigh 2000 lbs (1 short ton), whereas the European Enviro Log is sold by the long ton (1,000 kg or 2204 lbs) instead. Of course, there may well be half pallets available here and there. However, when talking about US $ 250-300 per pallet one must assume these are full (1 ton) pallets.

    Because the individual weights of the various commercial bricks vary considerably, as do the number of bricks per bag (and, consequently, the number of bags per 1 ton pallet) I thought it less confusing to calculate the total BTUs per 1 ton pallet directly, rather than trying to multiply single brick heating values by the number of bricks per bag and the number of bags per pallet.

    Henk
  17. ruserious2008

    ruserious2008 Member

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    FYI a pack of Eco bricks is 25 lbs with 8 bricks per pack.
  18. obrien040362

    obrien040362 New Member

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    I think I might of found the discreptency.

    There appears to be two manufactires of ECO Bricks. One in UT and one in OH.

    There websites are www.eco-brick.com (UT) and www.ecobrick.com (OH)

    The UT bricks must be smaller than the Ohio Bricks becasuse the claim 9000- 14000 btu per brick.

    The OH bricks do not claim a BTU per brick they just state the weight of each brick and the quanity of bricks on a pallet.

    OH Ecobricks are 3.125 #/each (pack of 8 weights 25 pounds). 81 packs per pallet.

    So i am agreement a one ton pallet will produce around 17,000,000 btu's (based on 8500 BTU/#)

    81 packs (of Ohio "Eco Bricks") x 25 #/pack x 8500 #/btu = 17,212,500 BTU.

    If 8500 BTU/# is a constant for dryed wood, then why does UT state 9000-14000 BTU/brick based on "species of wood"?
  19. henkmeuzelaar

    henkmeuzelaar New Member

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    Provided, you can find a link for the UT enviro-bricks that does not connect to a webpage with only Japanese (Chinese?) characters, I will be happy to try and help you find an answer to your question.

    Unless, of course, UT is a Japanese (Chinese?) province rather than my old home state of Utah. In which case we should probably both spend our time a bit differently....

    Henk

    edit: I have noticed that in other countries, the term eco brick is more likely to be used for ceramic bricks with one or more "green" environmental properties than for compressed wood bricks. Unless your Japanese (Chinese?) is a heck of a lot better than mine, my best guess is that they are probably talking about some kind of building bricks on that webpage.
  20. obrien040362

    obrien040362 New Member

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  21. henkmeuzelaar

    henkmeuzelaar New Member

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    Thanks!

    The Utah site is the ECO Bricks manufacturer and the OHIO site is either just a dealer or possibly even a scam (they are trying to sell that eco-bricks site for US $ 45,000.
    However, the trademark name (with the three tailchasing arrows for the letter "O") is the same on both sites. So, I believe that the brick/bag/pallet weight info given on the Ohio site also applies to the Utah ECO Bricks; i.e. 81x8=648 bricks weigh together 2025 lbs, suggesting 3 lbs per brick plus ~80 lbs for a (very sturdy) pallet.

    That the BTU values for each of these 3-lb bricks could vary between 9,000 and 14,000 BTU (depending upon the type of wood used) ,as repeatedly stated on the Utah website, sounds very strange to me, as nearly all thoroughly dried wood produces between 6,000 and 7,000 btu/lb. Since the Utah site indicates that moisture AND ash content are very low, a 3-lb compressed wood brick should at least produce 18,000 btu or so. Something other must be in there that has low btu content while not leaving much ash..... Also, I don't like the purported furniture-making residue origin of the bricks, in view of the many problematic chemicals used in that type of business.

    Here is a new link (to a major ENVIRO brick supplier): < http://www.lehmans.com/store/Natural_Goods___Appliances_and_Energy_Savers___Eco_Bricks_High_Density_Heating_Bricks___1127900?Args=>
    It has a lot of useful information and also shows a surprisingly low price ($ 199 per ton). Perhaps they realize that the BTU value of these bricks is too low to sell them at the usual market price per ton.

    Again the big unresolved question is, what else but wood may be in there to make the calorific value THAT low and THAT variable??? I am thinking, perhaps some type of carbonate binder that leaves very little ash (because it splits off CO2 upon heating)....? Very strange!

    edit: Shoot! The price just seems to have gone up to $ 250 per pallet.....

    Henk
  22. kallsop

    kallsop Member

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    Here's another brick:

    << Biobrick >>

    I don't see a BTU number but there is a nice graph:

    << Regency S2400 >>

    1 lb of BioBricks equals 1.7 lbs of cordwood
    Easy to handle 38 – 42 lb packs with 50 packs per pallet (= 1 ton)
    Pallet size approximately 4x4x3 (equivalent to 1 cord wood)
  23. obrien040362

    obrien040362 New Member

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    ? on your comment on the ECO stamp on the brick, they don't look the same.

    Looks like the UTAH brick stamped on brick is E C O and Ohio brick is E C (and 3 arrows to make the O)

    Do you have Utah and Ohio switched in you first sentence? Look like the Ohio ECO Bricks are legitamate at least they site test data on burn times.
  24. henkmeuzelaar

    henkmeuzelaar New Member

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    Yep, you're right! I tried to Google for Utah ECO brick dealers and found several with the tail-chasing arrow trademark. Apparently, the two names are too close to allow reliable Googling.

    So, let's forget the Utah bricks with their huge BTU variations and questionable fuel source. This also solves the discrepancy between the Utah and the Ohio data.

    Have you found the website of the factory that makes these Ohio bricks. Are they being made of saw dust and chips or of something else?

    Henk

    (I will probably be offline for awhile to help take care of some family business)
  25. fmer55

    fmer55 New Member

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    i use a brick called the ENVI......and ENVI 8 which are smaller, have burned enough wood to know that one pallet is just about the equivalent of a cord, there are 100 20-22 lb packages in them and i absolutely get an extra 2 hrs on my overnite burn as well as a clean hot burning fire at all times. i am still only a couple years in and haevnt been able to stockpile the wood i need but these things are gold. and of course they "state" that is all hardwoods which are compressed and no glue or other components. they are made from milling scraps. i have no ties to the company but i do love the spaece issues, the bug and mess issues also taken care of. i bu my wood anyway so these are great. especially for the overnights. i still love burning reg wood but ran out this year. will always keep some of theses on hand though.


    One last huge benefit......the wife will load these but not regular wood
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