1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Finally! (Envi-Block Review)

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by chazcarr, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. chazcarr

    chazcarr Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2012
    Messages:
    348
    Loc:
    Wolcott, CT
    Hi folks,

    After all my problems this year (running out of wood, open window, etc...) I finally had an overnight burn!

    The oil man came and filled my tank a week ago and charged $4 per gallon.
    I was so mad I immediately came on this website and started reading to see what I could do.
    I saw that a pellet dealer near me actually had tons of Envi blocks in stock and ready to ship.

    So I bought 2 tons.
    Here is the big truck delivering it in the snow (surprised he tried, we had three feet):
    envitruck.jpeg
    I then started a fire. Let me tell you these things are hard to light! Eventually I used some pallet scraps and got it going, but it took an hour or so and one whole super cedar to get it started up. I've learned these things need some coals to really work well. This is a picture with a whole supercedar trying to get it going in a cold stove:
    enviburn2.jpeg
    Since there hasn't been a fire in a week or two, the house was really cold, and while it was warming up, I warmed up by moving one of the tons into my basement. These things come wrapped three to a bundle. Each bundle weighs over 20 pounds. Then these bundles are wrapped in piles of ten, and then all the piles are covered with a super thick tarp that I kept and plan to use to top cover my wood piles. Then that tarp is pallet wrapped as usual. Took a long time and I warmed up quickly getting that wood unwrapped and into the basement. And this was only one pallets worth:
    image.jpeg
    The light in this pic is just under 4 feet tall.
    Anyways, after messing around with these logs for a day I figured out there system and am burning 24/7 and it feels great. I found laying one block E-W and then three in front N-S gets the best results and longest burn. It looks like this after about 6 hours:
    enviburn5.jpeg
    Once I got it started the first time, reloads have not been a problem at all. The bricks fire right up in seconds. There is hardly any ash as well, which means I can just keep on feeding this thing. I have and the heat hasn't come on in 5 days. Downstairs is staying in the 77 degree range and the upstairs around 68-69 depending on the burn cycle time.
    One thing I learned from burning all the time like this is that it seems to actually be saving me wood, and I have a lot more control over the temperature of the house. Before I used to have to burn hard and fast to get the stove and house warm. Now that the house is already completely warmed up, It is easy to raise or lower the temps throughout the house or just cruise along like I am. My wife even loaded the stove today and said it was easy. She is usually afraid to do so because someone told her that improperly loading the stove can cause an explosion.

    Of course it is not all roses. These things do cost a premium, and they do not burn as hot as some of the woods I have seasoning for next year. I also busted one of them open to make sure there was no weird stuff in there. I saw a few specs that seemed dyed red, but not much of anything bad. Compared to the price of oil, I am a happy camper.

    Let me know if you have any questions about these things and I will try to answer them.
    If you have any advice on using them more effectively, please share.

    Thanks for letting me ramble on, I just had to share that
    Grisu, Soundchasm, tfdchief and 2 others like this.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2012
    Messages:
    759
    Loc:
    Massachusetts
    curious what a pallet costs? Even with picking up a third of a cord of Kiln Dried this year, I'm about out of wood for the year other than some Ash that could be used with some lumber scraps in a pinch. I'm now tied to a geothermal system with electric back up and if we lose power, I'm out of luck without wood since the surges are too much for a generator. Ample wood in the stacks...just not ready for primetime yet unless I was selling it, then it would be perfectly seasoned.
  3. chazcarr

    chazcarr Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2012
    Messages:
    348
    Loc:
    Wolcott, CT
    It is always hard to say. You can click here to see what I paid, but he states that he doesn't deliver to MA.
    Of course comparing a cord to a pallet is not at all that easy.

    I'd say that I am burning much less of these blocks than splits of wood (I load much less frequently), but can't really say if a ton is equivalent to a cord.
  4. chazcarr

    chazcarr Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2012
    Messages:
    348
    Loc:
    Wolcott, CT
    Just a quick update from last night.
    I reloaded earlier in the cycle than I normally would because I was tired and wanted to go to bed.

    Raked the coals (lumps really) forward and loaded the 4 bricks in as usual.

    WOW they took off!_g Within 15 mins the temp was already 700. Air shut all the way down.
    So I put the fan on high and slept on the couch for an hour while it burned through the peak temps.
    After an hour or so it stayed around 500 with fan on low and I went to sleep.
    House got really warm which was nice.

    I share this as just a little warning. These bricks can burn fast if you don't let the previous load burn down enough.
  5. BEConklin

    BEConklin Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    340
    Loc:
    Connecticut
    any particular reason that you didn't try the less expensive brand of 100% hardwood bricks they offer?
  6. chazcarr

    chazcarr Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2012
    Messages:
    348
    Loc:
    Wolcott, CT
    Tried them a few years ago. Even with a stove full of them and lots of flame... no heat. Also occasionally there would be things like a plastic bag or something jammed into one of them.

    So while they are cheaper, you spend all your time reloading the stove and being cold.
  7. BEConklin

    BEConklin Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    340
    Loc:
    Connecticut
    ..that's a good reason!
  8. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    CT Pellet is a member here (Pellet Forum mainly) and I see him as an asset to this Forum. A great guy, serving a great product at reasonable prices...

    And to beat all of that, he himself burns "blocks" in his wood eater. Lots of them :)

    I have burned Bio-Blocks and Bricks and Although I haven't burned them exclusively, I have added one or two to a standard load of cord wood. Allows me to close the air faster and further because of there Super low M/C and ability to outgas quickly
  9. tweakerdave

    tweakerdave New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Loc:
    New Milford, Ct
    Pretty new here. Nice to see others enjoying the Envi's! I bought 5 ton this year and I am down to the last ton. I burn in a Regency i3100 24/7. It only shuts down when its time time clean it up. Wow chazcarr 700 degress! I have gotten mine up to 650 with proper air management. I do mix these with wood but I have burnt all that all up already. Its alot of work but keeps the oil man away!! Probably when its all said and done it will be close to 6 ton through the doors of the regency!!
    Keeppin warm in ct!
    DexterDay likes this.
  10. bboulier

    bboulier Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Messages:
    441
    Loc:
    NE Virginia
    Burning 24/7, how long do you estimate it would take you to go through a ton?
  11. chazcarr

    chazcarr Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2012
    Messages:
    348
    Loc:
    Wolcott, CT
    It seems at my current pace I will use almost a ton a month. But it is the coldest month, and I am at really high temps. I bet in March I will use only half of the second ton or else I would heat myself out of the living room.
  12. tweakerdave

    tweakerdave New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Loc:
    New Milford, Ct
    I would estimate about a ton a month as well. When we have those deep cold snaps maybe alittle more. I really like these. I have tried the bio bricks and they do work but with my stove setup and draft the envi's are my choice. I actually burn the Envi 8's not the larger Envvi blocks. The 8's come in a 6 pk and the Blocks come in a 3pk. The weight seems to be close between the two different packages. I like the 8's because I can fit more in my stove. They do expand quite a bit so you have to watch out and leave room for it.
  13. Cross Cut Saw

    Cross Cut Saw Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2012
    Messages:
    404
    Loc:
    Boulder, CO
    Technical Specifications
    • BTU Per Pound- 8000+/-
    • MOISTURE - Less Than 6%
    • ASH - Less than .5%
    Looks like a ton would be about 16,000,000 BTU.
    That's on the very low range for BTU output of hardwood.

    Is no one delivering kiln dried in your area?

    I had a bad experience with kiln dried earlier this year and I'm not really sure anyone in Midcoast Maine actually delivers dry wood at all.
    I'm running VERY low on wood and I think I'll check these out to supplement what I have left, thanks for the review!
  14. chazcarr

    chazcarr Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2012
    Messages:
    348
    Loc:
    Wolcott, CT
    Good comparison, but these blocks are putting out way more heat than the ash I was burning this year. I'm actually really surprised.
    I was burning a cord of wood a month (thought it would be way less but I guessed wrong), so that is where I see these blocks equal to a cord a ton.
    I suppose it all comes down to what type of dust is in there, some blocks must be better than others.
    I think these things are just amazing for people in city like areas where you can't store a lot of wood.
    Or where burning is heavily regulated. Even at start up there is Zero smoke, and these things have so far created no ash, absolutely none. I burned a piece of semi-dry oak yesterday just so I could get an ash bed in my stove.

    I also have learned that burning them with the ENVI logo on its side seems to work much better than logo side up. Much longer burn times that way.
  15. Cross Cut Saw

    Cross Cut Saw Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2012
    Messages:
    404
    Loc:
    Boulder, CO
    You've piqued my interest, I'm going to see if I can pick up a few bundles...

    There's a local hardware store that sells them by the pallet or by the bundle. I did talk to the folks at Woodstock to make sure that burning them wouldn't void my warranty or anything, they didn't think they would put out enough btu's to get the stove hot but you're making me want to give them a shot.
  16. chazcarr

    chazcarr Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2012
    Messages:
    348
    Loc:
    Wolcott, CT
    Let me know what you think, I'm curious about the consistency of the product. Mine burns hotter than others have thought, and I wonder if I got a god batch.
    Also, I've been looking at that progressive stove and wish I had one. It seems really nice.

    One thing I can say, if the stove is not already warmed up over 200 then these blocks are almost impossible to get started. Make sure to have a good warm stove before introducing these.
  17. tweakerdave

    tweakerdave New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Loc:
    New Milford, Ct
    I have never tried to light the Envi blocks from a cold start, I have always put them in on an already started fire. But.. Here is how I light the Envi 8's. I lay them in my stove (i3100) north south configuation 3 of them with about 1.25 spacing between them then I lay 2 more on top east west. I use those strike a fire sticks and lay one of them in between the three on the bottom.(usually between the first 2 just for air flow) light the end that has the matchstick on it with a lighter and off she goes. I always leave the door open (never unatttended) about a half inch for about 15 mins leave the draft rad open and shut the door. Works everytime!! I dont do this to often though because I burn 24/7 so there is always coals to get her going again. Package comes with 48 pieces (about 8 bucks) so if you burn like I do it lasts the whole season. Took me awhile to find what works and this is how I have been doing it for 3 seasons now. Every stove is different so watch those temps!!!
  18. Woodreb

    Woodreb New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2012
    Messages:
    21
    Loc:
    NW CT
    We use the Envi-8 blocks in our stove as well, mixed with cherry hardwood. I usually load 3-4 in the bottom depending on how cold it is and then the cherry on top. Our hardwood is so-so, from a dead cherry on our property cut down a year ago and bucked, but not split. My husband split it in late September. It's not horrible, but some of it is still a bit wet so the blocks help alo, getting the temperature upt. We also get ours from CTPellet.
    While they seem to burn just as well, I notice a difference in this years batch over some we had left from last year. It seems a little lighter in color and not quite so densely packed. I get a bit more dust crumbling off the newer blocks compared to the older batch. But they still burn well and we always have a nice bed of coals to light off in the morning.
    If it's a warmer day, my husband sometimes will bank up the blocks and they are good to light off a load for the evening without adding more blocks. I've been really happy with their performance in our stove.
  19. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2011
    Messages:
    3,137
    Loc:
    St. Lawrence River Valley, N.Y.
    I wonder what these envi-blocks would burn like in a gassification boiler. They are definitely expensive, but if you don't have dry wood it is better than paying the oil man. And more comfortable.
  20. chazcarr

    chazcarr Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2012
    Messages:
    348
    Loc:
    Wolcott, CT
    wanted to mention that these Envi's are now on sale for a great price. Still like mine and want to get another ton, just need to find a place to put them. I am burning them again today because the cold just refuses to go away. Its still snowing here. Friends in Vermont are getting around 17 inches.
  21. SolarBrian

    SolarBrian Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Messages:
    37
    Loc:
    Central MA
    Another happy Envi block burner here. We burn these exclusively. They are just so easy compared to cord wood and also burn so clean and dry. Really cuts down on chimney sweepings.

    We use a mix of regular and the Envi-8's to load the stove just right. Lighting is easy requiring only a 1/3rd of super cedar (log cabin style stacking).

    They aren't cheap but I don't think they're that expensive. Around here a cord of truly seasoned oak costs a lot more than a pallet of Envi blocks.
    chazcarr likes this.
  22. cheechblu

    cheechblu New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2014
    Messages:
    22
    Loc:
    New Paltz, NY
    I also went to CT Pallet last week and bought a ton of the Envi blocks. They burn hot and clean. I close my air intake all the way in my Jotul after they are burning. Stove cooks at 500*. In the morning, there are plenty of embers to jump the fire again. Very impressed! Great go to when low on wood.
  23. Andy S.

    Andy S. Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2013
    Messages:
    218
    Loc:
    Southeastern, PA
    I used these to help get me through my first year with marginal wood but have no plans on using them in the future. My small firebox petty much limited me to one at a time on reloads because they expand. They got to my burn tubes one time and it was a worry. I also learned that they are not made to be cut with a circular saw. The smaller bricks might make for a better experience, but buying my fuel would defeat my main reason for getting into burning - free heat. If I need to augment I'd rather scrounge pallets or construction scraps than buy blocks.
  24. Motor7

    Motor7 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2009
    Messages:
    368
    Loc:
    East TN.
    I have never burned the blocks/bricks, but I do my own firewood off my 100ac. It's a lot of work but out the power bill is under $75 during the winter & under $50 in the summer(no central heat or air). So $310 a ton plus delivery? Out of curiosity, if you fired your oil system up for one month 24/7 , how much would that cost you in oil? Same question for those with electric heat. My neighbor had a $260 power bill and that was with a fireplace going to supplement his electric heat.
  25. chazcarr

    chazcarr Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2012
    Messages:
    348
    Loc:
    Wolcott, CT
    Costs me between 400-600 dollars to heat a month with oil. It would probably have been more this year with all those damn vortexes coming through.

Share This Page