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"High Energy" firelogs...?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Fishstiq, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. Fishstiq

    Fishstiq New Member

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    Hey all, new member here from Washington state, a little south of the Canadian border. My wife and I have a nice little Country wood stove, and while I love having a fire, this thing eats a lot of wood in a hurry! Thus, my question...


    Do any/many of you use the "high energy firelogs" produced by companies such as North Idaho or Blazer International? I just came across them recently, and haven't found much useful info online as to the effectiveness or cost comparison. I've also used the search function on this site and couldn't find anything.

    Obviously, harvesting and seasoning your own firewood for the cost of a wood cutting permit is ideal. Outside that, if you were to buy firewood and with local cord wood costing around $250/cord (and you're lucky if it's seasoned lower than 30%!), I was wondering if these logs would make a better option. My local coop sells them for $0.88 per log, so a pallet of 240 would run around $210.

    So, pro's and cons? Anyone with experience have any info or opinions?

    Any help is very greatly appreciated!

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  2. molly1414

    molly1414 Member

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    My friend and I just picked up about 30 of the Idaho Energy Logs tonight to try out. I have been wanting to try them for awhile now. The lady at the store said to use three and the web site said only two but I decided to use four. Big mistake. I started a few very small pices of pine and then put the energy logs on top of the pine. I had to leave the air wide open on the stove for about an hour until these fully caught and then closed down the air. The lady at the shop said that it would take an hour to catch them and then to shut down all at once not slowly like with wood. With the air closed down and the secondaries rolling the stove quickly got to 650 and kept climbing to 700. I had to open the door on the stove and let the secondaries calm down. When the stove cooled off to 550 I closed the door and the stove then ran at 550 for several hours. I put them in at 6 pm in a completely cold stove and at 11pm the stove was at 300 and still going. I am pretty sure it will be two more hours before I would reload. Tomorrow I am going to just use two and see what happens. I am also going to try and close down the air a little sooner. These really have a lot of power in them and can quickly get out of control. I liked that they stayed together in a tight log through the entire burn rather then puff up and expand out like some of the other compressed products do. The price you have been quoted is better then they sell them for here in northern Ca. The store here sells then for 1.35 and the pallet of 240 logs for 314.00. A cord of oak here runs anywhere from 280 to 330 If you buy it in the off season green then it runs about 240 a cord. I think if you need to supplement your wood supply these can come in handy. They have a lot of heat in them and seem to last a long time.
  3. Elderthewelder

    Elderthewelder Minister of Fire

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    I use "energy logs" to supplement my heating options. I have a small Country insert, when it get real cold i usually add one or 1 and a half logs and some cord wood when i go to bed for the over night burn as my small insert will not give me a decent overnight burn with just cord wood using the softwoods we have here in Wa

    Than I reload with more energy logs when I go to work as wife does not like to operate the insert:( and it keeps her off the furnace T Stat

    I usually buy North Idaho logs , our local Cenex Co-Op puts them on sale beginning of every burning season, I picked up 100 last month

    If you are close to Ferndale check out HomeFire logs these are very good logs as well. During the summer they sell "factory seconds/rejects" in bulk for discounted prices
    contact their customer service for more info on that
    http://www.homefirelogs.com/
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2013
  4. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    What's "a lot" and what's "in a hurry"? I suspect the fault is in your stove, not your wood. Check your gaskets.
  5. Fishstiq

    Fishstiq New Member

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    Thank you for the responses!

    Molly, I started with 3 Idaho Logs, and my stove hit 500 easily. I agree with you, no way will I use more than 2 at a time from here on out, and most times I think 1 will be plenty!

    Elderthewelder, we are neighbors! I live just east of Everett. I have been to all 4 coop's around here (Everett, Snohomish, Marysville and Granite Falls) and they all seem to have roughly the same price on these logs. The $0.88 per log was a before-the-season sale price, so I'll have to watch for that next year.

    Bigg_Redd, my wood burning stove is pretty new to me, so I'm still trying to get it tuned in and stuff. I would say, burning most evenings during the week for 3-4 hours and then most of the day weekends (no fire at night), we have gone through 3/4ths of a cord in the last 3 to 4 weeks. Part of that time I was letting it burn wide open, and then the last couple weeks I have been closing it down more and more to get longer burns. Also, where I live, most of what we have is softer fir and cedar, not hardwood. I'm guessing that widens the gap even further between cord wood and these denser logs. Still, 1/4 cord a week seems like a lot to me. Am I wrong, is that normal?
  6. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    It depends how big is your firebox but since you are burning softwoods and you start from a cold stove a lot that is not out of the ordinary. If your wood is dry try to close the air down stepwise once the stove reads 300 F and see how far down you can go. That will extend your burn times and get more heat out of your wood.
  7. Elderthewelder

    Elderthewelder Minister of Fire

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    Do you know what model Country stove you have? 1/4 cord a week is very excessive in my oppinion, we have not even got real cold yet

    Like I said above I have the small Country insert this is the same as their smallest free standing stove but in insert form.

    when I first started burning I seemed to go through alot of wood as well, than i found this site and learned alot from it

    My first issue was my wood was not properly seasoned and took forever to light off and had to keep air open alot to keep it burning, another thing i was doing was to keep adding wood on top of a huge coal bed, pretty soon my coal bed was even to bottom of door,

    later found it is much better to let the coal bed burn down before adding more wood and reaping the warmth and btu's of coal bed

    why were you keeping your air wide open? would it not stay lit?

    there is some good info on this thread on how to run a insert, same thing applies to a stove
    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/fireplace-insert-burn-techniques-best-practices.117055/


    Also sounds like you were buying the Homefire logs at .88 at the Co op, they are nice but dont last as long as the North Idaho that co op sells as well. They were on sale for $1.15ea / $276 ton last month. think they may have went up some now however
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2013
  8. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Look at it in terms of BTU capacity. N.I. Energy Logs supply about 16.5 million BTU/ton, about the same as a cord of pine or similar. Alder has about 15 MBTU/cord, fir about 17 and oak about 23.

    They are a good product, but be careful about the claims on the website. They claim a pallet (ton) is the same as 1.5 - 2 cords of firewood, but the wood would have to be about 8 to 11 MBTU/cord which would be extremely low quality wood.

    IMHO, the Energy logs are good as a supplement if your wood supply is not dry enough or if cord wood is just too expensive.

    One other thing to consider is that the energy logs must be stored dry.

    If you shop around after the winter season rush is over, you should be able to find good wood for under 175 I would think.

    To address your problem with burn times, what size and model is your stove and what kind of wood have you been burning?
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2013
    HDRock likes this.
  9. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    For one thing, ignore all the hard wood/soft wood yammering - our wood makes heat just fine. 1/4 of a cord per week isn't necessarily a lot of wood. It depends on the size of your house, how well or poorly your house is insulated, the size of your stove, how warm you want to be, the proper functioning of your stove, your expertise, and the quality/dryness of your wood. Point is, there's a lot to it and your wood is only one factor.
    HDRock likes this.
  10. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    My wood can whip your wood. ;lol
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  11. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Now that's a contest I'd prefer not to witness.:eek:
    BrotherBart and Grisu like this.
  12. cptoneleg

    cptoneleg Minister of Fire

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    Are you sure you burn that nasty ( OLD OAK) that so many complain about taking so long to dry, season.\, get ready to burn .etc. etc.
  13. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Actually this week I am burning bone dry Tulip Poplar. Twelve hours with coals to fire off in the morning. Which I figure should be possible with Northwest softwoods too.
  14. tomahawk

    tomahawk Member

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    What type of wood are you burning? I know that there is a LOT of Alder around here and while it is good to use it will burn quick but not super hot. Try to find some Maple or Birch to go with it. I burn tons of Alder but it needs something else to go with it to really work well.
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  15. cptoneleg

    cptoneleg Minister of Fire

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    I am burning cherry and and some sort of maple ran out of Tulip
  16. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    That's what I was getting at too. The OP should be able to get alder cheap and maybe fir too. I can get alder for $125/cord delivered and it seasons out pretty quick too. I'm mixing it with fir. Big leaf maple should be fairly inexpensive also. Oak is too expensive here.

    He still has the problem that whatever he gets now probably won't be burnable, so maybe those Energy Logs wouldn't be a bad thing to turn to at this stage.
  17. Elderthewelder

    Elderthewelder Minister of Fire

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    biggest factor in my mind is why is he leaving the air wide open during the burn?? only reason I can think of is because it will not light off. i.e. not seasoned enough

    1/4 cord per week in western Wa in October/ early Nov yeah that is alot of wood
  18. Fishstiq

    Fishstiq New Member

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    I was leaving it wide open because I really didn't have much experience with wood burning stoves and was still figuring it all out. I have been lurking here for a while though and started tuning the stove better, so I don't do that anymore. Now, I get it going steady and then close it down, I can keep a burn going now at 250 degrees almost totally closed down. The wood lasts longer (obviously), but I still just felt like I was going through way too much too fast. I suppose that could be all in my head, since like I said I'm new at this.

    I'm keeping an eye out for good deals on firewood I can season, as well as getting a firewood harvesting permit when they open up.

    Not sure of the model of my Country stove, but it's their "medium" sized one. My house is very well insulated, but also has high ceilings and a very open design so I have a large area to heat, not just a living room sized area. I use my ceiling fan whenever I'm burning.

    Just curious, someone mentioned "seasoning your firebox". Can you elaborate?
  19. Fishstiq

    Fishstiq New Member

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    Also, can you elaborate on this? How do you know how far down to let the coal bed go before adding more wood?
  20. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Or "breaking in". If you've had several fires, you're done breaking in. The firebrick needs to be dried out and the surface paint has to be cured. You may have noticed that your first couple of fires were a bit lame and that's why (assuming that everything else was okay like the wood).
  21. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    If you mean 250 on the stove top, that sounds too low. You may not have the flue temps high enough to prevent creosote and to keep the secondaries going. How are you measuring stove temps? And do you have a flue thermometer?
  22. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    On the other hand stove top thermometers are notoriously variable. They're like moisture meters: if you already know what you are doing they can help, but if you don't know what you are doing they can be a quagmire chasing around that elusive "ideal" temp.
  23. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    That's a good point. That's why I asked how he was measuring. There are good surface thermometers out there, but the biggest variable I've found is where to put it on the stove. There can be 100 degrees difference between the hot spots on the stove top and the cooler spots. Inserts are worse.

    I always suggest that people get an IR thermometer for all those reasons. But then I'm kind of a gadget guy anyway.
  24. Fishstiq

    Fishstiq New Member

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    I'm measuring temps using a simple stovetop thermometer. It runs yellow-orange-red, with yellow going from 0 to 250, orange 250 to 475, and red from 475 on up. I've been considering an IR thermometer for other projects I'm working on, maybe this will give me a little shove to actually go get one.
  25. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    That sounds like a Condar Chimgard. If so, that was really made for single wall stove pipe, but I believe (you will want to verify this with an IR), that the numbers are still the surface temp, but the colors are for a flue. A stovetop thermometer like Condar's Inferno http://www.condar.com/stove_top_meters.html have colors more appropriate for stove tops. The Inferno says "creosote" all the way to nearly 400, although I think that's a bit conservative. Direct flue temps are a better measure of that.

    If it is a "Chimgard", I would suggest you put it on the stove pipe at 18" (if it is a single wall pipe), and get an "Inferno" for the stove top. It's good to have both.

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