Solid fuel replacement for cord wood?

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.

Dmichigan

Burning Hunk
Oct 29, 2014
149
michigan
So that time of year again, 1st week of august and the maples are changing colors and you know the white stuff is coming. Been looking at getting my fuel for the winter and wondered if the eco bricks are good for 100% of my heating. I use 5 FACE cord a year. Right now I can get a ton of bricks for 235 bucks and read that's equal to 1 cord of wood. 1 cord is 3 face cord in my neck of the woods so if that's true I need 2 tons. Anyone with real knowledge of this chime in and set me straight if i'm wrong. My stove is the BK ashford 20.2 and this will be my 3rd heating season with it. I'd rather use bricks over wood but if my numbers are wrong i'd need way more bricks than I want to buy. I have zero wood right now so need to make a decision soon on my fuel. Anyone burning bricks for 100% of the season? thanks.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,681
central pa
So that time of year again, 1st week of august and the maples are changing colors and you know the white stuff is coming. Been looking at getting my fuel for the winter and wondered if the eco bricks are good for 100% of my heating. I use 5 FACE cord a year. Right now I can get a ton of bricks for 235 bucks and read that's equal to 1 cord of wood. 1 cord is 3 face cord in my neck of the woods so if that's true I need 2 tons. Anyone with real knowledge of this chime in and set me straight if i'm wrong. My stove is the BK ashford 20.2 and this will be my 3rd heating season with it. I'd rather use bricks over wood but if my numbers are wrong i'd need way more bricks than I want to buy. I have zero wood right now so need to make a decision soon on my fuel. Anyone burning bricks for 100% of the season? thanks.
If you have zero wood now how would you possibly be planning on burning wood? Do you have a source for actual dry wood?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Isaac Carlson

Dmichigan

Burning Hunk
Oct 29, 2014
149
michigan
If you have zero wood now how would you possibly be planning on burning wood? Do you have a source for actual dry wood?
yeah $65 per face cord locally, and dry wood in michigan is like 20% due to our high humidity
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,681
central pa
yeah $65 per face cord locally, and dry wood in michigan is like 20% due to our high humidity
Are you testing it on a fresh split face to confirm that? $195 a cord for actual dry wood is insanely cheap. I wouldn't bother processing wood at that price
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,681
central pa
But to answer your question no I don't think a skid is actually equal to a cord. I have burnt a few skids and didn't think it was a cord
 
  • Like
Reactions: Isaac Carlson

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,681
central pa
cord not face cord correct?
I don't deal in face cords it isn't a real measurement of wood. One of my previous stoves used 24" so there were 2 face cords in a cord. My last one used 16" so 3 face cords now I use 18 so there is no equivalent.

So yes I am talking about full cords
 

Dmichigan

Burning Hunk
Oct 29, 2014
149
michigan
So for the space savings and only around $150 more per season would you use bricks over wood then?
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,681
central pa
So for the space savings and only around $150 more per season would you use bricks over wood then?
Me? No but I buy log truck loads of log length and process and dry myself. I pay much much less per cord. But it is allot of work. But space is no issue for me.
 

Dmichigan

Burning Hunk
Oct 29, 2014
149
michigan
Me? No but I buy log truck loads of log length and process and dry myself. I pay much much less per cord. But it is allot of work. But space is no issue for me.
Is it just old school thinking or is there some scientific ideal behind it. Less you have wood on your property.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,681
central pa
Is it just old school thinking or is there some scientific ideal behind it. Less you have wood on your property.
Like I said I didn't feel like the skids I burnt were equal to a cord of wood. They are fine fuel but I can get a log truck load of about 8 or 9 cords dropped off in my lot for between $500 and $700 depending upon current pricing. If I find a good deal on already cut split wood I buy it. But I don't mind the work and it's far cheaper.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Isaac Carlson

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,681
central pa
Also you can't really store the skid outside and I don't really want it taking up that space in my house or one of my garages.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,681
central pa
I have no building to store any of the fuel so..
My wood isn't stored in a building just stacked with a top cover. The bricks need to be kept completely dry or they are trash.
 

Dmichigan

Burning Hunk
Oct 29, 2014
149
michigan
I don't think this "seasoned" wood is really ready to burn. 12 months is not long enough and looks like that's the norm from what I'm seeing in my area.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,681
central pa
I don't think this "seasoned" wood is really ready to burn. 12 months is not long enough and looks like that's the norm from what I'm seeing in my area.
It doesn't matter how long it took what it's called or what it looks like. Split it open if it's 20% or less it's ready to burn. But most of the "seasoned" wood that is sold is not dry enough.
 

ABMax24

Minister of Fire
Sep 18, 2019
1,522
Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
2000lbs of biobricks at 8,700 btu/lb gives 17.2million btu/ton.

According to most firewood charts that is similar heat output to a cord of softwood, hardwoods though put out significantly more heat per cord.

IMO outside of being in a bind for dry firewood I don't see a reason to buy biobricks. I like the process of processing firewood, I also like operating the stove and the sound and feel of the fire. If I didn't like these things I'd have got a pellet stove instead.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bholler

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,681
central pa
2000lbs of biobricks at 8,700 btu/lb gives 17.2million btu/ton.

According to most firewood charts that is similar heat output to a cord of softwood, hardwoods though put out significantly more heat per cord.

IMO outside of being in a bind for dry firewood I don't see a reason to buy biobricks. I like the process of processing firewood, I also like operating the stove and the sound and feel of the fire. If I didn't like these things I'd have got a pellet stove instead.
The year I used them we had an exceptionally wet summer and much of my wood was not properly dry. I would not have chosen to buy them.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,681
central pa
The same as my less dense woods like maple or cherry yes.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,910
Downeast Maine
One skid of the bricks or whatever are supposed to be equivalent to one cord of firewood, but that would be a cord of the least dense pine you can find. Wood is 7,000 BTU/lb and the manufactured bricks are almost zero percent water, so 14,000,000 btu/skid for the manufactured wood. A cord of balsam fir is about 14-16 million btu and a cord of hard maple is somewhere around 21 mil btu. The difference in BTU being the maple is far more dense and weighs much more despite being the same volume as the cord of fir. The bricks/logs are nice if you know your exact heat load and efficiency of your stove. Hopefully these products will stick around for another 25-50 years so I can use them when I'm old and don't feel like dealing with cordwood.
 

Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
2,231
Woolwich nj
Other than the cost and storage issues did it burn good and produce the same heat?
All are not going to produce the same heat this is what they are saying. The biobricks will produce less heat than a quality hardwood. Ok.. so oak is like 24 million BTUs per cord.. a ton on Biobricks will produce roughly 15/16 million BTUs per cord... so its not the same.. bio bricks as stated above will produce the same heat as a soft wood.... Reading this thread its cheaper for you to purchase actual wood and have more BTUs.. You may need to do a combination of both if the wood your getting is not fully seasoned.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SpaceBus

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,773
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Your BK can absolutely be fed a diet of 100% compressed sawdust pellets. The stove can make just as much heat since the stove will get just as hot as with firewood. It will burn through a firebox full of sawdust logs faster than good hardwoods for a chosen thermostat setting due to the low density of compressed sawdust compared to good hardwood like oak.

You’ve only got the small 20 box so you’re probably used to that though.

Burn firewood if you can get it cheap. Also, you can burn a mixture. Ultra dry sawdust logs mixed with Less seasoned firewood might average out.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SpaceBus

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,910
Downeast Maine
I mixed less than ideal birch with sawdust bricks my first winter and it worked well enough. In theory a BK can make use of filling the firebox and letting the thermostat take over. Do they overfire in those conditions? I would think you could get more BTU into the firebox with a brick shaped fuel even if it is less dense. Definitely not a good idea in a secondary/non cat stove.
 

Dmichigan

Burning Hunk
Oct 29, 2014
149
michigan
I burned ash, maple and beach last 2 years and only needed to load mornings and evenings, my house is very tite. I didn't get wood this spring for a number of reasons that completely fell apart so now I have to make plans on heating with wood again this year. with the blocks on sale I was just wondering if they are comparable and they are not so looks like I need to make a decision. Thanks for all the input guys!