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Your handy profile on compressed heat logs

A close up of beautifully burning compressed heat logs

Usually this would be the point where we paint a winter scene and wax lyrical about cold nights and glowing fires. Beautiful ideas for sure. However our story begins with mice. Yes indeed mice are incredible animals. In between the scurrying and supposed cheese gathering, they are regular Houdinis. Thanks to a somewhat collapsible rib cage, a mouse can expertly fit through tiny crevices many times thinner and smaller than its own body. It is a biological miracle of compression. To compress is to reduce. More specifically to decrease the volume of a substance or object with applied stress. The wonders of compression extend to the world of wood fuel too. So today we are going to lift the lid on compressed heat logs.


What are compressed heat logs?

The answer lies in the name itself. Compressed heat logs are (yes you’ve guessed it) logs made from compressed saw dust. This saw dust is usually derived from waste or recycled wood as well as naturally felled timber. Some compressed heat logs may contain other raw materials such as straw, peat, paper or rice husk. Rest assured Big K compressed heat logs are made up of 100% saw dust only. Real quality compressed heat logs should contain natural products and nothing else, meaning no hidden chemicals, additives or binders. Incoming insight – if your compressed heat logs are not 100% natural you could be looking at higher internal moisture levels. This makes the logs harder to light and reduces potency, purity and efficiency of burn. In the case of compressed heat logs derived from waste wood, the latter might have been painted or treated previously. These chemicals could cause spitting and sparking.


Compressed heat logs burn surrounded by fire


How are compressed heat logs made?

Glad you asked. Firstly we finely chop the saw dust, and then we use some fancy machinery to compress the grain-like substance at high compression rates of up to 1000kg/m3. The compression process determines the quality and structural integrity of each log. So the higher the compaction, the better the quality and the better the log should maintain its shape.


What are the benefits of compressed heat logs?

We have to mention a few general points quickidy quick before we get into the specifics. Firstly compressed heat logs are extremely versatile, so you can burn them in fire pits, open hearths and campfires, as well as wood burners and log stoves. Secondly compressed heat logs have a higher caloric value than regular firewood and kiln dried logs. This characteristic means that they release more energy and heat up faster.


A low low low moisture content

The compression process removes moisture. So compressed heat logs have a super low moisture content of below 10%. In fact, our Big K Compressed Heat logs clock in at around the 8% moisture mark. Each log delivers greater heat and even fewer emissions such as smoke, tar and soot – keeping your stove, wood burner, flue or chimney a healthy and happy little chappy.


Consistency equals reliability

One could say that a slight downside of firewood lies in its lack of a regular and consistent shape, as well as the subtle variations of density across each log or piece. This is due to the varying properties of the original cut location. For example, there will be differences between the branches of the tree and the trunk, leading to differences between the weight and size of logs from each part respectively. As the creation of compressed heat logs for wood burning stoves is a mechanised (and therefore controlled) process, each log has the same shape, size and density. In a compressed nutshell, this means you will get a consistent burn and release of heat across every log. Once you can predict burn behaviour accurately, you have greater control over your fire.


Compressed heat logs lie in a fire glowing red hot


Compressed heat logs are environmentally friendly

Big K compressed heat logs are made from by-products of managed forests and recycled wood only. So as you can see, sustainability lies at the heart of the product itself. Turning to compression once again, the process also negates the need for binding agents or chemicals. The result? A perfect balance of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emission and initial absorption – basically the amount of CO2 released during burning is equal to the amount of CO2 absorbed by the tree when it is growing. Finally the higher and consistent heat of compressed heat logs should mean that you use less fuel overall which again helps the environment.


Less ash. More heat.

Just when you thought that you couldn’t digest another course of awesomeness, here comes dessert. As compressed heat logs for wood burning stoves have such low moisture content, they burn hotter producing less ash (as little as 3% of their total density). Keeping your wood burner or multi fuel stove nice and clean just got even easier. You can even take the leftover ash and use it as a fertiliser in your garden.


A few things to remember

As with anything in life there are always many parts to any equation. Compressed heat logs for wood burning stoves are no different. You can’t really buy compressed heat logs loose or in bulk like seasoned or kiln-dried wood. However if you shop with us, we can deliver a pallet of our compressed heat logs straight to you. So you can still enjoy some savings. Usually compressed heat logs come in small waterproof packs as protection is key. If these logs are not kept dry then they will rapidly absorb moisture, expand and then disintegrate – more misery mulch anyone? Just keep the in a dry area and do not pierce the packaging until use.

If you are having an open fire, keep one eye on your compressed logs as they might possibly move around a little. This is because compressed heat logs often expand during burning, leading to some movement on occasion. Ensure some careful positioning or why not use a guard to stop any potential rolling past your fireplace? Finally if you are into the sonic tapestry of a good crackling fire get ready for Simon and Garfunkel vibes – the Sound of Silence. Yes peeps these logs are sonically silent assassins, so if you are yearning for a little snap and pop just add a couple of our crackle logs into the mix.


How to light a heat log?

The answer could seem like stating the obvious. However, as compressed heat logs are a different kind of heating animal, many people do ask the above the questions. Here’s what you need to know. We think that that the best way to use and light a heat log is to either place them on a pre-existing fire or a bed of kindling. Not sure if you’ve got the full picture yet, enjoy this quick breakdown.


How to use a heat log? 

  • Create a foundation for your fire with some loosely rolled or scrunched newspaper or natural firelighters
  • Add some kindling placing smaller pieces first then adding a few bigger ones. Make sure to lay the pieces in different directions rather than all in one direction.
  • Now add your compressed heat logs logs. Stack them on top of one another, adopting an almost zigzag approach. This creates air pockets between the logs, facilitating airflow and increasing the potency of your burn.
  • Now light your paper balls, grab some warming refreshment and kick your feet up. The fire will handle itself.


A different wood other than compressed heat logs lies burning in a log burner


How to maximise heat from a log burner?

Ok, so now you have the backstory, process, pros and cons as well as how to light up your compressed heat logs. What’s next? Well we’re going to dive further into hands on territory, taking a quick glimpse into how to absolutely maximize heat from your log burner. Just follow the steps below.

  • Use logs with the lowest possible moisture content. So either compressed heat logs or kiln dried hardwood logs.
  • Make sure your wood is room temperature.
  • Maintain the fire regularly, topping up logs when needed.
  • Keep the door of your log burner closed to trap in as much heat as possible.
  • Maintain and clean the stove between use to ensure that your log burner is working with maximum capability and efficiency.

Well as a famous carrot eating cartoon bunny once said, “That’s all folks!” Did we just infringe on some form of copyright there? All jokes aside now is the perfect time to feel the warmth of the Winter Heat Wave and pick up some compressed heat logs for yourself. Take care and stay safe.