If you've ever come in from working outside on a chilly day and warmed yourself by a crackling wood fire, you know that it's one of the best feelings in the world!
But that feeling comes at a price. To keep your wood stove running you need to cut, split, stack, and season wood, or at the very least buy and store it.
We get it. That’s a lot of work!
At Ebyland, we believe you should be able to warm yourself with your wood stove without all that work. After all, if you spend all your time maintaining your stove, you never get to relax and enjoy it!
Fortunately, we’ve found some alternative options for fuel for your stove that aren’t so time-consuming.
We’ve put together this article so you can learn about the pros and cons of these alternatives.
Let’s dive in!
3 Types of Wood Fuel
Although everyone loves relaxing by a toasty fire, wood stoves take a lot of maintenance!
Let's look at some solutions for heating your home without all that work. We'll go over:
- Traditional firewood
- Wood pellets
- Bio Block Briquettes
Each one has its unique pros and cons, so read closely if you would like to determine which one is best for you!
Let’s start by looking at the pros and cons of traditional firewood.
PROS of traditional firewood
- Traditional firewood looks nicer in a fireplace
Imagine the perfect, crackling fire.
You probably aren't imagining a pellet stove or a gas stove with artificial logs. You're probably picturing a roaring fire licking up around big logs in a real stone fireplace.
You just can’t beat the look of real wood logs for a beautiful fire!
If you have a fireplace mainly for aesthetics, real wood may be the way to go for you.
- You might enjoy cutting firewood
For some, cutting wood may be a chore. But for others, it can be rejuvenating.
If you work at a computer all day, you may like going home and working outside with your hands for the evening. Or you may just like a chance to use your chainsaw.
If you are the type who likes to unleash your inner homesteader, traditional wood might be a good choice.
- Firewood is cheap
If you have the opportunity to cut your own wood, it’s free (except for your time). Even if you buy it pre-cut and dried, wood is generally pretty cheap. If you want to save money and don't mind some extra work, wood may be a good choice for you.
- Firewood is dependable
What would happen if you depended on electricity for your heating system and the power went out due to a snowstorm?
You would no longer have a way to heat your home.
Fortunately, you will always be able to heat your home if you burn real wood! Real wood stoves don’t require any electricity to burn, so they are reliable in any disaster.
CONS of traditional firewood
- Firewood is a lot of work
Some people like cutting wood. But for others, it’s a chore, and it's definitely hard backbreaking work.
Real wood takes cutting, splitting, stacking, and seasoning, and that is a lot of work.
After that, you still have to feed your stove once it’s burning, and depending on how fast your wood burns, that can be a never-ending job.
If you don't have the time or energy to do that work, wood may not be for you.
- Firewood is difficult to store
Wood isn’t the most space-efficient fuel. A little bit of wood takes up a lot of space, and you need plenty of it to maintain the heat in your home.
Plus, you often have to store your wood for a long time. You have to store it while it dries and seasons and then keep it in a dry place until you use it.
If you keep your wood outside in the elements it will get wet and rot, so all that storage requires a large woodshed or lean-to.
Thankfully, at Ebyland, our firewood comes in moveable totes for easy storage.
- Firewood is messy
If you own a wood fireplace or stove, you know what we mean when we say messy: Bits of bark around your stove, ashes on the hearth, a stack of wood somewhere in your home to feed the fire from, not to mention the trail of bark and dirty footprints from carting the wood inside.
Who wants to keep on top of all that mess?
In addition to that, wood makes a lot of ash, so if you burn wood you’ll have to clean out your stove regularly.
- Firewood is difficult to handle
Wood is not light or easy to handle. For an older person or someone with back issues, carting wood from the shed to the house and getting it into the stove could be a nightmare!
Also, getting the logs fitted into your stove can be like a wrestling match, and logs that are oddly shaped or too long may not fit in at all. That can be really frustrating!
Now that we have traditional wood as our reference point let’s see how wood pellets stack up against it.
How do wood pellets compare to real logs?
Let’s start with the pros.
PROS of wood pellets
- Wood pellets are easy to store
Wood pellets come in convenient plastic bags stacked on pallets. The bags are easy to haul around, and the pallets are covered in plastic wrap so you can store them outside.
And unlike firewood, pellets don’t require any cutting, stacking, splitting, or seasoning.
At Ebyland, we deliver wood pellets right to your front door in neat, practical bags, ready to use.
- Wood pellets are less messy
Who wants to constantly sweep up bits of bark, wood, and ash from around their fireplace?
With pellets, you don’t have to deal with any of that mess on your hearth, and since pellets leave less than 1% ash, you won’t have to clean out your stove as often.
- Wood pellets are low soot
Wood pellets burn without creating much soot or ashes. That means you won’t have to clean your stove out very often, and also reduces your risk of a chimney fire.
- Wood pellets are efficient
Wood pellets are denser and dryer than cordwood.
Because the wood in pellets is dried and compacted, wood pellet combustion is more efficient than firewood combustion.
So given the same amount of wood and wood pellets, the wood pellets will produce more heat.
- Wood pellets are easy to keep going
Wouldn't it be nice if you could just feed your stove once a day and then forget about it?
A pellet stove offers just that!
Pellet stoves have self-feeding mechanisms, so you only have to feed the fire once or twice a day.
That's much nicer than constantly having to wrestle wood into your wood stove! Plus, it's pretty easy to learn how to use a pellet stove.
Pellet stoves are often programmable, so you can set them to start at certain times or keep a room at a set temperature, which you can’t do with a wood stove.
CONS of wood pellets
- Wood pellets are less attractive
Pellet stoves simply aren’t as attractive as real wood stoves. Their flames can look fake, and they don’t create the same ambiance as real wood.
Also, they lack that real, smoky, burning wood smell and the crackly sound of logs!
- Pellets are inconvenient if spilled
If you keep an opened bag of pellets behind your stove, they might get spilled all over your floor. Or, if you have children, your toddler might decide to play in them and spread them all over the place. Or a pet may decide they are a good toy.
- Wood pellets require a pellet stove
You can’t burn pellets in a regular stove. You have to have a pellet stove to burn them, making them less versatile than wood.
Also, pellet stoves require electricity, which means if the power goes out, you are out of a heat source. It also means you will pay a higher electricity bill every month.
Would you like to know more about heating your home with a stove or fireplace? Check out our blog on stoves and fireplaces and how to make them more efficient.
Bio Block Briquettes
You may have never heard of the last one on our list.
What exactly are fire blocks, and specifically the brand Bio Block?
Bio Block sawdust bricks are a wood replacement made by compressing kiln-dried sawdust and wood shavings into dense brick-like cubes. These briquettes are like very large wood pellets you can burn anywhere, even outside.
PROS of Bio Block fire bricks
- Fire bricks are easy to store
Wouldn't it be perfect if all your logs of firewood were the same size, and fit conveniently into your stove?
That’s Bio Block!
Bio Block fire bricks are conveniently square and stackable. And they take up less room than traditional firewood since they are so dense and compressed.
At Ebyland, our Bio Block fire bricks come in small packs packaged in shrink wrap, and they are delivered stacked on pallets, with 80 small packs of bricks on each pallet. The pallets are wrapped in plastic to protect the bricks from rain and snow and make for easy storage.
An unopened pallet of Bio Blocks can be stored anywhere outside as long as the plastic is still intact. No need for a huge woodshed!
- Fire bricks are less work
Bio Block comes ready to use, so they're much less work. No cutting, splitting, or stacking! There’s no need to season the bricks either, as they are already dried.
With Bi Block, you can put away your chainsaw and sit back to enjoy your fireplace without all the work of traditional firewood.
- Fire bricks are clean
Say goodbye to bark, dirt, splinters, and pellets all over your floor!
Bio Block sawdust bricks not only eliminate all these messes, but they burn clean and leave very little ash, so you won’t have to clean your stove often either.
- Fire bricks are efficient
Bio Block produces more heat with less material than normal firewood. In fact, one skid of Bio Block produces the same amount of heat as 1.5 cords of firewood.
When burned, the bricks turn into glowing hot coals that produce a nice, even heat.
- Fire bricks are easy to start on fire
Have you ever tried to get an uncooperative log to light?
It's very frustrating. Sometimes even a whole week’s worth of newspapers won’t do the trick!
Fortunately, this won't be the case with kiln-dried Bio Blocks. Since they are dry and ready to burn, it's easy to light them.
- You can burn fire bricks in a regular wood stove
Unlike pellets, you can burn Bio Block bricks anywhere, in any kind of stove. No need for a special type of stove. Plus, you won’t have to pay extra for electricity.
You can even burn them outdoors in a fire ring for an easy campfire, although it won't be as attractive as normal firewood.
- Fire bricks are easy to handle
Have you ever thought how much easier stacking wood would be if the logs were all the same size and shape?
And wouldn’t it be nice if they were lighter, too? All that carrying can be exhausting!
Good news! Bio Block bricks are basically just light, square logs that burn really well.
Because they are so light and easy to handle, they would be a good choice for an older or injured person who owns a wood stove.
If you dislike carrying large logs and wrestling them into your stove, these wood briquettes are for you! Feeding your wood stove couldn’t be easier.
Also, picture this:
When you go camping, there’s no need to haul along a lot of firewood. Just throw a couple of packs of Bio Block on the back of your truck, and you are ready to go! They will work for both campfires and cooking, so you won't have to take charcoal either.
- Fire bricks are cheap
Bio Block bricks are cheaper than wood pellets and more convenient than real logs. If you are looking for something in the middle ground they make a great choice!
CONS of Bio Block
- Fire bricks are unattractive
Unfortunately, Bio Block fire bricks are not very attractive. They don’t look like real logs. In fact, they look like mineral blocks. Your campfire will burn, but it will not be nearly as pretty as it would be with real wood.
When it comes to creating a nice-looking fire, you just can’t beat real logs.
- Fire bricks disintegrate when wet
If your Bio Blocks get wet, or they will swell up and fall apart into sawdust. It’s imperative to keep the bricks dry when storing them.
Thankfully, at Ebyland, our Bio Block product comes in small packs covered in shrink wrap. If you don’t open it till you are ready to use them, they shouldn’t get wet.
We have looked at three types of wood fuel for your stove.
Which one is best for you?
Ultimately, it's your decision and it all depends on your situation.
- If you care about ambiance and aesthetics and don’t mind a little extra work, real wood logs are for you!
- If you just want a low-stress way to heat your home, maybe you should try wood pellets.
- And if you are elderly, injured, or want a real wood stove without the stress of real logs, maybe Bio Block would suit you best.
Whichever type you are, Ebyland could be your next stop for wood fuel to heat your home. We carry all three of these wood fuel options.
We will do our best to make getting fuel for your home easy:
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Contact us today! We look forward to your call.