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The dangers of burning damp wood


We are sometimes asked why we don’t sell more logs rather than the wood briquettes that make up most of our stock. The simple answer is that the moisture content of wood fuel needs to be as low as possible to avoid problems like the one shown in this photograph.

As winter progresses it becomes more and more difficult to obtain really dry wood for burning and we don’t like selling logs that have a moisture content in excess of 20%. At the end of a hot summer like the one we’ve just had, it’s not too difficult to buy dry logs but because of the fast-growing demand for timber to burn, by mid-winter much of the wood that finds its way into our woodstoves and onto our open fires is often well in excess of 30% moisture content.

Burning wet logs produces a heavy smoke that condenses onto the cooler sides of the flue or chimney, producing tar and acidic residues which cause thick deposits to build up. This is a major cause of chimney fires and these compounds also cause damage to the stove and flue. Burning damp wood can tar up your flue, making chimney fires a danger.

Wood briquettes, on the other hand, are made from already dried, very compressed waste wood and have a consistently low moisture content, usually between 6-8%. They cause very little soot and tar to form so are far safer to burn. They also don’t spit, which not only reduces the fire hazard substantially but is also greatly appreciated by pets!

Other advantages of wood briquettes are that they are clean and easy to handle, they don’t bring bugs and spiders into the house and they take up a lot less space in storage. For all but the most enormous stoves or those lucky enough to have access to free timber, they also cost less to burn, calorie for calorie, than logs. And if you lack storage space for woodfuel, why not use our storage service and virtual draw-down system to take advantage of the best bulk-buying prices. Store your fuel with us and just collect it from our depot as and when you need it.

For more details please call on 01387 731210 – or why not just drop by our Heathhall depot and take a look at all the wood fuels that are on offer?

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