Tag: wood

How To Look After Your Wood Burner?

As you’ve probably been getting the most out of your fire this winter, to maximize its efficiency you have to look after your wood burner.

Here are some things to look out for and do to keep your fire going for many winters!

coalCleaning

Giving your fire a thorough clean can be just the thing it needs to bring it back to life. It is also important to get your chimney swept at least once a year as they can tell you about any damage. You should also clean the glass, most modern stoves are fitted with airways systems to keep the glass clean. If yours does not then you can use newspaper dipped in malt vinegar or use wood ash. Don’t use any abrasive materials to clean the glass as this could cause permanent damage.

Check for rust

This may not be a problem for a modern stove however it worth saying. If you do spot any rust you can rub the area with wire wool and then reapply stove paint to get it looking as good as new.

Empty the ash pan

When the hot ashes start to pile up they can come into contact with the lower side of the grate and the heat from the ashes could cause it to become distorted and lose shape.

Clean the baffle/ throat plate

This area on and around the baffle plate is the top spot for soot to gather. This makes your stove less efficient by blocking the flue it also could be dangerous. Clean this once a week depending on how often you use your stove.

Leave the door ajar

When the stove isn’t being used it is best to leave the door slightly open. This allows a flow of air through the system which can help stop corrosion.

Use Firemizer

Using this in your wood, coal or multi-fuel stove can help reduce creosote and harmful particulates. As well as reducing your ash content and reducing the number of times you have to empty the ash pan.

3 Reasons To Love The Cold

As the nights are darker and the days can seem very gloomy and cold its hard to see the appeal of winter and the cold. However, there are some benefits and true pleasures to be had in the winter months.

  • Cosy by the Fire

This time of year is perfect to get your log burners going and enjoy the warmth. Your fireplace can create a festive atmosphere especially when decorated. Make sure you stock up on wood get your chimney swept a minimum of once a year.

To give your fire that extra bit of Christmas spirit you can add spices to your fire. Cinnamon sticks create a lovely spicy and sweet smell. Just place two sticks with the logs alternatively you could add a few drops of essential oil to your logs, allow them to dry and then burn away.

  • Warm drinks

There are so many lovely hot drinks to enjoy this time of year from hot chocolate to mulled wine. These are perfect to enjoy in the cold gloomy weather and a great pick me up. Here are some classics that’ll get you in the Christmas spirit;

  • Coconut milk hot chocolate
  • Eggnog
  • Hot buttered rum

If you’d like more ideas and recipes click here

  • Food

Winter brings around all the best food that you can enjoy. From roast dinners and mince pies to cheese boards and lots of chocolate. This Christmas why not try something new at a Christmas market like the chimney cakes or strudel.

Do you like winter or summer?

Help your Wood or Coal-Burning Stove live its best life!

Stove Life!

Now we’re into the final quarter of the year, it’s likely you’ll find yourself starting your wood-burning stove more often. Nothing beats the feeling of evading the outside in your lovely warm front room, listening to the crackling wood. As it’s getting more use, it’s incredibly important to make sure you’re using and maintaining your stoves correctly. That way, you can get the most out of your fuel and stove in terms of heat output and lifespan. Here are some quick and easy tips to make sure your stove stays pristine and performing properly.

Know your wood!

Firstly, it’s important to make sure you’re using the correct fuel in your wood-burning stove. Beech and ash logs burn the best especially when seasoned, so you should be harvesting your wood about a year in advance of when you actually plan to burn it. Both of these types of wood when dried out can produce quite a lot of heat output with a consistent flame. Burning hardwood is likely to give a stronger flame and appear to give out more heat than softer pinewoods. This is because they are likely to burn faster and cooler than hardwood because they have a lower calorific value.

Keep a clean stove!

Your stove door should fit snugly to keep the heat of the fire concentrated inside. If the door itself feels loose, you could be losing a lot of heat output. Keep an eye out on the Firemizer website for Maxseal – a new product that ensures your stove door is sealed and secure. Using a Firemizer will reduce creosote build-up in your chimney by 57%, keeping a clear flue. It will also make sure there are no unused clumps of fuel in your ash bed – Firemizer makes sure your fuel ins burned evenly, helping it last 38% longer.

Use the top-down method!

The way in which your start your fires could also improve stove life. Firstly, make sure your firewood is cut in a variety of sizes to fill all available space. Using the top-down method of starting a fire is a great way to start that perfect fire (especially when paired with a Firebuilder). Read our step-by-step guide on how to use the top-down method, as well as lots of other helpful tips and tricks here.

Bio-Bean’s Coffee Logs

We tried and tested Bio-Bean’s Recycled Coffee Logs!

The lovely folks over at Bio-Bean sent us some of their Premium Eco Coffee Logs to test in our log-burner. Paired with a Firemizer and Firebuilder, these little recycled pocket-rockets worked an absolute treat for our eyes and our stove!

We started with the Firemizer on the base of the stove and a Firebuilder burning on top. Made of used coffee-grounds collected from shops across the country, they reduce unnecessary greenhouse gases and need for landfill sites, getting that extra mile out of your Americano. The logs themselves still give off that lovely coffee aroma whilst in the packet, so handling and inspecting was joy.

The Review

We then threw the first coffee log on top of our Firebuilder, and within moments the log was burning nicely. As the logs are old coffee grounds, they retain about 20% more energy than wood, meaning they burn much faster. This was immediately noticeable – within minutes we had a fire going. The coffee logs do have a tendency to crumble and break apart, so be extra careful we stoking the fire. When we noticed the fire simmering down after a little while, we placed a couple more logs in to bring it back up and, sure enough, the fire was roaring again within minutes.

The coffee logs are an excellent way of getting a fire started quickly, or building it back up when dwindling. They take to the flame immediately and require little intervention – perhaps occasional rearrangement when the logs crumble into smaller fragments. Truly, the only slight shortcoming of the coffee logs is the amount of smoke and ash they produce. Thankfully, with Firemizer, no clumps were left and we were able to brush off the collected ash into the pan. Unfortunately we couldn’t do anything about the amount of smoke each log produced when burning, but with the stove doors closed and the flue wide-open, it didn’t linger around the house.

Bio-Bean’s Coffee Logs are a revolutionary concept and make excellent use of waste that would typically be considered useless. Instead, they have managed to create a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels that packs the speed and strength of caffeine. The logs provide an excellent way to start or resurrect fires quickly and efficiently (especially when paired with a Firebuilder.) Try them for yourself by visiting http://www.bio-bean.com/coffee-logs/ now!

5 common myths you’ve heard about fireplaces

Fireplaces:

This week’s topic is the alternative solid-fuel heating method for those without space for a log-burner – fireplaces! Fireplace always provide warmth and ambience to any room they’re in whether it’s your lounge, bedroom, or even the garden. They provide a great source of heat, a focal point in any room and with a range of styles both classic and modern to choose from, there’s a hearth out there for everyone. Fireplaces can actually add value to a property as they have become a highly sought feature for first-time buyers. Fireplaces can utilise various different types of solid fuels, ranging from pellets, coal, gas, propane and various types of wood.

The history of the fireplace dates back to prehistoric fire-pits and smoke-canopies in the middle ages. First introduced to Europe in the 11th century, the likes of Benjamin Franklin and Prince Rupert of the Rhine have contributed in shaping the hearth into its current state.

As such a popular home installation, there are many claims and figures out there about fireplace performance. Here are 5 commons myths you might encounter when purchasing or servicing a fireplace.

5 common myths you’ve heard:

  1. Chimneys do not need regular inspections and sweeping. Chimneys must be serviced every year as build-ups of soot and creosote are often the origin of chimney fires. Firemizer reduces the creosote levels by 57%, meaning that chimney inspections will be far less difficult and pricey. However, creosote isn’t the only reason for inspections; debris and nesting animals also affect the structural integrity of your chimney.
  2. Fireplaces are poor sources of heat. Fireplaces can be poor sources if the fire is not maintained properly. Some believe that fireplaces send their heat up the chimney, and wood fires need oxygen to burn. Use a cast-iron fireback to radiate heat back into the room, and opening the flue will dispose of dangerous toxins. Firemizer reduces harmful air pollutants emitted by solid fuels by up to 72%.
  3. Lighter fluid and kerosene will produce a better fire quickly. Though it’s true that it will produce a fire quickly, this will be using harmful and potentially dangerous chemicals. Instead of putting your home at risk, use balls of newspaper or an entirely kerosene-free Firebuilder.
  4. I don’t need to clean my fireplace or chimney more than once a year. How frequently you use your fireplace dictates how often it should be cleaned (ranging from yearly to fortnightly). Always clear ash from the fireplace before starting a new fire (keeping a small bed of ash on the bottom). Firemizer reduces clumps of fuel in your wood, turning your ash into fine powder making clean-up much easier.
  5. It’s ok to leave the fire burning while I’m out or asleep. Absolutely not, fires are unpredictable and there are a number of factors that could contribute to a larger incident. To make sure it’s safely exterminated, throw a cup of water, sand or baking soda on top.

Conclusion:

When properly serviced and maintained, a fireplace makes the perfect addition to any room in the house. Pair your hearth with Firemizer and Firebuilder and get the most out of your solid fuel source saving you time, effort and money.

Green Olive’s Kiln-Dried Hardwood and Olive Wood

We tried and tested Green Olive’s Kiln-Dried Hardwood and Olive Wood!  

The people over at Green Olive were lovely enough to send us some of Kiln-Dried Hardwood and Olive Wood. Paired with Firemizer and Firebuilder, we cleaned our stove, patted the ash off and got to work burning these logs!

Olive Wood Logs

After getting our stove-fire started with a Firebuilder, we threw on a few of the Olive Wood logs. As a natural, low-moisture wood untreated by chemicals, these logs were lightweight and attractive (if not slightly too big). These logs did take a while to get going, but once they were, they lasted far longer than standard logs. This may have reduced the amount of heat given off however, as our thermometer gave consistently lower readings. The flame produced by the Olive Wood was a noticeably more regal-golden colour and the smell – oh the smell! The entire house was filled with a lovely olive scent that was closer to an Italian restaurant than a wood-fire. There was no smoke or steam coming off the fire, just bright yellow flames and that delicious smell. Despite the slow start and reduced heat output, the logs burned for much longer than normal logs and (with the help of Firemizer) burned evenly and continuously.

Kiln-Dried Hardwood

The Kiln-Dried Hardwood came in much thicker, denser logs that instantly smothered the Firebuilder’s flame before it could become established. Instead, we attempt to use the top-down method of starting a fire so we could get to use the Hardwood. The top-down method is simple –

  1. Place your logs in a neat pile at the bottom, on top of the Firemizer.
  2. Put kindling on top of them, with scrunched up balls of newspaper if needed.
  3. Position your firelighter (or our Firebuilder) at the very top. The wood and kindling should resemble a tepee shape.
  4. Light the Firebuilder and let the fire establish downwards, catching on the newspaper, the kindling and then the wood.
  5. Once the fire is going, add more logs if/when necessary.

The Hardwood was far more effective for us using the top-down method, and within 30 minutes the fire was roaring. It needed minimal interference too, just the occasional handful of newspaper to prevent the flames being smothered under the logs. The flame understandably wasn’t as golden as the Olive wood, but it gave off was that familiar smell of good-wood-burning. It also didn’t give off much steam or smoke either, keeping the stove’s glass doors clean and free of soot.

Both types of wood presented their individual challenges; the Olive Wood needed that extra bit of time to become established, and the Hardwood was often too dense and heavy for standard lighting methods that just used a firelighter. However, both types certainly had their rewards for persevering – the smell of the Hardwood was wonderful, whilst the Olive Wood lasted much longer and presented a dazzling golden flame. Pick up a bag for yourself and see which best suits your stove or hearth at https://www.greenolivefirewood.co.uk/.

 

5 reasons why you should invest in a wood-burner

5 reasons why you should invest in a wood-burner:

Wood-burning is a popular trend that has escalated both in the UK and U.S. over the last decade or so. 1.5 million stoves are already fitted in Britain whilst 2.5 million American homes use wood as their primary heat source. The state of California in particular contributes 218,185 wood-burners to the 116 million total homes in the U.S. The reason for this rise in this popularity can be related to the environment, saving money or simply interior design preferences. Here are 5 reasons why you should invest in a wood-burning fire.

1. Wood is essentially carbon neutral. –

Though wood does release carbon dioxide when combusted, it can still be environmentally conscious. Unlike other fossil fuels, wood can be sustainable if bought from somewhere that ensures the replacement of every tree felled. This means that for every tree chopped down, another is planted, meaning the source can become entirely renewable. Wood-burning fires can however still release harmful pollutants and smoke if the wood hasn’t been dried or seasoned properly. Reduce harmful air pollutants by up to 72% if paired with a Firemizer.

2. They’re more efficient than hearths. –

Modern wood-burning stoves now come with efficiency ratings of somewhere between 80-85% whereas hearth will typically have around 20-25%. This means a wood-burning stove is about three times more efficient. Firemizer helps your fuel burn more slower and evenly, helping maintain this efficiency.

3. They can save you money. –

As the price of gas and electricity continues to rise, many houses are swapping to wood-powered heaters and boilers as a cheaper alternative. Again, locally-sourced wood is not only renewable but can also work out cheaper than your current energy provider. Also, gas or electricity services are often prone to power outages, whereas a well-maintained fire can burn all night. With Firemizer saving you 38% on solid fuel, you can reduce a third of the wood you burn too.

4. Wood-stoves are so versatile. –

Modern advancements haven’t just helped the efficiency of wood-stoves; they’ve also created a huge range to choose from. As long as there’s room to run a vent pipe to the outside, they can be fitted in any room of the house – from lounge to bedroom to kitchen. A Firemizer grid can easily be cut down to fit smaller stoves too.

5. They create a lovely scene. –

There’s no denying that wood-burning stoves have a certain romantic aesthetic to them. The sounds of crackling embers, the smell of firewood, the sight of roaring flames and the warmth they give off. A wood-burning stove or fire makes any room a domestic heaven we so often swoon over in the movies. With Firebuilder, the firelighter-kindling combo tool, starting your dream fire couldn’t be any easier – turning your home into a movie-set!

Contact your local Flue specialist or chimney sweep to get an expert opinion on what type and size of stove would best suit your home, and start reaping the benefits of the wood-burning fire (with a Firemizer and Firebuilder) as soon as possible!

How to build a Log-Store

Why is a Log-Store important?

With the winter nearly over, we should take advice from those animals waking up from hibernation – it’s never too early to start preparing for next year! So while they’re out collecting their food, why not think about getting a log-store to collect and keep more wood in to burn next winter?

Correct storing is essential to getting the most out of your wood as this allows the necessary seasoning, ideally for 6-12 months. Otherwise it is likely burn for less time and produce less heat, potentially emitting dangerous and environmentally-damaging smoke. Planning ahead for winter is incredibly important, so a log-store will help get the most out of your fuel when the fire is needed.

There are a few requirements your wood will need when getting a log-store – firstly, shelter. In order to keep your wood dry and let it season properly, protection from the elements is vital. Be sure to position the log-store in a place that isn’t constantly harassed by inclement weather and that it has a sturdy frame with a sloped roof to keep the rain out!

The other necessity of your store is space. Not only must the depth align with log size, but the wood also needs air circulating around it to help it dry out, so slatted side panels are a must. Also, don’t just put the larger logs at the bottom and smaller on top, mix up shapes and sizes or chop them down to provide enough breathing room between each piece.

 

How to build a Log-Store:

In the interest of saving money, building your own log-store couldn’t be easier or cheaper! All it takes is a few pallets (which local businesses can provide for free), four wooden posts, general tools (such as a hammer and galvanised nails) and a few hours of time and labour.

  1. First, use the pallets as the store base – either one or two pallets wide, depending on how many logs you intend on storing.
  2. Secure your four wooden posts into the ground at each corner of the pallet base – if you want to go all out, use sand and cement mix to keep them in place. Make sure the front or back two posts are slightly taller to allow for your sloped-roof!
  3. Break down a few pallets or use wooden planks to use as slatted side and back panels, spaced evenly and secured in place with nails.
  4. Do the same for the roof but without allowing space between-panels – keep that rain out!
  5. When storing, space out your wood shapes and sizes to allow maximum air circulation so it can season.

It’s that easy to craft your own log-store and start getting the most out of your firewood in winter, and with the addition of a Firemizer, your fuel can last up to 38% longer – meaning less trips back outside to grab some more!

How-to use Firemizer & Firebuilder

Instructions for how to use Firemizer & Firebuilder together:

Unsure of how to get the most out of your Firemizer and Firebuilder? Follow these easy steps:

  • Firstly, place your Firemizer on the base or grate of your domestic stove or fireplace.
  • Secondly, place one Firebuilder flat on the grate (tip: one grid easily snaps into two for smaller grates or stoves, meaning a box of 5 can potentially start you 10 fires).
  • Light under the edge of the Firebuilder, or if you’ve snapped it in two, at one of middle two corners.
  • Allow the Firebuilder to ignite through its unique draught technology and wait for the flames to become established.
  • Add fuel, sit back, and enjoy a beautiful fire that lasts even longer. Firebuilder doubles as kindling, so there’s no need to disturb it once it’s roaring.

Alternatively you can watch the video below to achieve a better understanding!

Firemizer’s round-up of 2017!

2017 is over!

As we finish the last of the turkey, now seems a perfect time to reflect on the successes of 2017. with growing purchases of Firemizer in the US market and the introduction of its sister-product Firebuilder in the UK market, homes across both continents have been enjoying their fireplaces and wood-burning stoves for cheaper and longer over the festive period.

Firemizer (a unique heat grid that is easy to use and optimises the performance of solid fuel fires and stoves) continued its strong sales in the UK market and concluded 2017 with its best month of US website sales in December. Firebuilder (an odourless and kerosene-free firelighter that doubles as kindling) enjoyed a strong introduction to the UK market. They received some glowing reviews –

Bloggers:

  • Green & beauty blogger Fifi Friendly said “Honest pants on, I was a little sceptical and set out to test their claims. Better heat, longer burn time, money-saving and easier to clean… bonus! It totally works.”
  • UK-based-attractions website What’s Good To Do described the combination of Firemizer and Firebuilder as able to produce a “warm room very quickly in half the time of my usual fires. These items are without
    Kerosene and odourless, quicker and also made of recycled material so have to recommend them.”
  • Green living Eco Fluffy Mama thought that it “actually made the fire look really pretty. It’s also made cleaning out the ash pan a much more pleasant experience.”
  • French-based Family bloggers Family Makes reported that “our son has been working over there and has certainly seen the benefit. Hhe seems to be using fewer logs, and they last longer and burn more thoroughly.”
  • Craft with Cartwright, a freelance illustrator and craftswoman, taught us how Firemizer is the perfect companion to a BBQ – “it slows down the air flow and reduces the burn rate […] giving you a longer time period to cook for, great when you are entertaining from lunch into evening.” On her BBQ essentials, health blogger Just Average Jen mentioned that Firemizer allowed her to “cook more items than normal as it was still hot so we cooked some food for the following day!”
  • Finally, videogame and tech enthusiast DadGeek said “it gave us a really decent campfire all evening and well into the night. I’d really recommend it for people who are heavy/regular users of a fire pit or barbecue. The main benefit is going to be those mid-to-long term fuel savings.”

Newspapers

Firemizer also found itself featured in national newspaper The Sun’s ‘Sun Savers’. This featured a collection of products that help to save money during the chilly November months.

Our top tips for beating the chills of November without racking up huge bills — plus find out high street deals from Sun Savers

Exhibitions

In 2017, Microtex attended its first Exhibition show – the Grand Designs Exhibition show held in Birmingham’s NEC Arena. Over the course of five (very long but rewarding) days, we had the chance to speak face-to-face with new customers and old supporters of Firemizer and Firebuilder and convey the true ingenuity of the products ourselves. We loved it; we’re even booked to exhibit at the Columbus Home & Garden Show and Countryfile Live this year!

Other Developments

The Firemizer team also participated in Movember last year, trying our hardest to grow out our moustaches in the name of changing the face of men’s health. Though our facial hair wasn’t that impressive, the £292 that we raised certainly was. Here’s to another great Movember helping a great cause!

2017 also marked the beginning of a partnership with Canadian fan and heating manufacturer Caframo. With new packaging, Firemizer is now available to buy on Amazon!

And now 2018 is upon us, Firemizer and Firebuilder are enjoying a completely refreshed website, courtesy of m360 graphic designers – the new website features a cleaner layout, updated research findings and is generally more streamlined and intuitive. This means that buying with us has never been quicker or easier! Be sure to look out for our new website launch in the coming days.

Let’s hope the future of Firemizer and Firebuilder stays bright as we tackle this year with a fire roaring in our bellies and in our hearths too.

 

 

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