There are times when alternative sources of heat are necessary (such as this past week when much of the country was dealing with colder than normal temperatures and power outages). For that reason, I will tell you my experience with Eco Bricks.
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ECO Bricks Review
My home has a wood burning stove. During the winter it is used a lot – with the wood burner, we can be comfortable with the thermostat at a lower temperature. I don’t like to be cold and the benefits outweigh my sensitivities.
Even after I was exposed to chemicals and became chemically sensitive, we have used the wood burner. People have asked me if burning wood bothered me. I didn’t think it did until this year. This year my husband and I have burned ECO Bricks rather than firewood and I have noticed a difference. That’s when I realized that I do have a reaction when burning firewood but it has not been severe enough for me to quit using the wood burner. We still have some wood left from last year and I can tell if a piece of firewood has been put into the wood burner instead of (or along with) an ECO Brick.
Last year when we were burning firewood, my husband learned about the ECO Bricks so he bought some to try. I was cautious and somewhat fearful of burning the ECO Bricks not knowing exactly what was in them and if they would cause me to react because of my chemical sensitivity. I worried needlessly. The ECO Bricks are compressed sawdust – no added glues or chemicals.
ECO Bricks burner cleaner
The ECO Bricks burn a LOT cleaner than firewood. We have been burning at least a month and I can still see through the glass on my wood burning stove. The glass is starting to get black now but I notice that the black buildup increases after we have burned a piece of leftover firewood. When we burned only firewood, it only took a few fires before the window on the wood burner was totally black. My husband has noticed less creosote build-up in the chimney when adjusting the damper.
The ECO Bricks don’t leave near as much ash as firewood. We have not cleaned ashes out of the wood burner yet this year.
Note added 5/17/14: After burning all winter, we can still see through the glass of the wood burner. We have only cleaned ashes out of the wood burner once this winter – in the middle of the winter. We will clean out the rest of the ashes when we clean the wood burning stove for the summer.
Do ECO Bricks cost more?
The ECO Bricks come in packages of 6 bricks. The bricks are heavy which makes the packages heavier – I’m sure that is why there is only 6 to a package. We bought a pallet of bricks which is 96 packages. Burning a pallet of ECO Bricks is supposed to be equivalent to burning a cord of wood.
Cost-wise a pallet of ECO Bricks costs more than a cord of wood but not significantly more. There is a lot less labor with the ECO Bricks. We were able to fit a whole pallet of ECO Bricks in our truck. With the help of a teenage friend, we stacked the bricks in our garage. From the garage, we take them into the house as needed and we don’t need to worry about bugs.
With firewood, we stacked the logs on the log rack in the yard. We would fill the wood box in the garage from the log rack. That meant multiple times during the winter hauling wood from the log rack to the wood box. Because of bugs, we would only bring as much wood into the house as would fit in the wood burner.
ECO Bricks are easy to stack
The ECO Bricks are shaped like bricks. Since they are flat, stacking them is easy.
The ECO Bricks need to be stored in a dry place – remember that they are just compressed sawdust. Moisture may turn them back into sawdust.
Since the ECO Bricks are flat, they are easy to arrange in the wood burner. We lay them flat or put them on their side.
How much space do you need to store ECO Bricks?
We stacked a pallet of ECO Bricks in the corner of our garage. The stack measures 20 inches deep by 64 inches wide by 49 inches high (that includes the boards we put on the floor of the garage to keep the bricks off the concrete floor). A pallet is 96 packages of 6 bricks per package.
Burning ECO Bricks
We use paper and kindling to get the ECO Bricks started burning, much the same as we did with firewood. They do seem easier to get started burning than the heavy logs. Once the ECO Bricks are burning, we can keep the fire going by adding more bricks. Sometimes we need to toss in some paper and kindling to get a flame going again if we have let the ECO Bricks burn too long before adding another brick. They burn hotter if there are flames, otherwise they’ll just smolder. Two things that make tending the fire much safer and easier are welding gloves and bellows. Sometimes using the bellows is all that is needed to get the ECO Bricks burning again.
We can lay 4 or 5 ECO Bricks side by side and they will burn untended for 5 or 6 hours. You start the fire on one side of the row and they will burn down the row one brick at a time.
ECO Bricks and bugs
One REALLY great thing about ECO Bricks is NO bugs. I hate bugs and firewood attracts bugs. We have a log rack in the yard and the ugliest bugs in our area love to create little homes in between the logs. Those bugs always seemed to tag along when we filled our wood box in the garage. The ECO Bricks come bug free and they don’t attract bugs.
Which is better? Firewood or ECO Bricks?
I am not a good judge of knowing which burns hotter, the ECO Bricks or firewood.
I’m also not a good judge of knowing which burns longer, a piece of firewood or an ECO Brick. I have noticed that if there is firewood in the wood burner with the ECO Brick, the firewood burns first. If that is scientific, then the ECO Bricks take longer to burn.
I honestly cannot tell you whether a cord of firewood is the burning equivalent of a pallet of ECO Bricks.
Positives of ECO Bricks:
- Burns cleaner than firewood.
- Leave very little ash.
- No bugs.
- Stacks flat for storage.
- Fit and stack easily in the wood burner.
- Less work than firewood.
- According to the manufacturer, ECO Bricks are an environmentally friendly product. According to me with my sensitivities, I tolerate burning ECO Bricks better than burning firewood.
Negatives of ECO Bricks:
- Cannot be stored in a moist place. Ideally they should be stored in a building of some sort which means you need space to store them inside.
- Possibly more expensive than firewood.