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Logs as a fuel

Logs are a very versatile fuel and can be burned in many different forms and in a number of different appliances. Logs can be burned to heat one or more rooms, the whole house, to produce hot water and to cook on or a combination of all or some of these. It is better to buy logs by volume than by weight because some of the weight of freshly felled wood comes from water.

Using logs as a fuel has a number of benefits. Firstly, contrary to what many people think burning wood or logs can be environmentally beneficial. Much of the woodland in the UK is semi-natural woodland and benefits from being managed. Secondly, providing the wood comes from a sustainable source, wood is a source of renewable energy. Using wood logs as a fuel also benefits the rural economy by providing local employment and an opportunity for diversification for farmers and other landowners.

Facts and information about Logs

It is better to buy logs by volume than by weight because between 35% and 60% of the weight of freshly felled wood comes from water. Poplar is one of the wettest woods when freshly fuelled and ash (at 35%) one of driest. Trying to burn wet wood will produce steam, less heat (as so much of it is being used to dry the wood) problems with the chimney (see below) and pollution.

Seasoning reduces the moisture content of the wood. Wood felled during one winter should be seasoned until the next before it is burned. Whilst seasoning it should preferably be stored under cover in an airy place such as an open sided lean-to. Wood should be burned when the moisture content is below 30% – ‘air-dry’. You can tell if a log is dry because the bark will come away easily in the hand and the log will have splits across the grain. Ideally, logs purchased should be no more than 10cm thick. Any that are will need to be split again to ensure that they burn properly.

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