Wednesday, 8 February 2017

4 Reasons to Choose Smokeless Fuel for Your Home

Both in London and across the country, many households are discovering the welcoming sight of a real fire. The option of smokeless fuel is proving increasingly popular, and not only if you live in a smokeless zone. Many households in other areas are also choosing this type of fuel, which was developed during the 1940s and 1950s to combat the increasing air pollution in towns and cities.

Fuel varieties available include natural anthracite, which is still mined in South Wales. Another option is a manufactured smokeless coal, which is produced by decreasing the volatile substance in it, and then blending it together with other forms of fuel. It is then ground together to form standard size briquettes.

Whichever type of fuel you need, Big K supplies a whole range of quality winter fuels, including smokeless, and offers free delivery service within the M25.

Cleaner and Greener

When cities were burning house coal in large quantities, this caused an increase in air pollution, so new legislation was brought in to create smokeless zones, in areas including Greater London. It has been proved that smokeless fuel emits up to 80% less smoke than house coal, so it is one of the only types of fuel permitted to be burnt in smokeless zones.

The latest developments in smokeless coal can also emit up to 40% less carbon dioxide – which is one of the greenhouse gases that is responsible for global warming – and these fuels are therefore, eco-friendlier. They are also cleaner than traditional coal, as they produce much less ash, so less time is needed to clean the hearth.

Health Benefits

Smokeless solid fuels have a number of health benefits. Their use has been shown in studies to alleviate health issues such as asthma, eczema, bronchitis, and also to reduce levels of hay fever among children. Choosing this type of fuel can make a big difference to those who suffer from these illnesses.

Versatile

These fuels are not only suitable for open fires, where they look very attractive and homely, but also ideal for kitchen stoves and cookers, room heaters, boilers and burners. This makes them appealing for those with a variety of different heating equipment in the home.

Cost-Effective

Surveys have shown that smokeless solid fuel is one of the most cost-effective methods of heating a room. Far less is needed to heat your home than with standard coal, and the heat output is about 40% higher – making it ideal for cold winter nights.

Winter Fuels from Big K

Big K sells all types of smokeless fuel, including instant lighting coal, Anthracite coal and Home Fire. We also sell smokeless logs. However, if you want traditional winter fuel – why not try seasoned firewood, seasoned hardwood logs, kindling, firelighters and fire lighting auxiliaries? Delivery is free for those within the M25 and London area, with a minimum order value of £60 and lead time of 7 working days. Big K also offer free nationwide delivery with a minimum order value of £100 and a lead time of 5 working days for those outside the M25.

Click here for full details of the winter fuel range from Big K.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Should You Choose an Open Fire or a Wood Burning Stove?

As winter weather bites, we all want to keep our homes warm and cosy – and a real fire or wood burning stove is a great way to do just that. Big K supplies a wide range of winter fuel products, including everything from an instant lighting coal fire to seasoned firewood logs and wood fuel briquettes. Here we will look at the different options available and how you can decide which is the best option for your home.

Open Fires – the Traditional Option

There are many reasons why an open fire is still regarded by many as a very attractive option. It will warm a house very quickly, creating a welcoming and homely ambience. There is also nothing more romantic on a cold evening than cuddling up with a loved one in front of a fire.

If you have an older house which already has a fireplace, the idea of bringing this back into use is appealing. If the original fireplace has been removed, you could invest in a reclaimed vintage fireplace or a new one, perhaps with a retro look. There are many great designs to choose from which will complement your home’s interior design.

Even if you are attracted by an open fire, you might be put off by fears that it will be expensive to run. However, today’s fuels are much more economical than those used in past eras, and there are various ways of making your fire more efficient, such as fitting a throat restrictor and glass fire doors.

Another aspect that sometimes makes people nervous about having a fire is the fear that it might be difficult to get it alight and that this could take a long time. Fortunately, this need not be the case. As its name suggests, an instant lighting coal fire will give out heat and light very quickly, without the need for firelighters or kindling.

Other excellent fuels for open fires include smokeless coal, which comes prepacked in bags containing 10kg or 20kg, as well as various types of heat log. Households outside smokeless fuel areas also have the option of ordering house coal from Big K.

Wood Burning Stoves

If you thought wood burning stoves were only for householders in rural areas, think again! Over recent years they have also become popular in urban settings, after the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs approved use of these stoves in smokeless fuel areas.

So what are the advantages of a wood burning stove compared to a traditional fire? One is that a wood burning stove is typically more energy-efficient than an open fire. Modern stoves have a number of high-tech features meaning that far less heat is lost up the chimney, making them more sustainable and better for the environment. Another advantage is that the warmth from a wood burner will spread to a wider area than with an open fire, helping to make your home warmer overall.

Today’s wood burning stoves come in many different designs, so, although black is still very popular, you can also choose other styles and colours to match your décor.

Wood burners can use many of the same fuels as open fires, as well as different options. Big K supplies a wide range of winter fuels, including both unseasoned and seasoned firewood logs and our economical Big Flame heat logs, which are FSC certified. Another option is instant lighting fire logs, which take away the need for kindling, as all you need to do is light the wrapper. Wood fuel briquettes are yet another popular choice.

Big K offers a large range of quality winter fuel products, and if you are in London within the M25 you can benefit from free delivery for orders of £60 or over. Many areas outside the M25 can also receive free deliveries for orders over £100. Click here for full details of Big K winter fuel products.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

What Makes Our Heat Logs So Economical?

Our economical Heat Logs are ideal as winter fuel if you are looking for an inexpensive way to achieve a real fire which not only creates a wonderful cosy atmosphere but is also very effective at heating your home.

But what exactly makes them so economical?

Source materials

Our Big Flame Heat Logs are made by recycling the by-products of other wood manufacturing processes, typically sawdust generated by cutting wood to make furniture or other items. The source materials are therefore considerably cheaper than, for instance, solid hardwood logs, and this saving is reflected in the price. (It also happens to make them environmentally friendly, since no trees were cut down specifically to make them.)

Economy of scale

The scale of our operation means we can keep costs down, which is passed on to our customers.

Long burn

Because of the way our Heat Logs are made – by tightly compressing the raw materials together – each log burns for a very long time. In fact, they give a longer burn than regular wood logs, and will still be throwing out heat two hours after you've lit one. At £4.75 for a pack of 12, that's just 40 pence per log – so it could cost you just 80 pence to heat your living room for a whole evening.

High heat output

Out Heat Logs don't just look pretty while they are burning – they provide a high heat output too, estimated to be double the heat you get from regular firewood logs. So it is quite feasible to use them to heat an average sized room and turn off any other heat sources, such as radiators, so you could even save some money on the central heating.

And you don't have to wait too long to start feeling the heat. The logs have a very low moisture content and they are designed with a hollow centre that helps draw air through and around the log, so these logs are easy to light and reach their top temperature very quickly. This means there is less need to use another form of heating while the fire gets going.

Free delivery

One other very important factor for London customers is that we offer free delivery for orders of £60 or more (that's just 13 packs of Heat Logs) inside the M25. (We also deliver free to many areas outside the M25, for orders over £100.) This makes our Heat Logs even more economical.

What's the catch?

If you're thinking there must be some downside with choosing Heat Logs over firewood logs – there isn't. Our logs are extremely versatile and can be used in fireplaces, woodburners or wood fuel stoves, or even in a chimenea. They have great burning qualities; they burn evenly without spitting or sparks and don't leave much ash.

Economical Heat Logs London – Buy Big Flame Heat Logs here.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Seasoned Hardwood Logs – The Advantages of Home Delivery

Taking advantage of our home delivery service for Seasoned Hardwood Logs or other winter fuel makes it so much easier to have a regular fire over the winter months. Having logs that have been cut to a convenient size, properly seasoned and of a consistent quality, ready to hand, means you can get a warming fire going quickly whenever you need to heat your home, or simply create a romantic or relaxing atmosphere for the evening. But there are a number of other advantages to getting your firewood delivered...

A Godsend for the Carless

Many Londoners have made a decision not have a car as they can easily get anywhere they need using London transport or by cycling. For travel to work, school and social events this is not a problem – but when it comes to transporting heavy or bulky supplies it can become one. So if you want a roaring fire or if you have a woodburning stove in your London home, a delivery service is more than useful – it’s essential!

Less Lifting and Carrying

Even if you have a car, getting a home delivery means you don’t have to carry bags of logs between the shop and car, and then between car and home. We deliver to your doorstep (or to the main door of a building in the case of apartment buildings), so all you have to do is carry them inside or to your usual place of storage. As well as saving you effort, it could save you several trips in the car, which means less money paid out for petrol, and more time to yourself.

Fewer Trips in Cold Weather

If it’s cold enough to want a fire going then you probably would rather not be turning out in all weathers to fetch firewood. Arranging a winter fuel home delivery means you can stay indoors and keep warm – a luxury for anyone, but especially important for our elderly or housebound customers.

Small Net Bags

Our seasoned hardwood logs are supplied in small net bags, approximately 10kg in weight. This makes them a lot easier to move and store compared to larger bags or pallet loads.

Morning and Afternoon Delivery Slots

When you place an order with us we will let you know which day we will deliver, and whether this will be a morning (8am to 12.30pm), afternoon (12.30pm to 5.30pm) or (sometimes) an evening timeslot (after 5.30pm).

If you are able to plan ahead for your fuel needs you may be able to limit the number of deliveries to just one or two over the winter period – which means less inconvenience to you and fewer road miles for your fuel.

Free Home Delivery

If you live within the M25 and your order is at least £60 in value, we can offer free home delivery, which equates to a very modest quantity (13 bags) of Seasoned Hardwood Logs. This is approximately a month’s supply if you plan to use your fire every evening (1 bag should last for approximately 2 evenings).

If you live outside the M25 the minimum order value for free delivery is a little higher at £100 – which is still only 21 bags of Seasoned Hardwood Logs, or 18 bags of our Premium Kiln Dry Hardwood Logs.

We deliver to all areas of London and to many other parts of England and Wales as well. You can easily check if we can deliver to you by using our postcode checker, which is on every page of our site. Just enter your postcode and we’ll let you know whether we can deliver to your area. And, when you place an order, we will check your postcode at the start of the ordering process, just to make sure.

Not Just Logs

As well as our seasoned logs we deliver the full range of our winter fuel products including kiln dry logs, heat logs and kindling wood, as well as solid fuels such as charcoal briquettes, smokeless coal, and paraffin (for paraffin heaters). We can also bring along handy fire lighting accessories such as big matches, firelighters and chimney cleaners.

To order, just visit our site, head to the Winter Fuel section and select Logs and Wood to see our firewood products. Just enter the quantities you need and click “Buy Now” for the products you want. Before you check out, your order summary will show whether your order reaches the minimum value for free delivery. We accept Visa or Mastercard credit cards as payment.

Seasoned Hardwood Logs Home Delivery – Order your winter fuel supplies today.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

How to Choose Winter Hardwood Logs

If you are one of our regular winter fuel customers you will already know about the qualities of our winter hardwood logs. However, we know that as the popularity of an open fire and woodburning stoves are increasing, there will be new owners looking around for the right type of fuel to help keep them warm over the winter. Thankfully (for our heating bills) this winter has been on the warm side for most of us so far – but in true British tradition we can expect some proper winter conditions sometime between now and March 2016. So it's a good idea to arrange a winter fuel home delivery for your fireplace or woodburning stove now, while stocks are plentiful and delivery isn't being hampered by severe weather.

With so many varieties of winter hardwood logs available it can be a bit confusing wondering which ones to buy, especially if you haven't bought them before. So here we outline some of the key qualities that may be important to you and which of our range of winter fuel products are most likely to meet your needs.

Easy to light

For many, the most daunting prospect of a real log fire is getting it lit quickly – partly so you can get on with the rest of your day and partly so that the fire starts warming up the room as fast as possible. While the idea of using real wood logs is appealing, in practice the moisture content can make them difficult to light – unless they have been treated (or seasoned) correctly in advance.

We offer two types of logs that have been treated in this way: Seasoned Hardwood Logs which contain approximately 40% moisture, and Kiln Dry Logs which have around 20% moisture.

Correct storage is also a factor here – there's no point buying kiln dried or seasoned logs and then leaving them outside in the rain! Ideally, store them indoors (e.g. in a shed or garage) but if you do need to store them outdoors make sure they are under cover and are brought indoors a few days before you want to burn them.

High heat

If you are depending on your fire or stove to keep you warm, then your logs need to be more than just good looking – they need to give out plenty of heat too. If this is important to you then choose our Big Flame Heat Logs which give around double the heat output of firewood logs. Within our firewood range, choose our Kiln Dry Hardwood Logs, for the highest heat output.

Long burn

A long lasting log means less time spent topping up and tending your fire, and it can also be more economical in the long run too. Hardwood logs last much longer than softwood logs, so both our top products (Kiln Dry and Seasoned) are made from hardwood species to give a long lasting burn. For an even longer burn, choose our Heat Logs.

Environmental sustainability

Although burning trees may not intuitively feel like an eco-friendly thing to be doing, in fact using wood for heat can be far less damaging to overall CO2 levels than burning coal, gas or oil (either directly or indirectly via electricity from coal or gas-fired power stations). It takes millions of years to make oil, coal and gas, but just a few years to grow a tree. So, as long as the trees you burn for fuel are constantly being replaced with new trees, you won't be contributing to the CO2 problem.

Our Kiln Dry Logs are 100% FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) sourced – ensuring that any trees cut down are replaced in a sustainable, managed way.

Alternatively, our Wood Fuel Briquettes and Big Flame Heat Logs are made entirely from recycled wood or other wood waste, which would otherwise go to landfill, which means no trees have been specifically cut down to make them.

In addition, all our logs and wood briquettes use British wood and are manufactured within the UK, minimising the carbon footprint of the production process.

Authentic looking fire

If you want logs which looked like you may possibly have chopped them up yourself, then choose either our Seasoned Hardwood Logs or Kiln Dry Hardwood Logs. To enhance the effect, take them out of their plastic netting and put into a log basket or other container next to your fire, ready for use.

If you want to combine high heat efficiency with an authentic log look, get your fire going with our Heat Logs, and then top off with either our Kiln Dry or Seasoned logs.

Economy

When it comes to choosing fuel logs on the basis of value for money, you need to weigh up the upfront cost per kilogram versus the amount of heating you get. By far the most cost-efficient choice in terms of heat provided, are our Heat Logs, made from recycled wood waste. However, if you want to use real logs, our Kiln Dry Hardwood Logs offer superior heat output and burn time, so many of our customers opt for these logs as an economical choice.

No sparks

If you are buying winter hardwood logs for a woodburning stove then you don't have to worry about sparks so much as the door of the stove will prevent any sparks escaping into the room. But if you are planning to use an open fireplace then minimising sparks becomes a more important safety issue (although using a good fireguard and making sure your fire isn't left unattended is always advised). If this is a priority for you, then you may prefer our Wood Fuel Briquettes, which can be used in a wide range of fires including fire pits, chimeneas and stoves, as well as open hearth fires.

Still not sure?

We are happy to supply mixed orders so you can try a few bags of each of our products, to allow you to compare how they work for you and your particular fire needs.

Winter Hardwood Logs – Click here for our complete winter fuel range, all available with free delivery.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

A Short History of Yule Logs

For most of us, a Yule Log is a seasonal item of confectionary involving a swiss roll decorated with chocolate frosting, artfully fashioned to look like bark, sprinkled with icing sugar by way of snow, and topped with any number of festive decorations. But where does the idea of a cake in the shape of a log come from? Big K, suppliers, of heat logs and seasoned hardwood logs, looks at the origin of the Yule log.

The festive cake version of the Yule Log is based on a real tradition – based on real wooden logs – which dates back to the pre-Christian era.

So, if you are one of those people who doesn't so much as glance at your fireplace all year round, but gets a sudden urge to see a crackling fire over the Christmas and New Year period, you could be unconsciously tuning in to an ancient tradition. You can order high quality Seasoned Hardwood Logs and other winter fuel options right here, but just to help you get into the festive spirit, we've decided to take a short historical tour of the Yule Log.

Origins - To understand the true origins of the Yule Log, we first have to look at the meaning of Yule itself. The word "Yule" stems from an ancient German word for the festival that took place at the time of the winter solstice in northern Europe, which was celebrated for many centuries before Christmas was even heard of and marked the end of one year and the start of another. It is probably no coincidence that the practice seems to have developed in the Scandinavian, Baltic and Celtic areas of Europe, where the emphasis was on keeping warm and well fed during the coldest months of the year.

It is believed that the original Yule log was a lot more than a log - in fact, it was a whole tree! (It may even have been this traditional practice which eventually metamorphosed into the modern day Christmas tree in the living room.) The base of the tree trunk was put into the fire and slowly burned. As the tree was consumed by fire it would be pushed further into the fire – a crude, but effective method of ensuring continuous heat for many days. As well as being a welcome relief from the cold, the chopping down and burning of the tree was seen as symbolic of the cycle of life, with death an inevitable and necessary part of sustaining life.

Middle Ages - In the medieval period many pagan traditions were co-opted by the Church and reassigned with Christian symbolism, and the burning of the Yule tree saw its meaning change. (At the same time, the tree became a log, making it a more practical option for a household fireplace.) Now, the log was burned throughout the Twelve Days of Christmas, and any remains of the log kept until the following Christmas. The practice became increasingly ceremonial rather than about keeping warm, involving rituals around the lighting and relighting of the log from year to year, and this began to involve the log being adorned with other symbolic elements such as evergreen plants and pinecones, to represent the promise of new life and fertility.

17th Century - Of course, another very important element of the original pagan Yule celebration was feasting, just as it is for our modern Christmas celebrations. So it was perhaps just a matter of time before the Yule log was created in food form. It is thought that the appearance of the earliest cake-based Yule logs was in the 17th century, around the time when ingredients such as sugar and cocoa from the Far East and the New World were beginning to become more widely available.

19th Century - In France, the popularity of the Yule log as a seasonal dessert really took off and was known as a "Bûche de Noël". It appears to have spread to other countries including the UK during the late 19th and 20th centuries, where it became a staple of our modern Christmas fare along with Christmas pudding and mince pies.

21st Century - In some places the burning of a log at Christmastime continues, with many countries choosing a specific type of tree (e.g. the Oak in England or the Birch in Scotland) usually reflecting what's locally available as well as an element of national or local symbolism.

While we can't supply you with a whole tree for your hearth or woodburning stove (and wouldn't recommend you try it) we can provide you with a much safer and more convenient way of staying toasty over the festive season, in the form of our Seasoned Hardwood Logs for woodburning stoves, or Kiln Dry Hardwood Logs, suitable for woodburners and open fires and made from top quality FSC sourced hardwoods. Alternatively, our Heat Logs are an environmentally friendly and fuss free way of generating plenty of heat for your home.

Seasoned Hardwood Logs - Click here for our complete winter fuel range, all available with free delivery.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

5 Creative Ways to Store Wood Burning Logs

Have you organised your logs for home delivery yet? If not, autumn is the ideal time to stock up before the cold weather really kicks in. For convenience, Big K provide door-to-door delivery services of all winter fuel products, so you can make sure you have everything you need during the frostiest days of the year. If you have bought more than you are likely to burn through the winter, and don’t have a designated shed or outhouse for them, here’s five creative ways to store your wood burning logs, including some weird and wacky ones too. Only your imagination is the limit!

The Log House

An alternative take on the traditional log cabin, this arty log store/farmland feature has upstairs windows, a roof, chimney and floral window displays! While making an unusual and elaborate play-house from seasoned hardwood logs might be a little over the top for the average householder, it shows what you can do with firewood when you’ve got time on your hands!

The Decorative Store

An appealing feature in its own right, this eye-catching log stack is a common yet attractive way of commercially stacking logs. As well as being decorative, it's designed to capture people’s imagination and remind them to stock up on their logs. And, the good news is that resourceful types can recreate it on a mini scale at home! Click on the link to use Big K's handy, nationwide home delivery service for winter fuel .

The Garden Wall Feature

Multi-purpose but lacking in practicality, this versatile garden wall feature combines aesthetics with a clever log store for open air fires. Although it lacks suitability as a log store for the UK climate, it makes a great commercial or home garden feature. For more ideas for winter, see Big K’s products for year round use which include a superb range of high-quality outside kitchens and outdoor ovens. We also sell patio heaters to keep you warm during the coldest months of the year.

The Mosaic Store

This is ideal for crafty types keen to turn log storage in their shed, home or porchway into an art form. While re-creating a similar design to the picture above is possible if you cut your own wood, our Premium Kiln Dry Hardwood Logs are in uniform pieces – so you can do it on a mini, neater scale at home. They look great stacked in a log basket and equally appealing if you want a well-ordered stand-alone pile near the fireplace.

The Alcove Store

Although not overtly creative, this contemporary metal outdoor log stall is pretty and functional and is easy to top up and access. It’s set in an alcove with all the home fire accessories to hand, including a dustpan and brush and an ash shovel. If you have an alcove inside or outside the home, it’ll make the perfect log store. Just like the modern indoor fireplace alcove in picture below.

Big K - Click here to order your winter fuel products and logs for home delivery today.