It’s colder than a penguins arse outside, and although we know that physical allotment activity will help thaw out our frozen limbs, we can’t quite muster the enthusiasm required to make those first tentative steps towards the welly rack. Besides, there’s a mountain of leftover Christmas cheese to chomp through, and a quick flick on the tv guide reveals a pretty impressive run of Ice Road Truckers over on the History Channel.
Time then to fire up the stove to fuel an afternoon of sofa-bound slothery, and as luck would have it, the good folks at Firemizer have sent us a couple of stove-enhancing products to test. This means we can legitimately call our house-bound loafing work, to help stave off any lingering feelings of self-loathing that may arise.
First up is the eponymously named Firemizer, a fuel saving, flexible mat made from a blend of stainless steel alloys. To the untrained eye, it looks like the kind of by-product you’d get after giving a gorilla a full back wax, but according to the back of the packet, this device will save up to 38% of fuel. Hot stuff!
Installing the Firemizer is easy: simply cut it to fit the base of your stove and pile the logs (or coal) on top. It’ll then lurk at the bottom of your stove, and as the fire gets going, the general idea is that it spreads the heat evenly across your fire, meaning your fuel burns more consistently and thoroughly. Your fire should also stay hotter for longer which means it requires less stoking and refuelling.
To get our fire started, we’ve got a stash of Firemizer ‘Firebuilders’ to try. Firebuilders are toblerone-y looking bricks made from recycled cardboard and are designed to act as firelighters whilst also cutting out the need for pesky kindling. A sniff reveals a distinct lack of odour (unlike the pile of cheese currently residing on a plate next to the telly) and a glance at the back of the box tells us that Firebuilders contain no kerosene – a common ingredient in your bog standard firelighter. Anyone who’s fiddled with kerosene firelighters will recall their pungent, petrol-station pong. Kerosine also churns out nasty chemicals when burnt, so consider Firebuilders an eco- friendly, non-toxic alternative.
We did note a slight performance downside with the Firebuilders. Unlike traditional Kerosene-laced ones, Firebuilders take a while to light. Ours took a few matches before bursting into life, and It was then 5-10 minutes before our (quite substantial) logs got going and our stove started to generate decent heat. We also missed that initial burst of warmth that a flaming pile of softwood kindling affords. Once going though, our Firebuilder burned away merrily for a good 40 minutes before crumbling to dust.
With regards to the Firemizer, its performance was difficult to quantify, especially when assessing how long the fuel lasted when compared to a similar, Firemizer-less fire. There are lots of variables to consider, for instance the type of wood being burnt, the moisture content of the wood, how open are the stoves vents etc. We did however, note an even burn across the base of our fire, and can confirm that we got a good way through series four of Ice Road Truckers and managed to polish off half a wheel of Stilton and the remaining Yarg before having to re-stock the fire.
We give Firemizer a big old eco-friendly, double-thumbs up, but don’t just take our review as gospel, try them out yourself here:
A Firemizer costs £19.99
Firebuilders cost £6.99 for a box of five bricks, which will be enough to ignite up to ten fires.