A statement from one of our North American Pellet Manufacturers says it all:
Whether you burn hardwood or softwood in your pellet stove, you should feel good knowing you are lessening our nation’s reliance on imported fuels which contributes to global warning.
SOFTWOOD: THE MISUNDERSTOOD PELLET
Softwood pellets have been getting a bad rap because of incorrect information given to the customers. Many people think because it is a softwood that it will burn faster. This is not true. It does burn hotter so you would need to regulate your settings and then sit back and enjoy the warmth the pellets put out. . Wood pellets, whether hard or soft have almost the same density therefore will have similar burn times and will produce a much lighter and fluffier ash. Softwood pellets also have the added benefit of clean burning resins that ignite for the higher BTU value.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PELLET
When choosing a pellet you may notice several differences including, color, length and density. The lighter pellet is normally softwoods while the darker ones are hardwood. This however, may not be true to all pellets due to different circumstances, so don’t base you choice on just color alone.
Pellets vary in size and each stove handles this differently. Longer pellets will feed less fuel than the shorter pellet. You need to reduce the feed rate or increase air flow through the firepot to maintain the correct fuel to air ratio. If you don’t this could cause you to have incomplete combustion, more ash, a lazy fire, heat transfer efficiency and smut on your glass. Density is where pellet manufacturers compress the wood fiber to a consistent density of at least 40lbs per cubic foot. If you fill a cubic foot container with pellets, it should weigh at least 40lbs, but it is difficult to compress to that exact density so most pellet mills compress 41lbs to 42lbs. It would not be uncommon that the pellet could be as dense as 44lbs or more.
If one bag is denser than the other, it will deliver more fuel to the firepot with each rotation of the augur than the less dense pellet. If you choose to switch from a less dense pellet to a more dense pellet, you will need to reduce your feed rate or increase airflow through the firepot to maintain the correct fuel to air ratio.