What is Pellet Fuel?
Pellet fuel is a renewable, clean-burning and cost stable home heating alternative currently used throughout North America. It is a biomass product made of renewable substances - generally recycled wood waste. There are currently more than 600,000 homes in North American using wood pellets for heat, in freestanding stoves, fireplace inserts and even furnaces. Pellet fuel for heating can also be found in such large-scale environments as schools and prisons.
North American pellets are produced in manufacturing facilities in Canada and the United States, and are available for purchase right here at Burn Time Enterprises in clean, easy to handle 40 lb bags and by the ton!
One bag of pellet fuel equals 2.5 gallons of oil, or one ton equals 1½ cords of wood!
Burning The Fuel
Pellet fuel for home heating can be burned in a freestanding pellet stove, fireplace insert or a furnace. A pellet stove looks much like a wood stove, but is automated. Heating a home with pellet fuel requires only the ability to add pellets into a hopper, set the desired heat output and provide necessary appliance maintenance, such as cleaning out an ash pan. All other aspects of the heating process occur automatically. Pellet stoves and fireplace inserts come in a wide range of styles, sizes and finishes.
- Wood pellets give you the look of a "real wood" fire without the cleaning and maintenance hassles of a standard wood stove
- Pellet stoves today have efficiency ratings of around 80-85%
- Pellet stoves are easy to clean. A 40 pound bag of pellets produces only 3 ounces of ash
- Made of 100% sawdust that would otherwise be destined for our landfills
- Most pellet stoves can burn a day or more without being filled or otherwise attended. furnaces and boilers may have bulk feed options
- Because of the near total combustion (around 98.5%), pellet stoves produce virtually no creosote. This also allows installation of a pellet stove without a chimney
- Pellet fuel contains very small amounts of sulfur or other noxious elements as are contained in non-renewable coal and petroleum resources
For more information about pellet stoves or fireplace inserts, download a copy of the Pellet Stove fact sheet (PDF).
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.