|Wood Pellet Fuel Information
All wood pellets are NOT created equal! We hear questions about
pellets all the time and would like to share some of the answers
Q: What makes a good pellet
stove wood pellet?
A: All wood, no bark and no paper or
cardboard products added. This is the most important issue when
choosing pellets. All wood pellets produce the most heat and
the least ash. A clean running pellet stove will produce the
most heat, most efficiently.
Q: How can you tell a quality
wood pellet from an inferior pellet?
A: The easiest way to check the quality
of a pellet stove wood pellet is smell. Simply take a hand full
of pellets and smell them. You should smell a pleasant clean
fresh wood scent. If you notice any strange odor it's a clear
indication of by-products in the pellet.
Most warehouse clubs and retailers carry
pellets that have a strong smell of cardboard, or other unpleasant
scent. DO NOT BURN THESE PELLETS! Although they will burn, they
have a lot of glue, inks etc. in them and will greatly reduce
your pellet stoves ability to create heat, as well as cause
buildup and heavier ash content adding to the stove's maintenance.
Some of these retailers try to sell you on the idea that it's
recycled products. Burning cardboard is not recycling! The best
method for this is to recycle it back to a cardboard plant.
Sure it's cheaper for them to add cardboard instead of real
wood, but it's not recycling, it's not good for your stove,
and it's not good for the environment!
Q: What is better Hardwood Pellets
or Softwood Pellets?
A: Most people jump to the conclusion
that "we have always burned hardwood in our woodstove so
hardwood must be better" - Not true with pellets.
The first and most important thing to
remember is that you are buying pellets by weight NOT volume.
A cord of dry hardwood vs. dry softwood weighs about 2-3 times
as much. However, a pound of dry hardwood weighs the same as
a pound of dry softwood.
So what counts is the heat output of
each. This is where softwood wins. Below is information from
a study done by the wood industry.
A softwood pellet will produce 10-20%
more BTU's per pound than hardwood depending on the species
and create a lighter ash.
Many retailers call their hardwood pellets
"Premium" - and charge accordingly. At the Pellet
King we consider "Premium" pellets to be those made
from all wood only with no bark. Hardwood pellets do cost more
to produce because the raw materials cost more, this is a simple
fact. At the PelletKing we sell each, but we will not try to
push you into hardwood pellets because they cost more or are
perceived to be premium. Simply put, they put out less heat
and produce denser ash.
Q: What does CO2 neutral mean?
A: The EPA has designated wood pellet
stoves to be CO2 neutral and for good reason. Although a pellet
stove produces CO2, the product came from a tree that lived
on and used CO2 it's entire life while providing O2 (oxygen)
as a by-product. So unlike coal/oil/gas that creates a lot of
CO2, but never used any, a wood pellet is neutral - same amount
used as produced.
Q: Are these pellet manufacturers
cutting all the trees down?
A: Not hardly. One example is International
Paper. One of the largest providers of wood in the world. IP
plants 6 trees every year for each one they cut. Any other long
term manufacturer will follow the same policy. It's really one
of the key features of wood pellets, unlike coal/oil/gas wood
pellets come from a renewable resource.