There is no doubt that wood pellets are a very clean-burning and efficient way to heat a home; however there are many different kinds of pellets to consider. Those who are interested in using this method of heating a home will want to think about all of the options which can be utilized. There are different species of ash, moisture, and content to be considered before a final decision can be reached. Once you review all of the various types of wood pellets you will most likely find it easier to reach a final conclusion regarding what you want to put in your wood-burning stove at home.
Quality of Wood Pellets
- It is important to consider the fact that there are different grade wood pellet, including those which are intended for residential use and have an ash content of around only one percent to three percent. The Pellet Fuels Institute is responsible for coming up with the standards for different grade pellets, including those which are premium-grade and have an ash content which is below one percent.
- The higher the ash content is for these wood pellets the more cleanup is required because of the high amount of residue left behind. There is the whole hardwood vs. softwood debate when it comes to the quality of these pellets, and while hardwood pellets may be preferred by many, there are still benefits to using softwood. Some of the reasons that more people tend to gravitate towards hardwood pellets are because o their low moisture content as well as the fact that they tend to burn longer as a whole and offer a more efficient way to heat a given area.
- Those who are considering which type of wood pellets to put in their stove will certainly want to consider the fact that there are a wide variety of species to choose from, including both soft and hardwood pellets. Both of these will be able to offer a great deal of heat for every pound that is used in the stove, so you should consider that when looking for the very best kind. In order to get a maximum amount of heat from the pellets which are used though, it is crucial to make sure that the moisture content is as low as possible.
Economic Benefits of Wood Pellets
- There are certainly a number of economic benefits to using wood pellets for heating purposes. Countries all across the world including Germany have started to utilize this method of heating and so far it has been very successful in saving money and providing an abundance of heat and energy. Wood-burning pellets are up there with the likes of solar and wind power in terms of how economically and environmentally-responsible they are. Those plants which work off of biomass like wood pellets need only employ a minimum of people to run them and they are extremely efficient.
Moisture Content of Wood Pellets
- The moisture content of the wood pellets that you purchase is going to be of the utmost importance because of the fact that in order for them to burn efficiently they will need to have low moisture content. Usually the moisture content of a majority of wood pellets consists of around five to ten percent. The U.S Department of Energy is in charge of keeping track of moisture content for food pellets and states that it is much better than traditional firewood when it comes to warming up any given area. Typically you will find that firewood has a moisture content of around 20 percent which isn’t nearly as good as wood pellets which are much more efficient at heating up smaller and larger areas.
Other Wood Pellet Factors
- It will also be important to consider the various additives in wood pellets, such as lignin which is naturally in wood and acts to lubricate the pellets themselves to make for a much more efficient type of fuel. There are certain wood pellets which you will be able to purchase that contain absolutely no additives and those are the ones which are considered to be the cleanest burning pellets available. Those who are concerned about some of the environmental factors associated with wood-burning will want to think about the additives which are in the pellets you can purchase.
- Trace minerals are something else to think about because they can potentially cause something like “clinkering” which is essentially large clumps of ash which clog various parts of the stove and can result in a number of problems which are associated with having to completely clean it out which can take hours to do. Those who wish to reduce problems like this will need to check the bag at the bottom of the stove frequently to make sure ash is not accumulating. By taking the time to empty it out every once in a while you will be able to avoid this problem altogether. The U.S Department of Energy recommends consumers to purchase higher-quality wood pellets so as to reduce issues with ash clogs because of the fact that less dust accumulates with every bag you put in.
Of course the overall quality of the wood pellets you purchase is going to be one of the major deciding factors in how efficiently in burns inside of your stove. By focusing on those pellets which have a low ash content you will be able to get the most out of them. When you get pellets which have high BTUs you will be able to count on their ability to produce more heat for your home. The way that you store each of these pellets is also going to be crucial, because you will want them to last as long as possible. By keeping all of your wood pellets in a dry place you will make them last as long as possible so they will be good to use for a number of years. Getting all of the pellets you need for a given season at one time will end up saving you quite a bit of work and it is a good idea all around.