If you purchased the pellet stove in your home, you probably did a lot of research by reading reviews, comparing prices, learning about available features, and so on. How much do you look into pellets before you make a purchase? It’s a good idea to check out the brand’s heat and ash specifications before you buy. The higher the ash percentage, the more leftover ash you’ll experience – which correlates to how frequent your cleanings will be. Higher quality pellets have lower ash percentages, which means less maintenance for you. As for the heat output, the higher the BTU/lb number, the hotter the burn of course.
The popularity of 100% douglas fir wood pellets has been spreading rapidly in recent years. What makes them so special? Well, so say the high heat out and low ash levels are impressive would be an understatement. These softwood pellets are made from 100% douglas fir wood fibers – which is one of the hottest burning wood species in North America. Check out this chart showing the relative heat output (as measured by BTU/lb) from various wood species.
In addition to their superior heating ability, wood pellets comprised of 100% douglas fir create 2-3 times less ash than your average premium grade pellets. Ash levels this low provide a huge advantage in how often you must clean your stove or fiddle with your burn pot.
This report spans over 100 pages, and details the 2050 vision of economy-wide net greenhouse gas emissions reductions of 80 percent or more below 2005 levels. The White House explains:
“The MCS demonstrates how the United States can meet the growing demands on its energy system and lands while achieving a low-emissions pathway, maintaining a thriving economy, and ensuring a just transition for Americans whose livelihoods are connected to fossil fuel production and use,”
Are you eligible for the $300 Biomass Federal Tax Credit? It’s a $300 dollar-for-dollar tax credit for purchasing a qualifying biomass-burning stove between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2016. To make sure yours meets the 75% efficiency rating requirement, just check with your retailer.
You’re able to claim this credit as long as the stove was installed in your principal residence. This is the home you live in most of the time. It must be in the United States, and it can include a house, houseboat, mobile home, cooperative apartment, condominium, and a manufactured home. New construction and rentals do not apply.
Have you considered burning more than one type or brand of wood pellets during one heating season?
A trend growing in popularity among experienced pellet stove owners is to burn pellets with a higher heat output during the coldest months of the heating season, and burn pellets with a lesser heat output (and a typically lower price tag) in the early season and late season months.
Have you heard of using wood pellets as kitty litter? It’s inexpensive and 100% natural - no silica particles, no toxins, fragrances or dust. All you need to get started is a clean cat box, baking soda, and a bag of 100% softwood wood pellets.
Ahead of time, moisten a few handfuls of wood pellets with water until they turn into sawdust. The video below shows a timelapse of wood pellets absorbing water to create fluffy horse bedding. You’ll basically be doing the same thing, but on a smaller scale.
Unfortunately, there isn’t always a bunch of extra space available to keep your wood pellets stored safely, and out of the way. Of course, it’d be best for your wood pellets to be stored inside, but there isn’t always room for that! Unwrapping the shroud and re-stacking all the bags is a great solution to only having small spaces available. Take a look at how some of our customers stack their pellets indoors, here. Read how we stacked 50 pellet bags in a very tight space, here. Your pellets can also be stored outside successfully, if you take a couple of extra steps.
If you’re having wood pellets delivered to your home for the first time, or are storing them in a new location, it’s a good idea to measure out the space first in order to know what you can fit. First, let’s start with dimensions, so you’ll be able to plan your spaces effectively.
Not long ago, about 80 percent of pellets made in the United States were used domestically, largely for residential heating. Today, wood pellet heating has grown into an international energy and environmental super-power, driven by the European Union’s goal for 20% of all generated power to be sourced from renewables.
The 2016 Pellet Stove Design Challenge (which is organized by the
Alliance for Green Heat) was a three day international stove technology competition with a focus on spotlighting innovative and high performing pellet stoves and prototypes. The event also held extensive stove demonstrations/testing, presentations and round-table discussions with industry experts, researchers, scientists, policy-makers and students, among others. The main purpose of this competition is to promote innovation in wood and pellet heating, as well as help to reduce fossil fuel heating with the use of cleaner and more efficient stoves.
Why am I getting so much ash?
Check out the specifications on the wood pellets you’re purchasing, and look for the ash content listed. The higher the percentage, the more ash you’ll get, and the more frequent your cleanings will be. Higher quality pellets will have lower ash percentages, and therefore less maintenance.
On top of research, another great way to choose a fuel is by talking to your fellow pellet-burners to see what they’re using and why. Of course, you won’t know what you like for your home and your budget until you run your own tests. But if you’re buying the cheapest pellets with lower heat and higher ash specifications – you shouldn’t expect the same results as the higher quality options available.