Whether you’ve just purchased a pellet stove or have had one for years, it’s important to know that not all pellets are created equally. Picking the perfect pellet is essential to healthy stove maintenance and should be taken seriously. Below are a few tips to help you choose the right pellet fuel for your pellet stove:
What exactly is a pellet?
In short, pellets are compressed sawdust that are held together by naturally occurring glue, called lignin, which is produced when the sawdust is compressed. Pellets are eco-friendly as there is nothing in them that does not occur in nature and most of them are made from manufacture waste such as flooring, lumber, or furniture.
Why does quality matter?
It’s simple. The higher the quality of pellets, the less work you will have in maintaining your stove. Therefore, you will want to pay attention to the source of the wood in your pellets as softwood pellets give off less ash than hardwood pellets.
Pellet quality is graded based on ash content in a system similar to gasoline: utility, premium, and super-premium. Softwood pellets fall into the category of super-premium.
If you burn super-premium pellets, you may only have to clean your stove about every two weeks. By contrast, if you burn utility pellets you may need to clean your stove every four days. This is not due to feed rate but due to the ash content.
Finally, other things to keep in mind.
The smartest choice is to ensure that your pellets are all wood. That means they should not contain by-products such as cardboard or bark. In general, you should choose pellets that are shorter in length, as shorter pellets feed more fuel into the fire. Choose wood pellets with less than 10% moisture content for the best burning results.