Federal and state regulations for burning firewood are increasing yearly. If you’re worried that you might not be able to heat your home using your existing wood stove or wood furnace, changing over to burning wood pellets is a smart move. We’ve compiled a list of the Top 10 Ways Wood Pellets Beat Firewood to make the decision easier:
Wood Pellets Burn Cleaner
Wood stoves are getting more efficient, but the quality of the firewood can affect how cleanly a stove operates. Even under the best circumstances, wood stoves and furnaces produce more soot and other pollutants than pellet stoves.
Wood Pellets Take Up Less Space
The amount of useful energy in a cord of wood varies a lot. The species of tree makes a big difference. How well it’s dried also affects how much heat you get. In general, however, a cord of firewood and a ton of pellets contain about the same amount of energy. A cord of firewood is a neatly stacked pile that’s 4′ x 4′ x 8′ long. A ton of pellets consists of 50 bags that weigh 40 pounds each. A ton of pellets fits easily on a wooden pallet, and makes a 4′ x 4′ x 4′ cube. That’s exactly half the size for the same amount of heat.
Wood Pellets Are Neater
Pellets are sealed in 40-pound plastic bags. They can be stored and moved around inside your home without making a mess. Firewood is usually stored outside, and leaves a trail of dirt everywhere you move it. Even after you open a bag of pellets, there is very little sawdust left in a bag after the pellets are poured out. Every time you handle firewood, it leaves bits of bark and dirt everywhere.
Wood Pellets Don’t Have Insects in Them
Pellets are manufactured by grinding up wood, sending it through a dryer, and then ramming it through an extruder. There is no way for insects to survive the process of making a pellet, and sealing the pellet bags makes it impossible for them to get in after the pellets are packaged. Firewood always attracts insects, including bugs like termites, powder post beetles, and ash borers. These bugs can easily be brought into your home where they can do a great deal of damage.
Wood Pellets Are Available Year Round
It’s necessary to dry firewood for long periods before it’s ready to burn. Drying firewood in a kiln to speed up the process makes it very expensive. It can be very hard to find dry firewood during the heating season, or even green firewood in some cases. The wood fiber used to make pellets is dried during the manufacturing process, so a batch of pellets can be produced any time of the year.
Wood Pellets Are Predictable
The amount of heat you can expect from firewood varies from load to load, and even from stick to stick. Logs from the top of the woodpile won’t burn the same as logs from the bottom of the same pile. Different types of trees have different amounts of BTUs in each pound of wood. Pellets aren’t like that. Different brands of wood pellets have different amounts of BTUs per pound, but the difference is small. You can tell almost exactly how much heat you’ll get from a bag of pellets.
Wood Pellet Stoves Can Be Automated
Even the most up-to-date wood furnaces require a lot of tending. The amount of heat that a wood burning stove or furnace produces changes as the load of wood is consumed by the fire. Pellet stoves run exactly the same way all the time because the fire is fed a constant stream of pellets using automated feeders. Pellet stoves with big hoppers can run for days at time at a defined heat output without any attention.
Wood Pellets Produce Less Ash
Wood pellet manufacturers list the amount of ash their products produce on their bags. The amount of BTUs from brand to brand doesn’t change all that much. The amount of ash, however, varies a lot. No matter what brand of pellets you use, there’s a great deal less ash than when you burn firewood. Ash is more than a nuisance. Many house fires are caused by improper disposal of ash from wood stoves.
Wood Pellets Don’t Require Kindling
It can be difficult to start a wood fire. Today’s pellet stoves have automatic ignition that will ignite wood pellets without any help. Storing kindling and fire starting materials like newspapers and matches can lead to unsafe conditions.
Wood Pellet Stoves Run Longer on a Single Load
There are now a lot of very large wood furnaces on the market, but even the biggest requires almost constant attention. Pellet stoves use big hoppers to hold enough fuel to keep the stove running at a steady output for much longer than any wood burning device can.
Let’s Hear From You
Can you think of any more reasons wood pellets beat firewood? Or would you like to point out ways that fire wood beats pellets? Let us know in the comments!