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Home & Garden

Good Pellets Make Good Sense

September 7, 2018
Wood pellet stoves have become quite popular throughout the Pacific Northwest. While these stoves are very efficient, picking the right pellets for your stove can often seem less efficient, especially with so many options out there. To help you out, we’ve put together a quick guide that includes pellet basics and how to estimate your annual needs.

What is a Wood Pellet?

Basically, pellets are compressed sawdust from sawmills. That means you’re doing your part for the environment by utilizing a byproduct. Some pellets do include paper, glue, bark and chemicals.

What Creates Ash?

All pellets leave behind some ash. But the type of wood used to make the pellets, the moisture content, and additives all play a role in how much ash is created when it burns

When choosing your pellets, check to make sure they meet or exceed all PFI (Pellet Fuels Institute) Standards. PFI checks on the quality of pellets being sold in the U.S. and issues quality ratings that you’ll find on most bags. With higher quality pellets, you’ll notice less dirt and dust left in the bag and in your hopper.

Do Expensive Pellets Work Better?

Not necessarily. But, premium wood pellets will burn longer overall and thus burn a bit cleaner. To ensure you’re getting a good quality pellet, look for a heat output of 8,000 to 8,500 BTU, moisture content of 6.5% or less, low ash content, and try to avoid a lot of additives or bark.

Coastal tip: Before buying a ton of pellets for your stove, open a bag and give it the smell test. If it smells like real wood, chances are it will burn well.

How Many Pellets Do You Need to Heat a Home?

The average 2,500 square foot home requires up to 5 tons of pellets per year, while a 1,500 square foot home takes anywhere from 3 to 4 tons. If you’ve ever used firewood to heat your home, you can estimate that one ton of pellets will equal 1.5 cords of firewood. It takes 50 of the 40-pound bags of pellets to equal one ton.

Coastal tip: Wood burning and pellet stoves can suck moisture out of your home. Place a teakettle on top of your stove to add moisture, and some country flair, back into your house.

Where Should Pellets be Stored?

If you have room in the garage, outbuilding, or barn, those are the best places to store your pellets. But if you must store them outside, be sure to cover them completely with a tarp and try to keep out as much moisture, and critters, as you can.

Coastal tip: To clean the glass on your pellet stove, wait for the stove to cool down. Then, use a standard glass cleaner and plenty of elbow grease to remove the soot.

Stock Up on Pellets Before Winter

The Hearth and Home Department at your Northwest owned and operated Coastal carries everything you need, including stoves, parts, accessories, as well as pellets by the bag or pallet. Plus, our experts are here to answer your questions and help you find the perfect stove to keep your family warm this winter.