Wood Pellet FAQs
Where can I recycle my pellet bags?
While we do not accept the bags back, there is an organization called Earth911 that has designed a website for consumers to find the nearest location where your bags can be returned. Our bags are made from #4 (LDPE) plastic which is the same plastic used for grocery bags. In addition to the Earth911 website you can also return your pellet bags to any grocery/retail store that has a bin for returning plastic grocery bags.
Are hardwood pellets better than softwood pellets?
Top quality pellets can be made from either hardwood or softwood. Hardwood logs are drier than softwood logs and the low moisture contents result in a cleaner, hotter burn. However, in the manufacturing process the moisture content for all types of wood is reduced to 3-4% leaving only cellulose (the wood fiber itself), lignin (a component of wood cell walls), and resins. Cellulose has the same heating value, whether originating in hardwood or softwood form. Resin has a higher heating value than cellulose and the resin content in softwood is higher than is found in hardwood. As a result, softwood pellets tend to burn hotter, and faster. The main factor that impacts the quality of a wood pellet is the ash content. Low ash is a result of using clean wood (no bark, dirt etc.) and a quality manufacturing process, not the type of wood used.
What could cause an increased ash build-up in my pellet stove?
Several factors may result in apparent or actual increased ash. It is important to note that ash content is measured as a percentage by weight. If your ash appears fluffy or larger in volume it may not actually be excessive as a percentage by weight. If it is colder outside from one day to the next you will burn more pellets resulting in more ash. If your stove is not burning efficiently it may lead to excessive ash buildup. The leading cause of an inefficient burn is a dirty stove. We recommend having your stove professionally cleaned at least once a year. If you still think the ash is excessive it can be tested for ash content in a lab to determine whether or not the fuel is the problem.
I have heard a lot about clinkers. What causes them?
Clinkers are heavy ash deposits formed from “trace minerals”. They are usually caused by insufficient airflow resulting in incomplete combustion. This can occur even in the highest quality pellet. Again, make sure your stove is cleaned regularly to allow for proper airflow.
If my pellets are lighter in color, does that mean they are lower in quality?
The color may differ slightly among “batches” of wood pellets depending on the primary wood species used for that production run. The lighter color does not indicate a lower quality product.
What is the shelf life of wood pellets?
Pellets have an indefinite shelf life if stored properly. We recommend keeping them stored in a cool, dry place. If stored outside, the pellets should be covered with an additional tarp and on asphalt. Moisture is the culprit for damaged pellets, but if they are kept dry one should not have a problem storing them for an extended period of time.
Can I burn your wood pellets in my woodstove?
Wood pellets are most efficient when used in a pellet appliance. They are not intended to be burnt in a conventional woodstove.
-Information provided courtesy of New England Wood Pellet
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