» Fireplace Guides
» Fireplace Types
» Fireplace Accessories
» Fireplace Installation
» Fireplace Maintenance
» Fireplace Fuel
» Fireplace Decorating
» Fireplace Mantels
» Special Fireplaces
» Outdoor Fireplaces
» Stoves
   » Gas Stoves
   » Pellet Stoves
   » Wood Stoves
   » Stove Tops
» Fireplace Tips/Advice
» Chimmeys
» Screens and Doors

Pellet Stoves
These stoves have not only improved in technology over the years but they have also gained in popularity. When it comes to the pellets, they are nothing more than sawdust and ground up wood chips that has been compressed to form a fuel source for your fireplace. Typically, pellets are made from the waste of trees and plants that are commonly grown. Then certain types of binders or resins, which occur naturally in sawdust, are used to keep the pellets shape so they do not crumble.

Pellets generally have no additives, making them all natural. Depending on the type of pellet you buy and the area from which you buy it, you might find them made from other material such as nut hulls, unprocessed shelled corn, fruit pits, and so on. The creation of pellets is done in actual pellet mills that are found around the country. In fact, there are more than 60 such mills across North America that handles more than 610,000 tons of fuel each year. An interesting note is that this number has more than doubled in just five years.

To buy pellets, you can find them at building supply stores, fireplace stores, stove dealers and manufacturers, nurseries, discount stores, feed stores, and garden stores. Typically, pellets are sold in 40-pound bags although you can find smaller, 20-pound bags in some areas.

While pellets contain different levels of chemical constituents and moisture, there are standards set by the Pellet Fuel Institute to ensure they meet uniform standards. For example, the fuel is graded on the following criterion:
  • Density The pellets need to have consistent hardiness and energy content at a minimum of 40 pounds per cubic foot
  • Dimension To create a predictable fire and eliminate problems with fuel jamming, the pellets should measure 1 1/2-inches long and between 1/4- and 5/16-inch in diameter

  • Fines To eliminate problems with flow during operation, there should be a limited amount of sawdust from pellet breakdown

  • Chloride To ensure you do not have stove or vent rusting, there should be a limited level of salt content

  • Ash This helps with frequent maintenance
You will find that pellets do vary from one region to another and from one manufacturer to another manufacturer. As an example, you will find that the level of burn varies from 8,000 BTU up to 9,000 BTY. Even things like trace minerals will vary. What happens is that some pellets with trace minerals will cause the ash to clump and fuse. When this happens, air can be blocked. This is called clinkering and is a difficult thing to predict in that the raw materials vary so widely.

While you might even find a little bit of variation from one bag of pellets to another from the same manufacturer, each of them tries hard to maintain consistency. To buy pellets, you will be amazed at how inexpensive they are. For example, if you were to buy pellets by the ton, you would only pay from $150 to $200 per ton. However, just as with anything, when you buy in bulk you save. Therefore, since you will be paying for the bag, packaging, and so on, you can expect to pay on average $10 to $12 per million BTU, still a great price.

Pellets do come with advantages in that they are very convenient and can be stored easily. Additionally, you can regulate combustion air better to ensure you get optimum burn efficiency because of the low moisture content. Other advantages include a clean burn, sustainable energy, reduced cost of waste disposal, and many more.

|   Home Decorating Directory
Copyright © 2004 FirePlaces. All rights reserved.