Posts Tagged ‘softwood’

Hardwood pellets vs. softwood pellets

admin | March 22nd, 2010 | No Comments »

300px-Wood_pellets-small_huddle_PNr°0108With wood stoves and fireplaces, hardwood is typically the fuel of choice. Hardwood is naturally a denser fuel with a lower moisture content than softwood. Stoking your fire with a hardwood like oak or maple would burn longer and also have hotter coals. Chimney sweeps will usually recommend burning hardwoods to avoid buildup in the flue and lower the risk of a chimney fire with heavy use.

Softwoods, like pine, are known to be easy to light. They burn hotter than hardwoods initially but burn much more quickly. In turn this would mean stoking the fire more frequently and having to store a larger supply. In addition, softwoods have more pitch leading to more sparking and sound as it burns. With the sparking comes additional risk of sparks leaving the fireplace and with more pitch is an increased chance of a chimney fire with use.

When wood is pelletized many of these differences go away. The wood is ground into sawdust and dried to a consistent moisture level of about 6%. Hardwood, softwood and blended pellets are compressed at about 40-pounds per cubic feet into pellets can produce about 8,000 BTUs per pound.

At this point the differences lie between pellet mills and brands. Each will have their own pellet length that affect burning and the stove maintenance and also the amount of ash that is produced. Premium pellets typically leave behind 1-pound of ash for every 10 bags burned. Compare this with regular pellets that could leave up to 3 times as much ash behind for cleanup.

The Michigan Hardwood pellets and Lakes Region Softwood pellets we carry are both classified as premium pellets.