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Do higher BTUs mean more heat?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by davevassar, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. davevassar

    davevassar Member

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    In regards to pellets, do the higher BTU output ratings mean they will burn hotter and throw more heat?

    I was burning LGs which are 8600 BTUs, and I picked up some Eagle Valley, which are rated at 8700. Do they burn hotter?

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  2. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    Pellets are going to give you and average of 8500 BTU Per pound.

    A difference of 100 to 700 btu per pound is not that big of a deal.

    The total heat production of an "average" person at rest per hour is 350 BTU per hour.


    most stoves burn from 1 pound on low to 5 pounds on high per hour.
    this also depends on how long the pellets are because longer pellets are going to feed less pound per hour because of the density of the pellets. (more gaps around the pellets)


    You cant go by the writing on the bag.
    Each batch from day to day will change in pellets
    it all depends on the moister content of the wood used
    and the type of wood used or the mix of wood used
    Pellet making is not like baking were you measure exact amounts to make a batch.

    A lot of pellets in the Northwest Canada are made of a mixture of
    Lodgepole pine and Engelmann Spruce and some white spruce.

    The rating on the bag is what they got when they tested their product.
    Another thing
    NFPI rating is just a Guide line for the Manufactures
    there is not Government Rules stating they have to be at that Level of quality.
  3. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    In general, all wood is approx 8500 BTU per pound before being adjusted for moisture content. After adjusting for moisture, 8000 is the best value, IMHO, to use for calculations regarding pellet stoves.....it could be lower is the pellets have a high moisture content.

    As Rod says, you can't really go by the numbers written on the bag. Some mills try for consistency, but can't always succeed.

    In general, the way to get higher BTU is to burn more pellets per hour, all other things being equal
  4. davevassar

    davevassar Member

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    So Basically, find the pelets that burn the best in my stove and stick with them.

    Makes sense. I did notice, that some brands burn faster. Barefoot pellets I go through about 1.75 bags per day with my stove on medium, and they keep my house wamr. LG and Eagle Valley, I burn about 1.5 bags per day on days with comparable temp outside, but I had to turn my stove up to medium high to get the same amount of heat.
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Yes, I eventually settled on pellets that let my stove burn the cleanest at a good price.
  6. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    I just wanted to bump this post up to the top because there has been a lot of talk about what pellet is better.
    Plus this day I must have had some added Brain boost in my Jamba juice this day for I almost sound like i know what im talking about. I Gess the 17 years of being a member of the NPFI has has paid off.
  7. dac122

    dac122 Feeling the Heat

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    Upstate NY
    Those extra 100 BTUs sound like a good deal when you realize its not that much. Plus since your stove isn't 100% efficient you're below 100 BTU.

    IMHO the best pellets are those that work well and burn the cleanest for your stove. That way you are getting the most out of your pellets (lower residuals means higher efficiency).
  8. www_godzilla

    www_godzilla Member

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    I agree 100 %. For the amount of heat you get with some brands,the dirty stove isn't worth it. I prefer the cleaner stove.
  9. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    it is that time again people are asking about heat of pellets for each brand.
    so Im just bumping this up
  10. littlesmokey

    littlesmokey Minister of Fire

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    The slight variations in pellet output (wood is wood and does not go flat get old and lose it's strength) affects the max end of the scale. How well you operate your stove affects it more. But don't forget the efficiency of the stove in converting that burn into room heat. There are wide variations in stove preformance that can seriously change the equation. As Rod has pointed out to us so many times, clean your stove, and then clean it again. A dirty stove may reduce efficiency as much as 30% (reported years ago by the Oregon Testing Standards for stove rating. Your 85% stove if full of ash and blocked baffles and crud in the flue may give you only a 50% transfer. That is something you control.

    Something else to remember, the sweet spot on your stove is not necessarily the max output, likewise running on low doesn't cut it either. As I have recently admitted I am a tweaker and fiddle with the controls looking for that sweet spot. When I have a stable brand of pellets, I don't check as often, but I still check. My weekly cleaning tells me a lot about the fuel I burn and how well I am doing burning it. It is not a set and forget proposition.
  11. TheMightyMoe

    TheMightyMoe Minister of Fire

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    This is in FAQ and is probably question that is wondered often... I did use the search feature.

    Low quality pellets (200$ ton) premium low ash pellets. (295$ ton)
    Manufactuerer says same BTU but one produces more ash.

    This simply means I need to do more cleanings of heat exchanger / fan / pot / chamber / ash pan / flue, to get continued effciency with a lower quality pellet.

    Correct?
  12. Countryboymo

    Countryboymo Feeling the Heat

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    I can take a crummy long pellet and break them up in small 1/4" pieces and the run with small pieces will seem to blow the doors off the long version. I like small pelleted soft wood the best.
  13. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    BTU content of a lab test is deceiving to us pellet burners. BTU content is per pound of fuel! Our stoves do not feed the pellets in by weight. They feed them by volume. IMHO, Its better to burn a sample to see what you get with them in your stove.

    Not to mention that consistency levels vary from batch to batch. Whats on the label may not be whats in the bag.
  14. Melissa220

    Melissa220 Feeling the Heat

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    central ME
    From all the questions I have asked and the research I have done since becoming a new member, I would agree with the above statement. I'm in the process of purchasing about 8 bags of different brands adn type (hardwood/softwood) to see what might work best in my Harman.

    May we both have a warm winter with our new Harmans!

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