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Hardwood vs Softwood Pellets

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by MacP, Dec 16, 2011.

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  1. DonD

    DonD Member

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    I don't see how a hardwood pellet can possible break a stove. I've been burning both this year. I'm tending to think if a hardwood pellet can break a stove nobody would be burning them. Can you explain what you mean?

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  2. lefty

    lefty Member

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    I have a environ pellet insert fpi how hard is it to hookup a thermostat. For it
  3. DonD

    DonD Member

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    You might have better luck getting an answer in a thread titled "enviro pellet insert thermostat" rather than a thread titled "Hardwood vs Softwood Pellets".

    Or starting your own thread.

    Or using the search function.

    Just sayin...
  4. PA_Clinker

    PA_Clinker Member

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    Gotta agree 100%...let's be serious. The salesman was doing what he does best, push his product. Which I'm guessing was softwood. And after reading through this thread, I'm gonna be looking for some softwood pellets to try out before I buy next season's stash. Hardwood, softwood whatever burns best in my stove is what I want to buy. As long as they don't smell like cat pee. :sick:
  5. Countryboymo

    Countryboymo Feeling the Heat

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    I have noticed one brand of hardwood pellet that causes a crusty black buildup on the bottom of the pot and if not dumped every day and scrape the bottom of the burnpot it will grow thick enough to interfere with the clearance of the sliding floor of the pot. I have burned other hardwoods that have no such issue and never noticed this with any softwood. It would not break my stove unless "I" let it build up enough and then forced the floor open somehow with a tool that isn't supposed to be part of cleaning a stove. Not every pellet will require the same cleaning steps. Every brand and type has different attributes in cleaning and burning. I grew up burning cord after cord of hedge in a Yukon wood furnace and thought people in here needed to put the crack pipe down with all the hot burning softwood talk. I finally bought a few bags last year and could not believe it. I then bought two tons lol. The ash is way less it seems in my stove with most soft brands and they really throw the heat. The pellets are usually shorter which feed better in my stove also.

    A good hard and good soft are still not a huge difference. My stove will tolerate a crummier soft pellet better than a crummy hardwood so that also leans me toward a softwood.
  6. jeff5347

    jeff5347 New Member

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    Im new here and got my stove on Friday of last week. A heatilator ps50. I burned 2 bags of NEWP first, then 4 bags of Insatant Heat from Tractor Supply, then 2 bags of LG granules and then 2 bags of Valfie Ambience from Klems in Spencer MA. The only one that was soft was the LG's and i wasnt real keen on them. I see some of the posts saying they like the Turmans or Barfoot and can also get Maine Woods. Comparing those to the NEWP what do you guys like better. I dont mind the cleaning of the stove as long as i can get the heat. One thing im wondering all the sites i go to say NEWP has a BTU of 8100 but i think on there bag they state 8900 BTUs? Whoes right?
  7. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Somehow I think people mis understood you. I'm pretty sure SXIPro like softies fella's! ;-)
  8. DonD

    DonD Member

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    LOL - that has happened in my Castile exactly once. With a softwood pellet. :coolsmile:

    I think what it shows is there is no "best" pellet. Everyone has there own good and bad experiences with both and that leads them to their choices. My preference is hardwood due to the aforementioned build up, cooler burning (by my tests in my stove), crumbled pellets and dust with the softwood pellets I have been burning, compared to the hardwood ones. And no, the hardwood ones have not broken my stove yet.
  9. fmsm

    fmsm Minister of Fire

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    NEWP is not a hardwood. If you read the bag you see it is a blend. I received a free ton with my stove and purchased another 1/2 ton on my buddies advice that it was a "great" pellet in his Harman. I am ready to put them on Craigslist as they are not that hot and provide a sooty ash compared to Cubex and even cheapo Grean Team's. Don't get me wrong, my Harman will burn them, I just like the others better.

    I guess everyone's stove and set up is different.
  10. MacP

    MacP Member

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    Hardwood: So I noticed that cubex throws some serious heat, but heavier ash on the burn pot. I have to scrape it off 2-4 times a day. They worked great this week during the frigid temperatures. Very little crunching noises from the auger.

    Softwood: spruce points created good heat as well, but not as hot as cubex. They created fluffy ash. Very little crunching noise.

    BLEND: NEWPs is good shoulder season heat. A good amount of ash. The most crunching noises. I won't be paying Aton of NEWPs again. I'm saving the remaining half ton for March and April.

    Next year I'll purchase pellets with the most BTUs with low ash. It doesn't matter if it's hardwood or softwood. That dealer was working like a car dealer and was full of crap. He was trying to sell me oakies softwood pellets. I still haven't tried the Oakies yet.

    Another dealer, which I bought the cubex and spruce points, told me he probably wont be getting spruce points again. He's looking to get another Canadian softwood. I asked him which one it was, but he couldn't remember. He should be getting a few bags to try out.
  11. AndrewChurchill

    AndrewChurchill Minister of Fire

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    I've been burning Spruce Point pellets for the past two years in my PB105 and they've worked great! By the end of this heating season I will have burned about 18 tons of them with no problems.


  12. MacP

    MacP Member

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    Don't get me wrong,... spruce points are great! I wish I had purchased more this season. Good heat and burns clean. I just don't know exactly if the dealer will be getting more this season. I'll grab 1.5 tons of spruce points and cubex next year if he gets more next season. It's my first season with my pellet stove so I'm not sure how many tons ill need next year.
  13. IHATEPROPANE

    IHATEPROPANE Minister of Fire

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    They only real difference I have seen is the hardwood burn better on low and the softwood burn better in high....I think it is because the softwood burn a tiny bit quicker.....may not be any difference at all if I could adjust my combustion air.
  14. fmsm

    fmsm Minister of Fire

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    Pennington makes a few brands I noticed at my local HD, Nature's Own which is a softwood and Nature's Heat that is a hardwood blend. Does anyone have experience with Nature's Heat?
  15. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Junk... In my Opinion. YMMV. Everyone has different views on whats good. I bought 2 more test bags this season. Very clean looking burn, sub-par heat, and pellets "smell funny". I still try them every year.
  16. Bank

    Bank Feeling the Heat

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    DON'T GO NEAT NATURE'S HEAT!!! Garbage for sure..
  17. Wachusett

    Wachusett Feeling the Heat

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    Dex, That sounds like pellet addiction to me. ;-P

    I do the same thing, last years trash could be this years treasure.
  18. hotdawg

    hotdawg Member

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    I don't know if one is necessarily better then the other. I really think it's what your stove prefers. I like to try many different brands of pellets, check out my sig and you'll see. I've had success with both types but prefers the Spruce Pointes for soft and the Barefoots for hard. Both brands are excellent pellets in general but my stove really prefers the Barefoots. It produces slightly more BTUs, burns cleaner and lasts a little longer then the Spruce Pointes. The SP leaves a slightly thicker ash making it harder to clean. I'm planning on picking up another ton of Barefoots to get me through the winter of them. And I would take what some salespeople say with a grain of salt. I find they tend to push their products and whatever happens to be on hand is the best at the moment. They are doing what they're being paid for and we as the consumers should do our homework first before jumping into tonage. There's a very popular saying on this forum "Try before you buy" is very true. I learned it the hard way! So moral of the story....buy whatever makes your stove happy without breaking the bank!
  19. MacP

    MacP Member

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    All good points.

    Where did you find a slightly thicker ash with that SP? Walls? Pot? Seems like the SP left a a film on the inside walls.
  20. hotdawg

    hotdawg Member

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    The SP left a thicker residue on the walls. Takes a little more care to clean the walls but the ash on the side is very light and fluffy. I haven't found a perfect pellet yet but for the heat I'll deal with the cleaning of the SP. The closest to perfect for me is the Barefoots.
  21. TLHinCanada

    TLHinCanada Feeling the Heat

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    I think I read that study and the output is destined for Europe. One thing about Ontario it will pay for the research and the plant to make it as long as it won't be sold in Ontario (I'm not bitter with our government just fed up).
  22. MacP

    MacP Member

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    Do you scrape it off? I agree. No pellets is perfect.
  23. xjarcher

    xjarcher Member

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    Note to the OP
    I have a P61a and I give it a workout every year (5 winters now). I've burned lousy pellets and the best available. The difference is not HUGE. Your stove is a pretty efficient device.
    Things I've learned.
    Set the feed rate to 3.5-4 and leave it alone. A low feed rate starves the stove and actually uses more pellets. Trust me others will back it up.
    Hardwood pellets are fine if they are good quality ones. Save your $$ and leave the expensive softwoods alone not that much difference
    Buy a mid grade hardwood pellet, they are more than adequate. (I use Somerset pellets $220/ton here)
    You can put up to 40% corn in with your pellets if you want some extra heat. Corn burns HOT but more ash.
    Running your stove on Room temp is good when it's cold, your temp sensor should be extended away from your stove a bit though not under it.
    When it's cold here (teens and below) Room temp is hi, thermostat maxed and it keeps the basement(stove location) and the main floor (2000sq.ft) pretty warm.

    Some real world info. Hope it helps.
  24. hotdawg

    hotdawg Member

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    I think everyone's experience with burning pellets are very different especially with the many types of stoves we each have. Even within the same brand of pellets we have seen differences and even from pallet to pallet of the same brand there may be differences. One thing I have experienced is the differences between burning "lousy" pellets versus the "best" available. There is a marked difference between those pellets, at least in my stove. I'm currently burning hardwood Bayou pellets and though my stove likes it fine and the ash isn't too bad, the heat produced is significantly less then my pellet of choice, which are the Barefoots. It's a big enough difference where I will not use the Bayous unless the temp is above 30 degrees. Anything south of that I pull out the good stuff. There are amazing heat producers in both hardwoods and softwoods. It's just what you prefer and how much you're willing to spend on it.

    I just happen to be a sucker for good pellets and will pay a premium for them. But then again, what may be good for me could very well suck for you. Some of the best advice this forum gave me was to try before you buy. And boy do I love trying "good" pellets!
  25. hotdawg

    hotdawg Member

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    I do end up having to scrape some off the wall. It's a thicker residue so when I wipe it smears around a little. Even on the faux brick wall, it's harder to clean off then burning the hardwood pellets. That's just my experience though so yours could be very different. I haven't tried the Okies yet so it'll be interesting to see if they produce a similar ash and residue. I'll let you know when I do. Haven't gotten around to them yet.
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