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soft wood pellets vs hardwood pellets

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by hozzie, Jul 23, 2008.

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  1. hozzie

    hozzie New Member

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    I am considering installing a pellet stove in my house in Southern CT but am not sure which products are the best. Who thinks softwood pellets and hardwood pellets are equal in btu's? Which will burn longer? Which has less ash? In a reasonably well insulated house, about how many 40 lb. bags would you need to burn in a 24 hour period, let's say for an 1800 square foot house with an open floor plan. My local True Value is selling England Stove Works stoves and Lignetics Hardwood Pellets. They have a model#55-SHP-10 that is rated for 1500 sq. ft. and a model#55-SHP-22 that is rated for 2200 sq. ft. Probably will get the larger one. Are Lignetics pellets considered a good choice or is there something else that would be a better choice. I really would like to quit using oil altogether. I think it is time we all started a movement away from oil to alternative energy sources. It's a shame the alternatives are usually not affordable, unlike the pellet stove which seems to be very cost affective at least for the short term. I do appreciate any input. Thanks.

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  2. j00fek

    j00fek Feeling the Heat

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  3. hozzie

    hozzie New Member

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    Thanks for the reply j00fek. I checked out the page and got some useful information, although not all of my questions were answered there. It seems that the hardwood pellets are the preferred type, at least by those that replied to that thread. I think that if I do this I will probably save over a thousand dollars this winter based on $5.00 a gallon oil x 800 gallons. I'm figuring about $800 worth of pellets and about $2000 for the stove. Does this seem like a realistic expectation?
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    No difference between hardwood and softwood in general. Many folks, and even some experts, prefer softwood....at the same time it depends on the exact maker and feed stock. So in general, toss out any concern about hard vs. softwood pellets.

    As to what you are going to save, a ton of pellets is approx 90-120 gallons of fuel oil - period (BTU wise). It is not a smart decision to figure oil at the highest possible price and pellets at the lowest - take a guess as to the average of what you are able to actually get the pellets delivered to your house for, vs. a guess of heating oil prices during the coming winter. You can get oil for $4.20 here now. I would personally use $4 to do calculations.

    So, if pellets are $275 delivered and oil is $4, that means you save $125 for each ton of pellets burned. Burn 4 tons and save $500 a year. This does not include the cost of the stove (interest on money), service on the stove, etc.
  5. pellet0708

    pellet0708 New Member

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    Thanks for clearing up those few points. I've seen a lot of figures thrown around on this site but you have simplified it and I think are talking in more practicle terms. ie: oil probably will be cheaper than $5.00.
    The hardwood vs. softwood debate is enough to drive anyone insane. And then factor in all the brand choices. In the end we are burning wood and will have to clean out the ashes many or few.
  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    The key is that pellets are sold by weight and most wood species have a similar BTU content. When hard or soft wood is pulverized and compressed, it ends up being close in density.

    Firewood, on the other hand, is sold by a cubic size (cord), so hard wood IS usually better...you get more of it, BTU wise, in the same space.
  7. kilarney

    kilarney New Member

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    I'm convinced that differences between brands vary much more than the small difference between softwood and hardwood. If you find a brand that you like, stick with it - whether or not it's hardwood or softwood.
  8. Fire It Up

    Fire It Up New Member

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    Bingo. Burn what you and your stove like.
  9. mikezel

    mikezel New Member

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    I am curious, has anyone ever added coal to their pellet stove. Lets say 10-15% coal added to the pellets. would that hurt the stove and why.
  10. ugenetoo

    ugenetoo New Member

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    ive added up to 5% rice coal to my grain when burning barley. it seems to help with the clinker issue. i suspect you will have to watch what happens to the ash after the coal is burned to see if it gets pushed out of the firepot properly. dont use too much because it tends to warm things up a bit more than pellets, causing some warpage of the firepot.(i know this from experience!!)
  11. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    Might be bad for the pipe...
  12. ugenetoo

    ugenetoo New Member

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    no worse than corn or grains.
    wouldnt be good for regular pellet pipe.
  13. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I would worry about coal in a pellet stove - possible binding of the auger, etc.
    Also, it would seem that it would not mix properly - maybe most fall to the bottom.

    I see no real reason to do it...of course, in most stoves you would be voiding the warranty should anything happen.
  14. ugenetoo

    ugenetoo New Member

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    all i know is it works!
  15. johnnywarm

    johnnywarm Minister of Fire

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    This is very true.
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