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Softwood VS Hardwood Debate

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by offingmoot, Aug 22, 2008.

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  1. offingmoot

    offingmoot New Member

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    I only have 1 ton of energex hardwood in the basement and would like 2-3 more. Can’t get delivery to my zip code.
    Pelletsales.com will deliver to my folks zip about 20 miles north of me, here is their quote for Greenway Premium 2 tons

    Product: Wood Pellets (Premium)
    Scheduled For: In Stock (Delivery in Aug-Sep)
    Form: Tons, Bagged on Skid
    Brand Information: Greenway Premium Wood Pellets
    Quantity in Tons: 2 (2 skids)
    Price Per Ton: $285.90
    Total Product Price: $571.80
    Delivery: $99.00 ($49.50 per ton)
    Processing Fee: $18.45 (waived for payment by check)
    Total Amount: $689.25

    Becomes $344.625/ton delivered to my folks but I still have to get them home and I don’t own a truck

    Or depot has softwood for $249/ton with $65 delivery
    Becomes $281.5 delivered right to my house and potentially 1 ton in the shed still wrapped up if they will drop them there

    Is it worth the extra $63/ton and extra work and gas driving back and forth for the hardwood?

    I know some people say yes some say no and I read sof will have higher BTU but more ash……but I am feeling pressure and want to get this done and have zero experience burning pellets
    my stove dealer and installer both say stay away from softwood

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  2. rayttt

    rayttt Feeling the Heat

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    I burned some of the freedom fuel softwood pellets from HD..and Hardwood energex pellets also..
    I prefer the hard wood pellets personally. The softwards had more ash and required me to scrap the ashes out of the burn pot, and the energex didnt.
    but 60 bucks more a ton and moving them your self etc...thats a tough choice, but if it were me..I think I'd still prefer the hardwood ones.
    you might be able to move a dozen bags or so per trip from the parents house each weekend..making family visits would also make the parents happy :)
  3. imacman

    imacman Guest

    IMO, I'd get the softwood pellets, and save the $$ for something else. From what I've read here, the extra ash isn't that big of a deal, and you actually get more BTU's from softwood too.
  4. offingmoot

    offingmoot New Member

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    rayttt thanx for sharing your experience i appreciate it much
    one issue i just thought of is they have no place to store them they would be outside on front lawn....if i open a pallet they will be exposed to weather
    i could make a whole family day out if it and stack up all the cars and offer a nice meal at my house, we got 6 cars between the family
  5. Czech

    Czech Minister of Fire

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    Don't stress over the softwood/hardwood debate, buy what burns well in your stove regardless.
  6. offingmoot

    offingmoot New Member

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    thats what i was figuring but i like the advise and experience of others to guide me, i really dont want the hassle of getting hardwood delivered to my folks etc etc

    i am still shopping online for more quotes just contacted nehag.com for shipping quote waiting for reply
  7. Souzafone

    Souzafone Feeling the Heat

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    I've burned both over the last few years and the ash content has nothing to do with hard/soft wood, but how good the pellet itself is. The very least ash content I had was with a softwood, and the hottest was a different softwood. That said, this year I've got hardwood coming, because it was the best priced for a premium pellet that I had used before.
  8. itworks

    itworks New Member

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    I guess it's kind of a personal opinion about which is better hardwood or softwood pellets. I've been burning pellets for the last 4 seasons. One year I decided to try 4 tons of softwood. I found the softwood to burn a tad hotter, but generated significantly more ash, and the house was much more dusty compared to when I burned hard wood. I've read lots of posts suggesting softwood, but it's not for me. I would suggest you try some and come to your own opinion.
  9. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    Softwood v Hardwood isn't really a debate. It's good pellet v bad pellet. Wood species really has nothing to do with it. There are more btu/lb in softwood, but at the end of the day the difference is likely a few hundred btu/lb. Maybe 1,000 btu/lb. Look at ash content, look at the density of the pellet, look at each brand on an individual basis.
  10. offingmoot

    offingmoot New Member

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    i am surprised to hear the house was more dusty. thats a new one to me. i am going to buils some sort of transport system to get the pelllets from the basement upstairs, and also include a kan_burn or cornvac so hopefully the dust will be eliminated
    its sounds like as long as i keep cleaning that softwood is actually a better option
    if i get some soft then i will have both types and i can compare for myself this year
  11. offingmoot

    offingmoot New Member

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    ok good call shane you are the first person to spell it out like that to me, the stats you refer to are they usually printed on each bag? how would i be able to get ash content and density w/o purchasing and trying them??
  12. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    check out the pellet fuels institute. Any pellet that is labeled premium has to meet their standards. They have a .pdf download that has almost all pellet manufacturers on it. It lists btu/lb., ash content etc. Good resource.

    http://www.pelletheat.org/2/index/index.html
  13. Czech

    Czech Minister of Fire

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    I do like the way softwood smells, always been a pine kind of guy, memories of the way a pine forest smells. Other than that, what ever burns well is good. Now when it comes to the BBQ, that's a different story. As far as PFI goes, good start, but what they test may be different from what you get. No dis Shane, but pellet lots vary, as has always been said here, buy a few bags and burn, buy the pallet if you like it. Even that practice doesn't work sometimes, I've had pallets with two different lots of pellets (say that ten times after a few beers!), half good, half not so good. Luck, and happy Friday all.
  14. offingmoot

    offingmoot New Member

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    being brand new at this the i would love to be able to by a few bags and test them out but i dont have that option for all brand comparisons.
    i can only compare the energex i got from my dealer to what i migh get at home depot....and even a test burn is gonna have to wait till it gets cool cause i dont want to add al that serious heat to my house in the middle of summer
    will have to be trial and error i guess
    spoke to my dealer today and they are trying to ration their supply to their stove customers and will let me get another ton in december if i want them
  15. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    premium hardwood vs premium softwood are similar.
    standard vs premium therin lies the difference........
    I'm a firm believer if it doesn't have a PFI logo on the bag then you have no idea what is in the bag.
    My past experience is those non PFI pellets is hit or miss, some just really suck just some food for thought....
  16. offingmoot

    offingmoot New Member

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    shane thanc for that link that is great info i am surprised i havent come across that in all my research
  17. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    You're right they can vary, but they have to stay within PFI standards. I did find one brand in particular that didn't seem to vary much and that was due to the fact that they used one species of tree (lodgepole pine) Maybe that's the key, consistency in species, not that it would matter what species, just that the species is consistent. As for standard and premium that's true too. Though standard grade pellets were a moot point until recent years, they weren't used outside of the industrial arena.
  18. offingmoot

    offingmoot New Member

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    got my quote from nehag.com

    3 tons $839.97
    Del 275.00

    total $1,114.97
  19. imacman

    imacman Guest

    So in effect, you'd be paying $372/ton??? I understand your in S Jersey, but YIKES!!!!!!!
  20. offingmoot

    offingmoot New Member

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    yeah that is nuts
    i just went and ordered 146 bags at home depot, it was all they had left
    natures earth freedom fuel, they have the same exact PFI rating as the energex i already have except they are pine
    ash <1%
    Fines <0.5
    sodium <300 ppm

    i believe they rung up wrong and i used a $50 lowes coupon that i dont think should have been valid, so i am keeping my fingers crossed till delivery
    i will wait till they deliver to report the price i paid, i am scared they will catch their mistake before then
  21. offingmoot

    offingmoot New Member

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    From the PFI site
    PFI-graded fuel must meet tests for:

    * Density: consistent hardness and energy content (minimum 40 pounds/cubic foot)
    * Dimensions: length (1 ½” maximum) and diameter (1/4” x 5/16”) to assure predictable fuel amounts and to prevent jamming
    * Fines: limited amount of sawdust from pellet breakdown to avoid dust while loading and problems with pellet flow during operation (amount of fines passing through 1/8” screen no more than .5 percent by weight)
    * Chlorides: limited salt content (no more than 300 parts per million) to avoid stove and vent rusting
    * Ash content: important factor in maintenance frequency

    so is it correct that all PFI stamps on pellets have the same numbers? how do i compare the two brands when the numbers are exactly the same? when one is hardwood and one is pine?
    i was confident for a moment and now not too sure again
    i dont see the pdf on the PFI site that compares brands...any help??
  22. itworks

    itworks New Member

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    Don't fret. Toss all the research you gathered and buy 10 bags of both soft & hardwood pellets. Let yourself & the family judge which is best. There's no wrong answer.
  23. offingmoot

    offingmoot New Member

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    that makes sense except for a few things
    1. its august and i am not burning any pellets until it gets cold for obvious rasons
    2. i dont have access to all the pellets i could get delivered
    3. need to decide soon for fear of a shortge and price rising....i need my pellets now!!

    in a perfect world i could wait till winter starts rolling in and get different bags and do a test burn....if i were that easy for me it wouldnt be so meaningful to have others experience and thoughts debated on the subject
  24. DiggerJim

    DiggerJim Feeling the Heat

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    It seems that you're fretting for naught. If you've got 146 bags of natures fuel & some (1 ton?) energex you should be covered for the winter. Even the crappiest premium pellets (not to mention anything PFI rated) is going to burn hot for you. Which is "best" can be very subjective and an awful lot like arguing religion. Burn what you have and in the spring if you're running light, then the supply stuff should be correcting itself (all the folks buying for the winter will be out of the market having already gotten their fuel in this summer) and you'll be able to try some others to see whether you like something better. In the meantime, relax, you've got things covered. :)
  25. offingmoot

    offingmoot New Member

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    well i just got my 146 bags today i was just justifying my reason for this thread and also point out to help others understand
    i may be good as of today but others arnt so lucky

    any feedback on the pfi info on the bags being the same? is it always the same since that is their requirements?
    also never found the list of comparing companies on the pfi site
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