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testing max. temp. with different pellets-quite a difference!

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by pete324rocket, Jan 24, 2008.

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  1. pete324rocket

    pete324rocket Feeling the Heat

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    I have placed a magnetic flue temperature gauge left over from the wood stove days on the front door of the pellet stove-just to see what temps I am running at different levels of heat and different amounts of draft. Sorta gives me a reference point so that I can see some consistency in the amount of heat I'm getting.
    Yesterday,I bought some bags of different pellets that were on sale-very wise to try them before you ever commit to a whole ton! They looked good,smelled nice and were extra long compared to what I was using before. Since its been really cold here lately,I've been running the pellet stove wide open and the highest temperature that my magnetic gauge would register is 350 degrees F. Now, when I replaced with the new kind of pellets that I bought,the highest I could register was 280 degrees! Quite a difference. Wanting to make things fair,I broke up all of the long pellets in the new batch,thinking that it may be causing bridging and reducing the amount of fuel. The stove was hot when I tried this experiment and gave ample time for heating up,but when I added my old brand of pellets,the temperature shot up to where it used to be-350 degrees.The only redeeming factor for the new pellets that I brought home may be that they have less ash and keep the glass cleaner-hard to say for sure but wouldn't but them just for that,if they have that much less heat.

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  2. pegdot

    pegdot New Member

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    I've been testing the temperature on my stove as well and I've found the same thing. It's amazing how much difference a simple change in fuel makes. One thing that has me baffled is that I tried two different brands of pine pellets that I thought would burn hotter than the hardwoods I've tried but both brands burned cooler. I thought it must be a feed rate issue so I tinkered with that until they were producing a flame similar in appearance to what the hardwoods were making but I still got lower burn temperatures. I'm baffled. :-S
  3. pete324rocket

    pete324rocket Feeling the Heat

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    So its not just me! Hopefully some others will give this a try and we can get some more input.how did you measure your temperature? Do you have gauge on your stove? Excuse me if I'm wrong but wouldn't the higher the temperature you could get from the fuel be the rule on which is better? pete
  4. pe islander

    pe islander New Member

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    Hey Pete, I'm from the same area in the Maritimes, so I'm assuming your refurring to Eastern Embers vs. Cozy Comfort. I've found the same thing as you: E.E burn much hotter than the C.C. and the C.C burn much cleaner. I'm lucky in my case because my stove pumps out lots of heat for the house with either pellet and because of the bridging that I'm assuming is happenning with the C.C, I'm going through less pellets as well!
    Nonetheless, I'm seeing the same thing as you, and agree the E.E are the hotter pellets, but we just had a great sale on the C.C so picked a ton of them up. If I was having a hard time keeping the house warm with the temps we're having, I would have stuck with the E.E for sure. Kurt
  5. pete324rocket

    pete324rocket Feeling the Heat

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    hey Kurt,that's exactly what I've been saying! You are right about the two brands-dead on! And yes,I picked up a few bags of cozy comfort cuz they were on sale-$3.99-40 lbs. Take note though,I did say that I broke up the longer cozy comfort pellets to eliminate the "bridging" factor.It's a matter of the composition of the pellets.In these colds temps,I'll take all the btu's I can get vs. the ash!
  6. Icey Mike

    Icey Mike New Member

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    Good thread, very informative.
  7. pete324rocket

    pete324rocket Feeling the Heat

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    Not likely cuz the stove was well warmed up and with the hopper empty feeding the last of one kind of pellets thru,I added the other brand and got results within ,say 15-20 minutes or so.The ash wasn't a factor-burnpot holes all clean.
  8. pete324rocket

    pete324rocket Feeling the Heat

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    both are softwood-the cooler running less ash brand is supposed to be made of wood specific to pellets and not trash-so they say.Not sure what that really means.Moisture is not an issue.The hotter pelllets are darker and very polished with some having heat marks on the sides of them from their manufacturing process-made by a company that is more famous for their bricks than pellets.
  9. fletchtb

    fletchtb New Member

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    I measure the temperature using the same kind of wood stove thermometer, but I have mine place on top of the stove.

    I have only burned two different brands of pellets.

    With the LG Granules I can get temps of about 225 degrees on Level 4 with my Enviro Empress and 200 degrees on Level 5. The lower temperature is due to the increased fan speed on the distribution blower. I never thought about putting the magnetic gague on the front of the stove, but that is a great idea.

    When burning Boreal Pellets, I can get temps of about 175 degrees on Level 5 and about 190 degrees on Level 4.

    I definitely miss the extra heat output of the LGs when I am burning the Boreals.
  10. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    ive seen differences myself , brings me to my adage when sombody asks me who makes the best pellets, i usually defer and state that in my experience dealing with my customers "one mans trash is another mans treasure" i always suggest trying different brands and settling on a few that seem to have the traits you want , as they really do differ somewhat, some clinker a bit more or less, some seem hotter , some make less clumpy ash , some leave the glass cleaner longer. its also entirely possible some types or brands of stoves "like" different pellets than others as well. bottom line , shop around , buy a few bags first , then commit to the brands you like best.
  11. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Let me mention a some variables that may have to be figured in:
    1. Moisture content, which can range even from the same maker/brand.....or, they could pick up moisture in storage
    2. Density

    Talking a little more about #2, in order to even semi-prove your findings, you would have to carefully measure the cubic area that a given weight of pellets takes up from each brand. Brand Y might have a bag which ends up having 10% more in it than brand X. So you would have to dump them in an empty trash can and make certain they filled it to the exact same level.

    As far as moisture content, that one is easy. Take one pound (use an accurate scale) and put it in your oven on low for a long time.....like 10 hours or so. Then weigh it again. What it loses is the appox moisture content...or at least this will allow comparison of two different types - the wetter pound will "lose more weight" in that sauna treatment.
  12. pegdot

    pegdot New Member

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    I'm certainly not being very scientific with my tests! lol I just changed the pellets in the hopper, let the clean stove go through it's start up cycle, waited twenty minutes and then took a temperature reading on the air coming out the front of the stove with an infrared heat gun. I've also used the gun to check the temperature of the exhaust air coming out of the vent. Of course, the outside air temps. can affect that reading but again, I get consistently lower readings with the softwood pellets.

    Why is this happening? I have a couple of theories. In my case the softwood pellets have been in storage for a long time. I don't know for sure but I suspect that they are at least a year old. (These are also the pellets that I'm having major dust issues with.) The softwood pellets are approximately the same size as the hardwoods I'm using but the texture is completely different. The hardwoods are shiny and smooth while the softwoods are dull and slightly coarse. I think density might be an issue. I also suspect that if I did Craig's experiment that the softwood pellets would loose a lot more weight/moisture than the hardwoods.

    I've got 2 tons of the softwoods and 1 ton of the hardwood so I'm burning the softwood during the day and either mixing them 2 to 1 with the hardwood at night or burning straight hardwood on really cold nights. As Mike said, I think experimenting to find what works best in your particular stove is the best way to go. I only wish I had a choice of pellet brands to play with but this is the south so I just feel lucky to have any! :)
  13. carlie1784

    carlie1784 New Member

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    After reading this I thought what a great idea! I also have a magnetic wood stove thermometer and am using it but am also using one of the electronic BBQ folks that digitally reads out. I have had this for over a year and never used it on the BBQ I thought it was a waste but low and behold I have finally found a use for it and it works great. I have a Breckwell P24I and the forks fit right into the discharge air tubes above the door on the outside.
    I am burning Nature's Own pellets which I purchased @ Lowe's in Weymouth Ma for $236.00 a ton. At present I am testing different setting @ different speeds and will post results when finished.
  14. pete324rocket

    pete324rocket Feeling the Heat

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    I suppose that would be a good place to measure from since all stove have a heat exchanger of some kind.....awaiting your results carlie!
  15. staplebox

    staplebox Member

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    I have a magnetic wood stove (rutland) thermometer stuck on the upper front left "corner' of my pellet stove.

    While burning Fireside Ultras with a heat setting between 1-5 and a blower setting between 3-7 I have regular stove temps between 425-500.
    This seemed high to me but everything else seems to be fine. I am still learning to use the stove, playing around with it.

    I have also tried Somersets and they seem to be just a bit cooler but not much difference.
  16. carlie1784

    carlie1784 New Member

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    The results are in.I am burning nature's own pellets which are produced by the premier pellet corp and purchased @ lowe's @$236 a ton.
    I have a brentwood p24 insert which has 5 settings. Fan speed is increased automatically as setting are increased.It does have a high speed setting that you can turn on @ any time. Basically I burn on the 2&3;settings. 4th setting when temps are in the singal digets or lower and the manufacture suggest you only use 5th setting for a few hours @ atime. The #1 setting I use when temps rise above 40.
    OK. On the # 1 setting DAT [discharge air temp.] from heat exchanger was 190 degrees. did not do a high speed test on this low setting. Setting#2 was 270 degrees in auto and 230 w/ high speed on. Setting #3 was 340 in auto & 300 w/ high speed on. Setting#4 was 370 in auto no high speed as fan has reached high speed @ this setting.And setteing #5 I won't be doing as I don't use it.
    Well thats it for this brand I will be trying others and will post w/ results. Any one else that cares to do this type of pellet testing please post w/ results thanks Don
    One other thing I was unable to find premier pellets website which right away gave me concern as most have them right on the bag anyone know anything about them or what there web sight is? thanx again
  17. 56 chevtruck

    56 chevtruck New Member

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    hey pete and islander i finally broke down an tried a bag of comfy cozy pellets vs eastern embers yesterday. i did my weekend stove cleaning and emptied hopper so only comfy cosy pellets in hopper and i must say i agree not as much heat from comfy pellets.my wife noticed it real quick. i have an enviro ef3 and when pellet feed set on 12 o clock position with eastern ember pellets basement rec room nice and toasty along with good temp upstairs with celing fan in reverse. with comfy cosy wife said cant even feel heat. glad i didnt buy a bunch when kent had them on sale for 3.99 vs 4.69 for embers. yes stove not as dirty but will gladly have stove a little dirty vs such a big loss in heat output.
  18. pete324rocket

    pete324rocket Feeling the Heat

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    I did email comfy cozy which is marwood industries in Fredericton to ask about the composition of their pellets and was basically told they are made of whatever is in the sawdust pile.I don't fault them for that and it is a good way to get rid of sawdust but just don't make me pay a lot of money for it.Eastern Embers is made of spruce,though I don't really know if it is sawdust waste or made specific for pellets-can they do that? Next year will be different here as a local pellet mill will be on-line with hardwood pellets-have never tried them. I can see a drop in price coming...hopefully!
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