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Testing the heat output on Pellets - Would this work - opinions?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by md2002, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. md2002

    md2002 Member

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    Hello,

    I'm trying to plan on next years stock and am trying to figure out which Pellets I should get and which ones put out the most heat. I have no special equipment so I tried putting a box in front of the pellet stove with a thermostat on top of it and set the stove to 2/3 setting. I tried testing with 3 separate pellets. All the variables the same. The ONLY difference was the temperature outside. There are people here who are much smarter than me so I wanted your opinion as to weather this is a good test as to how much heat the pellets put out. It's not perfect but I'm looking to gauge what pellets put out the most heat so I can purchase a bunch for this year and next. I have attached a pic but basically what I did was put the box you see in front of the stove, same distance from the stove, same setting on stove, door closed everything was identical and I started the clock. I put the box in front of the stove with the thermostat on it after the stove had been running all day and waited 20 minutes and then looked to see what the temperature was reading after 20 minutes. Here are the results. Are these results valid at all using this method?

    Maine's Choice - 90 degrees after 20 minutes
    LaCretes's - 97 degrees after 20 minutes
    Lignetics - 106 degrees after 20 minutes ( as a note the lack of ash on these pellets is amazing!)

    Do these number mean anything or did I just waste my time. heat.jpg

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  2. brack86svo

    brack86svo New Member

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    I would think that outside temperature and humidity would have a big effect on your results. Did you record either of those things when you ran the test?
  3. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    If the pellets were sampled in a relitive time frame. The difference is nill and the effect is very minimal. If you tested pellets in the cold snap and are comparing something your burning now may effect results.

    There are things you can do while temp testing. Remove and plug the the OAK so you draw heated in home air. That should help with humidity as well. Once the temp checking is done. Reconnect the OAK.
  4. CT Pellet

    CT Pellet Minister of Fire

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    md2002....Your test, although seemingly purposeful, is somewhat flawed. The outside temps will play a significant role in the reflected temp on your device. But moreover, your assumption is that if you burn all three pellets on the same feedrate setting, that you will be feeding all three brands at the same rate. You will not, and here is why. Pellet length will play a major role in how quickly your pellets will feed. You see, a long pellet will feed at a slower rate than a short pellet will. Shorter pellets will "pack-in" to your auger housing tighter than long pellets will, and the result is that every time your auger turns, you will be feeding more pellets per hour. Here is a great experiment....Take a one quart mason jar and fill it with a brand of pellets that are longer in lenght, and weigh the jar. Then, take the same jar and fill it with short pellets and weigh it, and the short pellets will actuall mass out higher than the long ones.
    If you really want to decide which of these pellets is your best choice, just burn them and keep half an eye on them and use your instincts. They will not mislead you!==c
  5. john193

    john193 Minister of Fire

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    With the thermometer that close, wouldn't the plastic casing around the thermometer just soak up the heat and radiate it back on itself, giving you a false value?
  6. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Hard to get the crowd on board to pellet tests. 2 things(of many really) to even the score is same feed rate and timed event. Or set each brand to similar temps and time the event.

    How long each brand lasts is criticle. Hot brands generally stuff gobs of fuel in and don't last as long. But if you are testing for ultimate heat in the cold and consumtion isn't important? Then let em rip, The one that puts the most heat in the room is the one you want in the cold weather.

    All others should just inquire for twin ports test results. Or spend the mowla and have the lab test em for ya! Bomb caloric testers anyone? Where's my buddy POOK?
  7. md2002

    md2002 Member

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    I do not have an OAK on the system. The humidity was 1 - 2 % difference so that was irrelevant. The temps outside were very different one (MC) was tested when it was 30 degrees outside, one (Lacretes) was tested when it was about 4 degrees outside and the Lignetics were tested when it was 50 degrees outside. I knew this probably wasn't a good measurement but I had to try, and ask.

    The length is a big difference as well. The Lacretes are MUCH shorter than the other 2 pellets.I tried.

    Thanks for the responses. All this being said I think I'll be switching from the Lacretes to the Lignetics. They are the same price in my area and I think they put out just as much heat and I can let them burn 3 times as long before I need to clean the ash out compared to the laCretes.

    I have also found this year the LaCretes have a TON of fines where the Lignetics have NO fines to speak of... The Lignetics do have ALLOT of dust though.
  8. glenc0322

    glenc0322 Minister of Fire

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    Did you clean the stove between each pellet? and like ctpellet said the feed rate is different for different size pellets. You can take 5 lbs of each and read the temp and the amount of time it takes to burn each. but in the end burn a bag see how you like it and buy that one. and remember what works for you may not work for someone else
  9. CT Pellet

    CT Pellet Minister of Fire

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    Ahhhh.....Just throw them in the hopper, make mental notes, watch the flame and ash and see what's left when you clean the stove. At the end of the day, this is your best test. Then, get your arse down to the store and buy the LaCrete's!!!
    movemaine likes this.
  10. HopeItBurns

    HopeItBurns Member

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    or you could look at some pellet testing that was posted in 2009.
    HTML:
    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/big-box-store-pellet-comparing-list-and-mini-review.38301/
    and another:
    HTML:
    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/pellet-house-pellet-search-and-review-ultimate-pellet-search.45314/
  11. movemaine

    movemaine Feeling the Heat

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  12. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    They are getting a bit old now. Don't use em so much for results. But the concept which I did discribe in the boxstore thread is pretty much the same I am using for the most part. I did add a few things as it went on. This one,

    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/2010-pellet-review-its-that-time-again.54880/

    I started timing how long the bags lasted, Which showed how some of the hotter stuff didn't last as long. What it didn't show was some lasted longer in days it took to burn them. My stove is stat controlled and as soon as the stat is made it shuts down the stove.

    I'm just being to wonder if there are too many variables to even bother sometimes.
  13. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Careful, The gang may ask for pictures for proof or it didn't happen! ;em

    smok migth get al cited even! :p

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