Ash question

jerrieric

Feeling the Heat
Jul 7, 2008
338
Windham Me
Both. Pellet length can cause problems with your feed system. Too long and they cause jams. Too short they tend to have more dust and can degrade more rapidly. The type of binder being used is also a factor. What wood the pellets are made out of is the main factor in how hot and clean they burn.
I knew both would be the answer when I asked the question. I actually think it's more of their binders. I don't think they make pellets out of pine
 

Dataman

Minister of Fire
Sep 10, 2018
643
Newport, Wa

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
16,697
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
We burn lots of Doug fir in our wood stoves too. Same thing, almost no ash or emptying ash for several months of 24/7 burning.
 
  • Like
Reactions: fmsm

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
2,486
Eastern Ontario
The type of binder being used is also a factor
No binders are used . Heat from the compression of wood fibers force lignin out naturally bonds the saw dust
so in a wood pellet is nothing but wood . . The higher the compression the better the pellet (hotter less ash)
 

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
2,486
Eastern Ontario
Old School moisture content in the wood is what causes Creosote
More moister slower burning more smoke = Creosote
Not soft wood ( pine aspen etc)
 

blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,390
WI, Leroy
Pine beats the heck out of cotton wood or willow and a couple others
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
16,697
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
It’s almost all exactly the same btu lb for lb. the evergreens get a slight edge from the higher oil content.
 

jackhammer

Burning Hunk
Aug 21, 2015
194
western ma
Good for you. I was just offering what knowledge of pellet stove maintenance that I’ve picked up from factory trainings and working on 600-1000 pellet stoves and inserts a year, but if you think we should tell the op to only empty his ash pan annually, then I guess I’ll defer to your expertise.
When I had my Harman stove professionally installed, I was told to empty the ash pan once a week. The pan is large and has little ash in it after only one week, depending on what kind of pellets and how much it runs. I’m sure there is truth to your statement about fly ash etc, but most Harman stoves are a breeze to clean. If I’m using a good pellet burning 24/7, I’ll scrape the burn pot 2-3 times a week and vacuum and empty the ash pan every other week. I am by no means an expert, but every stove, pellet, house, temperature etc. is different. To empty your ash pan once a week is not much to do, but to each their own.
 

jerrieric

Feeling the Heat
Jul 7, 2008
338
Windham Me
I never have to scrape my burn pot except when I am TV ask me again once a week. And there's usually nothing to scrape out of the burn pot but I do it anyway
 

Overfireinthehole

Minister of Fire
May 5, 2017
629
Miller MO
No binders are used . Heat from the compression of wood fibers force lignin out naturally bonds the saw dust
so in a wood pellet is nothing but wood . . The higher the compression the better the pellet (hotter less ash)
On good pellets that is true but I know of one that adds a little wax to bind them and I’ve heard of smaller plants using vegetable oil.
 

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
2,486
Eastern Ontario
I know of one that adds a little wax to bind them and I’ve heard of smaller plants using vegetable oil.
Small batch or Horse Pellets
Not for burning . But people do burn them
I would not burn them but I am a pellet snob and use the cleanest hottest pellets I can find
 

Tonyray

Minister of Fire
Small batch or Horse Pellets
Not for burning . But people do burn them
I would not burn them but I am a pellet snob and use the cleanest hottest pellets I can find
same here.. a softwood snob.. prefer doug firs and the zilch ash..
don't mind spending a bit more since it is a product that lasts far into winter and not "Gone" overnight like a 100.00 meal or ticket to a sports event...lol
 

Overfireinthehole

Minister of Fire
May 5, 2017
629
Miller MO
Small batch or Horse Pellets
Not for burning . But people do burn them
I would not burn them but I am a pellet snob and use the cleanest hottest pellets I can find
Relatively small batches. My company carries all oak pellets (mostly white oak) and some of them are extremely clean, but it’s very rare that any distributors within 100 miles of here Cary any softwood pellets simply because it’s cost prohibitive to import them this far away from any areas that process a lot of softwood. It’s actually funny, people in our area who have been around pellets since the 80s all swear that hardwood pellets are the only way to go, and softwoods are junk. The main determination of how hot a pellet burns in my opinion is just how clean your sawdust is and what your pelletized moisture content ends at. Everyone has an opinion on that though. The Harman instructor at the plant in Minessota tried telling us softwoods were better than oak and showed us a burning unit with their idea of a Grade A pellet and we about died laughing at how filthy they were burning, but that was probably just a bad batch.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
20,165
central pa
Everybody I know that friends with refuses to burn pine. Maybe Pinewood work until it's what is full of sap and water and unless you really dry it out it's going to be a mess
It is absolutely no different than any other wood when it comes to creosote production. In fact it dries much faster than hardwoods so it can burn well with less creosote faster than those other woods
 
  • Like
Reactions: johneh
Nov 20, 2018
146
Connecticut
We noticed a distinct difference last season, when the stove distributor could no longer get the good pellets. I went from being able to go three bags between cleanings to needing to clean after practically every bag. The Douglas fir pellets burned noticeably hotter and with much less ash, and cleaning out the stove was much easier. The ash production was much higher with the new brand. I was able to get my hands on three tons of the Douglas fir pellets for this season, but apparently they will no longer be available in Connecticut, because of transport costs. I found that with the Douglas fir pellets, the ash pan would be a quarter full after three bags, and the cleanout T's on the stovepipe would be pretty clean. With the so-called "Cleanfire" pellets, the ash pan would be about half full after a bag or so, and the cleanout T's needed a good vacuuming every time I did a cleaning.

It's not that cleaning is all that difficult, but a clean stove is a happy stove, so the more thoroughly you clean, the better the result. I have a good ash vacuum, but its capacity is not great, so I bought an ash can to empty it into, which minimized the number of trips I needed to make out to the woods to dump ash. The stove is a smallish Enviro model, so it does need to be cleaned often, but I managed to get into a good routine. I also figured out how to vacuum behind the baffles and up inside the heat exchanger, without having to take everything apart every cleaning, so that minimized the work involved.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Tonyray