• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Nicole Alderman
stewards:
  • Mike Haasl
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • John F Dean
  • Rob Lineberger
  • Carla Burke
  • Jay Angler
gardeners:
  • Greg Martin
  • Ash Jackson
  • Jordan Holland

Burning pellets in a wood stove

 
Posts: 103
Location: New Mexico USA zone 6
21
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm looking for information on the use of wood pellets instead of (or in addition to) logs in a wood stove. I Googled wood pellet baskets but most of what I found was older info and confusing.

I'd like to hear from folks who have actually done it.  I'd like to know if burning wood pellets in a wood stove is a good idea or not.

If it's a good idea, I'd like recommendations for baskets.  

Thanks!


PS - what's available around here is pine pellets, if that makes any difference.
woodPellets.PNG
[Thumbnail for woodPellets.PNG]
 
pollinator
Posts: 704
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
176
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would personally be cautious. I think they would burn very quickly -- basically like kindling.

If small amounts were used, you would be constantly opening the door to add more. That's a pain, and it's not good for your indoor air quality either.

If larger amounts were used, I would worry about them burning so fast and hot that it could warp or crack the stove. In a fully airtight stove, you would have some control over that; but modern wood stoves aren't just a steel box -- they're pretty carefully engineered for the intended fuel, which is split wood.

In an emergency, if that was the only fuel available, I would take it slow, observe and adjust, and make it work.
 
Lif Strand
Posts: 103
Location: New Mexico USA zone 6
21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Douglas Alpenstock wrote:I would personally be cautious. I think they would burn very quickly -- basically like kindling.

If small amounts were used, you would be constantly opening the door to add more. That's a pain, and it's not good for your indoor air quality either.

If larger amounts were used, I would worry about them burning so fast and hot that it could warp or crack the stove. In a fully airtight stove, you would have some control over that; but modern wood stoves aren't just a steel box -- they're pretty carefully engineered for the intended fuel, which is split wood.

In an emergency, if that was the only fuel available, I would take it slow, observe and adjust, and make it work.



Thank you.  From what I've gleaned on the web, using a pellet basket bulks up the fuel so the whole load doesn't burn any faster than fuel wood does.  I don't have a pellet basket so I haven't tried it -- they're not cheap!  

My wood stove is no state-of-the art thing, it's a 55 gal steel drum on its side that's been converted to a wood stove using a kit for that purpose.  I have to open it to feed the fire every few hours no matter what.  
I'm exploring the pellet idea because I'm tired of the mess from the firewood, tired of having to have it delivered (I can get the pellets myself) and tired of the prices -- I could get 40 bags of pellets for a short cord of pinon pine, which is awful stuff to burn unless you've got something else (harder wood and more expensive) to burn with it.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
pollinator
Posts: 704
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
176
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In that case, a welder could probably build you a heavy duty pellet basket from his scrap pile, at a fraction of the cost.
 
master gardener
Posts: 2103
Location: southern Illinois.
508
goat cat dog chicken composting toilet food preservation bee solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have used  these in an emergency situation.  It was a few months after we moved in. An ice storm hit late one night.  All the house had, at the time, were a couple of fire places and electric heat.  Of course, the power was out, and I was looking for an option to going to the wood shed in decidedly unsafe circumstances. Anyway, the previous owner had left a couple of bags in the house.  I poured both in the fireplace and lit one end.  It burned one end to the other like a cigarette over a period of about 6 hours without incident.  It is nothing that I would routinely do.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
pollinator
Posts: 704
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
176
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

John F Dean wrote:I have used  these in an emergency situation.  It was a few months after we moved in. An ice storm hit late one night.  All the house had, at the time, were a couple of fire places and electric heat.  Of course, the power was out, and I was looking for an option to going to the wood shed in decidedly unsafe circumstances. Anyway, the previous owner had left a couple of bags in the house.  I poured both in the fireplace and lit one end.  It burned one end to the other like a cigarette over a period of about 6 hours without incident.  It is nothing that I would routinely do.


Very interesting. Softwood or hardwood?
 
Lif Strand
Posts: 103
Location: New Mexico USA zone 6
21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Douglas Alpenstock wrote:In that case, a welder could probably build you a heavy duty pellet basket from his scrap pile, at a fraction of the cost.



Good idea - I'll ask around!
 
John F Dean
master gardener
Posts: 2103
Location: southern Illinois.
508
goat cat dog chicken composting toilet food preservation bee solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Douglas

No idea. The bags were in the basement and I used them.  I spread it out with the plan for it to gradually burn, and it did.  As I type this, I am thinking they had been in the basement for a while. Maybe years. They may have  taken on enough moisture to slow their burn time.
 
pollinator
Posts: 613
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
14
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I use these https://www.ebay.com.au/i/112621909241?ul_noapp=true

Burns for about an hour and I add them to small logs as that helps them get going.  Lasts about an hour.
I don't recommend their use in a ULEB type stove though.

You can see my use here

 
pollinator
Posts: 751
Location: Ashhurst New Zealand
202
duck trees chicken cooking wood heat woodworking homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Graham! MATE! That is Rube Goldberg stuff right there. How did it come out (taste wise, that is)?
 
Douglas Alpenstock
pollinator
Posts: 704
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
176
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Now you've all done it. I have to buy a bag of pellets to mess around with.

But hardwood or softwood? Thoughts?
 
Graham Chiu
pollinator
Posts: 613
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Douglas Alpenstock wrote:
But hardwood or softwood? Thoughts?



Softwood have higher BTUs since they contain more lignins.
 
Graham Chiu
pollinator
Posts: 613
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
14
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Phil Stevens wrote:Graham! MATE! That is Rube Goldberg stuff right there. How did it come out (taste wise, that is)?



Hi Phil.  Tasted just fine.  Took 2.5 hours to cook but other references said that this was standard for this type of "camp side" cooking on the side.
I've now bought myself a tripod so I can try this out in front of my chiminea!
 
John F Dean
master gardener
Posts: 2103
Location: southern Illinois.
508
goat cat dog chicken composting toilet food preservation bee solar wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Graham,

I am impressed. For well over a year we have had an ongoing conversation about doing in our last open fireplace and installing a wood cook stove.  So far, we have held off in favor of the open fire.  My  thoughts have always centered on how to cook inside the fireplace.  Cooking outside of it opens up new options.
 
Graham Chiu
pollinator
Posts: 613
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You can cook inside as well as outside. I started to use wood pellets because they're cheaper than almost any other wood source in the shops.

I used my artificial logs here as well to heat up the burner so that I could cook naan inside on the walls

 
Posts: 8
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You might try making a pellet auger:

(not sure if it would cook a chicken)
 
If you settle for what they are giving you, you deserve what you get. Fight for this tiny ad!
Greenhouse of the Future ebook - now free for a while
https://permies.com/goodies/greenhouse
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic