past winter was a welcome payback for the brutal winters
we've seen in recent years. Anything heat related
was in ample supply. Wood pellets were readily
available, as was wood. This year is an unknown as
far as Mother Nature, but we have a good supply or
pellets and bio-fuel. Stock-Up
In the past there where two recognized grades of wood pellets, Standard and Premium. The grades are determined by a multitude of factors such as ash, moisture, length, and certain chemical properties. For the most part the consumer should be concerned with the ash content and maybe BTU rating, although this should be taken with a grain of salt as readings are not always accurate. Standard pellets are rated as greater than 1% ash. These should be avoided, unless you have a biomass stove with some kind of ash management system, such as the Lopi AGP or the Osburn 5000 units. Premium pellets are rated as having less than 1% ash, and are usually what's available in most stores and outlets. Less than 1% ash seems very small, but as you will see there's quite a span. Recently the Wood Pellet Institute developed a third grade of pellets called Super Premium, with ash content of less than .5%. You see, the Premium pellet with an ash content of .9% has three times the ash content of a Super Premium pellet rated at .3%.
In the future, the PFI (Pellet Fuel Institute) will be redefining the standards and labeling of pellets. They will be dropping the "Super Premium" label and instead require all pellets be labelled with the testing results, and be labelled Premium. So, you'll have to look at the fine print, similar to checking your food at the market. This won't be effecting the quality of the pellets, just the labeling, So compare and you'll see the Turman pellets will one of the best.
What does all that
mean to you? Well to start, that usually means
that if you use Super Premium pellets you will be
cleaning your stove about 1/2 to 1/3 as much. If you
were cleaning every 3 days, that could go to 6 days or
more. It doesn't stop there. Ash is not
only your enemy, but also your stoves. Ash can
coat the heat transfer surfaces of your stove, which
decreases the stoves efficiency. Consequently
you get less heat from each pound of pellets. So yes,
Super costs a little more, but you'll be saving time
and getting a more efficient burning stove.