Pellet stoves are an interesting form of fireplace stove and are solid fuel burning appliances meaning that they generate heat through combustion of solid fuel using real flames.
One of the materials used within the fuel for pellet stoves can be wood, often in the form of wood chippings or shavings, but traditional wood burning stoves use wood logs as their source of fuel and so what wood can you burn wood in pellet stove?
Traditional firewood cannot be burnt in a pellet stove, either in the form of logs or kindling. Only pellets, of a certain size depending on the model of stove, can be used within pellet stoves. Wood can be one of the main materials that makes up a pellet for use in a pellet stove.
We can’t use the same firewood kindling and logs that we burn in our wood burning stoves in our pellet stove.
Pellet stoves still burn wood as a material, but the fuel must be of a specific type and consistency as pellet stoves work differently compared to wood stoves, especially in the type of fuel and the way that it’s delivered to a fire.
To explain in more detail why you can still burn wood in a wood stove but not through traditional means of kindling and logs we’ve put this article together to explain in more detail below using our own pellet stove as an example:
- Whether you can burn wood in a pellet stove.
- Why wood can be burnt in pellet stoves but not in log form.
- What type of fuel pellet stoves take.
- How a pellet stove uses fuel differently to a wood burning stove.
Can You Burn Wood In A Pellet Stove?
Pellet stoves can only burn wood in the form of pellets.
Pellets are compressed forms of fuel and can be made from a number of materials, including wood.
Pellet stoves cannot burn wood in the form of firewood logs or kindling.
As the name suggests, pellet stoves burn fuel in the form of pellets. However, pellet stoves are still a form of stove and wood pellet stoves still produce heat from wood in the same way that a wood burning stoves uses wood to generate heat for a home.
We have a pellet stove but we can’t use the same firewood that we use for our open wood burning fireplace or wood burning stove in this pellet stove.
For wood burning stoves or multi fuel stoves, firewood in the form of kindling used to get the fire going while firewood in the form of logs helps keep it burning to produce heat for a home.
Wood stoves have a large firebox where the fuel, in the form of firewood, is added to the fire. Fires in wood stoves typically start off small to get it going using a firelighter, small bits of kindling and one or two smaller logs. As the fire in a wood stoves progresses, progressively larger bits of wood in the form of firewood logs can be added to the fire to keep the fire burning and the keep the stove radiating heat out into the room.
The main firewood used in wood stoves comes in the form of logs, which are large pieces of wood split down into small enough chunks that they can fit into the firebox of a wood stove.
Although pellet stoves are technically a form of wood burning solid fuel appliance like a wood burning stove, firewood logs like these, or even small bits of wood kindling, can’t be used within a wood stove.
Pellet stoves must take wood in the form of pellets.
Pellet fuel used within pellet stoves are a compressed form of material typically bought in bags of certain weight.
Pellets used for pellet stoves can come made from a number of different materials, but the main material can be wood. Wood pellets are often made from sawdust, chippings or any other form of leftover bits of wood but compressed together into a ‘pellet’ of a certain size and shape.
The manual for our own pellet stove explains that:
‘Wood pellets have a cylindrical shape and are made of compressed high-pressure timber without adhesive or additive materials.’Victoria-05
As an example, our pellet stove can only take pellets made from wood of a certain shape, size and length.
The instruction manual for our particular model of pellet stove states that:
‘The pellet stove is designed, developed programmed and tested to operate with wood pellets class A1. The pellet stove should not be used to burn other types of fuels or materials, otherwise the guarantee becomes invalid.’Victoria-05
The pellets required for our particular model of pellet stove must meet local building regulation guidelines and be of the following parameters:
- Maximum diameter of 6mm
- Maximum length of 25mm
- Maximum moisture content of 8%
- Maximum ash content of 0.5%
We therefore can only burn wood in the form of pellets in our pellet stove that conform to the above requirements.
Pellet stove requirements for pellet fuel can differ between each model, including the material of the pellet to be used and their size and shape. See the instruction manual for a specific pellet stove to see what kind of pellet fuel can be used for that model of stove.
Why Traditional Firewood Can’t Be Used In A Pellet Stove
Although the manufacturer’s guidance for our particular mode of pellet stove explains that only pellets that meet certain parameters can be used, there’s a reason for it.
The main reasons why traditional firewood in the form of kindling or firewood as used in wood burning stoves can’t be used in pellet stoves include:
- The combustion chamber is too small.
- Pellet stoves automatically feed fuel to the fire and require fuel of a certain and consistent size.
- Fuel needs to be stored within a pellet stove hopper in order to be burnt. Fuel cannot be added to the stove by opening the door.
- Fuel in the form of pellets is delivered to the combustion chamber from the hopper using a motorized auger that can only take a certain size of fuel.
Pellet stoves are electronic appliances that require electricity in order to work.
Pellet stoves have a number of electronic components that all work together from a central control panel in order to automatically feed fuel in the form of pellets to the fire. The stove adjusts how often fuel is sent to the combustion chamber based on information from a range of sensors to ensure that the optimum amount of heat is being produced and the fuel is being burnt as efficiently as possible.
The combustion chamber of a pellet stove (where the fire is located and where the fuel is added to) is typically much smaller and takes up much less space on a pellet stove compared to a traditional wood burning stove.
The combustion chamber is too small to burn traditional bits of wood in the form of logs or kindling.
Only a small number of pellets are burnt at any one time within the combustion chamber of a pellet stove.
A pellet stove is still able to produce great amounts of heat from such a small amount of fuel because the pellets themselves are compressed with minimal moisture content meaning that a lot of energy that can be converted to heat is stored within a small area.
Furthermore, fuel in the form of pellets must be delivered to the combustion chamber of a pellet stove though an automated delivery system using an internal storage area known as a hopper, and an auger.
Wood in the form of suitably sized pellets must be added to the hopper, which is located at the top of our particular model of pellet stove.
An auger then delivers pellets one at a time down as chute to the combustion chamber to be burnt.
It would not be possible to use traditional firewood in the form of logs and firewood with such as system.
Therefore, only wood in the form of suitably sized and quality pellets can be burnt in a pellet stove.