The truth is, not all wood pellets are the same. In fact, not all wood that goes into the pellets is the same. So how do you know if you’re getting the most heat and value from the pellets you purchase?
It’s not a simple answer so we dive deep to give you a better understanding.
WOOD YOU TAKE THE RISK?
Many European and leading pellet fire manufacturers stipulate that burning uncertified fuel in their pellet fires may void the warranty. There are two major certifications for pellet fuel – DINplus and ENplus, and each certification must reach and maintain a certain level of quality.
The main difference between DINplus and ENplus A1 is that ENplus A1 is more stringent on the requirements. ENplus A1 covers the whole supply from manufacturing to delivery to retailer, where DINplus just certifies the manufactured goods at the time of processing. Because of this, ENplus also requires the pellets to be durable and meet a higher mechanical durability standard meaning that the pellets don’t break down as much and there is less dust, and this reduces health risks.
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH HEAT?
Apart from causing fuel-to-air ratio issues, the difference between a certified pellet fuel and non-certified fuel can vary as much as 25% in moisture (we’ll get to this shortly). In fact, pellets that aren't can vary wildly from batch to batch due to no mandatory testing requirements. These inconsistencies can cause auger or heating issues. The main issues which arise from a poor-quality pellet is often the moisture, the mechanical durability and the ash content.
WATER I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MOISTURE?
Back to moisture - The moisture % of pellet fuel helps determine how much heat you’ll get from the pellet fuel. Certified pellet fuel may cost a few extra cents per kg when compared to non-certified options however the extra heat provided will exceed those extra few cents. If your pellets have a high moisture content, out of your 15kg or 20kg, you may be buying water. If you’re buying Onfire® or Firetime® wood pellets, rest assured you’re using low (under 7%) moisture content pellet fuel.
SO WHAT IS MECHANICAL DURABILITY?
Simply put, mechanical durability is the toughness or level of robustness of the pellet fuel. Having a highly durable pellet means it travels well and doesn’t break down to fines within the bag. This ensures a consistent heat output and eliminates the risk of fines building up and causing an auger fire. If you’re buying certified fuel, you can guarantee that the mechanical durability of your pellets is consistently above 98%. A 1-2% change in mechanical durability can be the difference in a pleasurable heating experience vs ongoing hopper blockage.
DO THE LEFTOVERS ASH-ERLY MATTER
In short, yes. It’s similar to the moisture content. If it’s not energy, it’s not heat. We believe that consumers deserve a long, hot burn and the only way to achieve this is by burning energy. Ash is simply the leftover by-product that contains very little energy as a heat source, not to mention the benefits of a cleaner burn from low-ash pellets. Burning a cleaner fuel will also increase the longevity of your pellet fire and reduce maintenance costs.
SO HOW DOES HEAT, MOISTURE, DURABILITY AND ASH FIT TOGETHER?
Next time you’re in-store buying your pellets and picking up that bag of wood fuel, ask yourself if you’re confident of its contents. It may be worth contacting the manufacturer to find out if they meet any certifications and how this fit’s in with your warranty for your pellet fire.