For stove wood pellets the simplest way to think about them is that you are taking a waste material – sawdust and recycling it by compressing it into small pellets to create a highly efficient fuel source. Wood pellets are used in a specially design stove that allows for the increased efficiency of burning.
The benefits of wood pellets are manifold. From a purely financial point of view the cost of wood pellets is minimal on a per BTU (British thermal unit) compared to oil, gas or electrical burners. This has obvious environmental benefits in that the carbon footprint of the stove wood pellets is significantly less than oil and gas and also the wood pellet stoves can reduce your home’s carbon footprint significantly.
Also from an environmental point of view the sawdust waste product that is used to make the wood pellets would otherwise have ended up in a landfill. Wood pellets are a derived from a renewable source of energy – trees! Some research indicates that wood pellets are carbon neutral because the carbon produced by the burning of the wood is equal to the carbon absorbed by the tree when it was growing.
The increased fuel efficiency of stove wood pellets means that significant savings in heating bills can be made. Coupled with the increased fuel efficiency is the fact that burning wood pellets produces very little smoke and creosote so the need for having a chimney clean is less.
The amount of residual ash that wood pellets leave behind when burnt is minimal due to the high burn rate and heat efficiency. Compare this to the amount of ash left behind when burning other solid fuels.
The quality of your wood pellets has a big impact on how effective and efficient they are as a heat source. Using poor quality wood pellets can lead to excess ash and also the need to clean the wood pellet stove more often.