Using bricks in your smoker is a great way to grill meat, especially when the recipes require you to cook for hours on end. Using bricks won't make that much of a difference when it comes to a short cooking session, though.
I find bricks to be a complete game-changer, especially when you're cooking with a cheap smoker.
It's a great way to control and capture heat. And a fantastic way to add extra smoky flavor to your food.
But it only works when time allows the bricks to make a difference.
You get to have more control over temperature when you're cooking for long periods of time. I'm talking about the kind of thing that will take more than three hours to make. A pulled pork recipe, for example.
For your average steak or burger (something that'll take you a couple of minutes), it'll make little to no difference.
Some people swear on bricks no matter what they cook, though. Check it out and see for yourself. I prefer to use them when necessary.
You should only put fire bricks inside your smoker. Other bricks will not stand the heat and either break, dissolve, or release toxic fumes when you're cooking - and that's not the kind of thing you want to be cooking with.
The best thing about fire bricks (other than helping you cook better) is how cheap they are.
You can probably buy 6 of them for $20 or $30 tops. You can find them for $2 apiece if you're lucky.
You should forget about cooking with bricks if you can't find fire bricks, though. That's your only choice for this kind of stuff.
Why can't you use anything other than fire bricks? Because it's downright dangerous. This topic is so important I'll dedicate an entire section to it.
You should use fire bricks alone when using your smoker. Any other option is either a bad idea or a dangerous one. Certain bricks will become toxic when put over heat, others cannot take the high temperatures and will break, and some bricks may even explode.
I can't stress how important it is for you not to use anything other than fire bricks.
You may think concrete bricks are not that bad for cooking. Well, they absolutely are.
Best case scenario, you cook with concrete bricks, and they'll crumble inside your smoker.
Worst case scenario, you cook with concrete bricks, and they'll (quite literally) explode inside your smoker.
You may have read you can take the impurities out of certain types of bricks, and that'll be enough to use them in your smoker. So, can you?
Well, your smoker can't come anywhere close to the temperature necessary to pull that trick - so don't try it.
Keep it simple, keep it safe, and get fire bricks for your smoker.
Fire bricks will help you to control the temperature, especially when using cheaper smokers. When it comes to cooking for a long time, the metal is not enough to keep the heat inside. Fortunately, fire bricks work as insulators, and they do a fine job at that.
A smoker has one big problem it cannot solve on its own, and that's uneven cooking. When you throw a steak on top of it and cook it quickly, you don't have to worry about anything coming out uneven. When you're cooking for a long period of time, uneven cooking leads to having half your meat undercooked and the other one overcooked. Fire bricks prevent that from happening.
As I have said above, the great thing about fire bricks is that they work as insulators, making sure the temperature stays nice and even. Because of that, you will be able to cook for longer periods of time using less charcoal or any other source of energy you prefer.
You can change the flavor of your meal when you change something inside your smoker. Meat tastes different when you choose charcoal over wood and vice-versa. Well, cooking with fire bricks changes how your food will taste - in a good way.
Fire bricks are a great choice for long cookouts, especially during winter. You probably know how difficult it is to grill during cold temperatures - but what you probably didn't know is how much help a few fire bricks can give you.
Using fire bricks in your smoker is simple. You need to put a few bricks in the firebox, then put a few more bricks on top of the charcoal (or whatever you're using as fuel) in the main chamber. After that, light a fire and start cooking!
You can play around and find out how you like to lay the bricks.
For example, some people prefer to put two bricks standing up in the firebox and lay down a few more bricks in the main chamber.
Others prefer to put everything lying down. It's up to you, the space in your smoker, and what works best.
You can read above why fire bricks are the only type of brick you can use when cooking.
In this part, I'm going to tell you that you need to choose the right kind of fire brick. You need the thick ones, and you may have to shop around to find them.
Using anything other than that will leave you with poor insulation - and proper insulation is the main point of cooking with fire bricks.
How are you going to know which fire brick is thick enough? Don't worry about that. You will realize it on your own when you see three or four fire bricks.
Use few bricks, and you'll lose insulation. Use too many bricks, and you're overcrowding your smoker.
How many bricks you use matters - and it matters a lot!
The average smoker needs at least four bricks. Two will go in the firebox. Then, you can put anywhere from two to six bricks in the main chamber.
Unfortunately, I can't tell you how many to put in the main chamber without looking at your smoker and the size of your fire bricks. You'll have to trust your gut and try different numbers.
Of course, bigger smokers will need more fire bricks. Play around with it and figure out the right amount.
You don't need fire bricks to use your smoker. With that in mind, fire bricks add a lot of good things to the grilling experience when you use them at the right time. They have zero drawbacks and plenty of benefits for you to enjoy.
As you know by now, the longer you have to cook something on your smoker, the more fire bricks will help you get the job done properly.
And if you need to cook a quick burger, then fire bricks will make little to no difference.
The great thing is, you can put your fire bricks in place - and then forget about them!
They will help you when you need them and make no difference when you don't. It doesn't get any better than that.
So, no, fire bricks are not necessary when you're using a smoker. Then again, they help a lot and ask for nothing - why not use them?
Absolutely! As long as you choose fire bricks and nothing else (such as concrete or clay bricks) you will have nothing to worry about when it comes to cooking. Beware of other brick choices, though - they can become toxic or break down when you cook.
Not only are fire bricks safe to cook on, but they are made for you to use to cook. So, don't worry about it.
Any nightmare stories about bricks being unhealthy, breaking down, or causing any sort of trouble are related to any type of brick that isn't the fire brick kind.
Cooking on top of firebricks is a great idea if you have a brick oven - but not so much if you're using a smoker. When it comes to grilling in a smoker, the fire bricks will go right next to the charcoal, so it'll be close to impossible to cook on top of them.
For the most part, the fire bricks will share space with the charcoal, and both of them will be away from the food.
In that scenario, cooking on top of the fire bricks will put your food dangerously close to the charcoal. Moving the bricks away from the charcoal will make you lose most of the heat insulation you had.
You can try to cook with a brick oven if you want to, though!
Both oak and walnut are the best types of firewood for a backyard fire pit.
You should choose black or white oak if you prefer that over walnut - but you're going to have a great fire no matter what, so don't worry about it that much at that point.
Ash is also a great option.
You probably know there's more than one type of oak. You can choose between white and black oak if you go down that route.
And there's more than one type of white oak - wood can get confusing!
Don't worry. You should choose California black oak or Oregon white oak. California white oak is great as well, so don't feel bad if that's what you bought.
There's also Valley oak and Coast oak - and while they're not as good as the options mentioned above, they are quality options too.
Oak is great because it burns slow, lasts long, and leaves little ash for you to pick up.
Walnut burns similarly, but it may be harder to find in some places. So go for oak if you can.
I recommend using maple, oak, or ash if you want to start a homely fire in your wood stove.
At the same time, I highly discourage you from using softwood so you can avoid causing issues or damaging your stove in the long term.
As long as you go for quality hardwood, you will have no issues using your wood stove.
When it comes to softwood, things get trickier.
Your wood stove is delicate. You need to treat it with proper care and feed it quality wood.
Otherwise, you're going to lose more money replacing or fixing your stove than you saved buying cheap softwood.
So, you better choose quality maple, oak, or ash.
Maple should be your go-to option because you can find it all over the country.
Oak is the overall better choice but a little more expensive, and ash is the easiest firewood to burn of all three.
Most softwood is a big no-no for the reasons stated above.
Saving a little money today is going to cost you a lot more tomorrow.
You should go for seasoned hardwood if you want to start a fire in your fireplace. Ash, birch, oak, and fruit tree are great for this scenario.
In contrast, driftwood and green wood are no good and should be avoided.
A wood stove is not that different from a fireplace.
You need to feed it quality wood unless you want to reinvest in changing or fixing your fireplace in a couple of years.
Because of that, go the hardwood route. Oak is always the best bet you can make in the fire game, but you can also trust other similar hardwoods like birch and ash.
Fruit tree wood is also great for this kind of thing, although they are more expensive than anything else mentioned above.
The price tag may be worth it, though, because of how good this wood smells when it burns.
You can probably tell I am going to recommend you stay away from softwood.
Avoid using driftwood and green (moist) wood. You need seasoned wood for your fireplace.
Starting a fire out in the wild is not that different from one at home. For that reason, hardwood is the best choice for a campfire.
Then again, you should burn whatever you have close by if you didn't bring the wood with you to the camp.
While hardwood still is the best choice to start a fire, campfires tend to happen in a state of exception.
What does that mean? Well, it's simple. When you're out in the wild, you're not in the comfort of your house.
So, you may want to start a fire to escape the cold, not to be warm and cozy inside.
In that scenario, go for whatever you can find. The drier, the better. Avoid rotten or damp wood.
You should worry about difficulty as well as availability.
In a campfire scenario, you might want to use softwood (if you have a choice) because it's easier to burn. Sure, it doesn't last as long - but it's the best choice for a quick and easy fire to get by.
Be responsible out in the wild!
Yes, starting fires is an option. Being responsible is a must.
When it comes to cooking, you should always burn fruit tree to get a nice flavor kick that will take your food to the next level.
Hickory is the best for burgers, peach is perfect for seafood, and oak is an all-rounder that will go with almost everything.
Cooking is an art, not a science. You'll have to play around with different recipes and a wide variety of wood to get that perfect combination that you're after.
You can use our pointers if you want to start in the right direction, but keep in mind we're not saying that's the way you should go at it!
Cooking isn't like using your wood-burning stove - it's much more fun and challenging.
Then again, if you don't feel like playing around, you can follow our guidelines.
Don't know what to pick? Go with oak!
Apple wood is perfect for grilling. It will give your meat a mixture of smoky and sweet flavors everyone will love.
For recipes that need more cooking time, look for quality hardwood like oak.
Unlike general cooking, grilling has a few more rules. Or, at least, a few more tried-and-tested methods you can rely on.
For example, you need hardwood for long cookouts or recipes that require hours and hours of grilling. In that scenario, oak is probably the best choice.
That doesn't mean you can't experiment!
You are more than allowed to play around when you grill, especially when you are going to cook a nice steak (and feel like choosing different types of fruit tree there are).
You can try mesquite if you're not sure what to start with.
Be advised this is one of the most distinct woods flavor-wise.
The two most common types of firewood are softwood and hardwood.
Each one has its pros and cons, but you will often find that hardwood is the best choice by a wide margin.
For people who love long-lasting, quality fires, hardwood is the way to go.
You're probably wondering about oak, ash, maple, and the many names you've come across.
Technically speaking, they're types of firewood as well - but they fall under the hardwood and softwood category.
So, for example, the best kind of hardwood is oak, maple, ash, and most fruit trees.
Other types of hardwood can be great, mediocre, hit-or-miss, but you'll never go wrong with those ones.
When it comes to softwood, alder, fir, poplar, and a few others should be your go-to options.
There are great pieces of softwood out there, but there's a fair amount of lousy softwood as well.
The main differences between hardwood and softwood are quality, aroma, efficiency, and price.
Hardwood takes the prize with everything except for its price. Softwood is usually the cheaper option as well as the worst one.
Hardwood burns for a long time, has an amazing aroma, is the cleanest, and will provide you with an overall quality fire for you to enjoy.
There are two major downsides with hardwood, though: it's more expensive and may leave more ash than the alternative.
Softwood is cheaper and easier to handle.
While it may take some practice to burn hardwood, you can probably manage to have a nice fire with a pile of softwood, no matter your experience.
That comes at the expense of fire quality, though.
Hardwood is the go-to choice for people who want a long-lasting fire, whether you want to sit in front of it and enjoy it or use it to cook or grill.
Softwood is more of a beginner's firewood as well as campfire wood.
When it comes to being out in the wild, you want something quick and easy and takes little to no preparation - and that's softwood.
Oak is the most popular type of firewood there is. Although it takes a long time to season, it's the best piece of wood you can burn.
Coincidentally, it's one of the most widespread types of wood there is.
You can't blame anyone for liking oak. It's the perfect firewood - it burns long and clean and smells great.
You can find it to be a little pricey depending on where you live - but it's most definitely worth it.
The biggest downside with oak is how long it takes to season. You have a two year wait at a minimum if you want it to be properly seasoned - and that does sound like a long time at first.
When you prepare a batch of oak every year, you'll hardly notice it, though.
There are different types of oak out there. California white oak seems to be the best one, but you can't go wrong with oak, no matter the type.
Softwood is the easiest type of wood you can burn.
More specifically, fir and alder will be what you need if you're after an easy way to start a fire.
The drier your wood is, the easier it will be to burn, so keep that in mind.
I'm not going to beat over the metaphorical bush (I'd rather use its wood for a cozy fire) and repeat yet again why softwood is the easiest choice to burn.
What we're going to do, though, is remind you not to rely on the easy way out.
Sure, softwood is easy to burn, specifically when it's dry - but you should develop your fire building skills and start to use hardwood (that is more difficult to burn, but it's worth the trouble).
Most people agree maple is the hardest firewood to burn.
The good thing about maple is that it will help you start amazing fires.
Maple is one of the top hardwood picks you can make.
The biggest problem with most hardwood options (other than price) is that it can take a little bit to burn it.
Or, better said, it can prove hard to burn it if you don't know what you're doing.
Maple embodies every issue and advantage hardwood has: it's hard to burn and big enough that you need to take your time splitting logs - a beginner's nightmare!
Once you start to master the right way to start fires, you'll appreciate the effort it takes to do it - because you'll soon see that your efforts come with a reward.
Yes, maple is the hardest firewood to burn - but it's worth it.
Hardwood is what you should burn if you want a long-lasting fire. Any of the top-tier hardwood options will be great for that, as well as for a wide range of other reasons.
Look for maple, ash, oak, or fruit trees if you don't know what to pick.
No type of wood burns forever, but some definitely last for a long time.
Most types of hardwood will help you achieve a long fire if that's what you're after.
You need hardwood that is both well-seasoned and dry.
Damp wood won't give you a lasting fire (if you manage to light one at all) no matter the type.
Similarly, firewood that is too dry will consume quickly.
Look for oak, maple, ash, or anything similar with a 10 to 20% moisture content, and you'll have the longest fires possible.
To make sure your fire doesn't die out as soon as it started, you need to provide proper airflow to the entire wooden structure you've created.
That's right: structure matters. You can't throw wood somewhere and hope it catches on fire.
The structure you're using will change depending on where you're starting the fire and what you're using to start it.
For example, when starting a campfire, the teepee structure is the easiest and somewhat most efficient way to go at it.
When using wood stoves and other furnaces, your flue will make sure enough air goes into the fire, so you don't have to worry too much about that.
Without going into specifics, the idea is simple: unless air can travel freely around the flames, your fire will die out because of a lack of oxygen.
So, if you want your fire to last for a long time, make sure there's plenty of oxygen going around.
It's impossible to burn wood without smoke, but you can always try to minimize the amount of smoke you'll have during a fire.
The best way to achieve this goal is to burn wood that has the right amount of moisture and is seasoned properly.
You probably know that hardwood is way better than softwood when it comes to smoke.
You should also know that your wood must have 10 to 20% of moisture content; otherwise, you're going to have plenty of smoke around you.
That's the thing with wood: you'll have smoke if it's too dry, and you'll have the same if it's too damp.
You must find the right balance to get as little smoke as possible.
You can take care of the smoke if you're using a wood stove or a fireplace.
In fact, most furnaces must properly deal with smoke via flues.
If you have too much smoke inside your house, you need to stop everything and fix your furnace.
You should always look for fruit trees if you want to burn something that'll smell great.
Other than that, you can't go wrong when you use oak and hickory as they provide that classic smell everyone will recognize comes from a fireplace.
Most hardwood smell great when burnt. Oak is a classic choice, and so is hickory.
Different people have different tastes, so you may prefer other types of hardwood to smell.
That's the great thing about firewood: you can play and choose and find great things as you do!
For softwoods, you can try cedar and pine. Be warned, though: they are not the best firewood to choose from, but they smell pretty great, all things considered.
There are two things you should consider when choosing firewood: dryness and type.
First, you need to figure out which type of firewood is best for your situation. Then, you need to make sure it's properly seasoned and dry.
At this point, you can probably tell why hardwood is king. Softwood is a great choice (or, at least, it is for your wallet).
Either way, wood is wood - so you'll be in good hands as long as it's dry enough.
That's right: properly seasoned softwood is better than damp hardwood.
You need your firewood dry enough for it to burn properly.
That's what truly makes a good piece of firewood, other than how it burns, for how long, and a few other things inherent to the type of firewood you get.
Alder, laburnum, and poplar are probably the worst types of firewood you're going to find on the market.
They burn fast and produce a lot of smoke. They're not worth the trouble and should only be used when you have no other alternative (or you want to start a lousy fire).
You will usually find plenty of types of firewood with redeeming qualities all around.
Even most types of softwood will provide you some sort of benefit, at least for that price range.
Unfortunately, there's poor firewood too.
Forget about toxic wood (yes, such a thing exists, we'll talk about it down below), we're talking about firewood that you can burn - but it's simply not worth it to do so.
Laburnum might be the worst offender out of the three.
It'll burn for little time, produce a lot of smoke, and leave you with plenty of ash for you to clean up.
Avoid them at all costs, even more so if you're planning to start a fire in your fireplace.
Choosing the best kind of firewood depends on what you want to do. For a casual campfire, softwood is more than okay.
For a long wood stove fire, hardwood is the go-to choice. For cooking or grilling, hardwood is probably the best as well.
When people learn about the different types of wood, they are quick to dismiss softwood because, on paper, it seems like a lesser option - but it's very useful when the time is right!
Softwood is perfect for a quick fire or for people who don't know how to start one. It's also nice to switch things and try new things (if you're used to hardwood fires).
I am far from recommending softwood for cooking or storing, though. You should always choose the best option for you, especially when you're about to buy wood for the winter.
The best time to buy firewood is right after winter - so you can prepare for the one coming next year.
Other than that, you should stock on firewood as early as possible; otherwise, you may have to face shortages or price spikes when everyone is out to buy wood.
When it comes to wood and fires, you need to plan ahead.
You may not want to plan so far into the future as the people who season wood (who get ready for winter up to two years prior), but you still have to do it at least a few months in advance.
To do it that way, you need to shop around for wood - but you shouldn't wait until a few hours before you want to start a fire!
You need to buy wood in spring if you want to get the most out of your money.
You'll hardly ever find any shortages, but it's always nice to be prepared and have one less thing to worry about.
You should never burn poisonous wood, treated wood, or wood that comes from endangered species.
Burning the first two is dangerous for you; burning the third one is dangerous for the environment.
When I talk about poisonous wood, I talk about logs that come from trees that may have poisonous flowers like poison ivy.
When you burn such a thing, you will release certain oils into the air that can cause a wide variety of symptoms, from irritation to lung cancer.
Treated wood is wood that has undergone a chemical process and is often used in construction.
Fortunately, treated wood is easy to identify as they usually have tags or stamps on them.
Similar to poison wood, burning treated wood will release nasty chemicals into the air that can cause a lot of damage.
Finally, you shouldn't burn endangered species for ethical reasons.
You won't find wood coming from endangered species on sale, but you could end up burning one of these trees if you chop your own wood.
Make sure you check what you're about to take down with your ax before you do.
Seasoned firewood is wood that has been stored for quite some time to make sure it has the right amount of moisture.
When freshly cut, wood has more-or-less 50% moisture content. After seasoning it, it can go below 20% - and that's what you want.
Is seasoned firewood better than freshly cut wood? Absolutely!
There's no argument there. Seasoned wood burns better and cleaner and for longer.
Of course, having seasoned firewood implies having seasoning it in the first place - and that won't happen unless you start planning your fires in advance.
You can also buy seasoned firewood at the store, but there's something special about cutting your wood, seasoning it yourself, and taking it out after a few months (or even years).
At the same time, carefully picking the kind of firewood you want and then seasoning it for the right amount of time will give you fires that you won't get by buying wood at the store.
In a way, seasoning firewood allows you to have custom fires that are right for you.
Seasoning wood is simple - in fact, time will do most of the work for you.
All you have to do is cut down the logs you want, store them somewhere away from rain and other nasty weather, and wait it out for a while.
The only way seasoning wood can get a little complicated is if you don't have the space to store the wood.
Then, the entire thing becomes tricky - and probably not worth the trouble.
I am counting on you having the space to season the wood first and store it somewhere second.
When it comes to seasoning wood, you need a place where your wood won't get wet or damp or anything similar (because that's what you don't want in your wood).
Stack the logs on top of each other, but make sure the last log is not on the ground but on another surface.
After a certain amount of time, you'll have to put your seasoned wood somewhere else.
Don't store it inside your house!
Seasoned wood could contain pests that will soon move into anything wooden that you own - unless you keep the logs outside.
How long does wood take to season? It depends on what you're using.
Softwood takes six months; most hardwood takes between one and two years; Oak takes two years minimum. So, yes, it depends!
Seasoned firewood is not hard to identify. It's usually dry, hollow, and darker than its fresh counterpart.
Wood that looks green, has visible bark, or feels damp when you touch it is far from seasoned.
When in doubt, hit two pieces of wood together - if the sound is sharp, you hit two seasoned logs!
Other than that, there's not much you can do to identify seasoned wood. Don't worry, though.
You will usually be able to tell right away when you're looking at it.
Why is that? Because you either seasoned it yourself or bought it from the store!
As time goes on, you will be better at seasoning (or picking) better wood.
It all comes from experience.
You will buy or season poor pieces from time to time, but the more fires you start, the better the wood you'll choose.
Softwood tends to dry faster than hardwood, but that means you're going to end up with subpar firewood faster.
You can bet ash, cherry, and maple tend to dry the fastest on their own. In contrast, oak will take a couple of years to be ready.
You can trust softwood to get you out of a fire-related hurry.
Then again, softwood is often subpar when compared to hardwood - and it could burn as fast as it got dry!
That doesn't mean you shouldn't go for it if you have nothing else.
Now, you should go for ash or maple if you're planning your winter and cutting it a little close. Ash, for example, needs 6 to 9 months to dry properly.
That's as short of a window that you're going to get for hardwood.
If you're going to dry firewood yourself, you should always try to plan it in advance.
Most people store their wood a year or two before using it.
There are several ways to speed up the seasoning process. Making sure the sun hits the wood is great for this.
Splitting your logs will make everything go smooth. Ensuring there's proper airflow between your logs is a must.
Other than that, you need to have patience!
As you know, softwood dries faster than hardwood.
So, if you're in some sort of seasoning rush, you probably want to go down the softwood route.
At the same time, you can start stacking hardwood for next year's winter. That way, you won't be in a rush then!
Other than that, you need to maximize sun exposure and airflow while you limit any issues (like rain touching your wood).
Remember that time is the one that seasons your wood, so you'll have to be patient no matter what.
You're looking at a six month waiting period at best. After that, it's time to store it.
The best way to store firewood is to do so indoors but not inside your house.
Seasoned wood may have pests inside of it - and you don't want to carry that indoors.
A shed is a great place but so is right outside your house, as long as you can put something over the stack of wood.
Keeping seasoned wood inside the house is not an option.
It's a big nuisance, and it's also a one way ticket for termites to eat your favorite table. So, what can you do?
Well, you can stack the wood right outside your house.
You go out, grab a couple of logs, feed them to the fire, and close the door.
As long as rain doesn't touch your wood, you have nothing to worry about.
Because of that, you can stack wood outside under a roof or something that'll prevent rain from getting inside the wood.
You can cover it with a tarp if rain gets too heavy for your roof to handle.
You can also store your wood in a shed if you don't feel like having it outside.
Take advantage of storing wood indoors and make sure you keep it away from windows, doors, or any point of entry; that way, pests will never get close to your wood.
Keep it above concrete as well.
Your average seasoned firewood will last 2 to 4 years in storage. Of course, different factors will hinder or help your firewood's shelf life.
Under the right conditions, you may be able to store it for longer than four years - but after that, the quality will start to drop.
You're going to get different results from different experiences. Your wood will not last as long outside as it would inside a storage room or a shed.
At the same time, keeping wood indoors isn't going to change much if you don't do it right.
You need proper airflow and enough sun exposure for your wood to stay dry. Otherwise, it's as good as nothing.
Some people claim wood can be stored indefinitely under perfect circumstances.
Perfect circumstances are far from common, so I wouldn't suggest trying to store large quantities of firewood indefinitely. You'd be one mistake away from losing most (if not all) of your wood.
So, aim for a two year shelf life. A little more if you're confident in your storing abilities.
After four years, you may be looking at firewood that's close to expiring and wouldn't do much if you want to start a fire with it.
Sometimes, firewood will take less time to go bad.
So, yes, firewood can be too old to burn.
As I have said before, some people believe you can store firewood forever under the right circumstances.
I prefer to burn wood instead of storing it, so I don't know for certain!
I highly suspect that's not the case, though.
Past the four year mark, you're probably looking at wood that's a little too old to burn.
You may get a spark out of it, but you're not going to stay warm for long with five year old firewood.
Does that mean burning old firewood is dangerous?
Not at all! You're not going to get into trouble for burning old wood.
It may be more trouble than it's worth to burn it, though.
When firewood gets old, it begins to rot, and burning rotten wood is similar to trying to burn wet wood.
Old firewood will start to rot and decay, something that you will notice when you hold it in your hands.
When wood is too old, it'll start to fall apart - and at that point, it's probably not the kind of thing you want to use to start a fire.
A dead giveaway of having old firewood is how it feels.
When you hold a piece of firewood that's too old, it'll feel similar to wet wood.
It's going to be a little lighter and it'll feel damp and soft.
Similar to how you can hit two pieces of seasoned wood to see if they are dry enough.
You can do the same with old firewood. Seasoned wood that's ready to burn will give a more sharp sound.
Old firewood will emit a more hollow sound.
You can buy a moisture meter to check the moisture yourself and pinpoint whether the wood is too old (or wet) or not.
Then again, with enough experience, you'll be able to tell on your own.
There's not much you can do to restore old firewood.
Wood will start to rot past a certain point, and once you're there, you can't reverse the process.
Fortunately for all fire lovers, wood takes a long time to go old. You have at least two years before wood starts to get old.
Once firewood starts to go old, you're racing against time to use it.
Let it stay in storage for a little longer, and it may be too late for you to burn it. Don't panic! Wood takes a long time to go old.
Not only wood takes a long time to go old, but it also takes a little time to be ready to burn.
Seasoning wood takes from six months to two years.
After that, you have anywhere from two years to four (and sometimes more) to burn it.
The better you store the wood, the longer it'll last - but past a certain point, it'll rot. And you can't restore rotting wood.
You can try to salvage it by removing the rotting parts, but only if rot hasn't taken over most of the wood.
You can try to burn rotten firewood, but it's not going to be a pleasant experience.
Your fire will be lackluster if it happens at all, and, more importantly, you're going to have a lot of smoke to deal with.
Burning rotten firewood is similar to burning wet wood.
Unless you're completely desperate and out of wood, burning rotten firewood is not the answer.
You can probably work it out and find a better alternative than doing this in most scenarios.
Yes, finding rotted firewood in your pile is an ugly sight to see - but going through the trouble of trying to burn it all is not going to make you feel any better.
While you can't do much when it comes to rotted firewood and fires, there's good news!
You may be able to use it for something else.
That is, as long as you have a backyard where you need fertilizer.
You can use rotten firewood as mulch or fertilizer.
You can try to burn it anyway, as long as we're not talking about wood that's been rotting away for a long time.
It's better to put old firewood to good use instead of trying to burn it and struggle as you do.
You shouldn't use old firewood as fertilizer unless it's locally sourced, though.
Trees can carry pests and diseases - and you can start an outbreak by using foreign wood as fertilizer in your area.
So, feel free to use old wood as long as you know where it comes from.
Ideally, you'd use wood that you have cut yourself to fertilize the greens in your backyard.
It's close to impossible for something to go wrong that way.
While far from a common issue, you can find firewood that is too dry.
Unlike damp wood, you're not going to have a problem burning it; in fact, it'll be the other way around - it'll burn way too fast.
After starting a fair number of fires, you will soon find out that different firewood burns in a different way.
Plenty of factors come into play, there's no denying that, but the most common and dominant one is dryness.
The perfect piece of wood has somewhere between 10 to 20% moisture content.
Any more than that, let's say, 30%, and you're going to have a hard time starting a fire with it.
Any less than that, let's say, a single digit percentage like 5% - and you find yourself starting a fire with firewood that is too dry and will last too little.
You need a certain amount of moisture inside your wood to regulate the temperature and make sure the fire won't die early on.
Extremely dry firewood will consume itself extremely fast. It will also create more smoke than usual, making it an uncomfortable experience.
Firewood that's too dry can still be used in a fire, although it'll burn at a much faster rate than usual.
You can try to mix this type of firewood with properly seasoned pieces and make the most out of everything you have.
You can also dispose of it if you have a small number of overly dry logs.
There's not much you can do with pieces of wood that are way too dry for you to handle.
You shouldn't start a fire with that kind of wood unless you want to be surrounded by clouds of smoke inside your house.
Wetting dry firewood isn't the right idea either. You can't increase (the right) moisture levels by soaking your wood.
You're only going to get wet wood by doing that, and that kind of wood creates more smoke than usual as well - and it's also a fire hazard of sorts.
The best thing you can do with firewood that's too dry is to count your losses and move on.
Of course, let's not forget wood is wood, and it'll burn no matter what - so you should use extremely dry wood if you need to stay warm during the winter and have nothing else to help.
There's probably no issue with starting a fire at home using a wood stove, pellet stove, fireplace, or anything similar.
At the same time, laws and regulations vary a lot when it comes to starting fires outside, whether that's your backyard or out in the wild.
You'll have no legal trouble by using it as long as your wood stove, fireplace, or any other type of furnace is up to code and follows local regulations.
It's important to note that I am talking about wood-burning furnaces. In certain places, it's illegal to burn coal.
You should check local law to make sure you're not breaking any rules.
When it comes to starting fires outside your house, things are trickier.
Certain places will not allow it no matter what; other places will allow it on a seasonal basis; most places will have no issue whatsoever.
Unfortunately, this information varies on a state-to-state basis and, sometimes, on a city-to-city basis. When in doubt, consult the local authorities.
You cannot reuse completely burnt wood. Once you start a fire, a clock starts ticking - and when the time is up, the wood will be gone.
After that, you'll have nothing but ash and smoke. I'm talking about totally burnt firewood, not partially burnt logs.
It'd be amazing to be able to reuse wood over and over again - especially if you find the perfect type of firewood for you. Unfortunately, that's not possible.
The act of starting a fire consists of consuming the firewood to create combustion so you can generate heat. That way, you stay warm and cozy at the expense of wood.
So, no, you can't reuse completely burnt wood. That doesn't rule out partially burnt wood, which may or may not be a good ally for starting tomorrow's fire.
When it comes to partially burnt wood, there are not a lot of options.
You can feed the used wood into an existing fire or dispose of it and pick unused pieces that will burn better.
Using partially burnt firewood is not a good strategy when it comes to starting a fire, but they do more than an okay job with one that's already lit.
It's not hard to use them this way: simply toss them into the fire as you see fit.
You can dispose of partially burn wood if you feel like it's not worth it to use them in future fires.
There's no need to burn every piece of wood into ash.
On a somewhat related side note, you can make charcoal by partially burning wood.
It has to be done in a controlled manner following specific steps, but that's how it's made.
Then again, most people don't talk about charcoal as partially burnt wood - but, technically speaking, a lot of people use that kind of wood to grill.
There are a few ways you can dispose of unwanted pieces of firewood, depending on where they come from.
More often than not, you should send it to a landfill or composting facility - but don't throw it in the trash.
So, you have a couple of pieces of firewood, and you don't know what to do. I highly recommend burning it - because that's their purpose.
Other than that, there are a few options left.
For example, you can use it for compost or mulch - but only under certain circumstances.
You should use wood as compost if we're talking about locally sourced firewood.
Not feeling like making compost? You can take it to a landfill or a composting facility.
Then again, only do so if we're talking about local wood.
Pieces of wood that come from far away could carry diseases or pests that could harm your trees, garden, and anything alive in your backyard.
Don't trust your eyes when it comes to inspecting wood - because you won't spot it on your own.
For firewood that comes from far away or of uncertain origin, I highly recommend burning it.
Any other option may cause trouble, so why risk it?
After you enjoyed your fire, it's time to do a little clean-up. The best way to deal with ash is to carefully vacuum it, brush the stubborn leftovers, and put it all together in a trash bag.
Make sure you do so using a facemask and gloves to protect yourself!
Before you clean up the ash or tell someone to do so, you should know people with heart or lung conditions shouldn't deal with ash.
Young children shouldn't touch or play with ash either.
Once someone is ready to clean the ash, they need to put a facemask and gloves on. No person should make skin contact with ash.
Use a household vacuum to get most of the ash out of the way.
Then, use a push broom to deal with any leftovers. Finally, use a damp cloth to remove stubborn ash from any surfaces.
Put everything in a trash bag and throw it in the regular trash bin. Wash your hands thoroughly, and get ready to start the next fire!
Hardwood is the best type of firewood out there - but there are different kinds of it.
You need to figure out whether you prefer a longer burn over a cleaner one or smell over warmth, among other options.
Other than that, you can choose softwood, which is often cheaper.
You must understand that hardwood is often the best choice - but it may not be the right pick for you.
For example, beginners may have an easier time building a fire out of softwood; getting used to that may create some bad habits, though.
Yes, hardwood will burn the longest and cleanest, but it will also be more expensive. Sometimes, way more expensive than the alternative.
And, sometimes, quality softwood will be better than mediocre hardwood. It's complicated!
Firewood veterans will probably recognize when a piece of softwood is better than hardwood. Trust what you know in that scenario.
Needless to say, you should go for softwood if you can't afford to buy the prime choice - because wood will burn and keep you warm no matter the quality or price tag.
Now, hold on! Don't go running to the store just yet. There are different types of hardwood and softwood for you to choose from.
For hardwood, go for ash, oak, or fruit trees. You can't go wrong with any of those three options.
Be careful with birch (it may be unevenly dry and cause problems), and avoid it if you don't know much about wood.
For softwood, try alder, fir, or poplar That'll get you the best bang for your buck. Avoid things like pine or balsam, as they can be a little messier to handle.
Remember, firewood burns either way. Hardwood is often better than softwood. Softwood is always better than no wood.
Wood is one of the most precious materials offered by nature to man.
For the evolution of human civilization, the most important use of wood is linked to the discovery of fire: its use as a source of energy allowed primitive men to cook and heat themselves.
Wood and charcoal were the only fuels of practical use until the eighteenth century when the use of hard coal became widespread: this material allowed nineteenth-century England to develop the applications of the steam engine on a large scale and to start the "Industrial Revolution". Even today, the most widely used energy sources are fossil fuels, which, however, are associated with numerous environmental effects.
Wood as an energy source has experienced ups and downs even in relatively recent years: during the last world war, for example, wood represented one of the main fuels for the united states. Subsequently, however, thanks to the increasing availability of fossil fuels at decreasing prices, the users of wood have decreased. The progressive decline of wood as an energy resource ends in correspondence with the oil crisis of the 1970s when Western countries - in order to reduce their dependence on oil from Arab countries - began to look with interest at alternative and renewable energy sources and to increase the tax burden on fossil fuels.
Wood is an almost neutral energy source with respect to greenhouse gas emissions as the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted during its combustion is equal to that absorbed through the photosynthesis process - a fundamental component of the carbon cycle. - during the vegetative life of the plant from which that wood derives, and is made ready for consumption through a production process that has a limited impact on the overall carbon dioxide balance.
In Italy, over 4.5 million households make use of this resource for domestic heating, albeit with considerable differences in the geographical distribution due to the different climates and different territorial typologies. Woody material is used to burn above all in mountain locations (and less so in hilly areas), in small inhabited centers (with less than 5,000 inhabitants), mainly in residential houses and isolated or terraced houses.
With respect to the type of material, the wood can be used in pieces or in the form of chips or pellets.
For heating purposes, wood has different characteristics depending on the variety of plants from which it is obtained. Woods of excellent quality for combustion are, for example, oak, ash, beech, maple, fruit trees (except cherry); chestnut, birch, and alder are of fair quality; lime, poplar, and willow are of acceptable quality.
Wood is divided into "soft" or "hard" based on the weight in kg of a cubic meter of material.
To guarantee the efficiency of the heating, it is necessary to make sure that the characteristics of the wood meet some important requirements, the main one of which is undoubtedly the seasoning, i.e. the degree of drying: correct seasoning allows you to have a fuel with little humidity and excellent yield and low polluting.
The use of damp or even wet wood should be avoided as the yield decreases because part of the energy developed by combustion must be used to evaporate the water contained in it. To ensure good drying, the storage of the wood - already cut into pieces suitable for the firebox that is to receive it - must take place in sheltered and well-ventilated places.
Although wood is considered an "ecological" fuel, in certain circumstances its combustion can contribute to local air pollution.
It is, therefore, necessary to examine the relationship between wood and air quality.
Although air quality has recorded clear improvements in the last twenty years due to the large-scale adoption of technological solutions as well as the better quality of fuels and fuels, atmospheric pollution is still an important environmental criticality.
At the same time, concern about climate change has progressively increased, as a result of which objectives have been defined - at international, and national levels - to reduce emissions of climate-altering gases and regulatory actions that provide for the promotion of biomass combustion for energy purposes. woody.
For some years now, interest has also grown in quantifying the extent of wood products used in domestic combustion, also in order to better evaluate their role as sources of polluting emissions into the atmosphere.
Numerous studies show that the relationship between domestic wood combustion and air quality has two sides: a positive side, thanks to which CO2 emissions into the atmosphere are reduced and climate change is fought, and a negative side due to the fact that domestic combustion - especially if badly conducted in small domestic systems - emits particulate matter and toxic compounds into the atmosphere.
The undoubted benefits in terms of reduction of CO2 emissions deriving from the use of wood must therefore be considered in the context of a more general strategy to reduce emissions of fine dust and toxic compounds: this can be achieved, for example, with the application of flue gas purification technologies on medium-high power biomass boilers used in condominiums and district heating networks. For medium and large wood-fired plants, the goal of reconciling the reduction of greenhouse gases with the improvement of air quality has therefore already been achieved.
Although the climate has always undergone changes due to natural causes, the climatic variations that took place in the twentieth century - and in particular in the last 40 years - are considered anomalous by the scientific community when compared with the variations of the last 1000 years.
The vast majority of scientists now agree that global warming is unequivocally and largely attributable to the influence of human activities, and is due to the presence of increasing concentrations of climate-altering gases that accentuate the natural "greenhouse effect" that occurs in the atmosphere thanks to the absorption of infrared rays irradiated from the earth's surface and the consequent retention of heat.
If effective policies to reduce climate-altering emissions are not established, the climate changes expected for the future could lead to serious impacts on the natural environment; for this reason, it is therefore necessary to substantially reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases through strategic interventions planned at a global level, and implemented at a local level.
The combustion of woody biomass does not involve additional emissions of CO2 (carbon dioxide) - the main climate-altering gas - into the atmosphere as wood is a biogenic fuel, i.e. generated by photosynthesis starting from carbon already present in the atmosphere.
Firewood is therefore an interesting alternative fuel to fossil fuels as its use reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and is a renewable energy source.
In some cases, however, the contributions of wood combustion to climate change are not zero because they can derive from mechanisms that involve pollutants other than carbon dioxide; these contributions derive mainly from the emission of gaseous compounds and particulates, which have a heating effect.
In poor combustion conditions, firewood emits methane - one of the six gases considered by the Kyoto Protocol - and above all considerable quantities of soot, also called "black carbon" or "black smoke" or even elemental carbon. Black carbon is a very strong climate-altering agent: in the medium term (100 years) its average heating effect is about 500 times that of CO2 while in the short term (20 years) it is estimated to be over 2000 times that of CO2.
Lately, the scientific community has also paid great attention to "brown carbon", an organic aerosol that originates from volatile organic substances (VOC) and humic substances. The effect of brown carbon on the climate is still uncertain and controversial: on the one hand, it is able to absorb ultraviolet radiation and therefore have a warming effect on the atmosphere, albeit significantly less than black carbon; on the other hand, it does not absorb infrared radiation and therefore leads to surface cooling.
Only if it burns well, wood is an energy source that fights climate change!
The combustion of 1 t of wood avoids the emission of about 80 kg of CO2 if burned in an open fireplace, and about 900 kg of CO2 if burned with an efficient stove. If we consider the black carbon and methane emissions of an open fireplace (or an inefficient stove), the combustion of wood also has a negative effect from the point of view of climate-altering emissions.
In other words, poor wood burning can lose the environmental advantage of not using fossil carbon. On the other hand, for pellet stoves - or wood stoves that burn in optimal conditions - the CO2 balance is largely favorable, to a greater extent the more the supply distance of the woody biomass is reduced.
The general expression "PM" (Particulate Matter) defines a "set of solid and liquid particles" which is suspended in the air. The terms PM10 and PM2.5 indicate the fractions of dispersed airborne particles having an aerodynamic diameter lower than 10 and 2.5 �m respectively. The small size allows PM10 to penetrate through the airways until it reaches the tracheobronchial tract, and PM2.5 to penetrate deeper to the alveolar region. For this reason, PM2.5 is often referred to as "fine particulate matter".
PM can have primary or secondary origin
Meteorology is a factor that significantly affects the temporal trend of this pollutant: the accumulation of fine dust and the consequent increase in concentrations typically occur during the autumn and winter months, characterized by no wind and more stable weather conditions.
The most significant part of the emissions deriving from the use of wood is to be attributed to small domestic systems: to open fireplaces, characterized by low energy yields (and whose use is often linked to aesthetic and recreational reasons) and to traditional stoves, very often not very efficient. The more recently manufactured pellet and log stoves also contribute to emissions, albeit to a lesser extent.
As far as fine dust is concerned, the emissions of the best wood-fired domestic systems are in any case much higher than the average levels of natural gas systems.
In the combustion of wood in small domestic plants, the emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur (important precursors of secondary fine particles) are similar to those deriving from the combustion of conventional fuels (gas, diesel).
The importance of primary fine particulate emissions deriving from the combustion of wood in small domestic plants highlights the need for policies aimed at controlling this source. Undoubted advantages derive from the limitation of the use of the most obsolete appliances in the areas at greatest risk, or from their replacement with more efficient ones with lower specific emissions.
The challenge to be faced today to reduce fine dust pollution caused by small domestic wood heating systems also consists in ensuring in practice the correct operation and maintenance of new or existing systems, also avoiding the burning of waste or other products not allowed.
Studies concerning the impact on human health of the use of wood as an energy source distinguish the problems that occur inside homes (indoor) from those that occur outside (outdoor). The former mainly concern developing countries in which biomasses are used intensively in appliances often without ventilation systems, which therefore lack the chimney for removing fumes from domestic environments.
All the studies on indoor pollution - conducted both in developing and industrialized countries - highlighting common aspects: the combustion of wood inevitably produces numerous toxic compounds and fine and ultra-fine dust, the quantity of which depends on the type of fuel, combustion techniques and the techniques used for the abatement of fumes.
As for outdoor pollution, the problem can be traced back to the more general one of the effects on human health of fine dust.
Wood smoke may contain at least five groups of chemicals classified as carcinogenic by the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer), and at least 26 chemicals listed as dangerous by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency - USA). However, most epidemiological studies concern forest fires and fire extinguishing workers: the acute effects of exposure to smoke (at levels much higher than those usually found) affect the respiratory system and lung function.
Since the composition of the powders is extremely different in different combustion conditions, the particulate also has different toxicity characteristics.
A recent Swiss study compared the toxicity and mutagenic power (on lung cells in vitro) of dust from three different sources: a diesel car, a stove in a complete combustion regime, and a stove in an incomplete combustion regime. The results allowed for the classification of diesel dust as medium toxicity while the particulate from the incomplete combustion stove had a level of toxicity fifteen times higher and contained polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) at concentrations twenty times higher than those of diesel particulate. On the other hand, the dust deriving from the complete wood combustion stove had five times lower toxicity than those deriving from diesel.
Although the epidemiological argument concerning the specific assessment of the particulate matter from the combustion of biomass cannot be considered exhaustive, some rules must absolutely be respected to protect health and the environment. In particular:
The combustion of wood waste used wood and problematic wood scraps in unsuitable boilers - such as domestic ones - causes high emissions of harmful substances such as carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, hydrochloric acid, dioxins, furans, formaldehyde and heavy metals. Waste in the stoves? No thanks!
Combustion is the chemical process through which a material reacts with the oxygen producing heat, light and hot gaseous substances.
For combustion to take place, the concomitant presence of three elements is required: the fuel, the comburent and the primer, which make up the so-called combustion triangle.
While the oxidizer is typically represented by oxygen present in the air, the fuel can be of various kinds: material of fossil origin (hydrocarbons or coal) or vegetable biomass; the trigger must instead be provided from the outside and represents the activation energy that allows the start of the reaction between the fuel and the comburent: it consists, for example, of a heat source or a spark; once combustion has started, the process continues by self-sustaining thanks to the energy released by the process itself.
If one of the elements of the combustion triangle is missing, the process does not develop or is extinguished: to extinguish a fire it is, therefore, possible to act by subtracting the fuel (for example, by exhaustion of the same), by suffocation (by canceling contact with the oxygen through a covering substance) or by cooling (i.e. stopping the self-sustaining reaction of the primer).
If the combustion - for example of an impurity-free hydrocarbon - were to take place perfectly, only carbon dioxide (CO2) and water would have to be produced.
In reality, the products of combustion often contain other substances - such as carbon monoxide, sulfur and nitrogen oxides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons - which depend on the conditions of combustion itself (combustion temperature, mixing of air and fuel) and on the nature of the fuel (presence of impurities, i.e. unwanted substances).
In general terms, the combustion process can take place in two ways: as controlled combustion (for example that which occurs in small domestic wood-burning systems) and as uncontrolled combustion (for example during a fire).
Wood combustion is essentially carried out in three phases, in relation to the temperature of the process: drying, degradation and combustion.
During the drying phase, the water contained in the wood begins to evaporate: this occurs from temperatures below 100 � C; evaporation lowers the temperature in the combustion chamber, slowing down the combustion process.
This is the reason why it is absolutely not recommended to use "fresh" wood, which contains a lot of water: it decreases the thermal efficiency, that is the ratio between the heat produced by the system and the energy content of the fuel.
In the thermal degradation phase - starting from a temperature of about 200 � C - the volatile component present in the wood begins to evaporate; in terms of weight, this component represents over 75% of the wood. The first components of the wood to be degraded are the hemicelluloses and then the cellulose; at 400 � C most of the volatile substances have been released and the evaporative process decreases rapidly.
The combustion phase - which begins between 500 and 600 � C and lasts up to about 1000 � C - consists of the complete oxidation of the gases.
Wood combustion is complete when all parts of the fuel have reacted with oxygen; in practice, the complete combustion of solid fuel such as wood is only a theoretical concept to strive for, as it is very difficult to achieve the correct degree of mixing between air and fuel in a limited period of time.
When the necessary conditions for the complete combustion of the wood are lacking, the harmful emissions in the fumes increase. The main causes of incomplete combustion are:
Incomplete combustion manifests itself in the incomplete oxidation of gases and in the increase of both organic and inorganic unburnt compounds: this results in an increase in the content of carbon monoxide (CO) and dust as well as in volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides and of sulfur in the exhaust fumes.
The technological innovation of recent decades has allowed the gradual increase in the efficiency of wood-fired boilers and the consequent substantial reduction of CO and other harmful emissions.
However, for a solid fuel it is difficult to reach the optimal conditions for completeness of combustion, as it can be done by using a gaseous fuel for which the contact between combustion air and fuel as well as turbulence is considerably facilitated. For this reason, the specific emissions of CO and VOC from the combustion of wood are, even for the most efficient appliances, much higher than those deriving from the combustion of natural gas.
When a material is burned outside a combustion appliance - and therefore outdoors - there is no possibility of controlling the temperature or mixing conditions: it follows that the emissions of pollutants increase significantly even up to 100 or 1000 times.
Dust containing soot and particulate matter makes the smoke visible, which also contains carbon monoxide and toxic organic substances such as dioxins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. In addition, in outdoor combustion, smoke is produced at ground level: this means that it is not dispersed at higher altitudes and that the health and environmental effects are substantially circumscribed around the area where uncontrolled combustion occurs.
Examples of uncontrolled combustion can be found in nature and in the home, as well as in agriculture and construction.
A forest fire represents an uncontrolled combustion of vast proportions from which the emission of numerous polluting compounds into the atmosphere derives. In large part they originate from the incomplete combustion processes of cellulose and lignin, as well as of the resins and oils contained in plants.
During a forest fire, substances such as CO2, CO, NOx, CH4, SO2, NH3, unburnt hydrocarbons, soot and fine dust are released into the atmosphere.
Even if the carbon dioxide emitted is of photosynthetic origin and not of fossil origin - and therefore does not involve an additional increase in CO2 for the earth's atmosphere - the methane and soot emitted during the fires of the vegetation contribute to climate change.
Globally, the emissions of fires, both in the gaseous and particle phases, are transported into the atmosphere for thousands of kilometers: they therefore have an impact on air quality - and on the climate - both on a regional and global scale.
The formation of pollutants, and their release into the atmosphere, is inversely proportional to the intensity of the fire. Combustion with little flame and prevalence of embers emits much more pollutants than that with open flame: these are fast fires in which, after the passage of the flame, slow combustion persists for a long time. In slow fires, in which combustion is more complete, the production of pollutants is much lower.
The residues of agricultural activity - which include pruning residues, brushwood but also used packaging such as fertilizer bags, containers of plant protection products and polythene - are often eliminated in a very harmful way for the environment by stacking them and burning them directly on the fields. This generally constitutes an unauthorized activity of uncontrolled combustion of waste.
The atmospheric pollution that can be produced is very high, although it varies in relation to a number of factors such as the type of material that is burned and its humidity; however, it always burns incompletely because the temperature of the fire outdoors is not high enough and because the material remains in the fire for an insufficient time.
This type of combustion therefore produces dust and other substances that derive from incomplete combustion: carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and toxic organic substances such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, dioxins and furans.
The national standard only provides for the possibility of burning small heaps of agricultural or forestry plant residues on site (up to 3 tons / hectare) for the purpose of recovering nutrients for land, with a ban in periods of maximum risk for forest fires and in compliance with any limitations introduced by the competent environmental administrations to protect health and air quality.
Italy has prohibited the open combustion of even small piles of this material of vegetable origin, in the territories located below the altitude of 300 m (200 m in mountain communities), in the winter semester due to the frequent establishment of meteorological conditions favorable to the formation and accumulation of pollutants in the atmosphere.
In the United States, the "home" combustion of household waste - a prevalent practice in rural areas - has been the subject of great attention, which has been recognized as one of the major causes of dioxin air pollution
The pollution that results from the uncontrolled combustion of household waste is determined by the fact that they not only contain organic matter but also other artificial substances such as pigments or plastics; these substances, if burned at low temperatures, produce considerable quantities of toxic pollutants such as dioxins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
To avoid the formation of these pollutants and strongly reduce emissions into the atmosphere, high temperatures and flue gas purification systems are required, which are guaranteed by waste-to-energy plants.
Dioxins are unwanted by-products of other chemical reactions; their formation in uncontrolled combustion is significantly favored by the presence of "precursors", chemical substances (man-made) containing chlorine such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chlorinated plastics (PVC), pentachlorophenol (PCP) or chlorinated plant protection products .
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) represent a substantial class of over 100 organic compounds. They are released into the environment during incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, timber, fats, tobacco, incense and organic products in general, including municipal waste. These molecules are associated with dangers to human health and negative effects on the environment, such as acute and chronic toxicity for aquatic organisms and birds.
Within the construction sites, waste of different origins is produced, which is managed in a temporary deposit for which a mixing ban is in force. Waste present on construction sites are, for example, plastic and cardboard packaging used to bring materials to the construction site or pieces of wood that are no longer usable: burning this material directly on the construction site is obviously forbidden, but in many realities it is unfortunately done frequently.
It is important to remember that the unauthorized elimination of waste of any kind by burning is absolutely prohibited and punishable by law.
From the point of view of the production of environmental pollution, also in this case the combustion takes place in the worst conditions. Waste incineration is in fact in itself a process that produces toxic substances: dioxin is the best known but certainly not the only one; other toxic organic substances such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals can also be emitted into the atmosphere.
Some of the pollutants produced have the characteristic of being persistent and bioaccumulative: this means on the one hand that they are difficult to destroy and therefore remain in the air, water and soil for long periods, and on the other hand they tend to accumulate at the same time. interior of living organisms.
Therefore, construction waste must not be burned on site but disposed of properly: if it is burned in modern incineration plants, polluting emissions are drastically reduced thanks to the combustion at very high temperatures and the adoption of extremely sophisticated control systems, including the dust collectors.
Small wood-fired heat generators are distinguished by the technology with which they are built, the size of the fuel they use, the combustion air draft and the heat distribution system.
The achievement of the optimal efficiency of a heat generator appliance, on the other hand, is achieved thanks to the simultaneous presence of five elements:
The innovative small wood-fired heat generators are appliances designed to produce heat easily and safely. They guarantee high management autonomy, both in terms of power supply and as regards the removal of ash. In terms of thermal efficiency, these values ​​are clearly higher than those characteristic of past types, thanks to the more complete combustion of wood.
The household appliances for burning wood that are used today are, in fact, more advanced versions of the traditional appliances, used for many centuries. The different types can be divided into:
Open fireplace: it is certainly the simplest type of appliance and the one that has been least affected by technological evolution. It consists of a combustion chamber with a large opening towards the room in which it is located, which is directly connected to the chimney. Usually the heat produced by the fire is heated directly by radiation, without passing through water or hot air distribution pipes.
These are appliances with low energy efficiency (around 15%) and which usually produce higher polluting emissions than other appliances.
Closed fireplace: these are appliances installed as separate structures, or placed inside a pre-existing open fireplace (the so-called 'inserts'). Compared to the open fireplace, their characteristic is that the opening towards the room is closed by doors, in order to increase the temperature in the combustion chamber and energy efficiency. All appliances have openings that allow air to enter; these openings in more modern appliances may also have automatic adjustment valves.
Closed fireplaces currently in use have an energy efficiency that is often 55%. However, technological evolution is able to greatly improve performance, and today the best devices can reach efficiencies of 84% when fully operational, also greatly reducing polluting emissions.
Wood stoves: these are appliances with a closed hearth which, in some cases, do not send the smoke directly to the flue but pass it through the so-called 'smoke passes', i.e. pipes contained in the stove that serve to transfer the heat of the fumes to the 'environment. Even stoves, like fireplaces, have openings that allow air to enter the combustion chamber; if the wood to be burned is too much compared to the air that enters, the stove burns badly and produces large quantities of pollutants.
It is precisely in optimizing the air intakes and the geometry of the combustion chamber that the greatest improvements in stove performance have been obtained in recent years: a traditional stove can have an efficiency of 45%, while the most modern appliances achieve 84%.
Pellet stoves: they are stoves that instead of burning wood use pellets, a fuel obtained from dried sawdust and then compressed in the form of small cylinders. In this way the fuel is less moist and more homogeneous, and therefore has a better chance of being burned well. Furthermore, the pellets are brought into the combustion chamber automatically and therefore efficiently by a loading device that adjusts itself according to the need for heat.
Pellet stoves are appliances that achieve much better performance than traditional stoves: the average efficiency of the appliances can be estimated at around 70%, while the best appliances can now reach 94%, producing much quantities of dust and other pollutants. low.
Boilers: these are devices of higher power, which are used not to heat the environment directly, but to heat the water that will then be used by the heating system. They can work both with wood logs, pellets or wood chips: in the latter two cases the feeding can be automatic and higher levels of efficiency can be achieved.
While wood-fired boilers are not subject to any type of mandatory certification, stoves and fireplaces are subject respectively to the mandatory certifications EN 13229 and EN 13240, and the flues to that of EN 1443. If these devices are not certified, there is no guarantee on the quality of the device and compliance with safety standards.
The appliances must also be equipped with a system booklet in which the first installation, ordinary and extraordinary maintenance operations as well as the combustion efficiency must be reported.
Energy efficiency expresses the ability of an appliance to use all the heat that the fuel (i.e. in this case the wood) can produce. It is expressed by the percentage ratio between the energy supplied by the appliance (for example the heat supplied to the room) and the energy burned in the combustion chamber (contained in the fuel).
A more efficient appliance, therefore, allows you to use less wood for the same heat produced: if it doubles the efficiency, for example, it means that half the fuel is used. The energy efficiency of a heat generator depends on several elements:
The energy efficiency of a good biomass appliance exceeds 80%, and can even reach 94% in the most modern pellet systems. An inefficient appliance, for example an open fireplace, has an average efficiency of 15% and even lower in some conditions. A big waste!
As known, the products of "ideal" combustion are essentially water and carbon dioxide (CO2); in reality, various factors (for example the lack of the right amount of air necessary for complete combustion, or the presence of impurities) cause the fumes to contain many unburned elements including fine dust, non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and carbon monoxide (CO).
Furthermore, for a solid fuel such as wood, the presence of unwanted products in the emissions is facilitated by the greater difficulty of a complete combustion of the solid material as well as by the presence of impurities in the fuel (for example sulfur or metals).
The presence of unburnt products among the combustion products - in addition to being a problem for air pollution - also indicates a lower efficiency of the appliance, i.e. the generation of a smaller amount of heat for the same fuel consumed.
The emissions of pollutants from small domestic wood-burning systems depend on numerous factors, and mainly:
Due to the dependence of emissions on these factors - and on others, such as the type of measurement systems - the available data on dust emissions from wood-burning appliances are highly variable, with values ​​that vary by more than 10 times for the same type of device.
The summary picture of the average levels of the emission factors of different types of appliances and fuels - used for the preparation of the INEMAR regional emissions inventory for the year 2014 - indicates that even the most advanced appliances that use wood biomass (e.g. for example, pellet appliances) have emissions values ​​that are significantly higher than those using natural gas for all pollutants except for CO2, whose emissions for wood can be considered nil.
In general, it can be considered that the most modern appliances (innovative wood stoves, pellet stoves) produce less fine dust, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds for the same amount of wood consumed; moreover, their "convenience" is not only environmental but also economic as they consume less wood to meet energy needs.
However, not everything depends on the device itself: the device must also work well.
Even in an innovative type of appliance, a malfunction - due for example to an excessive load of wood or a lack of air - can significantly increase the emission of dust. Furthermore, the dust that is created when wood burns badly contains substances such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and dioxins, which make them more toxic.
Since technological progress has significantly improved the performance of small biomass heating systems - now allowing the buyer to find on the market excellent stoves that reach lower PM10 emission levels than older appliances - to protect the quality of the air it becomes It is essential to replace obsolete systems with devices that represent the best technologies available, and to equip oneself to ensure the optimal use of such devices.
Like most appliances, home heat generators can also be dangerous if - for whatever reason - they malfunction. The main consequences of the malfunction fall first on the performance of the system (and, consequently, on the costs for heating) and then on people, things and the environment.
Incorrect installation and insufficient maintenance of wood-burning appliances leads first of all to problems relating to the systems themselves, which often give rise to the fire of roofs and flues.
The statistics of the Fire Brigade estimate - at national level - the occurrence of about 10,000 roof fires each year resulting from the fire of flues. The first cause of these fires is the "not perfect" construction of the chimney, that is, the failure to comply with some precautions during construction. For example, if the wooden parts of the roof are not well insulated by the steel flue, the heat can be transmitted and trigger the fire of the roof. The second cause is poor maintenance: if you do not clean the soot that settles inside the flue, it can catch fire and ignite the fire.
Cleaning also serves to reduce polluting emissions into the atmosphere and to keep combustion efficient.
Recent regulations have subjected wood-fired heating appliances to the safety regulations of all heating systems. Consequently, the framework of obligations and controls is broader than in the past. Among others, the following prescriptions are in force today, still little known:
Vegetable biomass can also be burned in real thermal plants, for example in cogeneration plants that produce both heat and electricity. In addition to wood, plants of this type can also burn other types of biomass such as residues from agriculture: for example, rice husks or hazelnut shells.
From an environmental point of view, it is certainly preferable to burn wood in a large system - such as a district heating plant that heats an entire neighborhood - rather than many small systems that heat a single house or a single apartment.
In fact, large plants are equipped with automatic regulation systems that allow them to burn much more efficiently and, above all, they are equipped with fume purification systems, which allow to eliminate most of the pollutants produced by combustion from the smoke emitted.
Proper management of small wood-fired heaters makes a valuable contribution to protecting the environment. Conversely, the use of obsolete systems and unauthorized waste materials, as well as the lack of maintenance of the appliances themselves, determine on the one hand an increase in the consumption of wood material - and therefore greater expense - and on the other a considerable worsening of emissions. in the atmosphere.
If you are using firewood for your home heating system, remember that much can be done to reduce pollutant emissions. Simple suggestions allow you to choose the type of appliance and wood, to carry out proper installation and maintenance of the system, to check the adequacy of combustion.
A correctly sized and positioned wood combustion appliance equipped with a system that allows adequate draft, reduces the consumption of wood and polluting emissions by producing a more usable amount of heat and reducing the need for maintenance.
It is often convenient to replace an old and inefficient appliance with a new concept one: however, it is necessary to turn to companies in the sector able to offer certified quality products.
An indispensable premise concerns the fact that in the domestic system it is absolutely not necessary to use treated wood, waste wood from the demolition and renovation of buildings, that consisting of packaging (pallets) or wooden furniture, ant or plywood, because the combustion of these materials can release toxic substances.
Similarly, plasticized paper, artificial substances of any kind, packaging or containers (tetrapak) should not be burned because these materials also produce harmful gases and dust and, at the same time, damage the appliance.
Even if it is not possible to burn the wood without unwanted emissions, it is important to take all known measures to try to obtain a combustion that is as complete as possible, and therefore "environmentally sustainable". The main among these measures are:
The issue has two aspects: on the one hand, the stimulation of the market for small wood combustion plants can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, on the other hand increasing the market for these same small wood combustion appliances risks generate significant non-climate-altering emissions, in particular of fine dust and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
Some areas of the territory are subject to particularly unfavorable weather conditions which determine the accumulation of atmospheric pollutants. In these areas, the control of emissions from small wood-burning plants is particularly important and can give results on improving air quality.
Since the territorial boundary of the different states is obviously not a limit for the spread of pollution, since 2007 the various territorial authorities have been dealing with the problem in a coordinated way. One of the objectives is precisely to define forms of regulation for the use of fuels, including wood for heating: for small wood-burning household appliances, we intend to require the dissemination and adoption of improving technologies.
You should try your best to avoid getting your pellet smoker wet. Certain brands have no problem with water, while others can stop working altogether if they get wet. Whether your pellet smoker can get wet or not depends on several factors.
Before we move further, let's just get the most important part out of the way: an electric pellet smoker can stop working or lose certain functions if it gets wet. Do you have to plug it in to get it started? You probably should keep it away from water.
Now, getting your electric pellet smoker wet is not a catastrophe. You should take extra precautions because, as you probably know, water and electricity shouldn't mix.
The circuits inside your pellet smoker are protected, so don't worry if something bad happened. Then again, try not to risk it and cook under the rain with an electric pellet smoker.
Be advised: most pellet smokers are electric. The Z Grills, Traeger, Pit Boss, and other well-known brands produce nothing but electric ones.
Certain brands, like Grilla Grills, have non-electric pellet smokers. The Kong is a perfect example of this.
As a final note, the all-too-real consequence of a having a wet pellet smoker is losing the wood pellets you're storing there. Wet wood pellets are no good, and you need to dispose of them once they touch water or become damp.
The first thing you should do is not panic. Your pellet smoker probably suffered no damage unless someone threw it into the pool or something similar happened. A glass of water, a little rain, and other small splashes are no reason to worry.
As we have discussed above, you probably will have to dispose of all your wood pellets. Or, at least, the ones you were storing inside your pellet smoker. No exceptions.
Wet pellets can and will cause a lot of trouble inside your smoker (and it'll be for nothing - because you will never get them to light up!)
Other than that, you will have to wait for a couple of days before you use your pellet smoker after it gets wet - if we're talking about an electric one.
For non-electric pellet smokers, you have nothing to worry about. Replace the wood pellets, dry the smoker with a towel, and get ready to cook.
It'd be better if you postpone any barbecues you schedule during a rainy day. You can use a pellet grill while it's raining - but you need to take several precautions to do so. Past a certain point, you may consider it's not worth the effort.
So, you've read that you can use your pellet smoker even if it gets wet and you're ready to tempt fate and grill under the rain. Are you sure it's a good idea?
We would recommend that you avoid it entirely unless you can place the grill somewhere under a roof - but not inside your house. Remember, airflow is important - and you need oxygen to live!
We will tell you how to protect both yourself and your smoker under the rain down below.
Now, before you move forward, grilling under the rain (or even on a rainy day) could void the warranty of your pellet smoker. Make sure you thoroughly read it when thinking about grilling under the rain!
The best way to grill under the rain is to do so using a gazebo or canopy of sorts; that way, you will be protected from the rain coming from above.
That will keep you safe from a light drizzle, but not from an all-out storm (and, more likely than not, nothing can help you at that point).
If you're going down the gazebo route, make sure it's tall enough not to cause trouble with the smoke and fumes coming from your pellet smoke (it can all become one big fire risk unless everything is far apart from each other).
You can either order takeout to satisfy your ever-growing cravings or try to cook somewhere with a roof, plenty of ventilation, and absolutely no rain coming from any direction.
Grilling is extremely fun - but grilling against nature, not so much.
After all, it's up to you whether you can wait until the dark clouds disappear or not. We want to remember you what's at stake when you grill under the rain:
Having water inside your pellet smoker can destroy the electric circuits you have in there. And it's no small problem: most modern pellet smokers tend to rely heavily on these things to get started, light a fire, keep the flames going, and more. You don't want them to go bad.
Does that mean your pellet smoker will stop working the minute it touches water? Absolutely not! In fact, your modern grill will leave to see another day after a small splash.
What we're saying is that you should always be cautious when it comes to water and smokers. Just in case. Or, at least, for the warranty's sake.
On a semi-related note, you should also care about not mixing your pellet smoker and water because of what you have outside of your grill.
Stainless steel and similar materials often fall victim to rust and other nasty things when water is involved - and you don't want that to happen.
You can use wood pellets for anything you want other than grilling. Unfortunately, wet wood pellets cause nothing but trouble inside your pellet smoker. You need to check and double-check your pellets if you suspect your smoker got wet.
We cannot stress enough how bad of an idea it is to use wet wood pellets to try and grill. You're not going to make it happen - and you can take out your entire pellet smoker in the process.
You might be wondering, "What about damp wood pellets?" Well, when it comes to your pellet smoker, there's not much of a difference between wet and damp.
Simply put, your wood pellets are no good if they have moisture inside of them.
Grilling is out of the question with such a thing, but we can help you find a purpose for those wet wood pellets if you love your garden or have a backyard in need of a fix-me-up.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to hold a wet or damp bag of wood pellets, you can choose between throwing them out to the trash or try to use them as fertilizer.
Wet or damp wood pellets are useless for all things grilling, other than to make you mad because you can't use them to grill.
Once wood pellets get wet, they start to disintegrate, and it's close to impossible to light them on fire.
So, you can put them in a bag and throw them out, or you can use them as fertilizer. Other than that, there's not much you can do with wet wood pellets.
Are you considering trying your luck and grill using wet pellets? Well, we advise you to think again.
You can ruin your pellet stove by blocking the auger (the device that transports wood pellets from storage into the burn pot) - lose that, and you lose the smoker until you repair it.
Cold weather will affect how you use your pellet smoker. You can probably guess why. When temperatures drop, starting and maintaining a fire becomes more taxing than usual. That's no reason not to cook, though.
It would be pretty weird if your pellet smoker would act the same in the winter and the summer.
Fortunately, even though you will notice a difference, there's nothing to worry about when the cold weather comes around.
With a bit of practice, you will learn to adapt to the winter ways of using the smoke pellet and cook as if it were the summer.
Pellet smokers can and will work in the cold. Theoretically speaking, temperatures should be freezing for you to have trouble starting a fire using a pellet smoker - and, at that point, you probably don't want to be cooking out in the open anyway.
There's a bit of a caveat when it comes to pellet smokers and cold temperatures, though. Don't worry! Yours will work!
Unfortunately, making your pellet smoker work in the cold comes with a price.
You will need to be more diligent, be willing to use more wood, have more patience, and change your cooking habits. We'll discuss it a little more in-depth down below.
The great thing about getting used to cooking in the winter is that, when summer comes around, you won't believe how easy things will be.
You can leave your pellet smoker outside - as long as the temperatures don't drop too much. These machines can survive out in the open throughout summer, spring, and fall with no problem.
When winter hits, you should store it in your garage and take it out when you want to cook something delicious.
Did you leave your pellet smoker outside throughout winter? Don't panic! You probably can have your BBQ cookout without having to pay a hefty repair fee (or worse, buy a new pellet smoker).
When we advise you to store your pellet smoker during the winter, we do so to prevent a worst-case scenario from happening. These machines can stand the heat, the rain, and most things nature can throw at it - but that's no reason to leave it out in the open to take a hit.
So, yes, you can leave your pellet smoker outside. You should store it in your garage when temperatures start to drop, though - so your pellet smoker can survive as many winters as possible.
You shouldn't try to burn wood pellets inside your wood stove on its own.
A wood stove is not prepared to burn pellets, and you can ruin it if you try to do it that way.
To burn wood pellets with no trouble, you need to place a pellet basket inside your wood stove.
It might sound silly to add something else inside wood stove to burn wood - because burning wood is what a wood stove does!
Well, the thing is, you need the basket to properly place the pellets inside the wood stove. Otherwise, the fire won't last for long - and in little time you can damage the inside of your stove.
The best way to burn wood pellets using a wood stove is to get a pellet basket.
You need to place the pellets inside the basket, then place the basket inside the stove, and, finally, you can start the fire that you need to stay warm.
Now, don't worry! A pellet basket isn't hard to find, nor is it an expensive item to buy. You can get it for cheap on Amazon or a local shop near you.
Don't confuse a pellet basket with a wood basket! The first is made out of steel; the latter is made out of wood. A pellet basket will help you burn wood pellets; a wood basket will burn inside your stove.
The basket's design is simple enough for anyone to use. You simply fill it with wood pellets and put it inside your stove.
Why is a pellet basket important? Because it'll help you hold the wood pellets in place at first. Once the fire starts, the basket will hold everything in place while ensuring proper airflow.
That way, you can have a great fire inside your stove by burning pellets.
You can try to burn wood pellets with your wood stove on its own - but you will never be warm that way.
Wood pellets alone will burn in a minute (if they burn at all), and you'll quickly find yourself with a handful of ash inside your stove.
Putting wood pellets inside your wood stove without a pellet basket is a great way to waste wood pellets. And it gets worse!
You can try it yourself if you want to - but be advised: you may ruin the inside of your wood stove by doing that.
That's right: by burning pellets inside your stove, you will have nothing but a quick fire that will ruin the walls and bottom of your wood stove.
How can wood pellets harm your wood stove? Well, the thing about wood pellets is that they tend to burn a little hotter than your average wood log.
Because of that, burning pellets can sustain a higher temperature than your stove is designed to endure.
When wood pellets get warm enough, your wood stove may suffer damage from the inside. Unless you use a pellet basket, that is.
A pellet basket ensures proper airflow (allowing your pellets to burn for longer) and protects your stove as well.
You can burn wood pellets in your fireplace - but you have to buy something before you do.
Using wood pellets in your fireplace is no different than doing so inside a wood stove. The good news is you have more options than using a pellet basket.
At this point, you already know why wood pellets are not good on their own for anything that's not a pellet stove. A fireplace is no different - so don't throw them in there yet!
You can use a pellet basket if you have one. The steps are the same: put the pellets inside the basket, the basket inside the fireplace, and light the fire.
Now, we can totally understand if you don't want to place a pellet basket inside your fireplace alone.
Fireplaces tend to be a little more expensive than wood stoves - and you may want to add an extra layer of protection because of that.
Well, fortunately for you, there are more options!
You can use a fireplace insert if you want to burn wood pellets using your fireplace and keep everything safe from harm.
As you know, wood pellets could potentially harm the inside of a wood stove or a fireplace - so taking extra precautions won't hurt.
A fireplace insert will add an extra layer of protection between the pellet fire and the fireplace itself. That's the good news.
The bad news is that you still have to use a pellet basket inside your fireplace insert - because you don't want to damage the fireplace insert either.
An extra piece of good news is that neither the pellet basket nor the fireplace insert cost too much money, nor are they too hard to find.
More likely than not, you'll find both of them in the same store - and whoever is selling you these products will help you understand how to install and use them.
A fireplace insert is a metal firebox that goes inside your fireplace. It can help you with a lot of things: having better fires, making everything easier to clean, keeping an extra layer of protection, so people are safe, and more.
In this article, we're discussing wood pellets and how to use them in wood stoves and fireplaces - so you can probably guess a fireplace insert will help you burn wood pellets while using a fireplace.
The great thing about combining wood pellets with a fireplace insert is how efficient everything becomes. Both these things help with making fires bigger and making them last longer in a cleaner way.
You can try to burn wood pellets without a fireplace insert - the question is, why would you?
You should only do so if you're planning on damaging your fireplace for some reason. If that doesn't sound like you, you definitely want to have a fireplace insert for burning wood pellets!
We can understand the question if you have an extra bag full of wood pellets and no fireplace insert - but we wouldn't consider doing it in that scenario.
You can try to do so with a pellet basket (without an insert), but we don't know if you're going to have that much of a fire then.
The thing is, you need the extra efficiency a fireplace insert brings to the table to get the most out of your wood pellets when using a fireplace.
The great thing about pellets is how easy they are to use and how little can go wrong when you use them.
You'll hardly have a problem with burning wood pellets. The hardest part about burning them is to dispose of them after the fire is over!
You can either throw pellet ash into the trash or try to reuse it in some way. You can use pellet ash as a fertilizer if you want.
You'll have to wait for a couple of days before you try to use or dispose of pellet ash in any way.
Ready to throw your ash into the trash? Wait for a couple of days so the ashes can cool down, then put everything in a metal container and water it.
Do you prefer a more environmentally friendly alternative? You can use your ashes as fertilizer or put them in your compost pile. Pellet ash has plenty of minerals that can help your plants, flowers, and other greens to grow!
Don't go crazy with your new fertilizer, though. Pellet ash is alkaline, so keep your soil's pH levels in mind before you start using it.
Wood pellets are not inherently better than any other type of wood - but they are not necessarily worse either.
The thing about wood is that you can play with different kinds and see which one suits you best. It may be wood pellets - or it may be something else!
A better question would be, "are wood pellets right for me?" Well, we can answer that question!
Wood pellets are perfect for you if you care about efficiency, convenience, and environmental issues.
This type of wood is not for you if you prefer resource availability and the rustic feel of a wood log burning.
We highly recommend that you try both wood pellets and wood logs (and any other alternative you can find) and see which one suits you best.
Nothing is more exciting and fulfilling than the warm glow of a wooden fireplace on a chilly night.
An electric-powered heating system may effectively warm your body, but a wooden fireplace warms your spirit!
Unlike conventional fireplaces that are not only resource-intensive, inefficient but messy as well. Wood-burning stoves boast numerous advantages that are all tailored toward allowing you to seamlessly experience the magic of a fire in your home.
If you are looking to install a wood-burning stove in your home and aren't quite sure whether it is the right thing to venture into or not, you are in the right place.
For wood heat, most benefits of wood-burning stoves are self-evident.
The romance and fun of stacking wood, the glow of the flame, and the coziness of the fire itself.
What's more, if you have woods on your property, you already have free heat!
Today's wood stoves are not only excellent heat sources, but are equally nice to look at.
Below are the proven benefits of wood-burning stoves.
Most people usually think that wood stoves are only meant for homeowners with huge homes with lots of living space!
But this is far from the truth, as there is a wide range of wood stoves that are suitable for tiny homes as well as cabins.
However, it is worth noting that while these units can function and perform exceptionally well in tiny establishments, they must be installed carefully.
While there are potentially endless types of log-burning stoves out there on the market, when it comes to design and construction, wood stoves fall into two major categories, including catalytic and non-catalytic.
Generally, the cost of log-burning stoves varies greatly based on numerous factors, including the size of the stove, installation requirements, and the type of fuel.
However, smaller and simple designs usually cost between $500 and $1,000.
The most affordable are small, non-catalytic stainless steel wood stoves designed to heat tiny spaces, whereas the most expensive ones are cast-iron catalytic log-burning stoves that efficiently heats large spaces.
Of course, some high-end models are fairly more expensive. Costs will get even higher for complex ceiling installations because more stovepipe is needed.
If you were not aware, a stovepipe refers to the internal ventilation pipe that attaches the stove to a nearby chimney.
If you reside on a farm, or in a rural area, you'll have access to lots of firewood year-round.
Whether you have fallen tree limbs from the last storm or thick hedgerows to harvest from, logs are generally freely available.
However, it is worth noting that when it comes to combustion, especially inside a stove, woods burn quite differently.
During the combustion process, the heat warms the stove as well as the air in your space.
There are a plethora of wood-burning stoves out there on the market, and this simply implies that the prospect of finding the perfect product that suits your needs can prove to be a daunting task.
Below are some important factors you should consider when looking to purchase a log stove:
This is arguably the most essential factor to take into account because it determines the type of resources you'll be able to use.
In the world of log-burning stoves, single-fuel and multi-fuel are two common terms that you'll inevitably come across.
You don't want a huge wood stove that will become an inconvenient device in your tiny space!
Generally, a small wood stove is more than enough for a tiny house cabin's heating requirements.
Of course, your manufacturer should be able to tell you how many square feet of space a particular model can heat comfortably based on its BTU ratings.
Woodstove heat output is measured in BTUs per hour and is what determines how powerful a given device is, or the amount of heat it can pump up.
Simply put, the higher the BTUs, the more the heat the log stove can dissipate per hour.
A significant number of stoves generate between 25,000 and 85,000 BTUs of heat output.
However, it is important to note that bigger is always better; choose a size of model that suits your energy plans.
The total amount of heat energy you'll need for your home depends on a number of factors, including the average climate of your location, your home's insulation efficiency as well as the size of your home.
With a relatively larger stove at your disposal, you may not be able to burn a clean fire without overheating your tiny space. On the other hand, with a fairly smaller stove, you'll constantly have to refill your stove.
It also won't be able to meet your home's heating needs. To be on the safest side, you want to hire a professional to help you approximate your home's heating needs.
If you are looking to insure your tiny home, or it's subject to construction codes, you might require an EPA-certified wood-burning stove.
It would be a great idea to check with your local code enforcement as well as the insurance provider if you aren't sure about anything.
Most of the smaller wood-burning stoves on the market are not certified for home use, implying that seeking certification will greatly minimize your options.
There are a number of regulations that log-burning stoves should meet. Including how the flue fitted, the distance of the stove from potential combustibles, and the size of the hearth.
However, these regulations may vary. Each state may have its own rules that govern the use of wood-burning stoves.
It is also imperative to note that emissions can also be a major concern, with several states demanding that stoves be of EPA certification standards.
Your small log-burning stove must not emit more than 2.5 grams/hour of fine particles!
In general, EPA states that it is safe to have wood-burning stoves in your home, but they highly recommend taking precautionary measures to ensure safe operation!
If you are looking to purchase a new wood stove, you should go for one labeled EPA-certified. Simply put, this particular certification implies that a particular wood stove meets the EPA clean air standards, which include the ability to burn less log to create heat and release relatively less amount of smoke.
Usually, a chimney is an essential component of a wood-burning stove system.
It serves two major purposes; channeling smoke out of your house and providing a draft to keep your fire burning.
If your chimney isn't able to offer adequate ventilation for the latter function, you may have to install a dedicated air vent to ensure your wood stove performs at its peak.
Even if wood-burning stoves can somehow operate without a chimney, something must be done for this to occur. You will have to install a flue to deem your wood stove operational.
Flue systems are generally affordable and can be installed either on your home's outdoor or via the roofing system, depending on certain factors.
This implies that it is not mandatory to have an air vent or chimney for your wood stove to operate.
While an open hearth can potentially bring a bit of charm to your home, most standard fireplaces are only 10% efficient at their best!
Nearly 90% of the heat generated escapes through the air. On the contrary, modern-day wood-burning stoves are relatively more efficient and can potentially achieve efficient ratings of up to 80%!
When you integrate a thermal mass such as a stone hearth into your wood stove heating system, the heat produced will be absorbed by this mass and gradually released into your home for extended and sustainable heating.
The answer to this particular question ultimately depends on the size of your home.
The quality of your insulation as well as the type of wood stove at your disposal all factor in.
Regardless, with a back boiler at your disposal, your wood burner should be able to efficiently heat your whole home.
In case you didn't know, a back boiler is simply a modification whereby the heat produced by the fire is used to heat water which can thereafter be used in a central heating unit.
This can be achieved through many techniques, and a professional can help you determine how best to achieve it based on your home heating requirements.
If you are comparing a top-notch steel-bodied wood stove against a cast iron wood stove of the same quality, No device edges the other; provided they are used according to their respective manufacturers' instructions.
Whereas lower quality steel bodied wood stoves are highly susceptible to warping, their cast iron counterparts have a reputation for cracking.
The major difference between these two materials is that steel stoves tend to heat fairly faster and deliver heat to a room much faster as well.
On the other hand, cast iron, which is the conventional material for wood burner building, takes relatively longer to heat up and circulate the heat to a space.
So, to put it simply, if you need instant heat, then a steel-bodied stove should be your ultimate choice. However, if you prefer longer-lasting heat, then you should go for cast iron.
When they are used correctly according to manufacturers' instructions, wood burners generally don't pose any danger to your health.
Of course, wood fire releases smoke fumes that might trigger symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing, and might also exacerbate conditions such as heart failure and emphysema.
However, when you use your wood burner with a well-serviced and maintained flue system or chimney, you'll hardly experience any of the above problems.
Also, the latest wood burner models are safer to operate and more efficient compared to older ones.
If you are new to these alternative home heating units, then make sure you adhere to the following safety tips!
There are several straightforward steps you can take to ensure your burner remains in tip-top condition and prolong its life as well. These maintenance tips include:
Wood-burning stoves are an excellent heat source and bring with them numerous potential benefits.
And while they are generally safe, especially when used properly, your safety is paramount and this is why you should hire a professional to help install and maintain your wood burner.
Get the most out of your investment by scheduling routine inspections and maintenance for your burner to ensure it remains in peak condition at all times!
The wood stove evokes many distant memories often linked to childhood. It was the heating method most used by our grandparents.
Those who did not use them in the house in the city could probably use them in a cottage in the countryside or the mountain hut together with the fireplace.
Centuries have passed, but the wood stove is a practically timeless object. It is not just the charm of a product with such ancient roots, but it still offers excellent performance today.
But the times of those unsightly masses of scrap metal that often filled the house with smoke and the walls with soot are only a distant memory.
Today we have pellet stoves, clean, efficient, and cost-effective.
Pellet stoves use recycled materials and burn at low temperatures, offering a more sustainable alternative to keep warm.
It looks like a traditional wood stove but burns wood pellets instead. As a result of their higher density, they burn very efficiently.
Pellets are typically made from recycled sawdust or corn. Compared to chopping down trees for the wood, they are a more sustainable option.
Due to their compact size, these devices are a better alternative to small old-fashioned house and cabin heating sources.
The operating principle remains the same: heating occurs by radiation, convection, or a mix of the two systems-the fuel, in this case, is small wood pieces whose production rendered the ax-man jobless.
Pellet stoves are fuel-efficient, easy to use, and less smoky.
What has changed are the construction technologies and increasingly high-performance materials that have also made this sector evolve, delivering products of the highest level.
Further, modern pellet stoves are automated. In most cases, electrified or battery-operated motors are used to power pellet stoves.
Looking at the catalogs of the main producers of pellet stoves, we note the many innovative steps that have been taken.
Cabin and small home pellet stoves have become real furnishing objects, with attention to the smallest details, giving the customer a high-performance product and refined design.
A typical pellet stove has between 12,000 and 60,000 Btu, but several models have up to 90,000 Btu.
Heat and air conditioning standards use British thermal units for rating temperatures to classify levels.
When choosing a pellet stove for your tiny home, think about how much room you want to install it in.
For your feet to stay warm, every 200 square feet of space requires 5,000 Btu from a stove.
A 400 sq foot home will need a stove of more than 10,000 Btu.
Buying a big stove will force you to burn your pellets on low so as not to overheat the home. This is wasteful and damaging to the environment.
If you want to use a pellet stove to heat your cabin, you should consider how well insulated the house is.
A poorly insulated cabin will require a pellet stove with higher BTUs to compensate for it.
Having a well-insulated home can reduce the need for a pellet stove that is so powerful.
Modern, well-built vacation homes tend to be well-insulated, whereas older ones usually aren't.
You might need to go for a pellet stove with a higher BTU range if you have many windows in your vacation home or windows that are in bad shape.
Small homes with low ceilings will require less powerful pellet stoves with a lower BTU range.
But for your vacation home, the higher the ceiling, the more power you need from your stove.
Because of convection, heat may rise and build up in areas not needed.
If you install paddle fans along with your pellet stove, you will have warm air circulating back into your living space, where it can be best utilized.
The climate and geographical location of your home can also influence your selection of a pellet stove.
A small home in a predominantly warm climate doesn't need a pellet stove that is as powerful as a home in a region that experiences harsh winters lasting 3-4 months and dipping to -20 F or bellow.
Among the most used types are the mini Franklin stoves. They are usually cast iron (rarely ceramic) and mix a fireplace and a classic stove.
They heat by radiation and offer a remarkable scenic effect. The pellet is inserted into the combustion chamber protected by a tempered glass door that allows you to observe the open flame.
Cast iron stoves last longer and are more efficient at keeping a home warm for long.
Another material used to make modern pellet stoves is steel. You get products with contemporary designs that are well suited to modern environments.
They are among the cheapest stoves that can be found on the market. They propagate heat by convection and are an excellent solution as an additional heating system.
Steel stoves heat up much faster compared to cast iron stoves, saving you fuel and time.
As we know, one of the characteristics that make the difference between one type of stove and another is the cladding material, where heat accumulates.
Having a material that gradually releases heat ensures that an environment is constantly and homogeneously heated and costs are optimized.
In this respect, soapstone stoves guarantee excellent results. Further, soapstone stoves last longer than both cast iron and steel stoves.
Pellets are delivered horizontally from the bottom feed hopper, behind the fire, or right next.
As a result of this design, standard pellets can be used since ash is moved away from the combustion area.
This allows the air inlets to stay open and reduces the need to clean the burn box.
Typically, pellets are fed from the top of a stove to an auger, then through a tube into the fire.
The design minimizes ash accumulation in the hopper and increases the likelihood of the fire spreading to the top.
This makes it necessary to use low-ash pellets of high quality. Pellets burn evenly in bottom-feed stoves.
These stoves are more efficient because the pellets stay above the flame until fully consumed.
Built-in stoves represent an ideal solution for those who have space problems or want an aesthetically superior solution.
They are normally installed using the mouth of an existing fireplace.
Also, there are solutions for all tastes and types of furnishings to effortlessly deploy the stove in the environment for optimal aesthetics and heating performance.
use electricity to light themselves.
You do not need to interact with them in any way once you press a button to turn them on.
Even if you're away from your home while your stove is burning, the settings on the thermostat will determine how much energy is consumed.
In a manual system, you must light the stove with matches and usually with an ignition gel.
By choosing when and how often the stove burns, you could save both energy and fuel.
A manual-ignition pellet stove is likely to need frequent repairs.
Here are some of the main advantages of using a pellet stove in your cabin or small home
Thanks to the materials used, modern types can accumulate a lot of heat and gradually release it into the environment in which they are located.
it is possible to save on fuel and have greater autonomy of heat.
You are never without heating. Just have a good supply of pellets, and you will never run the risk of being left in the cold.
There may be a power failure or a general blackout, but the stove will continue to operate.
Modern pellet-burning stoves can also be made in tiny homes and with the strangest shapes, allowing installations in places that were once unthinkable.
They can be placed in a corner to heat only a small room or be installed on the wall as a fireplace. In short, they offer multiple possibilities and solutions.
Pellet stoves require minimal maintenance. Once installed, they do their duty, and the only thing they want in return is to empty the ashtray (now and then).
Periodically (at least once a year), the pipes should be cleaned of soot.
In addition to heating, pellet stoves can be used for cooking and smoking foods.
It could be a nuisance for many to take the pellet, put it in the stove, and proceed with the ignition-a fact of pure laziness more than a real inconvenience.
Before deciding to buy a pellet stove, it is necessary to evaluate the nominal power required carefully.
You can't buy it just for aesthetic reasons or because it matches the furniture and has the right size to fit in a corner.
If the stove does not have the correct nominal power, it is not enough to add more pellets to heat more!
Do you want the rewarding experience of sitting comfortably in an armchair, lulled by the graceful warmth that only a pellet stove can give?
Use this guide to find the best small models for your cabin or tiny house. It is simply a priceless feeling.
You can install a pellet stove in three steps. First, place the stove where you want it; second, make the hole where the vent will go through; third, put the vent and piping through the hole. That's it!
The first thing you're going to do is place your pellet stove where you want it. You'll have to place it on top of a non-combustible surface (we'll talk about this down below).
Then, you will make a hole big enough for your vent to fit through. You will place the pipes inside the vent after. Measure everything before you start making irreversible changes to your garage walls.
Once the hole is in place, put the vent through there. Then, thread the pipes through the vent.
. You must add a screen and cap on the outside of the vent too. That will help prevent rain and debris from falling inside your stove.
Your pellet stove is electric, so you need to plug it in to use it. This is the final and easiest step!
Alternatively, you can hire a professional to install the pellet stove for you. We recommend this option for most people.
My only recommendation for a pellet stove for your garage. It is the smallest, and least expensive stove on the market.
To properly install a pellet stove in your garage, you need plenty of space, a flue, and a non-combustible surface. With all three of those things, you'll have the perfect place in your garage for your stove.
Plenty of space: Every furnace gets very hot from time to time, so you want to keep it away from, well, almost everything. You also want to be able to maneuver around the stove. For that reason, try to install it somewhere with plenty of space around.
Flue (your vent and pipes): A 3-inch flue is the minimum requirement for a pellet stove - and that's for smaller ones. You will need a bigger flue if you own a bigger stove. The flue will ensure proper ventilation from the stove to the outside world, so they are a must.
Non-combustible surface: You need to put your furnace away from every surface to avoid overheating its surroundings. You can get away from doing that by keeping the stove away from the walls - but you can't make it levitate off the floor. For that reason, you need a non-combustible surface to place under your pellet stove. A 6-inch hearth pad will do.
A pellet stove is probably one of the safest heating choices you can pick for your garage. It's a modern stove that regulates itself, causes little to no trouble, and helps you stay warm with little to no effort.
For some people, putting a stove in the garage sounds like asking for trouble. But is it, really? You should have no issues whatsoever with a pellet stove - it almost controls itself!
It would be a different story if we were 100 years into the past.
Nowadays, pellet stoves are where furnaces and technology meet; more importantly, where heat meets safety measures, so you can rest easy when you turn your stove on.
When installing a pellet stove, no matter where, you need to keep a couple of things in mind: first, no flammable objects around; second, buy a fire extinguisher and keep it close by; third, make sure the room is ventilated.
The first two rules are self-explanatory - but what about the third one? Wouldn't a ventilated room be hard to heat?
Well, it's not what you think: you need to be able to open some windows around if you have to. It's not like you need to have air flowing in and out all the time.
You need to have everything ready in case something goes wrong. You already know that pellet stoves hardly (if ever) malfunction - but you have to be prepared anyway, though.
Not at all! You probably won't have a single problem whatsoever - other than deciding on the temperature of your garage. Pellet stoves are as safe as they get, and they hardly ever malfunction.
So, pellet stoves are safe. Does that mean you can throw caution into the wind? Well, not really.
Remember that you need to treat every furnace with respect. You have to be extra careful with old school ones, and you still need to be careful with more modern ones like a pellet stove.
When we talk about respect, we talk about the usual stuff. Keep the room ventilated when you're not around, don't push the temperatures to the limit, don't smoke around the stove, and similar things. We're talking about having common sense!
My only recommendation for a wood stove in your garage - Why spend so much on an expensive wood stove.
When installing a pellet stove, there are two home insurance scenarios: one, they may raise your home insurance by, more or less, 10% per year; two, they will refuse to insure a home with a pellet stove in your garage.
Now, we cannot say which scenario your case is going to fall under. What we can say is that you can treat your home insurance as any other thing - so, shop around before you make a decision!
You can take your business elsewhere if your current insurer doesn't want to work with you anymore after installing a pellet stove.
What we do recommend is making the arrangements beforehand. Change insurance companies first, then install the stove.
Whether it's legal or not to install a pellet stove in your garage depends on local laws and regulations that you'll have to check out yourself - because it varies on a state to state basis.
More likely than not, you will be able to install a pellet stove in your garage, but you may have to make some changes in your garage to do so (and some of these changes will probably be mandated by law).
We have covered above what you need to do: place the stove on a fireproof surface and far away from flammable stuff; other than that, keep a fire extinguisher close by, just in case.
Make sure you check both your city's and state's regulations before you install the pellet stove.
Masterbuilt electric smokers are becoming popular, due to the fact that they take the guesswork out of smoking meats and they come in several choices of both fuel and features.
However, like any cooking appliance, they need to be cleaned regularly and thoroughly. If you clean it after each smoking session, you'll avoid buildup and the chance of mold growing inside.
At the very least, clean it every three to five uses. If you can't clean it after each use, use a wire brush to scrub each rack to remove grease and food residue.
Cleaning the smoker right after it's cooled is the easiest time, before the food residues have a chance to really stick. Here's what you need:
Your owner's manual may also list approved cleaning agents, but dish soap and water or the cider vinegar mixture is usually all that's needed as long as the grill is cleaned after each use. Don't be tempted to use oven cleaner unless your owner's manual allows it. If you haven't used the smoker in a while or if it's been used several times between cleanings, you can first run it at maximum heat for about an hour to loosen grease and debris.
with a soft bristle brush or a plastic scraper. You don't want to use metal utensils to scrape the inside chamber.
If you use the cider vinegar, spray it on and let it sit for a few minutes before wiping to let the mild acid in the vinegar loosen up the residue.
Start at the top and leave the bottom for last, in case any crumbs fall down while you're wiping. Remove those crumbs and wipe down the bottom.
Use the brush to take off any stubborn debris while washing, then rinse and dry.
Any residue that is left, especially on the racks, this will only leave a place for more residue to stick and build-up, making for a larger cleaning job later.
If your racks, tray and pan are dishwasher safe, you can use that after scraping off the debris and grease with a scraper or scouring sponge.
If you can't use the dishwasher just wash with soapy water
If you have a problem getting everything off the racks, you can try putting them inside a large garbage bag. Make sure the bag has no holes or rips.
Pour in one cup of ammonia, then seal the bag tightly. Leave it overnight for the ammonia fumes to loosen anything stuck. Be sure to keep your face away from the bag when you open it the next day.
Scrub off anything still there and rinse them thoroughly. Once clean and dry, it's a good idea to coat the racks with vegetable oil and also before each use to prevent sticking and prevent rust.
The exterior can be cleaned with soapy water.
If your smoker model has a glass window, this will need to be cleaned with soapy water, a glass cleaner or a half-and-half mix of cider vinegar and water.
Your owner's manual may have instructions on what to use for this.
If built-up grease gets under the controls it may even interfere with the grill's operation.
Mold tends to grow in dark, moist places, so it just loves smokers. If you put off cleaning your smoker for a long time, not only will gunk build up inside but you may well have mold growing inside. To clean it out, first:
Another method is to fill a metal bowl with boiling water, put it inside the smoker, and run it at its highest setting for an hour.
You may want to put on a face mask while cleaning to make sure you don't inhale any leftover mold spores, as they may affect your health.
Once you have everything clean, put it back together in the reverse order of taking the parts out.
Between uses, cover it with a protective cover. It will protect the smoker from the elements and prolong its life.
A pellet stove is a perfect furnace for people making their first steps into the RV life and who want an easy and convenient way to keep their vehicle warm.
It's not all sunshine and rainbows, though. The thing about the pellet stoves is that they cost a little extra than the alternatives.
Think of the extra cost as a convenience tax. It goes without saying that you need to be able to fit the pellet stove inside your RV.
These stoves tend to occupy more space than other options. And, remember, you need to fit both the stove and yourself inside the RV, so measure carefully!
Advantages and disadvantages aside (that we'll discuss below), yes, a pellet stove is safe to use in an RV.
Most definitely! Modern pellet stoves have plenty of safety measures that will prevent major issues from happening - without you having to supervise the furnace.
Something like that is great to have if you love sleeping in a warm and cozy RV during winter. One of the biggest advantages pellet stoves have is their control panel.
You don't need to figure out how much wood you need or how long you have to leave it on to heat the entire place or anything like that.
With pellet stoves, you click a few buttons, choose the temperature you want, and let the furnace do its thing! Will your RV get too warm? Never!
The pellet stove will regulate itself and follow the instructions you gave it via the control panel.
The hardest thing about using a pellet stove is filling the stove with wood pellets and then figuring out whether you want to be cozy or extra cozy when choosing the temperature.
Then, you can go to sleep!
Every stove you use is going to emit carbon monoxide - but not all stoves emit the same amount.
When we're talking about pellet stoves, the CO emissions are minimal. Since most pellet stoves are electric, they will control these emissions to avoid any issues.
It's amazing to see how efficient modern pellet stoves are. They will regulate themselves to keep the fire at its most efficient - which means everything else will be efficient as well (for example, carbon monoxide emissions!)
That means you will have a resource-efficient stove, and you will keep the CO levels at the bare minimum while you use it.
A pellet stove helps you be ecological and have peace of mind.
It's close to impossible for a pellet stove to explode, but every heating appliance can malfunction and cause trouble.
That doesn't mean you should worry about it - but you should have every precaution ready just in case.
You will use dozens of pellet stoves throughout your life, and, at worst, they won't heat you enough. There are little to no cases of pellet stove explosions; their unique design prevents most issues from happening.
A fire extinguisher is a must, though. And not for pellet stoves alone, but for every furnace you want to use.
You should go for a pellet stove if you favor convenience over price.
Yes, pellet stoves are efficient - but that doesn't mean they are cheaper to use.
The pellet stove is perfect for people who don't want to mess with an appliance too much but want to stay warm throughout the night.
When you use one, you press a couple of buttons, and everything else is taken care of for you.
That comes with a price, though. You have to buy wood pellets (instead of scavenging for wood), and every so often your pellet stove will need a little fix.
What about other disadvantages, though? We'll talk about them down below!
Pellets stoves are expensive, require more maintenance than other alternatives, and are a little noisy at times.
Your average pellet stove also needs more space than other furnaces, so you need to be able to fit it in your RV.
You already know you should go for a pellet stove if you can afford it - but your wallet isn't the only one that's going to hurt from time to time.
The two major disadvantages that come from using a pellet stove are noise and resource availability. We have spoken about the latter (you need to buy wood pellets!), but we haven't spoken about the noise yet.
Well, a pellet stove is noisy. You have to hear it yourself to see if you can stand the noise or not. It's doesn't sound like a full-blown orchestra inside your RV, but a little noise could be the difference between insomnia and a good night's sleep.
When looking for a pellet stove, you need to maximize the convenience factor.
Try to look for the pellet stove that's the easiest to use and needs as little maintenance as possible.
You're not choosing a pellet stove because you want to save money or anything similar. You want one because they are easy to use. That's what you should look for!
And, remember, you need a pellet stove that fits inside your RV. Measure the entire thing and then leave a little extra space for people to come and go without hitting a hot furnace.
So, look for models that are as simple as possible. You need a stove that turns on with one button and is controlled with another. You should not buy an overly complicated pellet stove.
Don't worry. Almost all pellet stoves are really easy to use!