Selecting and Storing Wood for Wood Pellet Stoves
Because a lot of energy can be wasted burning wet wood, for your wood pellet stoves you should use wood that has been properly seasoned. For the best pellet stove experience, properly seasoned wood is harvested in the spring and allowed to dry throughout the summer. Look for wood that is of even color, without any green. It should have a moisture content of just over 20%–25% by weight.
The quality of the wood for wood pellet stoves
Some well-seasoned wood can in fact be too dry for today's airtight modern wood pellet stoves. If you place wood that is too dry on a bed of coals, it will instantly give up its gases as smoke, wasting unburned smoke and producing creosote buildup.
All species of wood have a similar heat (Btu) content on a per pound basis when completely dry. Therefore, denser woods will generally cost more and burn longer. Woods like oak, hickory, and pine will burn overnight. Aspen builds a hot fire, which helps clean the chimney.
Sustainable is the wave of the future
When selecting wood, you might also want to find out whether the supplier uses sustainable harvesting practices. Unsustainable practices can negatively impact the environment, causing soil erosion and loss of biodiversity. At least ascertain that the wood was not the result of clear-cutting. Clear-cutting is when all, or nearly all, of the trees are cut down on a piece of land.
Storing wood for your wood pellets stove
Store your wood away from the house in case termites discover the woodpile. The top of the pile should be covered, but leave the sides open so air can circulate. If possible, store the wood a foot off the ground (on concrete blocks, for example) to keep it dry.
A big thank you to the US Department of Energy for their help with data for this pellet stove information.