What Goes Into Biomass Wood Pellets?

You might ask “What is Biomass?”. It’s the vegetable residue of agricultural operations such as growing crops, milling timber, farming cattle and clearing ground.

Residential, or premium grade wood pellets contain nothing else but wood. No glues are needed in the production of pellets.

When the pulped wood or sawdust is forced into the wood pellet die under pressure and heat, natural binding material already present, (lignin), allows the pellet to hold its shape. A premium grade pellet contains very little potential ash. 1%.

Standard, or commercial grade pellets contain more impurities, 3% potential ash. This is because paper, bark, and other flammable additives are included.

It’s important to use the correct grade of pellet for your stove, fire or furnace. Too great a build up of ash can cause the fire to go out, or overload the ash can.

Alternative pellet stove fuels are possible (see link at bottom of page) if you would prefer not to be dependent on only wood pellets, or only corn. These fuels have a high ash content and are best burned in a multi fuel pellet stove.

To make pellets, the raw material must first be cleaned to remove impurities. The clean biomass is then ground in a hammer mill or chipped to a uniform size, which must be less than the thickness of the pellet that will be produced.

While the lignin content in wood is generally enough to bind pellets, other forms of biomass require special conditioning to strengthen them. Sometimes binders such as starch, sugars, paraffin oils, or lignin must be added to make the biomass malleable.

Some pellet stoves are also capable of burning corn either by itself or mixed with wood pellets. When buying corn for burning, it is important that it’s not been treated in any way or the already high ash content will be increased and the emissions could be unpleasant.

What Are The Advantages of Pellet Stove Fuel?

Pellets are clean, easy to handle, and don’t have bugs crawling out of them. Anyone who’s burned logs will appreciate this. Usually packaged in 40lb. bags, they are easy to stack and don’t take up much space. A ton of pellets will stack in a 4′ by 4′ space, four feet high. The stove hopper only needs loading daily. Even less often for furnaces.

The standardisation of pellet size and moisture content means that the burn can be efficiently regulated and the air input accurately controlled. Pellets have a usual moisture level of less than ten per cent. (Logs 20 – 60%).

This gives high heat output, clean burning and low emissions. The thermal value of wood pellets is 5Kwh per kilo, (or 8 – 9 thousand btu. per pound). Two kilos of pellet are equivalent to a litre of fuel oil or a cubic metre of natural gas.

Carbon Neutral Biomass Heating

Biomass is the term given to grown material as opposed to fossil fuel. The carbon absorbed in growth is balanced by carbon emitted on burning, which makes the use of wood pellets neutral. Wood pellet plant is often, but not always, powered by burning wood pellets.

This energy supply is sustainable because the raw materials are renewable.
Trees are not felled just to make pellets. The raw material is already a waste product from saw mills and other users of timber. Converting sawdust to pellets reduces the amount of waste going to landfill.

Another point is that pellets are usually locally made. It would not be economic to transport vast amounts of sawdust across the country, and then bring the pellets back, so it’s the local economy that gains from this low carbon footprint industry.

Where Can I Buy Wood Pellets?

It’s well worth checking where you can buy fuel in your area. First stop would be your local pellet stove dealer, feed store and grocery stores. If the local stove dealer can’t source a supply, they won’t last long. Another good reason to contact a local stove dealer is to find out if they stock parts, and for which makes and models so if you eventually buy online, you’ll know which stoves will be supported.

Resource: Pellet Fuels Institute

Don’t wait until it is “Winter” and “Cold” to maintain your heating source.  If you have a stove that is older than 10years, consider having replacement parts on hand even if it is functioning well.  During peak heating season when demand is high from suppliers and manufacturers for replacement stove parts it can be 2-6 weeks or longer depending on the part needed.  Plan ahead and be prepared!  Get ready for winter at the end of winter, don’t wait until fall or later. WoodHeatStoves.com has over 50,000 replacement parts for most gas, pellet and wood stoves.

“TIPS” are just suggestions for your general information, WoodHeatStoves.com will not be held liable and use of this information is at your own risk.



Pellet Stove Maintenance!

Pellet Stove Maintenance After The Winter or Before

Take out all the fuel in the hopper and feed system. Pellets left in can become damp and cause problems later.

Give the stove a “spring cleaning”.

The fans for the air inlet and exhaust should be brushed of accumulated debris.

The air inlet should be checked for obstructions now, and again before re-lighting the stove.

Pellet Stove Troubleshooting

Pellet stove cleaning on a regular basis will prevent problems arising through lack of maintenance.

A slow, orange or sooty flame can mean:
Burn pot air intakes blocked
Ash pan full
Blocked flue
Need for air intake adjustment 

A very fierce flame indicates that less air is needed.

Smoke leakage probably indicates that a door or inspection gasket is leaking or that a vent joint is not sealed.

Reduced heating output can mean that the heat exchanger needs to be cleaned.

Glass sooting up can mean that the air wash system is blocked.

If the stove shuts down unexpectedly, make sure proper start up procedures were followed, and that there is fuel in the hopper. Check that the electricity supply is on.

Most stoves will shut down automatically in case of a mechanical failure. Check the obvious things above, refer to your owner or technician manual for assistance, if this doesn’t solve the issue then call in an expert in your local area.


Don’t wait until it is “Winter” and “Cold” to maintain your heating source.  If you have a stove that is older than 10years, consider having replacement parts on hand even if it is functioning well.  During peak heating season when demand is high from suppliers and manufacturers for replacement stove parts it can be 2-6 weeks or longer depending on the part needed.  Plan ahead and be prepared!  Get ready for winter at the end of winter, don’t wait until fall or later.

“TIPS” are just suggestions for your general information, WoodHeatStoves.com will not be held liable and use of this information is at your own risk.

Compressed sawdust and wood are efficient, renewable heat sources.








Pet owners know compressed paper pellets make good cat litter, and alfalfa pellets are good rabbit food. Either could also be considered biomass, and used for home heating.


Pellet stoves burn small pellets of dry organic material, typically compressed sawdust or wood shavings. They are inspired by the old-fashioned wood stove, but improve on the idea in several ways.

•  Pellet stoves are more eco-conscious. Instead of using new wood, most pellets are made from leftover sawdust, wheat hulls, and other waste and industrial byproducts.

  • They are more efficient and clean, creating less pollution than traditional wood-burning stoves (though they are not quite as clean-burning as gas and electric heaters, so indoor air quality may be an issue for those with serious respiratory problems). They can be used on high-pollution advisory days, when wood burning is generally banned
  • Modern pellet stoves are easier to maintain than wood-burning stoves. They have storage cavities that slowly feed the pellets to the stoves, and hold up to two days of burning capacity.


Pellet stoves are becoming popular that demand for pellets outstripped supply in recent years. The pellet industry is quickly catching up to demand, particularly in the western United States, where beetles are destroying pine forests. Several companies are turning the dead trees into fuel pellets.

Basic standalone pellet stoves cost about $2000-$4000, plus installation by a qualified professional.

The stoves provide a range of heating options, from small single-room heaters to larger units that can heat up to 2,000 square feet of space that is fairly open and well designed for simple heat transfer.


  • Pellet stove fireplace inserts are designed to look like the original fireplace but they spread heat into the home instead of up the chimney. A traditional fireplace draws in more cold air through the open flue than it releases hot air from the burning wood. Pellet stove inserts are an attractive option that easily fits the current décor. Avalon sells an efficient wood pellet fireplace insert rated to produce 45,000 BTU per hour.
  • Some free-standing stoves are designed to look like old-fashioned wood-burning stoves, but may have electronic ignition and a wall-mounted thermostat.
  • Modern stoves with modern features and accessories also are available.

If natural gas or other heat sources are expensive in your area, pellet stoves may be an economical alternative. They also are an efficient way to use scrap waste for home heating, with minimal pollution and less hassle than a wood stove.

“TIPS” are just suggestions for your general information, WoodHeatStoves.com will not be held liable and use of this information is at your own risk.

Tips for Spring Cleaning your pellet stove

There are a few things you should think about doing prior to the next burn season.

Late spring is an ideal time to schedule your annual deep cleaning. The company that provides you with this service will most likely send you a reminder with some sort of “Spring Discount”. Try and set up your appointment so the work is performed when you are done using the stove for the season, that way the stove should be in perfect condition at the beginning of the next burn season. If you wait until August or September to call and schedule your cleaning you may have to wait 6 weeks to have the work actually done.

The typical deep cleaning takes 2 1/2 to 3 hours, includes cleaning the glass and disassembling the air-wash at the beginning and touching up the stove paint upon completion. All areas where fly-ash can accumulate must be accessed, visually inspected, and cleaned- from the burnpot to the venting terminus. The convection system likewise must be cleaned from the fan forward.

If this is the first time you are having your stove professionally cleaned you should do a bit of research. Don’t assume that the retail store that sold you the stove has a qualified and experienced employee to service your stove. Do you really want to have some employee making close to minimum wage with perhaps one or two seasons experience (if that) working on your stove? Also, don’t assume your local chimney sweep has the necessary experience either. If you have friends or family members who own pelletstoves ask them who they use and recommend. Make a few calls and ask what the company actually does to the stove, are they an owner operated business, how long have they worked on pelletstoves, and do they work exclusively on pelletstoves? Of course they should be licensed, bonded and insured. You should be able to also check them out online through their licensing board.

Other than the actual cleaning itself you want to make sure that if your service person forgets to unplug your stove after the annual cleaning you unplug it yourself.

Also, late spring and early summer is the best time to look for you next seasons fuel supply. You usually can save a few buck this time of year. Just remember to store you pellets in a dry covered location and keep them out of direct sunlight as the bags can “sweat”.

Here is a closer look at a pellet stove, notice the uneven coloration of the glass.


With the door now open you can see how the glass is clean in specific areas- thats where the gasket has been allowing air to leak in. (gasket is to small for this stove, the owner installed it himself.)


Here’s a look at the inside of the stove.


On each side of this stove are access holes, the cover was loosened, rotated and tightened to get into this ash trap. The vacuum pressure switch and hose are visible and in front of the exhaust fan motor and housing.


The decorative rear firewall plate has been removed for cleaning and paint. The stove door has also been removed for cleaning and gasket replacement.


The left side wall has been removed in this picture. Both the left and right walls need to be removed to do the cleaning properly as ash collected in this area cannot be adequately removed through the access holes alone.


Light now shines through the access holes.


Exhaust fan removed from housing.


Exhaust fan housing.


That’s a lot of ash and creosote built up behind the exhaust fan blades that were removed from the fan for cleaning.


The exhaust fan is ready to be put together.


OK lets fast forward a bit. The convection fan was blown out along with the convection tubes. The motor was oiled. The pellet vent was swept out and inspected. The back firewall was painted charcoal and the decorative firewall plate was painted brown. The cleaned burn pot was also painted charcoal. the stove body was touched-up, and here’s what the stove looked like when it was done.




CLEARANCE PRICING on used wood stoves, gas stoves and pellet stoves!

Click here to Get a fantastic price on any one of the many used WOOD, GAS or PELLET stoves we have in stock. We have too many used stoves in our warehouses and are dropping the prices where no reasonable offer will be refused!

This Avalon gas insert comes with this fancy Victorian Lace Porcelain finish or others. It is a high efficiency thermostatically controlled heater that can run on natural gas or propane and has a variable speed blower built in to circulate heat around the home.

TG40_gas_stoveThis Earth Stove TG40 high efficiency, thermostatically controlled gas stove can run on propane or natural gas! It is now selling for a fraction of the original price. It has been refurbished and comes with a 90 day parts warranty.

Country Comfort
This Country Comfort air tight wood stove is one of the many used wood stoves we have to offer. You can send us an email at info@woodheatstoves.com for more information about any of these stoves or call us at 530-265-8618

Whitfield Profile30
This Whitfield Profile 30 freestanding pellet stove is the most modern of all the Whitfield pellet stoves. It lights its own pellets when the thermostat calls for heat and lets the flame burn down when the thermostat is satisfied.

Cleaning your pellet stove – Whitfield Profile 30 partial review


We found this video on You Tube and realized that it could be valuable to our customers even if we don’t necessarily agree with the technique used in all aspects. Here this fellow is cleaning a Whitfield Profile 30 or 20 pellet stove but we suggest that you make sure your vacuum has a super filter system, don’t suck up hot ashes and use wood stove glass cleaner not the stuff for gas stoves that he shows on the video. This video is beneficial for showing you the way that trap doors in heat exchangers, burn pot and baffle plates will need to be removed for a proper, thorough cleaning. Use the instructions for your specific stove in the owners manual that came with it. You can find pellet stove owner’s manuals on our web site here  http://woodheatstoves.com/owner-tech-manuals-c-291.html

Whitfield Technical Service & Troubleshooting manuals available NOW!

We have collected and posted TECHNICAL SERVICE MANUALS for Whitfield and many other brands of pellet stoves. These were originally designed for the technicians working for Whitfield dealers but there are no Whitfield stove dealers now that their production has ceased. As technicians and homeowners are attempting to service the thousands of Whitfield pellet stoves across the nation these technican manuals can supply the more complex details and specifications needed.
We have all of the Whitfield pellet stove parts from Whitfield auger motors to combustion blowers and convection blowers and igniters listed on our web site. Click here to find this Advantage II-T manual and the category on our web site that includes the hundreds of other owner’s and technical service manuals we have available for you to download now.

Identify your Whitfield pellet stove model here!

Use our helpful guides to identify your pellet stove, download your parts list and technical manuals, watch our instructional videos and repair your stove.

The first step in servicing or repairing any pellet stove is to identify the correct model so that you can get the correct owner’s and technical manuals and parts list. Here we offer you a video guide to identifying the Whitfield pellet stoves. You can click here to find photos and popular replacement parts listings for each Whitfield and many Quadrafire pellet stoves. Our web site also has the parts lists and manuals for these and many other brands of stoves. We have over 15,000 parts and product pages to help you in your stove installations, service and repairs.

You can click here to find photos of the Whitfield pellet stoves and some Quadrafire models along with popular replacement parts like auger motors, burn pots, blower and exhaust motors, firebricks and gaskets. We carry these pellet stove parts for a wide variety of manufacturers such as Whitfield, Quadrafire, Enviro, Hearthstone Stoves, Earth Stove and many others. To see all the pellet stoves we support visit our pellet stove parts section on our site. www.WoodHeatStoves.com