There was a time when flex fuel meant we could shove garbage, cardboard, that old Christmas tree and just about anything else into our stove and burn it up. The results sometimes were angry neighbors and eventually the pollution control police came by and started placing a “no burn” tag on our favorite form of heat. Today, modern technology has cleaned up the air and squeezes every available BTU (that is heat value) out of your investment. So the question remains, what can I burn in my stove and is premium fuel really premium?
Biomass Fuels are Easy
It is fairly easy to explain what to do with agri-fuels (biomass) such as corn, wheat, oats, barley to mention a few. If you make sure that the fuel is clean and dried down below 15 percent moisture (this is required to assure no spoilage anyway) you are good to go. You do have to make sure that your appliance is certified to burn these fuels (check on the label) and provide storage where the fuel can stay clean and dry. Our best advice is to only purchase enough fuel for the winter so nothing is left over to spoil in the summer high humidity months.
Wood Pellets and Biomass Fuel
Wood Pellets and other biomass fuel are a little harder to identify as being the premium quality fuel that you desire. Most of these types of fuel may start out as premium quality when manufactured by the fuel supplier, but if this fuel is not stored inside with climate controlled facilities, it will take on moisture and the fuel starts to fall apart. This is evidenced by a high percentage of fines in the fuel when poured out of the bag. You ask, how can I prevent getting bad fuel? Always use a reputable supplier. Fuel resellers that specialize in selecting and properly storing fuel are your best bet. Inspect the fuel when purchasing and if it is bad walk away. If you get bad fuel take it back to your fuel supplier and demand something better.
Biomass Pellet Stove Research and Maintenance is Important
There will be differences in fuel quality and consistency so it is important that you purchase an appliance that is designed for Flex-fuels so that your appliance will be able to adapt to changing fuels. When you are doing your research check for multi-fuel capabilities and the ability to burn high ash content fuels. Last but certainly not least, make sure that you are screening your fuel, vacuuming out your hopper to get rid of excess fines and maintaining your firepot system on a regular basis. You will enjoy trouble free operation and be able to concentrate on snuggling on the couch and enjoying the romance of the fire. Ah, it is time to take a nap.