Pellets or wood, which is best?

Let's discover advantages and disadvantages of these renewable fuel sources

On the one hand there are those who love wood, who consider getting up early in the morning to load the fireplace or stove almost poetic (you can read the story of Nicola on this purpose). On the other hand there are people who prefer to find the fire already lit and the house warm when they get back from work, perhaps by programming it from their smartphone. They prefer the most practical solution, rather than the most beautiful one (read the story of Andrea and Roberta on this issue).

The choice between pellets and wood depends on the lifestyle and character of a person, but also on financial and structural limits of the building. We have listed what, in our opinion, are the pros and cons of each. In any case, the choice is yours!

 

WOOD

Advantages

  • Even when it is purchased already chopped and dried (and therefore "worked"), wood is cheaper than pellets and its price has remained stable over time, with no significant changes.
  • Wood fire has a bright and soft flame. The beauty of wood fire can be particularly appreciated with wide glass doors, as the ones of the 3 faced fireplaces (in the picture the fireplace Forma T50 of MCZ).
  • Wood-burning fireplaces or stoves work even when there is no electricity.

 

Disadvantages

  • Wood-burning stoves or fireplaces must be loaded manually. They cannot be programmed to switch on or off.
  • The temperature to be reached in the room cannot be determined accurately. To make it warmer, you have to increase the amount of wood in the brazier.
  • The efficiency of wood-burning products are lower compared to pellet-burning products. This means that the same quantity of pellet produces much heat than wood.
  • Wood combustion is not as clean as pellet combustion, because it releases a greater amount of unburned particles. For this reason, wood-burning products do not fall within the benefits with the most restrictive parameters given by EU Governement for quality certifications or tax incentives. It is important to remind, however, that with the right igniting methods you can obtain a cleaner combustion of wood logs (read this article on this issue). 
  • The flue required to discharge wood smoke is larger than that required for pellet-burning products (10 cm against 8 cm for pellet products) and, to ensure draught, has more limitations in terms of bends and configurations (read this article on this issue). This may makes it mandatory to install the product only in certain points of the home.
  • If the product is used often, we need a covered space large enough to use as a woodshed.

Camino trifacciale Forma T50 di MCZ

PELLETS

Advantages

  • Inside pellet products there is a sort of spiral (feed screw) that picks up the pellets from the tank and makes them fall into the brazier. The feed screw operates electronically and can be programmed so that the pellet stove or the pellet fireplace ignite automatically according to their schedules.
  • The best pellet stoves are genuine small heating systems, fully programmable. They are adjusted automatically to achieve the desired temperature in the room where they are installed or in the various rooms to which the air is conveyed.
  • Pellet combustion is very efficient: with the same amount, we can achieve more heat with pellets than with wood.
  • Flues for pellet products are slightly smaller and with fewer limitations than those for wood-burning products, making it installation easier.
  • Pellets can be purchased in practical 15 kg bags and are easy to store.

Disadvantages

  • Driven by growing demand, the price of pellets is increasing slightly. This growth curve is in any case considerably lower than that recorded for fossil fuels, such as diesel or methane gas, compared to which pellets remain convenient (read the article of Annalisa Paniz on this purpose).
  • In pellet-burning products, air is blown into the brazier, adjusting combustion but making the flame slightly less natural than that of wood. However, some stoves of MCZ and Sergio Leoni brands have a long and narrow brazier, where pellets are distributed uniformly and give a very pleasant flame. Here below you can see the examples of Marlene Pellet of Sergio Leoni and Cute of MCZ (click on the picture to read the related story).

Stufa a pellet Marlene di Sergio Leoni

Pellet stove CUTE by MCZ

 

Categories: Tips and Tricks
28 May 2015

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