Sawdust. Once just a by-product found in lumber mills and woodshop floors, it is now a popular fuel for heating homes. According to the Pellet Fuels Institute, more than 600,000 homes in the United States and Canada use wood pellets as an economical and environmentally-friendly heat source. Made from 100% wood saw dust, wood pellets rose to fame during the 1970’s energy crisis. Since then, numerous pellet stove and pellet fireplace insert manufacturers have emerged to meet the growing demand for this clean, cost-effective heat source.
Wood pellet fuel provides multiple benefits. Perhaps the most attractive being a highly-economical means to heat a room or home. A 40-lb bag of pellet fuel costs $3-$5.00 each and can provide up to 24 hours of steady heat. On average, a winter’s supply of wood pellets is about 100-150 bags – depending on climate and lifestyle variations. And when compared to the price fluctuations of electricity, gas and oil, a price of a 40-lb bag of wood pellets has remained virtually the same over the past decade.
By burning cleaner than virtually any other fuel, wood pellets also help reduce air pollution. For example, the particulate emissions from a pellet stove are approximately 1.2 grams per hour compared to 7.5 grams per hour for a typical wood stove. Additionally, after burning wood pellet fuel, little ash is left over, reducing clean up. And wood pellets produce virtually no creosote – a major cause of chimney fires. Wood pellets also reduce the burden on landfills by creating commercial demand for sawdust, which would otherwise be considered waste. Perhaps best of all, wood pellets are a renewable energy source unlike oil and gas.
Homeowners interested in burning wood pellet fuel can find quality pellet appliances between $1,800 - $3,400, depending on size, style and options. For those with an existing woodburning fireplace, a pellet fireplace insert can convert it into a highly efficient heating system. And now thanks to Quadra-Fire®, a homeowner has a great new choice in a high efficiency insert. Quadra-Fire’s Santa Fe™ pellet fireplace insert combats rising energy costs, while also serving as a visual asset in the home. It features a clean line look that fits nicely with contemporary home décor. Even though its burnished steel design produces a softer looking exterior than traditional cast iron fireplace inserts, the Santa Fe’s rugged burner and combustion system generates efficient performance, making it a highly-effective and clean way to heat a 1,200 square foot home or living area.