Fireplace Fuel - Pellets, Wood, and Sawdust

A wood burning fireplace is still a popular option in the home. Many homeowners feel nothing beats the look and smell of actual burning wood. On the other hand, there's the inconvenience and expense of purchasing and storing seasoned wood (or the greater inconvenience of seasoning the wood yourself).

For a convenient, economical, and environmentally friendly alternative that still allows you to burn wood, consider using wood pellet fuel.


Nothing beats wood pellet fuel for burning wood without a lot of muss and fuss. The wood pellets are available in 40 pound bags. Just pour as much as you need into the pellet appliance and light the fire. Extra bags can be stored in the garage or any convenient place. They don't need to be exposed to sun in order to "weather" the wood. And it doesn't hurt if they get a little bit damp, as long as the water doesn't seep into the pellets inside.

After burning, there is little ash left over; so clean up isn't a problem. They produce almost no creosote, the major cause of chimney fires.


A 40 pound bag of wood pellet fuel costs no more than $5. That's enough fuel to provide 24 hours of steady heat. Depending on the local climate and your own needs, 100 to 150 bags should be able to get you through the winter. The price of a 40 pound bag has remained pretty constant for a decade. Electricity, oil, and gas can fluctuate widely in price depending on all sorts of world events that are beyond your control. With wood pellets, you can budget for the winter with more confidence.

Environmentally Friendly

Wood pellets are made from sawdust. That alone makes them environmentally friendly. They use up the leftovers from lumber mills and wood shops, converting what was useless into something quite useful. No trees are cut down in order to produce wood pellets. The wood pellets are produced from the leftovers when the trees have already been cut down and used for other purposes. The sawdust is put to use instead of filling up the local landfill.

But that's just the beginning of their environmental friendliness. As mentioned, wood pellets replace their electric, oil, and gas alternatives. Those alternatives are produced in various environmentally unfriendly ways and often rely on non-renewable resources. Wood pellets, of course, are a renewable resource.

Wood pellets burn cleaner than normal wood. A typical wood stove produces 7.5 grams of particulate emissions per hour. A wood pellet stove produces only 1.2.

Using Wood Pellets

A good wood pellet stove can be had for between $1,800 and $3,400, depending on the size, options, and style. It's also possible to purchase a pellet insert for your existing wood burning fireplace, converting it to this convenient, economical, environmentally friendly option.