Quality fuel like any other
When you put gas in your car, you don’t worry about whether the octane is right or if there are impurities in it. You assume the oil companies and regulators look after that. You know there are minimum quality standards.
It’s the same with Canadian wood pellets. Wood pellet production and finished quality is carefully monitored by the pellet mills’ own lab staff, and the industry supports a number of quality standards and third-party quality certification organizations. Here are the two main quality standards Canadian consumers will run into:
Pellet Fuel Institute: Referred to as PFI, this U.S. organization has long been certifying the quality of its members’ pellets, and is a quality seal you’ll often see on 40-lb bags on both sides of the border.
CANplus: The CANplus & ENplus quality seals account for the entire wood pellet supply chain – from production to delivery to the final customer, therefore ensuring high quality as well as transparency. The standard was started in Europe, where a whole lot more homes heat with wood pellets, and in Canada the Wood Pellet Association of Canada is the national licensor for the ENplus wood pellet certification system and is the owner of the CANplus wood pellet trademark.
In both cases, when you see these seals you know you’re buying a good bag of pellets. But what does that mean? Primarily it means the pellets will hold up under normal handling and storage, will burn well, and have a very limited ash content. And that all means your stove will burn better and be easier to maintain. In fact many modern wood pellet stoves and furnaces require a minimum standard pellet.
Transparent and universal standards ensure pellets:
- Are consistent in size and shape, important for automated feeding systems and combustion
- Meet minimum durability standards, so they maintain that size and shape
- Do not contain an excess of fines (dust)
- Have an ash level below accepted standards, reducing maintenance
- Are dry enough
- Do not contain any unknown additives
Look for the mark of quality, and rest easy.