I have been using a Janfire NH pellet burner in my pellet-fired central heating system for just about a year, now. During that year, I have burned pellets with varying attributes. The burner has been “happy” to burn most pellets, except one batch containing foreign silica, which created debilitating clinkering. No other pellets have fazed the burner.

Several weeks ago, as one of the owners of Maine Energy Systems, I got to “burn up” some wood pellets that we wouldn’t sell to our customers because they weren’t burning cleanly. During that burn, I made plenty of hot water over the summer, but had to reduce my ashscrape interval to 15 pounds to prevent burner pot fouling.

I was delighted to get through with the questionable pellets and add a new load of the pellets we send to customers. When I got the new pellets, I increased my ashscrape cycle to the 40 pounds common in Europe and am enjoying troublefree performance.

Maine Energy Systems and the University of Maine are testing regionally produced pellets each season to ensure that we understand many of the attributes of those pellets before we make them available to our pellet boiler customers. We are measuring for the concentrations of many elements which become active during combustion, which is common in Europe but not in the U.S. Understanding these attributes helps us ensure good performance for pellet boiler users.

Dutch Dresser

Dutch Dresser is a partner and Director of Maine Energy Systems in Bethel, Maine