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How to Burn Wood Pellets in Regular Stoves

Wood pellets are a kind of heating fuel compressed out of crop waste, sawdust and other kinds of biomass. This kind of fuel can save you money on heating. You can buy a pellet stove in which to burn this fuel, or you can adapt your regular wood stove to burn it. All you need is a pellet basket insert. You can buy one at a fireplace supply store or some home improvement centres. Measure the inside of your regular wood stove so you know what size pellet basket to buy.

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  1. Wait until your regular wood stove is completely cold. Remove the ashes and sweep it clean. Take out the grates.

  2. Insert the pellet basket into the regular stove. It should be level and have at least 2 inches of space between the walls of the stove and the sides of the basket. The door of the stove should close easily with at least 2 inches between it and the basket. There should be 3 or more inches of free space above the basket.

  3. Fill the pellet basket insert with wood pellets. Some pellet baskets have a slanted bottom. If you have one of these, slope the top of the pellets to be parallel to the bottom of the basket.

  4. Open the flue of your regular stove to maximum. Place about 2 tbsp of alcohol gel fire starter on top of the pellets in the basket. Light the starter with a fireplace lighter and close the door of the regular stove. You can adjust the airflow in the flue when the fire has become well established. Increase airflow in the flue if the pellets smoke. They should not smoke at all.

  5. Tip

    To refill the basket with the fire still burning, wait until about 2 inches of pellets remain in the bottom of the basket. Scrape them toward the front with a small shovel. Shovel in additional pellets at the back until they touch the burning ones in the front. Clean the regular stove at least once a day. Let the fire go out and the stove become cold. Sweep out the ashes. You can use fire starter or fatwood instead of gel fire starter. You can also buy pellet basket inserts for your fireplace.


    Be extremely careful with open flames. Have a fire extinguisher handy. Do not leave fires unattended.

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Things You'll Need

  • Pellet basket
  • Pellet fuel
  • Alcohol gel fire starter
  • Fireplace lighter

About the Author

Karren Doll Tolliver holds a Bachelor of English from Mississippi University for Women and a CELTA teaching certificate from Akcent Language School in Prague. Also a photographer, she records adventures by camera, combining photos with journals in her blogs. Her latest book, "A Travel for Taste: Germany," was published in 2015.

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