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  #1  
Old 10/30/10, 12:03 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Burning wood pallets in wood stove

What are the pro's and con's of burning wood pallets in a wood stove? How many people on HT burn pallets? Thanks in advance for any and all replies.

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  #2  
Old 10/30/10, 12:13 PM
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Back in the 70's my ex. worked at a place that would bring in steel on these pallets that had the bottom boards made of oak, they were 4x4's. They burned great.

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  #3  
Old 10/30/10, 12:18 PM
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I used to get some as well and they had oak slats also. I had an electric chainsaw to use in the garage because I got a lot of scrap wood from a pallet making factory. Anyway, I just sawed them up and left the nails in. I picked them out after the wood had burned. A lot less work for me and it didn't hurt anything.

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  #4  
Old 10/30/10, 12:20 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Tennessee
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Pros if they free great Cons few nails or staples in the stove

Right now am burning 2x4 cutoff pieces from a runner order all oak .

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  #5  
Old 10/30/10, 12:25 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Mo
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I've burned them sometimes when my wood was running low. The ones I had burned kind of quick, but hot. Good way to get the stove warmed up and the blower going. I burn them nails and all and then run the ash through a heavy screen. The kids like pulling the nails out of the ash with a magnet. I cut mine up with an electric chainsaw too. It's cheap heat. You have to reload the stove more often so I burn that kind of stuff when I'm home during the day and the heavier logs at night.

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  #6  
Old 10/30/10, 12:26 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Oregon
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We get pallets at the water treatment plant. Some oak and some pine, pine makes great kindling. They are easy to cut up, 2 cuts between the skids and they come right apart, knock the nails out and good wood. 1/2 of the wood I burn is recycled wood, pallets and short cuts from my B-i-l's homebuilding buisness. Since my cabin is so small and I have so much pasive solar mass, I build small fires, warm up the mass and let it radiate. I use about a cord of wood during the winter....James

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  #7  
Old 10/30/10, 01:41 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Southern Alberta
Posts: 284

I've been burning pallets for 2 1/2 years, it's pretty much all I burn these days. I get mine from the dump, and cut them up with a circular saw and chop saw. I need about 100 pallets per heating season (Sept to June). I guess I should work on the efficiency of my house a bit, I could save myself some woodcutting time.

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  #8  
Old 10/30/10, 05:01 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: North Carolina
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I have considered this myself but are alot of pallets made of pine?? Thats my only concern is with chimney buildup?

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  #9  
Old 10/30/10, 05:39 PM
 
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I like them. The oak ones burn nice and hot. If they're really old, they're turned into kindling instead. If you want to use the ashes for lawn fertilizer, just pick out any remaining nails & screws that are left.

wannabfree, you can tell if the wood is pine or oak. The ones used to ship heavier items are usually oak, though. A little pine for kindling is okay, but you're right about not wanting to burn a lot of it because of the creosote.

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  #10  
Old 10/30/10, 05:59 PM
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We had a barn full of old oak pallets.. wow! Hot!
Now we don't ahve nearly so many.
We save them for the coldest of the cold nights and early mornings to really warm the house quickly.

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  #11  
Old 10/30/10, 06:05 PM
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great kindling as mentioned........easy to pick up for free too.

i dabble in wood working and some of those slats make nice boards to make things out of. if ya screw up. so what. throw it in the stove, it was free after all

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  #12  
Old 10/30/10, 06:05 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
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Pallets that are used to transport produce are fumigated regularly. Those that are freshly treated are very noticeable.
That's why, produce sometimes has an 'off' taste and smell.

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  #13  
Old 10/30/10, 08:45 PM
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
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We get them free from a place that reconditions pallets. Actually, what we get are the discard pieces, already separated. Sometimes, they are already cut to length too. It saves us a bundle on propane, for sure.

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  #14  
Old 10/30/10, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNWest View Post
Pallets that are used to transport produce are fumigated regularly. Those that are freshly treated are very noticeable.
That's why, produce sometimes has an 'off' taste and smell.
Can you footnote this claim to a half decent reliable source? Please include notes supporting the claim that "produce sometimes has an 'off' taste and smell" because the pallets it was shipped on were fumigated with a mystery insecticide that presumably smells and tastes bad.

Total nonsense in my humble opinion.

Pete
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  #15  
Old 10/30/10, 09:28 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Ohio
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Find some way to get the pallets to your location. Cut them into pieces that will fit into your stove. Be prepared to fill your stove a bit more often than usual because the smaller and thinner pieces will burn faster than larger pieces of wood. Dump the ash in a pile until it is completely cool. If you desire to remove the nails run them through a sifter of some kind to catch the nails. If you do not want to remove the nails they will eventually rust away.

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  #16  
Old 10/30/10, 09:34 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
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If I ever get to heat with wood again, I'll be burning every pallet I can get my hands on.

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  #17  
Old 10/30/10, 09:39 PM
 
Join Date: May 2010
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I'll burn a pallet anyday! I also collect up scrap lumber if I see some building/remodeling going on closeby. I do stay away from pressure treated wood; was told that is bad for burning (no actual proof).

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  #18  
Old 10/31/10, 06:26 AM
 
Join Date: May 2005
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We have an outside wood stove forced air and we burn pallets a lot . My husband works at a factory and brings them home . They have the oak legs . Gets the house warm fast !

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  #19  
Old 10/31/10, 09:22 AM
Brenda Groth
 
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generally they are very difficult to disassemble and you can hit a nail with a chainsaw trying to cut them up..also you have to sift the nails out of your ashes..a heavy magnet helps a lot..but we don't use anything with nails in our wood boiler..too much hassle

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  #20  
Old 10/31/10, 09:38 AM
 
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A lot of pallets can have spilled chemicals on them.

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  #21  
Old 10/31/10, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiritrider View Post
A lot of pallets can have spilled chemicals on them.
I know where my pallets come from. If your getting them from a grocery store, hardware store, or even a factory the chances of chemicals being spilled all over them are pretty low. I burned pallets for years along with dimensional lumber and never had a problem.

Pine is fine as long as it is extremely dry. The stuff I burn has been dead for 5-6 years and all the bark has fallen off. Pine pallets are plenty safe to burn. It is the sappy nature of pine that makes it unsafe. Once the sap is gone it is as safe as any other wood.
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  #22  
Old 10/31/10, 10:05 AM
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedneckPete View Post
Can you footnote this claim to a half decent reliable source? Please include notes supporting the claim that "produce sometimes has an 'off' taste and smell" because the pallets it was shipped on were fumigated with a mystery insecticide that presumably smells and tastes bad.

Total nonsense in my humble opinion.

Pete
No reliable sources, except we [hubby & I] hauled produce for 11 years and often had to wait for the pallets in the sheds to be finished with their fumigation. Produce skids are painted blue, [the returnable ones], and the others are dumped into the pallet frenzy.

We were required to haul back pallets, like for like, and we bought them from any source we could. Hense the fumigation. Have you worked hauling produce or worked the sheds?
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  #23  
Old 10/31/10, 10:21 AM
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We did wood heat a couple of winters with pallets from a steel plant, they were oak 4 X 4 with pine slats. Pro's - they were free, the big pieces of oak make a good hot fire that lasted awhile, and since our stove was in the basement, you could stack up a nice cube of wood down there and not have to go outside for wood very often. The stove pipe went outside thru a window right behind the stove (replace the glass with a steel sheet) and then up, so for creosote removal, a weekly pounding of the pipe with a big hammer brought it down. Cons - the room above the stove was too hot while the farther reaches of the house were still chilly. Our insurance company was unaware so they wouldn't have paid off if we had a claim. We both had jobs so the fire would be out by the time we got home from work.

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  #24  
Old 10/31/10, 10:45 AM
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Louisiana
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I've burned, with the same caveats as others have stated...stick to hardwoods, use the pine for kindling, screen out the nails in the ash.

Best stuff I ever got, though, was the cores from a veneer mill...ya know, the rounds that are left over after they've shaved off all the veneer they can? Great firewood!

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  #25  
Old 10/31/10, 11:47 AM
 
Join Date: May 2009
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i burn tons of them. most are oak. i have an out door wood boiler that has no grates so nails arent a problem. i use my skill saw & cut them in 1/2. good hot fire. the last 3 years thats all ive burned. i haul a truck load home from work every night. i havent cut fire wood in a long time.

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  #26  
Old 10/31/10, 11:57 AM
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
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I love heating with pallets. easy to cut with a skill saw. easy to carry a bunch. easy to load in the stove. nice hot fire.

The only problem I've ever had was when a large truck was delivering some and ignored where I said to dump them. He ran over the sewer pipe. Oh that was fun to fix but the pallets were free.

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  #27  
Old 10/31/10, 12:11 PM
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We use them to start the fire- burn hot and fast. Wish I had an unlimited supply!

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  #28  
Old 10/31/10, 12:25 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
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Here most are a real soft wood, not great heat. Takes a little affort to make them stove-size, for the amount of heat you get.

Most have some glue involved, (or spilled 'whatever' contamination on them) which can be a concern to some - burning synthetics.

You get metal nails in the ashes, which is a problem for disposal.

Pros are the price, and if it works for your situation, can't beat that.

--->Paul

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  #29  
Old 10/31/10, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedneckPete View Post
Can you footnote this claim to a half decent reliable source? Please include notes supporting the claim that "produce sometimes has an 'off' taste and smell" because the pallets it was shipped on were fumigated with a mystery insecticide that presumably smells and tastes bad.

Total nonsense in my humble opinion.

Pete
Don't worry...
2-4d, ddt, and a multitude of other chlorinated hydrocarbons are good for you...

Never having not had an endless supply of firewood (two cords worth of dead oaks less than 50yds from the house), and free gas for heat, I've not had to burn pallets. If I did, I'd be leary of any stained wood, or wood that looked 'off', or smelled bad. Documentation is good, I reckon, if a person doesn't "know" something... some folks have a built in instinct about such things... if it looks like it might be duck poo, I don't need to smell or taste it to make sure... I just figger it's duck poo and avoid it.

[local bandsaw mill's have literally tons of oak and other slabs that they have to burn off regularly. I'm getting one soon, and I'm pre-planning out locations where I can dump them on my place... some will be good enough for the neighbors to haul off for fence patching... some will just go in deep soils with zero topsoil to hold the earth together.]
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  #30  
Old 10/31/10, 06:37 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
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Used to work for a guy who had a circular sawmill. He'd cut his slabs just a bit on the generous side and his side-business was firewood.

Folks he sawed for didn't seem to ind, as he was $25/thousand less than anybody else...

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