How to Burn Wood Pellets in a Standard Stove

Karren Doll Tolliver

Pellet fuel saves hundreds of dollars on heating. Although you can buy stoves made specifically for burning pellet fuel, you can convert an existing wood stove to burn pellet fuel as well. Using a metal basket insert designed specifically for this purpose, you can begin to use pellet fuel immediately in your wood stove. Pellet fuel is cleaner and burns more efficiently than logs. It is made from recycled materials that otherwise would go to a landfill. Thus, using pellet fuel in your wood stove is a very green heating solution.

Burn pellet fuel in your existing wood stove with a pellet basket insert.
  1. Clean your wood stove. Remove ashes and unconsumed wood. Remove any grates or other inserts.

  2. Place the pellet basket insert into your cold wood stove. Make sure it sits level. Place it toward the front of the stove but ensure the door to the stove closes easily with the basket inside.

  3. Shovel pellets into the basket until it is completely full. Level the pellets parallel to the slant of the basket bottom to help create the best fire. Some pellets will fall through the basket. Leave them where they fall.

  4. Open the vents and flue of the wood stove fully to create airflow. Squirt some gel fire starter on top of the pellets near the front of the basket. Ignite the gel with a fireplace lighter or a long match. Close the stove door when you see the flame is established.

  5. Adjust the vents after the top layer of pellets has caught fire to regulate the burn time and heat output. Do not stop airflow enough that the pellets create smoke.

  6. Scrape the pellet embers to the front of the basket when about two inches remain. Open the vents to maximum. Shovel in more pellets at the back of the basket until they fall forward, touching the pellet embers and igniting. Some smoking may occur for the first few minutes. Adjust the vents to lesser airflow if desired once the smoke has cleared.

  7. Allow the fire to go out and the stove to get cold once a day. Remove the pellet basket and sweep out all the ashes from the wood stove. Replace the basket and repeat the process to start another fire.