Pallets are easy to find, affordable, and made of wood, so they are an obvious candidate for firewood.
Pallets are typically used to ship products from one location to another and they can be found at construction sites or near loading docks.
In this article, you will learn how to use them for fuel and why they’re such an excellent choice!
Can Pallet Wood Be Used as Firewood?
Yes, pallets can make for great firewood. They come in many different sizes and lengths. You may want to avoid treated or painted ones but most varieties of wood burn well when properly seasoned/dried out.
Benefits of Using Pallets as Firewood
There are many benefits to using pallets as firewood:
- Pallets come in different shapes and sizes, so you’re bound to find one that fits your needs.
- They are available in abundance, sometimes for free at local businesses or construction sites.
- Pallets burn cleanly and without sparks. They produce a consistent amount of heat which makes them great for cooking over an open fire.
- Using pallets as firewood is more environmentally friendly than using new wood.
Drawbacks of Using Pallets as Firewood
There are a few drawbacks when it comes to pallet firewood:
- Pallets may be made out of different types of wood that burn at different rates.
- You will have to manually cut pallets down to a smaller size.
- Pallets may have nails, staples, or other metal pieces that could be hazardous when burned in an open flame.
- Pallets can be large and heavy, making them challenging to transport and store.
- Pallets are sometimes treated with chemicals like pesticides and insecticides or painted with lead-based paint, which is toxic when burned and will send off fumes that smell bad.
How to Use Pallets for Firewood
1. Get Hold of Some Pallets
To use pallets as firewood, you will first need to find some at a local business or construction site. You can use online marketplaces and garage sales to find affordable or free pallets as well.
2. Check for Paint and Chemical Treatments
You’ll want to make sure that the wood isn’t treated with chemicals like pesticides and insecticides or painted with lead-based paint. This will help prevent you from breathing in hazardous fumes.
Some pallets may have a stamp that indicates the chemicals used — if it reads “HT,” then you can probably use them as firewood without any problems or hesitation, but if nothing is indicated on the pallet, err on the side of caution and avoid burning those ones.
3. Remove Any Nails and Residue
If you’ve found a pallet that is free of chemicals and painted with lead-based paint, you’ll want to remove any nails or other metal pieces.
You can use pliers, wire cutters, and pry bars for this task. If the wood doesn’t come off easily by hand then try using these tools instead to make sure you don’t damage the pallet.
Once all of the nails are removed, sweep off any residue or dust that may have collected on them to ensure a clean burn.
If there is still some loose debris left behind after removing the nails and sweeping, try sanding it down with an electric sander first. Be careful not to damage the wood while doing this.
If you don’t have an electric sander available, try using a wire brush or steel wool instead. This will help take off any excess gunk without damaging the pallet too much.
4. Dry Out the Wood
Whether you’re using them for cooking over an open fire or heating your home, it’s important to dry out pallets before using them by leaving them in the sun for a few days and rotating every so often. You can do this by stacking them vertically instead of laying them flat in a dry and covered area.
Let them sit for at least two weeks minimum, up to 6 months for bone-dry wood. Then use a saw to cut them down into smaller pieces. You can also dry out the wood by placing it near a burning fire so that the moisture evaporates quickly.
Once they are dry, you can split the pieces of wood so that they fit your fireplace or stove. You can also use a hammer and nails to break them down into smaller pieces.
5. Build a Fire in Your Pit
You can now use them as firewood by placing tinder underneath and building a tepee-shaped fire. Place kindling and a few pieces of tinder in the centre of the tepee and surround it with some of your split pieces. Light one corner or edge of the kindling to get things started.
Once you have a good fire going, add more pallets throughout the night so that you can keep it burning all night long. If necessary, use bigger logs on top of them in order to feed into the fire.
How Do You Know if a Pallet Is Safe to Burn?
You want to avoid burning any pallets that have been treated with chemicals or painted with lead-based paint. If you find a stamp on the wood or it’s labelled as chemical-free, then those ones can be burned safely and will not emit harmful fumes.
Pallets marked “HT” are safe for open flame because they’ve been heat-treated beforehand. If you can’t find a stamp on the wood, then err on the side of caution and only burn it if it is untreated.
If your pallet has been treated with chemicals, it will be labelled with MB, DB, or WBP. This means that it has been chemically treated with methyl bromide, dichlorobenzene, or pentachlorophenol, respectively.
If you find pallets that are painted, then steer clear of them because the paint may be toxic and can be hazardous to your health when burned in an open flame.
The cost of firewood, such as the man made fire starter logs, can add up quickly, so it’s both economical and environmentally friendly to reuse pallets for your pit.
Make sure to follow the above steps to ensure that your fire burns hot, evenly, and that there isn’t any risk of toxic fumes from chemicals or paints.
Once you have tended to each of these details, you should have no problem using pallets for firewood in a firepit, to heat your home, or cook over open flames.