Is it ok to burn pallets?

thombat4August 30, 2007

Would burning pallets in an insert be alright? I have access to some and would like to know if there is anything wrong with doing this. Forgive me if this is a dumb question but I'm new to wood burning and if I don't ask then I won't learn anything. Thanks for any and all comments or advice.


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I've burned them before & had no problems. They are usually some sort of hardwood. You'll end up with some nails in the ash. I just cut & banged them apart. They are usually pretty dry & burn easily.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 11:34PM
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Thank you kindly for that response...I may give it a shot.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 9:42AM
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Many pallets are oak. There's a company in Pennsylvania near where my parents live, Treen, that makes pallets, and they use virtually all oak.

I know several people who work in jobs where they have access to a lot of pallets, and they do a lot of their winter heating with them.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 9:50PM
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Burn them, but do mix that wood with split logs-(50/50) mix is fine. Burning them by themselves is very hard on the fireplace cause they burn so hot!!!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2007 at 5:56PM
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They do tend to burn hot, especially the thin boards. They are great as kindling to get the fire going.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 10:46AM
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Chris Newell

They do burn well, the biggest downside I found is dissaembling them. the naild are killers for chain saws etc. and they are put together so securely that I couldn't bust them apart with a sledge. I ended up using a sawzall, but after my first year od burning I quit burning pallets and go strictly with firewood now.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 3:41PM
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They can be a pain to take apart. I generally used a circular saw to cut apart. I wouldn't want to wreck my chainsaw

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 9:11PM
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Thanks for all the replies...many good points brought up.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 3:16PM
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Good tips presented here;

Use a recip.saw(sawzall).
Mix it with the firewood, use it as kindling.

I'll add some pallet wood may be oil soaked so beware of soot.

I too became tired of tearing them apart. I burn pure aged rocky mountain beetle kill pine now.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 8:33AM
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I would not burn pallets. Many Pre-2005 pallets have been treated with Methyl Bromide prior to exporting (part of phytosanitary regulations before import/export shipping to reduce risk of importing wood diseases and pests from country to country). The Methyl Bromide treated pallets should be disposed of as hazardous waste.
Newer pallets are heat treated, but don't rule out mildicides applied to some pallets.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 4:10PM
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Now that's good information.

I've never heard of pallets being so treated.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 11:11AM
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We burned pallets in our insert in the 1990s and they generated lots of heat. The pallets were not treated with anything and we all survived quite nicely. We just cut up the wood to length and threw it nails and all. The nails were then swept out when we cleaned the ashes out of the stove.
There are a lot of people that are against all woodburning and will tell you about all the nastys that are in wood when burned. The chemicals that are mentioned in the above post won't kill you or your neighbor. So if you have pallets nearby, cut them up and toss them in along with your cordwood. They will burn VERY hot so be sure to mix the wood.
Again we had NO problems with pallets from the local trucking company.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2007 at 6:54AM
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First of all, I cut and burn plenty of firewood so No, I am not against all woodburning.
It is possible to burn wood that has been chemically treated and not see any immediate health effects. Methyl Bromide is a regulated chemical that can have long term adverse effects on your health. I haven't even scratched the surface on mildicides, and the hazard potentials they may have.

Pallets come and go from a lot of places and verifying their origin and treatments may not be easy. If the local trucking company handled any imported pallets or pallets ready for export, then count on it, you handled Methyl Bromide.

You can do with this information as you like. I am sure that the guy down at the "Local Trucking Company" is quite the authority on handling chemically treated wood safely.

If any other readers would like a second opinion check out the link to the government website I attached or just google Methyl Bromide or Methyl Q.

Here is a link that might be useful: Methyl Bromide Facts

    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 5:21PM
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I think it might be unwise to burn a regular supply of treated pallets, but the occasional pallet appears ok. A quick reading of the methyl bromide facts link above, points out that foods are treated with the gas form, that it used to be used in fire extinguishers, and to treat buildings that presumably have some humans around.
I wouldn't want to stand on the roof and directly inhale the smoke with or without pallets.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 1:03PM
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I am unsure of how readily available the pre-2005 Methyl Bromide treated pallets are, because the requirement is now to have pallets heat treated, as MB was phased out for pallets. I am reasonably sure that some of them may still be around though. While I consider MB an issue, the heat treated pallets sound safe. However, after heat treating pallets many companies find that mildew and fungus growth is a problem, so then they take the steps of treating pallets with a mildicide.

I have no idea what chemical they use for mildicides, but this is going to be found on post 2005 pallets.

I have the choice of what I am burning, which is Ash and White Oak. I simply want to make other readers aware of the potential hazards that lie in burning treated wood.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2007 at 4:04PM
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can't be any worse than me burning tires in my boiler....

    Bookmark   November 28, 2007 at 3:07AM
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Wayass, you've GOT to go to and post THAT!

That's a group of nutcases that can cite every evil chemical in wood smoke that will eliminate the human race.
I go there to just tweak them and pi## them off.

They are trying to ban all OWBs from the face of the earth.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2007 at 7:46AM
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My neighbor burns pallets (and chainsaws them apart endlessly). The smell is terrible, not fragrant like a campfire at all. I'm worried about chemical fumes and about the safety of the jerry-rigging he's calling duct-work from his garage where the wood stove is to the house. Are there prohibitions/regulations for this kind of activity within city limits?

    Bookmark   January 2, 2011 at 5:38AM
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@cuda71 If you are going to talk like you are an expert on something and then post a link, for crying out loud post a link that actually goes to the issue at hand! Yours did not. What a boob! Secondly what are your fires like? Perhaps an open pit in the middle of your living room? A ventless brick kiln in your dirt floor kitchen for making tortillas? A properly vented wood burning stove that is air tight is the most efficient heating method via combustible fuels. Therefore no products of combustion other than heat escape indoors. The moral of the story here is pull your head out of your smoke and shut the hell up! also a properly sealed stove can be dampened down to burn confetti super slow. Nothing burns hot and fast without O2. Duh!

OK then who's next? N E X T ! ! !

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 12:13PM
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Nice rant.

Three years too late, but nice rant.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 9:43PM
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