You can always re-use empty pellet bags and wood pallets for DIY projects – but what about the shroud that comes wrapped around your pellet delivery? It can come in really handy this time of year.
Hauling out the Christmas tree after the holidays can be a messy, arduous task. On top of being repeatedly poked with sharp branches, the dried out needles get absolutely everywhere. With a little tweak ahead of time, you can avoid this headache.
Simply position the shroud on the floor where the tree will go, and roll up the sides in order to hide it under the tree skirt. When you’re ready to take the tree out – you’ll have this heavy plastic in place to help. Simply unfurl the shroud up and around the tree to cover and secure it for removal!
As a year-round wood pellet retailer, we’re always seeing fluctuations in pricing and supply/demand through the seasons. However, the beginning of the 2018-’19 heating season has its fair share of complications.
These setbacks have affected a significant number of pellet stove owners throughout the states – understandably resulting in many questions.
While we are hesitant to use the phrase “wood pellet shortage” – we are concerned with the increasingly tight supply of pellets in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the ability for pellet mills to meet a growing demand.
Here are some main factors contributing to the current state of wood pellet supply:
The industry has been struck with a series of catastrophic fires that have crippled some large pellet mills from producing pellet fuel. The sudden removal of these suppliers has forced many retailers to scramble for alternative sources.
Many pellet mills have had great difficulty building necessary inventory levels due to this year’s weather. Last year’s winter stretched far into spring, depleting much of the inventory normally built up over the summer. Furthermore, with the record wet fall and extremely cold November, many mills have ended up with a historically low level of inventory.
Transportation has become more and more expensive and limited due to a growing shortage of qualified CDLA drivers, as well as strict new government regulations on hours of service via Electronic Log Devices. This technology – which is designed to enforce limits on driving time without breaks – has not only pushed many seasoned drivers to quit, but also reduces the number of trucks available overall. All of this significantly affects pellet suppliers trying to move wood pellets to where they’re needed.
The price of heating oil always makes an impact on wood pellet demand. When heating oil costs increase, like this year, many pellet stove owners switch back to relying predominantly on pellet fuel. Combined with the rising pellet stove sale rates, this equates to a tremendous amount of new demand for wood pellets this year.
All of these factors have made the wood pellet market tight, and it’s possible this may worsen as we get into winter. However – any number of variables can dramatically change the state of this industry. A milder than expected winter; a dramatic drop in the price of heating oil; or a slowdown in the economy can all directly impact wood pellet availability. That being said, the risk of supply disruptions this winter is still significantly higher than in prior years.
If you haven’t secured your fuel for the winter, or think you didn’t order enough to safely last the entire season, you should do so immediately. While there are still many retailers selling pellets (including ourselves in certain regions) we cannot be certain on how long the availability will last.
For those who remember the winter of 2014, pellet shortages can occur very quickly and without much warning. The wood pellet market is in a delicate state and vulnerable to supply disruptions – which is why we strongly recommend you secure your pellet fuel while you still have the opportunity.
Many folks don’t have the space to keep their wood pellet fuel stacked on pallets as delivered. Although storing wood pellets outside is possible and very common, we’ve noticed our customers often have our delivery drivers place the skids near an entrance to the house for re-stacking inside.
Regardless of how you’re stacking the bags within your space, be sure to maneuver the bags in your front row to build up more bulk. This bag molding method makes the front row a little taller, making the stack lean a bit towards the wall as you layer up. This will help prevent an unfortunate (and potentially dangerous) toppling of your bags. See the photos below, provided to us by a customer with his warning of “Don’t shortcut” during your stacking.
Since every pellet stove is different, some of the best advice can be found in your stove manual. Whether you’re burning pellets for the first time in a new stove, firing up your system at the start of a new season, or switching to a new brand of pellets, this quick reference guide for troubleshooting some common burn quality issues should come in handy.
The Likely Culprit
Poor burn quality
Clean your stove according to your manufacturer’s recommendations, or schedule a professional cleaning.
Burning on ‘low’
Adjust heat setting to medium or medium/high.
Clean all vents, check and repair/replace all gaskets, adjust damper or airflow setting.
Adjust air-to-pellet ratio by increasing air flow.
Lazy or small flame
Adjust air-to-pellet ratio by increasing air flow and/or decreasing feed rate.
Low heat output
Adjust air-to-pellet ratio by increasing air flow and/or increasing feed rate.
Sparks flying / embers in the ash pot
Adjust air-to-pellet ratio by decreasing air flow and/or decreasing feed rate.
Whole, charred pellets left in the burn pot
Adjust air-to-pellet ratio by decreasing air flow and/or decreasing feed rate.
Auger jamming / stove shutting down
Drop bags on the floor – this can break long pellets into a manageable length.
Excessive ash build up / whole, charred pellets in burn pot
Reduce feed rate.
As you can see, many burn issues are directly related to your stove’s airflow. If you have reviewed your owner’s manual to make the proper settings adjustments, but you’re still experiencing problems…you might have a leak. Wood pellet stoves operate through a system of air intake and exhaust, and the exhaust fan sucks air out through the burn pot to cause combustion of the pellets. It’s important to inspect your venting setup to see if it’s properly sealed, but it’s more likely the leak is through your door gasket.
It’s simple to test the door seal efficiency with a dollar bill. While holding on to one end of the bill, insert the other side into the door, and shut it. Pull out the dollar while the door is still shut, and note the resistance. You shouldn’t be able to remove the bill without a good amount of resistance. Repeat this method all around your door to check the full effectiveness of your gasket.
Please call 1-800-PELLETS if you have any concerns with the quality of your Woodpellets.com fuel. Learn about our Quality Guarantee, here.
Here’s the Farmers’ Almanac Official Thanksgiving weather forecast for the Northeast and New England on Thursday, November 22 through Sunday, November 25:
New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Washington D.C. will experience wet conditions that may linger in most of the area (especially in New England) but the weekend should be fair.
New York State Thruway, South of Buffalo. Photo by NYS Police.
The Farmers Almanac has also put together an overview of history’s storms that wreaked havoc on Thanksgiving events and travel, including the Great Appalachian Storm of 1950, Chicago’s White Thanksgiving in 1975, Denver’s Turkey Day Blizzard in 1983, New York City’s White Thanksgiving in 1989 and the Lake Effect “Snowvember” Storm in 2014
The Woodpellets.com Premier Delivery option involves the use of a pallet jack. This special tool is a hand-operated machine that lifts heavy pallets, allowing delivery drivers to pull skids of fuel over flat, smooth surfaces like a cement floor.
Because of their maneuverability and small size, pallet jacks give you greater flexibility than forklifts to place pallets exactly where you need them.
To see if a pallet jack delivery is an option in your area, call 1-800-PELLETS or visit Woodpellets.com for a free quote!
We love how inventive our customers are! Steve of Massachusetts explained,
“I store my pellets in my basement and for a couple years, me and my family would carry 2-3 tons from the driveway, through the kitchen and down the cellar stairs and pile them on pallets. Then I had an idea. I built a slide on the stairs made of 2X4’s and aluminum flashing. We now do 3 tons in under an hour. Two carry and slide them down the stairs and one in the basement stacking!”
Every year, we hold a pre-peak season delivery meeting to make sure we’re equipped to make our customers happy. It’s great to get everyone together in one place, but even better to go over the whole delivery process as a team. In order to make your Woodpellets.com home delivery as smooth as possible – we thought it’d be helpful to share an overall guide.
The more information you provide, the better. Does your road have heavy construction going on? Is your driveway hard to find? Does your address not come up on GPS? If our drivers know ahead of time what to be prepared for, we can better serve you. It’s better to be up front about any tricky circumstances especially, so the delivery team can do all that’s possible to find a solution ahead of time.
The forklift is bigger than you may realize. It’s actually over 8 feet wide, and the highest point is also 8 feet tall. It’s mounted on the back of the truck, which parks in the road. The driver lowers it down to the ground, uses it to remove your fuel from the truck, and then drives it up your driveway to place the pallets where you need them. Due to the heavy weight of the load and the forklift itself, it can’t be driven across any leach fields, sprinkler lines, or soft lawn. Keep this in mind when you’re deciding where to have your pallets of fuel placed!
Communication is key! Our delivery team will send you an email, text your phone, and/or call you (whichever way you’ve indicated you prefer) to confirm your delivery. Also, sometimes we reach out ahead of time to confirm your delivery instructions or to get clarification on something. If you get a message requesting a call or email back from our team, please don’t forget to do so! Depending on the information we require from you, we probably won’t be able to schedule a delivery if there are unanswered questions pending.
If you have a very specific placement requirement, mark it. Many driveway deliveries have instructions like this: “Please place pallets in front of the garage door”. This is vague, usually because the customer wants the pallets near the door, so he or she can bring the bags inside to hand-stack. On the other hand, if you want a much more specific location for placement, mark the space with a sign, or an overturned trashcan, and let us know your indicator. Our driver will do everything possible to safely deliver your pallets where you want them.
The forklift’s path must be clear. Forgetting to move cars out of the way is a common mistake, and one that can really make for a more difficult delivery. Keeping a clear path (at least 8 feet wide, including any turns) for the driver is important, not only for saving time – but for protecting your belongings. Our drivers are very careful and skilled, but as we mentioned before, the forklift is pretty bulky and difficult to maneuver in tight spaces.
Note: Moving cars, toys, and equipment out of the way is important – but so is getting kids and pets out of the area! Keeping children and any pets inside during delivery is very helpful to the driver. There are already many variables to think about during a delivery, so avoiding the addition of small running bodies to the mix is crucial.
You don’t actually have to be home. If your schedule isn’t meshing with ours, it’s totally fine. As long as your instructions are clear (see above) and you let us know exactly where you’d like your fuel (see below), our driver can handle it in most situations without your physical presence. We also have your contact information in case something comes up, of course.
Note: Garage deliveries often involve the customer being at home, to open the door to allow the pallet jack to place the fuel inside. However, many customers are fine with leaving the garage door open if they can’t be home at the time of delivery. It’s all about whatever you are comfortable with!
Regarding garage delivery: Are we able to move around in the garage for your Premier Delivery? Now that you’ve cleared your driveway for our equipment, have you cleared a path in the garage for the pallet jack? This is another overlooked step at times, unfortunately. The pallet jack, while smaller than the forklift, is still a heavy-duty piece of equipment, moving a 4-foot wide pallet of fuel. Make sure all the stuff that tends to accumulate in the garage is cleared out of the path of your fuel’s final destination. See our quick video below, which shows a Premier Delivery in action!
We are always happy to answer any questions you might have. Please give us a call at 1-800-PELLETS to speak to a pellet expert, or visit our website at www.Woodpellets.com for more information. We hope this guide on home delivery has been helpful!
Although the Old Farmer’s Almanac recently released predictions about a mild, average winter…the other Farmers’ Almanac has released a very different forecast.
“Contrary to some stories floating around on the internet, our time-tested, long-range formula is pointing towards a very long, cold, and snow-filled winter,” Farmers’ Almanac Editor and Philom Peter Geiger says in the press release. “We stand by our forecast and formula, which accurately predicted most of the winter storms last year as well as this summer’s steamy, hot conditions.”
Founded in 1818, the Farmer’s Almanac is known for long-term weather forecasts generated by a mathematical and astronomical formula first used in 1818 by founder David Young. This long-standing formula uses sunspot activity, planet positioning, tidal action and a variety of other factors to work. The exact formula is carefully protected by the Farmers’ Almanac organization – known only by their weather prognosticator who goes by the pseudonym of “Caleb Weatherbee”.
The Almanac, which provides 16 months of weather forecasts for 7 zones, is predicting winter 2019 to be “colder-than-normal…from the Continental Divide east through the Appalachians.” The report also warns of above-normal snow accumulation for the Great Lakes states, Midwest, and central and northern New England, with the majority of it falling in January and February.
Whether you follow long range weather forecasts or not, we’re here to help. To speak to a Woodpellets.com expert, call 1-800-PELLETS!
About 50 miles west of Columbus Ohio, the His Hands Extended Sanctuary in St. Paris provides medical care, food, and shelter to homeless pets that would otherwise be forgotten. The organization notes that what’s also very importantly provided is “lots of love – to begin the rebuilding of shattered lives.” His Hands Sanctuary not only facilitates the adoption of these animals into loving families, but also provides a comfortable lifelong home for those not adopted.
A simple post on the rescue’s Facebook has sparked a touching series of donations…and a new way to manage their fuel delivery. With many buildings for the dogs and cats who live there, the sanctuary relies on multiple wood pellet stoves for heat. The post explained how the sanctuary uses wood pellets to keep the animals warm, and that “any help with this huge expense will be wonderful”. They asked for any willing donors to call Woodpellets.com to contribute directly to the pellet fund. It wasn’t long before the sanctuary had four donated tons in their account.
In the past, volunteers have donated their time and effort to hauling in pallets of wood pellets in multiple trips from a box store. The whole team was so touched by this example of community giving, Woodpellets.com will deliver all future His Hands Extended Sanctuary wood pellet orders for free.
If you’d like to learn more about this organization, you can visit their Facebook page here.