The Effect of Snow on Wood Pellet Stoves

Pellet Stove Vent BlockageHeavy snow buildup can definitely affect your pellet stove’s venting and your burn experience. Wood pellet stoves operate through a system of air intake and exhaust. If this system is hindered by a blockage (or a gasket leak) proper combustion of the pellets can’t happen. Unlike wood stoves, pellet stove venting can be either horizontal, vertical or both.

One of the ways a pellet stove burn exhaust can be set up is horizontally, straight through the exterior wall. (See Fig. A) The exterior vent allows proper air flow within the stove, and the exhaust to escape. If it’s blocked by dense snow – your stove’s ability to ignite and/or stay burning efficiently could be hindered. If your wood pellets aren’t burning through fully – this blockage could be the reason. (See Fig. B) 

A similar kind of venting is through the wall with a vertical rise (Fig. C). Vertical piping raises the exhaust further up the exterior wall. This kind of setup holds less risk of snow blockage. However, strong snow drifts (or very high snow accumulation) can still create blockage.

Pellet stoves can also have exhaust vents exiting through the roof – with some variations (Fig. D). If your roof has heavy snow piled up that hasn’t slid off or been pushed off, the vent could be blocked. Make sure to check for blockage – no matter how your stove is vented.

A whole other way your burn experience can be affected by snow is through delivery obstacles. 

Our Woodpellets.com delivery trucks park on the street, and bring your pallets up your driveway with a forklift. Of course, there is nothing you can do about large snowbanks taking up space on the road, but you can make sure your driveway is plowed enough for our 8 foot wide forklift. This will help the driver make a successful delivery – and help you avoid delivery delays. 

Please let us know if you have any questions. Call 1-800-PELLETS to speak to an expert!

 

 

Black on Your Pellet Stove Glass?

If you’re experiencing blackened glass, it can most likely be fixed with one tweak. Your problem could be caused by a lack of air flow. Burning on too low of a setting can make your air-to-pellet ratio out of balance, which results in the build-up of creosote.

To make the proper changes, first take a look at your owner’s manual. This often overlooked resource is packed with helpful model-specific info, including how to properly adjust your settings and troubleshoot.

If your settings are correct, but you’re still experiencing problems – you might have a leak.  Wood pellet stoves operate through a system of air intake and exhaust.  The exhaust fan works to suck air out through the burn pot to cause combustion of the pellets, which is hindered by a leaky gasket. The most common air flow leak is through the door gasket.

It’s simple to test your door seal 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.

While you’re checking for air leaks, also think about your venting. Are the seals tight and properly cleaned? Is it the wrong size? If you’re still experiencing burn issues, you may want to consider a stove cleaning done by a professional.

If you purchased your wood pellets from Woodpellets.com, give us a call to speak to a Quality Control Manager at 1-800-PELLETS!

 

$50 for Every Referral!

Woodpellets.com Referral Program

Only through December 15th, you can get DOUBLE the Pelletbucks for you and the person you refer to Woodpellets.com!* For each successful referral, you will get $50 added to your account, and your friend will get $50 off their first order if it’s placed by December 15th!*

Once your friend’s first order is delivered, you will automatically be credited $50 for your next order. So, if you’re happy with our service, our products and our convenient delivery…share the pellet love!


Click Here for a Printable Sheet of Referral Cards! 

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Wood Pellet FAQS

Over one million homes in the United States use wood pellets as a heating source. Although pellet popularity is continually rising, there are still many frequent questions and misconceptions about heating with wood pellets. Below, we have compiled a list of the most common inquiries we hear from both new and existing pellet users.

Can I Store Wood Pellets Outside?

Wood Pellets Stored OutsideYes – as long as you take the necessary steps to protect them. You must inspect your pellets’ packaging carefully before preparing them for outside storage. To protect your pellets from water and from any birds or squirrels that may try to puncture the plastic, you’ll definitely need to fasten a tarp over your fuel. If your pellets are outside for a while – you’ll need to keep checking on it to make sure there hasn’t been any damage or extensive wear.

If you are a customer, and you find damage that has reached the actual wood pellets, call 1-800-PELLETS right away to speak with a Quality Assurance representative.  All Woodpellets.com Quality Certified fuels are backed by a Quality Guarantee, valid for 30 days after the delivery date.

See >> How to Keep Wood Pellets Safely Stored Outside 

Can I Use a Wood Pellet Stove as My Home’s Only Source of Heat?

Depending on the location of the stove and the size/efficiency of your home – yes. Some stoves can easily heat up to 2,500 square feet of space. A common practice is to put pellet stoves in parts of the house to create zone heat, but lightly use a central furnace as a back up. It’s especially common to use oil heating as a backup to pellets, for example, when the price of oil rises significantly.

How Much Does a Pellet Stove Cost?

A typical price for buying and professionally installing a pellet stove is around $2,500 to $3,000. Of course, this number will vary depending on where you live and the kind of stove you choose.

Do Pellet Stoves Require Professional Maintenance?

Most owner’s manuals suggest a comprehensive cleaning by a trained technician at least once a year. Some manuals even suggest a checkup after each ton of pellets is burned. Also, the mechanical and electric components that make up your pellet stove can eventually wear out and need repair or replacement – so a cleaning/check-up by a professional could help prevent a surprise part-malfunction.

Read >> Wood Pellet Stove Best Practices 

 How Many Bags of Pellets Should I Buy?

Woodpellets.com Driveway DeliveryThe amount of pellets you can expect to burn through in a heating season depends on the quality of the wood pellets and the efficiency of the stove – among other things. However, one bag of quality pellets will commonly provide a full day of good, steady heat.

The average residential wood pellet customer in the Northeast uses 150-200 bags of wood pellets throughout the entire heating season. There are 50 bags in one ton of pellets, so that’s 3-4 tons.

 Is Heating with Pellets Environmentally Friendly?

The carbon footprint of burning wood pellets can be completely neutral, or close to it. If the forests where the wood pellet raw material has been taken from are sustainably managed, the overall carbon footprint is drastically reduced in comparison with fossil fuel heat. A study by The Alliance for Green Heat and VU University Amsterdam revealed that heating with wood pellets can emit about one tenth the carbon as heating with oil.

Are There Additives in Wood Pellets?

No! Wood pellets are 100% natural. There are absolutely no binders or chemicals added to the wood fiber used to create pellets. Wood naturally contains a substance, lignin, that binds wood pellets in their tightly compacted, mostly uniform shape.

>> See: How Wood Pellets Are Made

Are Softwood Pellets Better than Hardwood Pellets?

Most firewood users prefer to burn hardwood in their wood stove or fireplace, because it provides a longer burn compared to softwood due to wood density differences. However, regardless of the type of wood used to produce wood pellets, the pelletizing process produces pellets with the same density. Softwood pellets are actually most sought after, due to a higher percentage of resin content in softwood, more heat is produced per pound.

For any questions we haven’t answered here – please give us a call at 1-800-PELLETS!

 

Safely Re-Stacking Bags of Wood Pellets Takes Patience and Technique

Whether you store your pellets inside a garage or outside, you might have enough space available to keep the pellet bags on the pallet just as they were delivered. If you only have a smaller space available, or if the placed dimensions are inconvenient to you, re-stacking the wood pellet bags by hand is how you can maximize limited space.

We successfully placed 3 whole tons of wood pellets (150 bags) in a 6 foot wide space using a very simple hand-stacking technique, described below.

Hand Stacking Wood Pellet Bags in a Small Space

Each layer of bags will be reversed in formation, but will have the same layout of 5 bags vertical and 4 bags horizontal. If you plan out your layer configurations ahead of time, it’ll make the whole process easier.

The five vertical bags fit the six foot width, but the 4 horizontal bags will need a bit of adjusting. You can push these bags a little closer together to get them to lay at the same width as the vertical bags.

The next layer is the same formation – but with the five bags in front and the four in back. With each bag placement, make sure to smooth out each bag to make a flatter surface for the next layer.

Seventeen of these 9-bag layers, beside the top layer of 6, will make up the full 3 tons of pellets.

Important Re-Stacking Tip

No matter how you’re formatting 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.

Pellet Bag Re-Stacking

Still need to order your wood pellets for this heating season? You can always order online at Woodpellets.com, or call 1-800 PELLETS to speak to an expert!

Wood Pellet Stove Best Practices and Troubleshooting

Wood Pellet Stove Best Practices and TroubleshootingFall is in full swing, and the upcoming winter has been predicted to be a cold and snowy one for the northeast. If you haven’t already fired up your pellet stove for the heating season, it’s likely that you will be soon.

Read: Farmers’ Almanac Releases Winter Weather 2017-18 Forecast

This time of year, we like to remind the wood pellet community about best practices and troubleshooting tips. Being an informed pellet stove owner makes it easier to have an safe and efficient heating season.

For starters, find your owner’s manual and read it. Every stove is different, so this is where you’ll find some of the best advice for your pellet stove. From proper maintenance, to best practices and warranty information – your manual is packed with model-specific information.

If your stove hasn’t had an extensive cleaning in some time – you should consider scheduling a professional appointment. Even if you prefer to manage cleaning yourself, a bonus of having a technician check-up is that he or she is able to check on all the stove parts that might need replacement or adjustment. Furthermore, an improperly kept stove can impact your burn quality, which can lead to some headaches later.

Read: What a Professional Wood Pellet Stove Cleaning Should Look Like

While we recommend a professional cleaning once or twice a year, thorough cleanings should also be done once or twice a month. If you have the right tools, it shouldn’t take more than 20-30 minutes to complete. A scraper, stiff brush and ash vacuum with special dust bags will make this task easier for you.

Read: How to Clean Your Pellet Stove Quickly and Correctly

High quality wood pellets will significantly improve your burn experience. Check out the specifications on the pellets you’re considering. Look at the ash percentage, and know that the higher the percentage, the more frequent your cleanings will need to be. Higher quality pellets will have lower ash percentages, and therefore less maintenance.

Even when burning the most premium wood pellets, your stove needs the right balance of feed rate, air flow, and heat settings to operate efficiently. If your settings aren’t properly synced, you could have issues.

Below is a quick reference guide on the most commonly experienced problems matched with their likely culprits.

The Problem The Likely Culprit The Solution
Poor burn quality Dirty stove Clean your stove according to your manufacturer’s recommendations.
Blackened glass Burning on ‘low’ Adjust heat setting to medium or medium/high.
Excessive clinkers Airflow leak Clean all vents, check and repair/replace all gaskets, adjust damper or airflow setting.
Trouble igniting Air-to-pellet ratio Adjust air-to-pellet ratio by increasing air flow.
Lazy or small flame Air-to-pellet ratio Adjust air-to-pellet ratio by increasing air flow and/or decreasing feed rate.
Low heat output Air-to-pellet ratio Adjust air-to-pellet ratio by increasing air flow and/or increasing feed rate.
Sparks flying / embers in the ash pot Air-to-pellet ratio Adjust air-to-pellet ratio by decreasing air flow and/or decreasing feed rate.
Whole, charred pellets left in the burn pot Air-to-pellet ratio Adjust air-to-pellet ratio by decreasing air flow and/or decreasing feed rate.
Auger jamming / stove shutting down Long pellets Drop bags on the floor – this can break long pellets into a manageable length.
Excessive ash build up / whole, charred pellets in burn pot Short pellets Reduce feed rate.

If you’re a Woodpellets.com customer experiencing burn issues…don’t worry. Our Quality Certified fuels are backed by a Quality Guarantee valid for a full 30 days after your delivery date. Learn more here: Woodpellets.com Quality Guarantee

Questions? Call 1-800-PELLETS to Speak to an Expert!

For a Limited Time: $50 for Every Referral!

Woodpellets.com Referral Program

Only through December 15th, you can get DOUBLE the Pelletbucks for you and the person you refer to Woodpellets.com! For each successful referral, you will get $50 added to your account, and your friend will get $50 off their first order if it’s placed by December 15th!*

Once your friend’s first order is delivered, you will automatically be credited $50 for your next order. So, if you’re happy with our service, our products and our convenient delivery…share the pellet love!
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Stove Show-Off Photo Challenge: Win a $60 Value Set of Pellet Fire Logs!

Enter to Win a Free “Re-Usable Firewood” Set by Repose Fire Logs!

Fire Log Set
With the heating season gearing up, and with “Hearth-oween” around the corner…it’s the perfect time to show off your stove! Send us a photo of your wood stove, pellet stove (or both) and tell us about it. What brand is it? What do you like about it? We want to know!

How to Enter: “Like” our Facebook page, and submit your photo HERE. You can also tweet your photo to @woodpelletscom on Twitter If you don’t have either social network, please email your entry to sales@woodpellets.com!

We’ll gather up all the entries through October 20th and randomly select the winner of a FREE set of Wood Pellet Fire Logs!

 Speaking of the fast-approaching heating season…are you ready? Order your wood pellets online or call 1-800-735-5387 to speak to an expert!

 

No purchase necessary. One entry per household. Winning photo submission will be chosen at random and announced on 10/20/17. Entry constitutes permission for Woodpellets.com to use photo for marketing purposes. Woodpellets.com is not responsible for fire log returns, exchanges, refunds, or delivery issues. Prize cannot be substituted for cash or Woodpellets.com credit.

Inaugural National Clean Energy Week Includes Biomass

NationalCleanEnergyWeek

The first National Clean Energy Week, a forum striving to encourage support of the United States’ energy sector through technological innovation and policy change, is taking place the week of September 25-29. According to the organization’s website:

Across America, clean and readily abundant forms of energy are powering more than homes and businesses. Taken together, our capacity for safe and reliable energy generation is driving a clean energy renaissance that is creating jobs, strengthening America’s national security, and preserving our environment.

Wind and solar energy have long been the power-houses of renewables. While the carbon neutrality of biomass (organic materials used for energy) has been debated, studies show significant carbon benefits can be achieved through the use of organic residue based biomass in power generation facilities. Additionally, the collection of forest waste for use is essential to responsible forest management. Unlike living trees that draw carbon from the atmosphere – dead tree leftovers release carbon into the atmosphere.

This past spring, the House Appropriations Committee voted to officially designate biomass as carbon neutral. The FY2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill directed U.S. government energy leaders to recognize the benefits of using forest biomass for energy creation and forest management.

The biomass power industry removes over 68.8 million tons of forest debris annually, improving forest health and dramatically reducing the risk of forest fires. In addition, the biomass industry diverts millions of tons of waste material from landfills and open burns. Biomass power plants also eliminate the need for frequent open burns of agricultural waste and forest slash, while continuing to offset the use fossil fuels that produce smog and acid rain.

nationalcleanenergyweek.org

Biomass power will be highlighted alongside energy sources including solar, geothermal, wind and hydropower during the National Clean Energy Week forum in Washington D.C. Click here if you’d like to learn more and get involved!

How to Prepare Your Pellet Stove for Fall

When it was time to shut down your stove for the summer, did you take the time to do so properly? Probably the most important part of shutting down for the summer is removing all leftover residue and pellets. If you have moisture inside your stove, the leftover pellets will absorb it. This can cause rust to form, which could lead to costly damage.

If you didn’t shut down properly, or if your stove hasn’t had a thorough cleaning in some time – you should consider scheduling one before the heating season begins. A bonus of having a technician work on your stove clean-up is that he or she is able to check on all the stove parts that might need replacement or adjustment.

Aside from the standard ash removal and general maintenance, your wood pellet stove needs additional care not only for safety and preparedness, but also for efficiency. Pellet stoves work off of pressurized air, which is drawn from the exhaust – so pet hair, dander, dust and lint are constantly sucked in. If all the passages within your stove haven’t been cleaned out, or your exhaust hasn’t been cleared of debris – air cannot properly circulate.

Read >> The 5 Tools You Need to Clean Your Pellet Stove Properly

It’s definitely helpful to check your owner’s manual for more insight on this, and to learn more about your pellet stove overall. It’s packed with model-specific information regarding proper stove maintenance, best practices and warranty information – but it’s often overlooked.

Whether you’re taking care of your pellet stove cleaning yourself, or hiring a professional – here’s what the checklist should include for a thorough cleaning:

  • Check Unit for Visible Defects, Ash, Discoloring
  • Vacuum Inside of Unit
  • Remove Baffles – Clean and Reinstall
  • Clean and Inspect Heat Exchanger
  • Remove Access Doors/Panels – Vacuum and Reinstall
  • Clean and Inspect
    • Heat Exchanger
    • Burn Pot
    • Ignitor
    • Ash Pan
    • Convection Fan
    • Glass
    • Combustion Fan
    • Pressure Switch/Hose
    • Tee and Venting
  • Inspect
    • Gaskets
    • Electrical Wiring
    • Auger Motor(s)*
    • Venting Seals
  • Inspect Hopper for Pellet Quality and Excess Fines
  • Vacuum Back of Stove
  • Check and Lubricate Shaker Grate Cam*

 *May not be applicable on some stove models.

We understand that many pellet stove owners take care of cleaning themselves. However, sometimes things are best left to professionals trained specifically for a service. To see if Cleancare Professional Pellet and Wood Stove Cleanings are available in your area, please call 1-800-PELLETS, or type your zip code in at www.Woodpellets.com.

 

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