Groundhog Says Early Spring – But the Experts Disagree

2015-16 Weather Map

The ceremonial groundhog in Pennsylvania, Punxsutawney Phil, did not see his shadow this morning. The proclamation from the Groundhog Club leader was, “There is no shadow to be cast! An early spring is my forecast! Take your jackets off, you’re not going to need them!”. However, some analysts and official forecasters had different findings. 

According to the Farmers’ Almanac 2015-16 Winter Outlook – February temperatures will drop to bitter cold, and will last well into March. While the Northeast hasn’t had an overly challenging winter so far this season, forecasters warn that it’s coming.

Despite the strong El Nino, many of these areas will still see wintry precipitation — more likely winter wet than winter white — but still winter nonetheless. Though the Spring Equinox will arrive on March 20th, winter weather may hang on for just a bit longer this year, making for a delayed start to spring.

Their predictions for Zone 1 (the Northeast) include significant storms and winter conditions lingering on from February, and through the Easter holiday.

What do you think? Do you stand by Punxsutawney Phil? For the record – USA Today has tracked his “predictions” since 1988, and he has been “right” 13 times and “wrong” 15 times, for an accuracy rate of 46 percent. Sometimes, all you can do is be prepared for as much as you can.

In any case – if you’re running low on wood pellets or wood bricks, give the experts a call at 1-800-PELLETS, or buy online 24/7. 

Home Energy Audit – Should You Get One?

It’s that time of year where the bitter cold can really get the best of many homes. You might be considering some home updates, or feeling a cold draft you can’t locate – and you’ve thought about a professional assessment. Is it worth the cost? Check out this video by the U.S. Department of Energy. It provides some helpful insight into what a home energy audit is all about.

An audit can help you determine how much energy your home uses, where your home is losing energy, and which problem areas and fixes you should prioritize to make your home more efficient and comfortable. 

-Energy.gov

No matter how expensive, updated or technologically advanced your heating system is – you could be losing significant amounts of heat through unexpected places in your home. You may be running tests yourself, which is great. But are you as thorough as a professional?

5 Things Your Stove Technician Wants You To Know

Woodpellets.com1. Read the manual that came with your stove. According to Jason Tardiff of J&L Chimney Works in NH, this is the number one thing stove technicians wish customers would take seriously. He explains; “Most of the time, the answer to the problem lies in the pages of their owner’s manual.” From proper stove maintenance, to best practices and warranty information – the manual is packed with model-specific information, and it’s very often overlooked.

2. Don’t be so quick to blame the pellets. If your stove isn’t igniting, if you have a weak flame, or your pellets won’t stay lit, the fuel shouldn’t be your first thought. When was the last time you had your stove professionally cleaned? If you do it yourself, are you really getting to all the parts that need attention? Your pellet stove works off of pressurized air which is drawn from the exhaust. Have you cleaned all those passages? Is your exhaust clear of debris? Jason describes his years of discoveries: “The exhaust pulls in anything that’s in the air – so pet hair, dander, dust and lint are constantly sucked in. And as far as the auger goes, items left on the stove can fall and work their way in. I’ve found spoons and G.I Joes crammed in there.”

To summarize – in addition to the general responsible cleaning owners should be doing, a professional cleaning twice a year is definitely a best practice. Think if it like your dental health and your dentist. You clean your own teeth every day, but it’s still good to go to the dentist every six months for professional attention.

>> Read about the most common pellet stove problems

3. Your pellet stove needs a surge protector. You should not be plugging your stove directly into the wall. Furthermore, you need to know the difference between a power strip and an actual surge protector. Most modern pellet stoves have a circuit board that can be damaged without protection from even small electrical surges caused by power outages. Be sure to check your manual for information on electrical recommendations.

4. Don’t burn low quality pellets and expect great results. Check out the specifications on the wood pellets you’re purchasing. Look at the ash content listed, and know that the higher the percentage, the more frequent your cleanings will be. Higher quality pellets will have lower ash percentages, and therefore less maintenance.

On top of research, another great way to choose a fuel is by talking to your fellow pellet-burners to see what they’re using and why. Of course, you won’t know what you like for your home and your budget until you run your own tests. But if you’re buying the cheapest pellets with lower heat and higher ash specifications – you shouldn’t expect the same results as the higher quality options available.

Woodpellets.com Blog5. Buy low-moisture firewood for your wood stove. Switching gears to wood stoves and fireplaces – the firewood you choose to burn is important. Jason explains, “No noise is good when burning your firewood. The crackling and popping you hear in a campfire is from excess moisture burning off – which you don’t want in your home.”

Too much moisture within wood doesn’t burn as hot, gives off useless steam when burning, and creates dangerous and flammable creosote buildup. A best practice when buying your firewood is to use a moisture meter to find out just how “seasoned” it is before you take it home. Wood burns the best when it’s been split, seasoned for at least 6 months, and is made up of less than 20% moisture.

 >> Read about wood bricks – the firewood alternative.

Just like with pellet stoves, your chimney and/or wood stove requires regular maintenance, and should be professionally cleaned at least once a year. Any special “logs” that claim to get rid of your creosote can be used, but should not take the place of a proper, extensive cleaning.

Enter your zip code at Woodpellets.com to see if Cleancare Professional Stove Cleaning is available in your area. 

 

Questions? You can always call 1-800-735-5387 to speak to a Woodpellets.com representative!

What Are Wood Bricks?

Cleanfire Wood Bricks for the Wood Stove or FireplaceWood bricks are an excellent alternative, or supplement, to firewood. Much like
how wood pellets are made, wood bricks are manufactured by densely compacting bark-free wood fibers into a uniform shape. But first, the wood fiber is kiln-dried to hold less than 10% moisture. Because of this extremely low moisture rate and absence of bark and insects, the buildup of creosote is significantly lower than standard wood burning. 

Wood bricks are commonly packaged in bundles of 15-20 bricks.  Bundles are sold individually and usually by the ton (2,000 pounds) on a shrink-wrapped wood pallet. Cleanfire Wood Bricks, for instance, are sold on pallets of 66 bundles of 15 bricks, and in some pickup locations by the bundle.

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8 Fire Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

Fire Safety Tips for Holiday Cooking According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), unattended cooking is the leading cause of kitchen fires, and holidays are the most common days for them.

Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and Christmas Eve are the top three days of the year for kitchen fires – which isn’t exactly surprising. It’s the time of year for baking, roasting, cooking and entertaining guests.

In order to avoid common fire safety mistakes, Lorraine Carli of the National Fire Protection Association has made a list of
helpful tips to stay safe:

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How to Make a Wood Pallet Christmas Tree

Reuse old wood pallets to make a Christmas tree decoration!

Have you seen any of our posts about how to reuse wood pallets and empty wood pellet bags? Or have you checked out our DIY Pinterest board?

Well, here’s a new project for you – courtesy of Irene from New York. She’s a customer of ours (look at those beautiful
Cleanfire Pacific bags in the background of her picture!)
and she created an incredible Wood Pallet Christmas Tree decor project. She was kind enough to share her how-to with us, so we could share it with you!

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2015 Holiday Hearth Photo Contest

Woodpellets.comHow do you decorate around your pellet stove, wood stove and/or fireplace for the holidays?

Now is your time to show us!

Simply take a picture of your festive hearth area, and we will pick our favorite on December 22nd.

The winner will receive a $50 Darden Restaurants gift card, redeemable at any Olive Garden®, LongHorn Steakhouse®, Bahama Breeze®, Seasons 52® or any other Darden restaurant! Two runner-ups will each receive a $10 PelletBucks account credit!

How to Participate:

Send your photo(s) to sales@ woodpellets.com, or post them on our Holiday Hearth Facebook post, here: http://bitly.com/HolidayHearthContest


Happy Heating Season!

Please take a look at this guide on holiday decorating hazards. Safety first!

 

All participants must submit photos by the end of day on 12/21/15 to be considered. Darden Restaurants, Inc. owns (Red Lobster®, Olive Garden®, LongHorn Steakhouse®, Bahama Breeze®, Seasons 52® and Yard House®) and is not affiliated with Woodpellets.com. Darden is not a sponsor or co-sponsor of this program. Use of our restaurant names, logos or trademarks requires written approval from Darden. See backside of gift card for additional terms and conditions or visit www.darden.com/legal/legal.asp

 

How to Safely Hand-Stack Wood Pellet Bags in a Limited Space

Safely Store Wood Pellet Bags in Small Spaces

(click to enlarge)

Dimensions of Wood Pellet Bags and Pallets

A skid, a pallet of stacked wood pellet bags, is 48 by 40 inches. A 1-ton skid of fifty 40-pound bags is about four feet tall, and a 1.5-ton skid of 75 bags is about six feet tall.

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 the 48×40 inch dimensions are inconvenient to you – re-stacking the wood pellet bags by hand is your best bet to maximize limited space.

The approximate length, width and height of a standard 40 pound bag of pellets placed horizontally on the floor is 27 x 18 x 5 inches. These measurements can adjust a bit with some maneuvering of the pellets within the bag.

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Most Common Questions About Home Wood Pellet Heating

Woodpellets.com
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 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 strictly as a backup to pellets, for example, when the price of oil rises significantly.

 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.

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