Use Different Wood Pellets Throughout the Season to Burn Strategically

The demand for wood pellets made from douglas fir wood fiber has been increasing in recent years, regardless of the higher price tag. These pellets have a significantly low ash content and a super hot heat output, making for an impressive burn experience.

See Chart >> Dry BTU Values by Wood Type

Pellets with a lower heat output are typically less expensive, while the ultra premium douglas fir wood pellets are far pricier. Many of our customers have been ordering multiple types of pellets for the heating season to coincide with the weather (saving the douglas fir wood pellets for the coldest parts of winter) which is a growing trend we refer to as “burning strategically”.

Average Monthly Temperatures in New England - Suggested Wood Pellet Burn Strategy

The above chart shows an example of a common Woodpellets.com customer strategy. He or she starts the season with Cleanfire Hardwood or Pacific, moving into Cleanfire Pacific as the temperature decreases, then burning Cleanfire Douglas Fir for the lowest temperature stretch, only to ease back into Pacific and/or Hardwood to finish out the heating season. The heat outputs coincide with the temperature, and the pricing is easier on the wallet for sure.

Do you want to incorporate Douglas Fir pellets into your burn schedule? Call 1-800-PELLETS to speak to an expert, or shop online at Woodpellets.com any time.

Christmas Tree Removal Using Wood Pellet Delivery Plastic Cover

Use the shroud cover from your ton of wood pellets as a Christmas tree clean-up tool!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!

Happy Heating!

A Look at the Current State of the U.S. Wood Pellet Industry

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Keep This Tip in Mind When Re-Stacking Your Wood Pellet Bags

Woodpellets.com Customer Re-Stacking Techniques

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.

Read >> How to Keep Wood Pellets Stored Safely Outside 

Read >> Customer Tip: How to Easily Move Pellet Bags into the Basement 

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.

Pellet Bag Re-Stacking

 

Wood Pellet Stove Troubleshooting Guide

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 Problem The Likely Culprit The Solution
Poor burn quality Dirty stove Clean your stove according to your manufacturer’s recommendations, or schedule a professional cleaning.
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.

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.

NEW 3-Ton Cleanfire Bundle for Strategic Wood Pellet Heating

NEW Power Pack 3 Ton Bundle!Due to a growing trend of pellet stove owners mixing and matching fuel orders to create a strategic burning strategy, we have created a new money-saving bundle – THE POWER PACK! This special 3-ton Cleanfire pack consists of 1 ton of Cleanfire Douglas Fir, and 2 tons of Cleanfire Pacific bundled together for a discounted price.

What’s a strategic burning strategy? Instead of sticking with just one type of wood pellet, folks are burning pellets with a higher heat output during the coldest months of the heating season, and burning pellets with a lesser heat output (and a typically lower price tag) in the early season and late season months.

Buzz about the extremely hot heat output of wood pellets made of 100% douglas fir has been spreading over the last couple of years. Many Woodpellets.com customers have started to incorporate our super-hot, low-ash Cleanfire Douglas Fir Wood Pellets into their burning strategy. This “Cadillac of Wood Pellets” is saved for the bitter cold months, and the always reliable Cleanfire Pacific is burned during the rest of the season.

Is the Cleanfire Power Pack right for you? Call 1-800-PELLETS or visit Woodpellets.com to learn more!

 

 

*Pricing and availability vary by region. 

Why Now is the Time to Buy Wood Pellets

Warm summer weather doesn’t typically make you think about securing your wood pellets for the next heating season. But this year, there are two major factors at play that could change that: wood pellet demand and pricing.

Due to the European Union’s goal for 20% of all generated power to be sourced from renewables, the demand for wood pellets overseas remains steady. United States exports to the EU have continued to rise, with almost all of the pellets produced in the US for export coming from southeastern states. Last year, overall US exports increased by 10%, solidifying the United States as a top supplier of wood pellets to Europe.

See Map: Wood Pellet Industry Import/Exports

Demand has been growing in the States as well, due to heating oil price increases.
Crude Oil Pricing

According to the EIA, the U.S northeast region represents almost 85% of total U.S. residential heating oil sales – and many homes use wood pellet fuel as a heating supplement.

Oil pricing has a significant effect on wood pellet demand because when the price of oil increases, consumers tend to lean more on pellets for heating.

Read: Crude Oil Hits Highest Price in 4 Years 

Like any fuel, the price of wood pellets fluctuates due to a variety of factors, including transportation costs. A widespread truck driver shortage has resulted in serious driver pay raises – which combined with increasing fuel costs means prices are rising on anything that requires trucking.  As for the wood pellet industry, this problem has unfortunately made price increases a certainty for 2018.

Read: Trucking Shortage Causing Price Increases Everywhere

What can you do to save? Order your supply of wood pellets as soon as possible to avoid paying more.

Lock in current summer pricing AND choose the month you want delivery. Shop online at Woodpellets.com or call 1-800-PELLETS (800-735-5387) to speak to an expert!

 

Crude Oil Hits Highest Price in 4 Years

Following sharp increases since last summer, crude oil has topped $70 a barrel for the first time since 2014. Crude Oil PricingThe growth of global oil demand has contributed to upward price pressures. The United States Energy Information Administration estimates that global oil consumption in the first quarter of 2018 was 1.9 million b/d higher than the first quarter of 2017’s consumption. Naturally, sharply increased exports result in a significant hit to supply levels.

Further, President Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear pact with Iran earlier this month. The U.S. plans to reimpose economic sanctions on the country, which will continue to influence the crude trade.

 >> Learn more about how supply, demand and geopolitics drives the price of oil here.

According to the EIA, the U.S northeast region represents almost 85% of total U.S. residential heating oil sales – and many homes use wood pellet fuel as a heating supplement.
US averages: heating oil retail prices

Oil pricing is partially responsible for northeastern wood pellet demand because when the price of oil increases, consumers tend to lean more on pellets for heating.

Will the 2018 oil price increase affect your wood pellet purchase decision for the ’18-2019 heating season?

Take care of your Woodpellets.com order now, but choose your own delivery month by calling 1-800-PELLETS or ordering online at www.Woodpellets.com!  

How to Mix and Match Your Order to Burn Wood Pellets Strategically

Wood Pellet Colors
Did you know that you can select multiple products to add to your Woodpellets.com shopping cart?

To “mix and match” your order, simply choose the first brand and the number of tons you’d like from your zip code’s gallery. Once it’s added to your cart, select the Continue Shopping button that will appear on a pop-up box. You’ll be directed back to the gallery, where you can select another type of fuel. Continue this until you’re ready to view your cart, make any changes, select your delivery type and check out.

>> Bonus: For a limited time, you can choose your delivery month too! Take care of your pellet fuel order now to lock in current pricing, but you tell us when you’d like us to deliver by selecting your desired month from the dropdown menu!

Woodpellets.com Wood Pellet Burn Strategy ExampleWhy did we add the mix and match feature? Over the years, we have noticed a growing trend of burning pellets with a higher heat output during the coldest months of the heating season, and burning pellets with a lesser heat output (and a typically lower price tag) in the early season and late season months.

Not only are there significant heat output differences between hardwood and softwood wood pellets – but the ash content is much different as well. Hardwood pellets tend to produce more ash than softwood pellets – which makes for more cleaning and upkeep. Therefore, this burning strategy is also a perfect opportunity to learn which kind of pellets are the best fit for your home heating needs, your budget, and the amount of ash cleanup you’re willing to deal with.

Read more

Trucking Shortages Make Wood Pellet Price Rise Inevitable

With all consumer goods, pricing is based on the provider’s cost – which fluctuates due to a variety of factors. You might begin to notice some price increases on all types of products throughout the year, which is directly related to a nationwide shortage of truck drivers. As for the wood pellet industry, these unrelenting transportation issues have made price increases a certainty for 2018.

For years, there has been a growing shortage of qualified CDLA drivers, and it has only gotten worse over the past year. According to the American Trucking Association, there’s a shortage of 51,000 truck drivers nationwide, up from 20,000 in 2013 and 36,500 in 2016 with a predicted increase to nearly 100,000 by 2021. As driver supply has dwindled, more trucking companies have turned to intermodal rail, which has even made these containers scarce.

Why is this shortage happening? Baby Boomer drivers are retiring due to age, stricter DOT medical certification processes, and frustration with newly required Electronic Log Devices (ELDs) which have created tighter hours of service regulations. 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.

Additionally, millennials are far less enthused than previous generations to join the trucking force due to the arduous duty of long cross-country trips, away for days and weeks at a time. Furthermore, the men and women completing tractor trailer schools these days are not always accepted by insurance companies, which often require at least three years of driving experience.

Of course, all of this leads to a shortage of truck volume available to shippers, which directly affects the consumer. Ben Cubitt, a senior VP from freight-management firm Transplace, estimates that 99% of trucks nationwide are in use, up from 92% in late 2015. Cubitt says, “every truck is spoken for every day.”

What does all of this mean for wood pellet stove owners? It’s understandable that just like any fuel, wood pellet prices fluctuate – but the effects of this trucking shortage have turned the risk of a 2018 pellet price increase into a reality.

What can you do to save? Order your supply of wood pellets as soon as possible to avoid paying more. 

Lock in current summer pricing AND choose the month you want delivery. Shop online at Woodpellets.com or call 1-800-PELLETS (800-735-5387) to speak to an expert!

 

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