Wood Pellet Storage: The Basics

Woodpellets.comUnfortunately, there isn’t always a bunch of extra space available to keep your wood pellets stored safely, and out of the way. Of course, it’d be best for your wood pellets to be stored inside, but there isn’t always room for that! Unwrapping the shroud and re-stacking all the bags is a great solution to only having small spaces available. Take a look at how some of our customers stack their pellets indoors, here. Read how we stacked 50 pellet bags in a very tight space, here. Your pellets can also be stored outside successfully, if you take a couple of extra steps.

If you’re having wood pellets delivered to your home for the first time, or are storing them in a new location, it’s a good idea to measure out the space first in order to know what you can fit. First, let’s start with dimensions, so you’ll be able to plan your spaces effectively.

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.

Wood Pellets Stored OutsideThe length and width of a skid (a pallet of stacked and wrapped wood pellet bags) is 48 by 40 inches, and is about four feet tall. A 1.5-ton skid of 75 bags has the same length and width, but is about six feet tall. Check out the picture to the left to see what a skid looks like when it’s delivered.

If you’re only able to store your skids outside – you’ll need to start with an inspection. Your fuel is carefully wrapped and protected with a plastic shroud before it’s sent out for delivery. If you find any rips or holes in the plastic shrouding, be sure to repair it with water-proof tape or additional layers of plastic.

Also, before your skids are even placed on your driveway or lawn, make sure to choose a spot away from irrigation heads or water spray paths as well. You can instruct the drivers ahead of time on where you’d like your order delivered, or you can always leave a sign!

Next, add a a securely fastened tarp over your fuel, to protect it from water and from any birds or small animals that may try to puncture the plastic to make a home. Empty milk jugs filled with sand or water tied to the edge of the tarp is a great way to prevent it from flying up. If you have leftover bags from a past season, check out our tutorial on how to make them into an additional layer of protection, here

Woodpellets.comA great trick we tested last summer is so simple, but so helpful for outdoor storage! Place a ball on the top of the skid, under your layers of protection to keep water from pooling. It’s so important to protect your pellets from contact with water, because it turns them back into sawdust.

Make sure you do everything you can to protect your pellets. If you find damage that has reached the actual wood pellets – call 1-800-PELLETS within 30 days of delivery to speak with a Quality Assurance representative.  All Woodpellets.com Quality Certified fuels are backed by a Quality Guarantee, which is valid for 30 days after the delivery date.

A Look at the 2015 Wood Pellet Export Market

Not long ago, about 80 percent of pellets made in the United States were used domestically, largely for residential heating. Today, wood pellet heating has grown from a residential home heating alternative into an international energy and environmental super-power.

Not long ago, about 80 percent of pellets made in the United States were used domestically, largely for residential heating. Today, wood pellet heating has grown into an international energy and environmental super-power, driven by the European Union’s goal for 20% of all generated power to be sourced from renewables. 

Since the US has many well-established pellet mills and significantly greater forest resources than Europe – millions of tons of bulk pellets are shipped overseas from the States to Europe. You’d think that this long distance hauling would reverse any environmental benefits of wood pellet energy, but transporting freight by ocean actually uses less than 13% of the energy of transporting the same freight by truck. Enviva Biomass, a main supplier for the UK-based company Drax, explains:

Ocean freight is substantially more carbon and energy-efficient on a per ton basis than trucking, which means that shipping long distances makes more sense than trucking over moderate distances. Shipping a ton of pellets from the Southeast U.S. to England results in less carbon emissions than trucking that same ton from northern Scotland to England.

Researchers detail in a report (Carbon Savings with Transatlantic Trade in Pellets: Accounting for Market-Driven Effects) that the greenhouse gas intensity of wood pellet-based electricity is between 74 to 85 percent lower than that of coal-based electricity savings. Furthermore, even after considering all the logistics, harvesting wood pellets in the US and exporting them to the EU is still far less environmentally harmful than burning coal within the EU for electricity.

The top European markets for US exporters were the UK, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Future opportunities are within countries like Germany and France, which will need to increase imports and rely less on domestic production in order to meet a steadily climbing demand. Within the 28 countries of the European Union, 18.8 million metric tons of wood pellets are burned annually – and the United Kingdom accounts for over one-fourth of the total global consumption.

Take a look at our infographic map to learn more about this fascinating industry, and let us know what you think!

 

Sources: Biomass Magazine | Trade.Gov | US Industrial Pellet Association | Transparency Market Research | North American Wood Fiber Review

 

The 2016 Pellet Stove Design Challenge Winner

The 2016 Pellet Stove Design Challenge (which is organized by the 
Alliance for Green Heat) was a three day international stove technology competition with a focus on spotlighting innovative and high performing pellet stoves and prototypes. The event also held extensive stove demonstrations/testing, presentations and round-table discussions with industry experts, researchers, scientists, policy-makers and students, among others. The main purpose of this competition is to promote innovation in wood and pellet heating, as well as help to reduce fossil fuel heating with the use of cleaner and more efficient stoves. 
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The Questions Stove Techs are Asked Most

Why am I getting so much ash?

Woodpellets.comCheck out the specifications on the wood pellets you’re purchasing, and look for the ash content listed. The higher the percentage, the more ash you’ll get, and 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.

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How to Use Wood Pellets as Horse Bedding

Woodpellets.com  |  Pelletbedding.comHorse bedding is used in stalls to absorb urine and moisture, and is a necessary part of properly maintaining clean stalls. Ideal bedding material makes cleaning up messes easy, is easy to store, and is the least wasteful.

Straw and wood shavings are commonly used, but using softwood wood pellets as horse bedding is becoming popular among experienced horse and stable owners.

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Wood Pellets Can Bake a Pizza in 90 Seconds?

You probably know all the wonderful aspects of burning wood pellets for heat. However, did you know that you can grill, smoke and bake your food with a special wood pellet appliance? Wood pellet grills were first introduced over 20 years ago by Traeger Pellet Grills, and several companies have generated their own versions since.

When it comes to BBQing, people are usually pretty particular about their methods. In the last few years, wood pellet grills have been gaining a very loyal following due to quick heat-up time, evenly dispersed heat, and a distinctive smoky flavor addition. You do need an electricity source to plug it in – but no need for lighters, gas or any fluids.

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Has There Ever Been A Better Time To Buy Wood Pellets?

Spring is generally a pretty good time to purchase your pellet fuel, as many suppliers offer ‘early buy’ sales and promotions. But with the convergence of a few significant influences that we’ve explained below, this spring may offer wood pellet consumers the best buying opportunity in many years.

Huge Inventory

Wood Pellet Mill

Coming into this season, we saw a big inventory build across the entire industry, as both suppliers and retailers anticipated another year of very
strong demand for wood pellets. For the last couple of winters, the supply of pellets has just barely kept up with the demand from consumers. Who could forget the pellet shortages in the winter of 2014? Manufacturers ramped up production, and prepared for another harsh winter by building up a giant inventory position.

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How Wood Pellets are Made : VIDEO

Pinnacle Renewable Energy created this very informative video to explain the whole process of how wood pellets are made – from beginning to end. Check it out!

Wood pellets begin their journey as tree seedlings. By absorbing nutrients from the soil, and carbon dioxide from the air, along with sunlight and rain, the seedling is eventually nurtured into a full grown tree. Then, it’s harvested for lumber and replaced with a fresh seedling. This renews the process all over again, in a controlled sustainable way. 

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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 of 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!

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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