Wood Pellets Aren’t Always Just for Heating

Kitty Litter

Have you heard of using wood pellets as kitty litter? It’s inexpensive and 100% natural - no silica particles, no toxins, fragrances or dust. All you need to get started is a clean cat box, baking soda, and a bag of 100% softwood wood pellets.

Ahead of time, moisten a few handfuls of wood pellets with water until they turn into sawdust. The video below shows a timelapse of wood pellets absorbing water to create fluffy horse bedding. You’ll basically be doing the same thing, but on a smaller scale.

Spread out the saw dust in a place set aside to let it dry out before use.

Woodpellets.comMeanwhile, sprinkle the bottom of the cat box with baking soda. Pour in enough wood pellets to fully cover the bottom of the box, plus enough extra on top to allow for any digging/moving around.

Once your pellet sawdust is dried out, mix that in with the regular pellets in the box. The sawdust part isn’t completely necessary – it just makes for a fluffier substance that may be more comfortable for your cat.

Your pellet kitty litter will absorb any moisture quickly, and will turn into clumped together sawdust. This is easily sifted away from the remaining pellet mixture, which saves the still usable dry pellet litter.

Horse Bedding

Wood pellets are also growing in popularity as horse stall bedding – taking the place of the usual straw and wood shavings. Pellet bedding is ideal for stables with space constraints, because storing wood pellets takes up significantly less space than other alternatives. One bag of wood pellets takes up only 1.5 cubic feet of space in storage, but expands after proper wetting to nearly 4 cubic feet of bedding.

Woodpellets.com | Pelletbedding.comAll you’ll need to prepare wood pellet horse bedding is a bucket of water, a pair of scissors, and a bag of 100% softwood pellets. To get started, lay the bags spaced out on the floor where you need your horse bedding.

Use scissors to carefully cut a cross shape in the plastic, then tuck the flaps inside the bag.

Pour a bucket of water into the opening. Warm water will speed the process up a bit, but cold water works just as well. Warm water takes about 20 minutes to fully change the pellets into bedding, and cold water will take approximately 60 minutes. The video posted in the above kitty litter tutorial shows the absorption timelapse.

Wait for the water to fully absorb into the pellets. You’ll see them expand to about 4 times the original size! Once the pellets have completed the absorption – just flip the bag, dump out the fluffy sawdust, and rake it into even bedding.

A standard 40 pound bag of softwood pellets will cover a space about 5.5 feet by 5.5 feet, with a depth of about 1.5 inches. Use however many bags you need to cover your horse stall, and to reach the depth you desire.

Oil Cleanup

The super absorbency of wood pellets is also used to help safely clean up oil, gas, solvent spills and sludge on both large and small scales.

Depending on the material that needs to be cleaned up, the wood pellets can in some instances absorb, biodegrade and neutralize spills, and be left as is. In other cases, the pellets will absorb the spill and solidify into clumps that are easy to remove and transport away from the site responsibly.

Oil Cleanup GM Massena, NYOne notable example of large-scale wood pellet cleanup is a former General Motors factory in northern New York has contaminated sludge that needs to be removed before it can be safe to sell.

The pellets are brought in by the truckload to help solidify the sludge, making for easy transport off site. Anne E. Kelly, Project Manager for the Environmental Protection Agency explains, “There’s no odor or anything. I can’t believe it’s just wood. It starts out as soupy, nasty sludge. Over the course of a day it binds up.”

Garden and Compost Additive

We’ve heard from many folks that wood pellet ash is really helpful in their compost pile, and their gardens! In the beginning of Spring, when the soil is dry, wood pellet ash can be used in soil to add natural nutrients, and to reduce soil acidity. It’s important to know your soil’s pH balance before adding ashes, and what kind of plants like the soil to be acidic.

Sprinkling the ashes around plants will act as a barrier against slugs and snails trying to get to them. After a heavy rain, however, the barrier will need to be reapplied. Stay on the safe side when using ashes in the garden, by using protective gloves, eyewear and mask.

 

Do you have other uses for wood pellets? We’d love to hear them!

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.

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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. 

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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!

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