Color and Size Variances Among Wood Pellets

Wood Pellet Colors

Pellet stove heating is so efficient because wood pellet fuel is uniform. However, there are natural and perfectly acceptable variances in both color (and sometimes length) within wood pellets.

Much like snowflakes – no two wood pellets can be exactly the same. Wood pellets can have a variety of colors, depending on the primary species of wood used. Common hardwoods used to make pellets include Maple, Oak, Birch, Cherry, and Beech. Typical softwood raw materials used to manufacture wood pellets are Hemlock, White Pine, Spruce, and Fir. The wood species for the raw materials used to produce either hardwood or softwood pellets is the principle reason for the variety of colors. Pellet colors can range from a pale blonde, to a warm reddish brown, to a dark walnut.

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3 Uses for Wood Pellets (Aside from Heating)

Wood Pellets as Kitty Litter

Wood pellets in the cat’s litter box absorb all the moisture and turns into sawdust. This is easily sifted away as shown in the video below (by Kari Kells). This method saves the dry pellets, which are still usable, to cut down on waste. What an economical (and environmentally friendly) idea!

Traditional clay-based litter tracks easily out of the box and into the house – and is also bad for the environment. Wood pellets are 100% natural with no binders or fillers, and the kiln-dried wood fiber soaks up odor and leaves almost no scent behind.

Wood Pellets as Horse Stall Bedding

Although the word “bedding” is used – horses don’t typically need something fluffy like a bed to lay on. Horse bedding is actually used in stalls to absorb urine and moisture, and is a necessary part of properly maintaining clean stalls.

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State Tax Incentives for Residential Wood Pellet Heat

NH Wood Pellets
Residential Wood-Pellet Rebate Program in New Hampshire

Rebates offered for 30% of the system and installation cost, or $6,000, whichever is less, for New Hampshire residents who invest in high-efficiency (80% or greater), bulk-fuel fed, wood-pellet central heating boilers and furnaces that became operational on or after May 1, 2012.

This program has helpful recommendations, which include the use of 
high quality wood pellets; “The life expectancy of the system will be significantly reduced and the operation and maintenance will be considerably greater if lower quality fuel is used.”

The Incentive Pre-Approval Application for NH can be found here, along with the full program details.

Lower Electric Rates

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Pellet Stove Season-End Cleaning and Shutdown Best Practices

How to Care and Clean Your Pellet Stove It’s finally here – time to shut down your pellet stove for the summer. It was a very long,
tough winter this year in the Northeast, and your stove probably worked hard. Considering pellet stove costs range at an average of around 2-3 thousand dollars, with some at double that price, this heating appliance is a real investment that will benefit from a few extra steps taken for season shut-down. Instead of just pulling the plug and walking away, responsible pellet burners should have a quick shut-down checklist to follow.
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4 Benefits of Wood Pellet Heat to Consider

In addition to the long term cost advantage over heating oil and propane, wood pellets have some additional benefits that you may be unaware of. 

CO2 Cycle with Fossil Fuel Burning1. The carbon footprint of wood pellets can be neutral, or close to it. 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. 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.

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Best Practices for Storing Wood Pellets Inside or Outside

Storing Wood Pellets Outside

Pellets Stored OutsideIt’s not always possible to store your wood pellets inside. If you don’t have room to store your pellets in the garage or basement, the next best thing is a shed or shelter in a raised, dry place. If you can only store pellets outside – you can do that too. You just have a few extra steps to take, starting with inspecting your fuel when it arrives. Your fuel is carefully wrapped and protected with a plastic shroud before it’s sent out for delivery. Upon inspection, repair any rips or holes in the plastic shrouding with water-proof tape or additional layers of plastic.

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. There are 50 bags on each one ton pallet, which stands about four feet tall.  If you bought 1.5-ton pallets, there are 75 bags stacked about six feet tall. The wooden pallets the fuel is stacked and wrapped on top of are 40 by 48 inches. Make sure your tarp is large enough to cover your pallets entirely.

>> Make your own tarp out of empty wood pellet bags! Follow the directions on our 
DIY pellet bag water blob article, and just make it into a square or rectangle instead of a pouch.

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Are You Considering a Wood Pellet Upgrade?

“I want to try a new brand or type of wood pellets, but I’m concerned about taking the leap.”

Wood Pellet Delivery Buy both! If you have been burning hardwood pellets, you might be curious about upgrading to softwood. (e.g. Cleanfire Hardwood vs. Cleanfire Pacific) Or perhaps you already burn softwood pellets, but you’re wondering if there’s really a difference when upgrading to a higher-level. (e.g. Cleanfire Pacific vs.
Cleanfire Douglas Fir)

In order to really understand the difference between two different types or brands of wood pellets, you should burn at least a ton of each consecutively. This will give you enough time and fuel to let you really tell the difference in heat output and ash buildup between the pellet types.  Depending on your stove, you may need to adjust your pellet feed rate and blower speed, especially if you are trying a hotter pellet than you normally burn.

Before you start burning, make sure your stove is nice and clean.  Keep your settings adjusted to how you normally would. As you work through the first ton, take note of how often you have to clean out your burn pot and how the heat intensity feels. Once the first ton is gone, your pellet stove should be cleaned up before burning the other ton. Repeat the process, adjusting the stove as needed for the difference in heat output from the pellets.
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Special, Lighter (30 Lb.) Wood Pellet Bags Growing in Popularity

30lb Lighter Bags of Wood Pellets

Do you have a long distance from where your pellets are kept to your stove? Did you get driveway delivery instead of 
garage delivery, and you have to manually move bags inside? Or, do you just find the regular 40-pound bags to be heavy?

Wood pellet brands are starting to branch out into making 30 pound bags available – which are 25% lighter than the standard weight bags. This might not sound like much of a difference to some people, but the ten pound difference per bag really adds up when stacking or moving bags inside near your stove.
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Extended Spring Wood Pellet Pickup Hours!

Pick up by the bag or by the ton during extended Spring hours at Demers Garden Center in Manchester, NH! Not sure if picking up or taking delivery makes more sense for you? Check out our Pickup vs. Delivery Cost Comparison.

Wood Pellet Pickup in NH

Demers Garden Center: 656 South Mammoth Road Manchester NH 03109
Extended Spring Hours!  7 Days a Week: 9am to 5pm

New York and New Jersey Walk-in Pickup Locations:

(An interactive Google map of all NY/NJ Woodpellets.com Pickup Locations can be found here)

Route 23 Patio & Mason Center: 69 Route 23 North Hamburg NJ 07419

Monday – Friday 8am to 3pm
Saturday 8am to 1pm
Closed Sunday

See Available Product(s)

Wood Pellet Pickup in NYAdams FairAcre Farms: 765 Dutchess Turnpike Poughkeepsie NY 12603

Monday – Saturday 8am to 8pm
Sunday 8am to 7pm

See Available Product(s)

Adams FairAcre Farms: 1560 Ulster Avenue Lake Katrine NY 12449

Monday – Saturday 8am to 8pm
Sunday 8am to 7pm

See Available Product(s)


Adams FairAcre Farms: 
1240 Route 300 Newburgh NY 12550

Monday – Saturday 8am to 8pm
Sunday 8am to 7pm

See Available Product(s)

Adams FairAcre Farms: 160 Old Post Road Wappinger NY 12590

Monday – Saturday 8am to 8pm
Sunday 8am to 7pm

See Available Product(s)

Questions? Talk to an Expert: 1-800-735-5387

Is Snow Affecting Your Burning Efficiency?

Snowfall New England

Record snowfall has certainly been tough on those in the Northeast. Slippery conditions, heavy snow piling up, power outages and bitterly cold temperatures are just some of the struggles this winter has presented us with. The amount of snow accumulated in some regions has been crippling.

Although the temperatures are beginning to ease up, forecasters are predicting no significant dent in the huge snowbank accumulation soon. Bill Simpson of the National Weather Service Taunton, MA office explains, “It’s not going to be as significant as people think. It’ll melt, but not a good chunk. We’ve got a long way to go.” He believed there will only be a ten percent snow decrease in the next few days of warmer temperatures.

How does all this snow affect pellet stove owners? 

Pellet Stove Vent BlockageHeavy snow buildup can definitely affect your stove venting. This is a very common factor with burn issues right now. 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.

Another way snow affects your wood pellets is by through delivery delays.

The Woodpellets.com delivery trucks are wide, and they need enough space to safely travel down your road and park. Once parked, the forklift is lowered from the truck to unload the pallet(s) to be brought up your driveway. Of course, there is nothing you can do personally about large snowbanks taking up valuable space on the road. However, you can make sure your driveway is plowed enough for our 9 foot wide forklift. Making sure there is clear space for the forklift to maneuver on 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!

 

 

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