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.”

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.

Comparing your burning and heating experience with both types of wood pellets will likely take care of those pellet curiosities. (Not to mention how much cleaner your stove may be with one pellet or another.) Knowledge is power!

“I have a wood stove also, and I’d like to try wood bricks.”

If you have a wood stove and haven’t tried compressed wood bricks, it’s worth it to try them. Low ash, super high heat, and convenient packaging are some of the biggest reasons wood stove owners have supplemented their supply of cordwood, or switched entirely. If you have both types of stoves and you’re ordering your wood pellets, you can just add a ton of wood bricks to your delivery. Since this new kind of wood fuel is different than cordwood, it’s an easy way to try bricks out without committing to buying a whole heating season’s worth.

“Can I order more than one product at a time to have one delivery?”

Woodpellets.com

Yes – most retailers will let you mix and match different types of fuel in your order. If you are going to try something new, there are two things you should look for. First, look for a retailer that doesn’t increase the delivery fee with larger order sizes. This will avoid any increased costs for your test fuel. Second, if the retailer has a minimum order size, make sure that a mixed order will satisfy the minimums. For example, if a retailer requires a 2 ton minimum order, make sure that ordering one ton each of two different pellet types will apply.

If you’re looking to try something new, we are happy to help. If you’re ready to order two (or more) types of fuel, you can just order them directly off our website. If you have any questions, and would like to talk through your options with a Woodpellets.com Pellet Expert, just call 1-800-PELLETS!

 

Product availability and pricing varies by region.

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.

30lb Bags of LG Wood Pellets Standard weight wood pellet bags are sold with 50 bags on each one ton pallet, which stand about four feet tall. The 30-pound bags are sold by the ton with 66 bags per pallet, which stands about five feet tall.* (See image for comparison.)

All wood pellets are stacked and wrapped on top of wooden pallets, which are 40 by 48 inches.

For example, Granules LG (a popular 100% softwood pellet) is bagged in both standard and 30-pound weight bags. Manufactured from Black Spruce and Grey Pine at a state-of-the-art pellet mill in Quebec, Granules LG boast an average of only .39% ash, 6.5% moisture, and a very hot 8200 BTU/lb heat output. While not all pellet brands are not available in both bag weights, this demonstrates that it is possible to buy pellets in the lighter bags – while still getting a premium quality, hot pellet.

If you are interested in trying  the easier to handle 30-pound bags of Granules LG wood pellets, they are available in most Woodpellets.com service areas! These special bags are just $10 more per ton, and only available for purchase by phone. Call 1-800-PELLETS to check availability. 

 

*The smaller Granules LG bags are 30.3lbs each, and sold by the ton. Standard 40lb Granules LG bags are only available in pallets of 1.5 tons. Pricing and availability vary by region. To see if Granules LG is available in your area, simply enter your zip code at Woodpellets.com

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!

 

 

Are You At Risk of Running Out of Pellets?

Will I run out of wood pellets?It’s late into the winter – yet the Northeast is still being relentlessly hit with heavy snow and freezing temperatures. You might be starting to wonder if your pellet supply will last you through the rest of the heating season.

You’re not alone in this quandary.

This is a tricky time of year – where a wood pellet user must decide to gamble with a low supply and risk potential supply shortages, or choose to just play it safe and top off his or her supply now.

Of course no one knows for sure what will happen with the weather for the remainder of the winter. There is historical data, professional forecasters, and even a groundhog that can give a prediction – but there is no real way to know with absolute certainty. Earlier this year, we wrote about the Farmer’s Almanac weather prediction, which hasn’t been fully accurate. The Northeast prediction was a much colder than normal winter, which has been true, and “below normal snowfall”, which has not been true. Unfortunately, last winter much colder than many had anticipated…leading to a late winter shortage in many areas. With the harsh winter we have already experienced, there is certainly a possibility for more regional shortages again this year.

So, are you at risk of running out of pellets? Well, there are many factors that will determine your risk. Your pellet stove model, the prominence of secondary heating sources, the type of wood pellets burned, and the area of your home you heat with pellets are just some of the many variables that affect your fuel consumption.

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How Are Wood Pellets Made?

The Science Channel

Raw materials brought to pellet mills can arrive in many different forms. Some of the raw material may be sawdust, wood chips, lumber mill scrap, and even full trees unsuitable for lumber. The raw materials may be green, or freshly cut, may be partial dry or even kiln dried. By processing these raw material all in the same way, the end product has consistent moisture content, heat value, ash content, and burn characteristics. 

Typically, the process starts by running the raw material through a hammer mill. These machines take sawdust and wood chips and break them down into a more consistent smaller size. Large dryer drums are then used to take out any extra moisture. After the drying is complete, the material is processed further in a mill to make an even finer material.

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Quality Assurance and Convenient Delivery – What Makes Woodpellets.com Different

Two of the main contributing factors to what makes the Woodpellets.com experience different are – product quality assurance and the convenient delivery system. In order to explain these processes accurately, we let Joy (Quality Assurance Manager) and Dan (Delivery Logistics Manager) describe their main responsibilities – in their own words.

Quality Assurance Manager: My primary function is to work for our customers.  I am the before, during and after the order point of contact – from Customer Service, to the burn experience at home.  Basically, the service doesn’t stop with the delivery – because I’m there to make sure user expectations are met and (hopefully) exceeded.

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Where are the Wood Pellets Going? A Look at Global Biomass Exports

Wood pellet mills across America are running at full capacity, yet some retailers are still struggling with supply levels. Many consumers have felt the strain this year – by being turned away or having to wait for pellets. So if mills are producing the supply as quickly as possible – where are the pellets going?

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. Wood pellet exports from the United States have
doubled since last year – with more than half the exports going to the United Kingdom.

Wood pellets import export, 2013 Map US to EU
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Top 5 Wood Pellet Myths Explained

Myth #1: Hardwood Pellets are Better than Softwood

Wood Pellets

Preference for hardwood over softwood has its origins in the cordwood stove community. It has long been considered better to burn hardwood in your woodstove because it provides a longer, hotter burn compared with softwood cordwood.

The principle reason that hardwood burns better than softwood in woodstoves has to do with wood density (hardwood is more dense than softwood) and it’s lower moisture levels.

However, with wood pellets the advantages of hardwood are neutralized by the pelletizing process. Both hard and softwood material is dried to the same moisture level, of about 4-5%. Furthermore, regardless of the type of wood used to produce the pellets, the pelletizing process produces wood pellets with the same density. And once the moisture content and density advantages has been removed during the manufacturing processing, softwood comes out ahead in terms of heat and performance.

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