Last month we looked at some troubling signs that
another pellet shortage could not be ruled out again this winter. Expanding exports to Europe, mill closures due to fire, and now a forecast of another bitter cold winter are all contributing to make this winter another challenging one for pellet users.
So what are the best ways to protect yourself from the threat of shortages?
If you have a wood pellet stove, by this time you have either bought your pellets, or at least thought about it (we hope). Our phones have been ringing steadily and our hours have extended, which means the heating season is quickly approaching. We have been happy to hear from many new people this year, and of course we’re thrilled to be catching up with our past/repeat customers as well. During our high call volume, we have been hearing and experiencing a lot of the same things, which we’d like to address:
1. A Need for Information: We are getting calls from many new pellet stove owners with many questions about the best kind of wood pellets, the difference between hardwood and softwood, ash content importance, etc. Every person that answers the phone at Woodpellets.com is a wood pellet fuel expert. You won’t be transferred to another department in order to talk to someone who knows about pellets, and you will certainly not be rushed off the line. We completely understand that you might have a lot of questions, and we are all happy and ready to provide you with honest, helpful answers. Most members of our team are either pellet stove owners, or have owned a pellet stove in the past – so we’ve probably had similar questions at one point.
The new cordwood alternative fuel for wood stoves is here. Wood Bricks by Cleanfire burn hotter, cleaner, and longer than the equivalent amount of firewood without using any accelerants. Cleanfire Wood Bricks will make heating with wood much much easier and cleaner.
What makes Cleanfire Wood Bricks better than cordwood?
Made of kiln-dried, super-condensed recycled wood chips and sawdust, these bricks produce cleaner-burning, longer-lasting heat than cord wood alone. The biggest reason for the better performance of our Wood Bricks is the low-moisture content. Unlike cordwood, Cleanfire Wood Bricks do not lose heat evaporating the water trapped in the wood fiber. Instead, more heat is made available to warm your home. Read more
There isn’t much of an argument against how convenient home delivery is. However, delivery typically comes at a price, so it’s nice when there is a “pickup” option available. Target is a great example of a store offering both delivery and pickup. For many large items, such as patio furniture or kitchen appliances, you can skip the delivery fee and have the store hold your items at a location near you. Then you simply head to the store when you’re alerted, show your ID and load your item(s) into your vehicle. It might take a couple of trips and some heavy lifting, but you have saved the delivery fee. But have you considered the real cost of picking it up yourself? Did you really save?
Although pellet shortages are fairly rare events, there are a few concerning signs that spell trouble again this winter.
The most troubling trend we continue to see is the huge volume of pellets being
exported to Europe. Much of this volume represents utility grade pellets used to replace coal for generating electricity. But more and more pellet producers are looking to Europe to sell their residential heating pellets as well. The biggest driver for exporting residential heating pellets is that producers get a higher price from European customers. Thus, wood pellets that used to be sold here in the United States are now being exported to Europe. Read more
We certainly can’t organize your garage…but we can save you some space in it this summer!
Buying your pellets this month secures your fuel for the heating season. (See our past blog about reasons for the pellet shortage).
Buying this month locks in the current price, so you’re protected even if prices change this summer and/or fall. (See our article on what drives wood pellet pricing).
Buying this month gets you free storage this summer.
If we store your pellets for you:
- You can enjoy your summer without thinking about wood pellets. It was a very long winter…relax now.
- You can keep the extra space open for your lawnmower, pool supplies, coolers, bikes, kayaks, your kid’s toys (and your toys).
- We will protect your fuel from the elements for you if you don’t have a garage or shed. You won’t have to worry about properly covering your pellets.
WoodPellets.com has always sold super premium softwood pellets. With more heat and less ash than your typical hardwood pellet, high quality softwood pellets provide a superior burning experience for our customers. But there is one brand of softwood pellets that takes quality to a whole new level – our Cleanfire Douglas Fir.
Introduced in 2012, Cleanfire Douglas Fir pellets are special in many ways. First, these softwood pellets are made from 100% douglas fir material – one of the hottest burning wood species in North America. Check out this chart showing the relative heat output (as measured by BTU/lb) from various wood species.
Earth Day is such a wonderful reminder for everyone to help protect the environment. And upcycling – the conversion of useless products back into something of value – is a great way to live environmentally friendly, and also be budget conscious. We want to know: How Do You Upcycle Your Empty Wood Pellet Bags? If you tell us here, you could win a FREE professional pellet stove cleaning. We will choose our favorite submission on April 25th!
Are you handy with a sewing machine? Check out this tarp made entirely of empty wood pellet bags! This Maine blogger saved up her bags, cut them to lay flat, and sewed them together to make a very sturdy tarp for her compost pile! The heavy plastic apparently helps the pile heat up and break down quicker.
Like any fuel, the price of wood pellets will inevitably fluctuate. However, even with their increasing popularity (pellet production has significantly increased over the last few years) wood pellet prices don’t get nearly as much attention as other fuels such as heating oil. We realize our customers might have some questions about what factors determine wood pellet price changes. As always, we prefer to keep our customers as informed as possible. So, here are the top five factors influencing wood pellet pricing: