Summer is here, the weather is warm and your kids need some entertaining. Have you heard of water blobs? They are an easy and inexpensive way to keep children busy and cool outside.
Water blobs are literally big blobs of water. Typically, they are made of two plastic painter’s tarps duct taped or fused together, then filled with hose water and sealed up. (Tutorial here) The blobs are great for laying and jumping on, and even exploring for the smaller kids if you put some colorful foam toys inside.
You may have read our blog about what to do with empty wood pellet bags. For summer, we thought of a way to use your pellet bags for this popular water blob trend!
See below for a step by step tutorial on how to make a water blob out of those empty wood pellet bags you might have laying around from the heating season.
What you’ll need:
- At least 8 empty pellet bags. You’ll need more for a larger blob of course.
- Iron and ironing board
- Parchment paper
- Duct tape
It’s grilling season! Have you heard of wood pellet grills? We used to have a small one at our office for Cookout Fridays…which was great! It really gave a wonderful smoky flavor to our food. Like any grill, the cost ranges from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. The one pictured to the left is from Costco (courtesy of the Costco Couple).
Even if you don’t have a wood pellet grill – you might have a grill in general. We have compiled a list of 10 really nifty grill accessories. Some really useful, and some a little over the top.
Here are the grilling tools you never knew you needed…in no particular order:
1. Multi Grilling Tool: For the griller with no time to switch between tongs, a fork and a spatula. People are hungry…there is no time to waste! (thekitchn.com)
Picture courtesy of @KerryBioFuels
Aside from the usual ash removal and general maintenance, your wood pellet stove needs additional care in order to operate efficiently and safely. Although many stove owners believe their own cleaning techniques are sufficient, and some perhaps are, the fact remains that some things should be left to trained professionals.
Think of it like service for a car. There are some car owners who can adequately handle his or her own engine service. However, engines are typically best taken care of within the hands of honest, experienced professionals.
Check out this pellet stove chimney clog to the left. Just because pellet stoves burn with less creosote buildup than wood stoves, it doesn’t mean the stove doesn’t need attention. (The picture is from a stove with over four years with no professional cleaning and inspection.) Dramatic, perhaps…but you get our point.
We have broken down the 8 steps needed to keep your pellet stove running safe and at optimal efficiency.
Introduced in February of 2013, the Flex Savings Plan has quickly become very popular among our customers. We understand that buying your annual wood pellet fuel is typically a large purchase, one that may cause financial stress. Therefore, we created this Flex Savings plan to help budget that large annual fuel purchase by making it much easier to save.
So, how does it work?
The Flex Savings Plan allows you to make a monthly deposit in any amount you are comfortable with. This stretches out your wood pellet fuel purchase over months, instead of a single large one-time payment. Each monthly deposit is applied to your personal PelletBucks credit account. You’ll receive an automatic email statement for every deposit that shows your account balance. And when you’re ready to order your wood pellets, your PelletBucks credit amount will be automatically applied to your order balance. No lump-sum payment required. Your wallet will thank you!
What’s the catch?
No catch. This plan is just a way to help you chip away at your annual fuel purchase. There’s no interest and you can stop at any time. If you do decide to stop for whatever reason…we will refund the money you have paid (minus a 5% electronic handling charge).
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.
What are wood bricks?
Wood bricks are a fantastic alternative to burning cord wood. Made of kiln-dried, super-condensed recycled wood chips and sawdust, they can be burned by themselves or added to cord wood to produce cleaner-burning, longer-lasting heat than cord wood alone. Because they are manufactured for optimal burning, they produce more heat than logs and consistently come with low moisture and high quality.
Why should I switch from cord wood?
(click to enlarge)
Convenience: Cords of wood are usually delivered to you in a pile dumped on your lawn or driveway. Then the moving, stacking (and sometimes splitting) follows. Even more time and effort is added if you have to season your logs before use. Also, one pound of biomass bricks is equal to 1.7 pounds of cordwood in terms of how much heat you get. This gives you 70% more room for the same amount of heating fuel!
- Wood Bricks are delivered in a neat clean packaging on a pallet. Depending on the brand of biomass brick, the ton is typically comprised of 50 packages of 20 bricks. They can remain on the pallet, or the ton can be split up for quick stacking in tight spaces.
Cleanliness: Not only are biomass bricks environmentally clean, but also clean for your home: bricks are bark-free and bug-free. Wood chips and sawdust are the only components in the kiln-fired bricks, which means there is no chance for insects to make homes in them. Firewood can bring a variety of insects such as wasps, ants and beetles into your home. This is why campsites do not allow cord wood to be brought in for campfires.
- Handy Camping Tip: Packages of biomass wood bricks can be brought camping, and happen to be excellent for campfires. Bricks light quickly, burn clean and burn hot. The hot ash bed alone (which is perfect for cooking food and s’mores over) from burning bricks puts out more heat than a log on fire!
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.
In honor of Earth Day, we ran a challenge on our Woodpellets.com Facebook page to find out about some uses for empty pellet bags. Some great prizes were given out (a free professional pellet stove cleaning and PelletBucks) but we also learned so many new ideas for how to repurpose bags!
The photo to the left was our contest winner’s submission. This photo illustrates how she uses her empty bags for sorting her
TerraCycle Brigade recycling. It looks like she uses an empty diaper box for sorting as well! The Terracycle Brigade program collects previously non-recyclable or hard to recycle waste, with free shipping as well as a donation for each piece of garbage recycled.
We loved that she takes extra time and care for not-so-simple recycling, and that our empty Cleanfire Douglas Fir pellet bags are a part of her process!
Although not everyone could come in first place, we loved all the ideas! Here are some of the ways our fans repurpose (or upcycle) their bags:
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: