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Athens Wood Pellets intial review

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Fire It Up, Oct 8, 2008.

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  1. Fire It Up

    Fire It Up New Member

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    Greg, Where are you getting the Cubex? I used to get them at Rocky's Stove Shop in Augusta but supply has been limited. These are by far the best pellets I have ever burned.

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  2. Greg Tasker

    Greg Tasker New Member

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    Hartlan
  3. sparkydog00

    sparkydog00 Feeling the Heat

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    It is all the pellets. I have burned more than 8 different brands of premium pellets in this stove. None of these needed brands burned in my stove caused the amount of attention to the burn process as Maine Wood pellets. Pellets stoves really are light and forget stoves. At least if you burn any premium pellet. Therefore Maine Woods are only premium because it says so on the outside of the bag. I have serious doubts if they are all wood let alone 80 20 hard soft...I would guess 80 wood 20 anything that strays into the yard that day.
    These people should be put out of business. And as far as i am concerned they are out of business!
  4. sparkydog00

    sparkydog00 Feeling the Heat

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    Obviously not burning Maine Wood Pellets!
  5. sparkydog00

    sparkydog00 Feeling the Heat

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    The price will probably go down after that!
    These pellets stink!
  6. sailordennis

    sailordennis Member

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    Loc:
    Mid Coast Maine
    Hello all,
    This is my first post but have have been a lurker for a couple weeks. I didn't find this forum until after I had purchased 3 tons of Maine woods for My Quad Castile. Boy are they junk. I was cleaning my burn pot 3 times a day and getting clinkers the size of my fist a few times. I stopped burning them after about 10 bags and switched over to green team from my local Lowes. Nice burn, low ash and tons more heat. I made a call to Athens and spoke to Dave on Tuesday, he acknowledged the problem they had with quality this fall and offered to send me a bag of the newer batch (fed ex or through the local wholesaler). I opted for the wholesaler but had not heard from him yet this morning so I went to the retailer I bought them from and THEY WILL TAKE THEM BACK! :) I was quite happy to hear this, unfortunately I will have to rent a pallet jack (again) to get them to where a boom truck can lift them out of my garage but it will be well worth the $20 rental fee. Thanks to all that have posted about these pellets as you helped make my case with the retailer and yes, the people at Athens read this forum. Good luck to you all.
  7. j00fek

    j00fek Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Auburn, Maine
    if they read the forum why wouldn't they sign up and post like the pennington rep?
  8. Saltair

    Saltair New Member

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    Loc:
    Eastern ME
    Let us know how this "new" batch burns I sold all three tons I had, but my dad is stuck with about three tons of them. I would be very curious to see if they are really better...
  9. lessoil

    lessoil Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Rumford, Maine
    Yesterday had to run the stove up a bit because of the cold.
    The Athen's Ash snuffed out the fire a couple of times.
    Have to clean the front of the burn pot every 5 hours to prevent this.
    Sure hope the quality issues will be resolved.

    We have just 3 tons left out of the original 4.
    Good heat but the Ash........

    0F this AM 78F downstairs and 64-70 range upstairs!!
    Love it!!
  10. sailordennis

    sailordennis Member

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    I will if I ever get them. I have been buying a few bags of Green Team at a time at the local Lowes and will not do a bulk order of the Athens pellets unless the sample bags are absolutely stellar. I am going to try Wall Mart and HD this PM and see what they have as well. I should have done this all prior to ordering the Maine woods and I would not be dealing with this during the heating season! Live and learn.
  11. jimcooncat

    jimcooncat New Member

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    Central Maine
    dbjc364 and I (yes, we're housemates and lovers, and both post here!) have done a bit more experimentation now that other brands of pellets are finally showing up in our area. We tried a few bags of Nature's Heat (Pennington) and were impressed by the lower ash content. We noticed a slight increase in heat as well.

    After that straight run test of a couple of bags, we've been mixing them with good success. I've tried 1 to 1, as well as 2 parts Athens to 1 part Pennington. Both do much better than Athens alone.

    Note that these are the "new, improved" Athens pellets. They now look exactly like the Pennington's, give better heat than the old Athens blend, but still give a lot of ash. Our Napoleon NPS40 does handle ash well compared to others described here.

    We've also picked up a couple of bags of Forest's Pride, and if those match well with Athens we may get a good quantity to mix for the rest of the season. Given the same price point and quality, I'd stick with USA manufactured over imports.
  12. j00fek

    j00fek Feeling the Heat

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    Auburn, Maine
    i called my dealer where the athens were bought this past june, they has no idea that athens were taking back pellets and pretty much rebuffed me as to saying no one had any problems with these pellets.

    ill be calling the plant on monday for resolution.
  13. sailordennis

    sailordennis Member

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    Same thing happened to me at my dealer at first, then I spoke with Dave in Athens and his admitting a problem gave me some ammo to use if I needed it. They picked up my pellets on Tuesday. I am burning green team from Lowes in Rockland. I have been bringing them home 15 bags at a time in the Volvo wagon after work. (I drive right past it) We are up to a ton +.
    Good luck
  14. mjbrown

    mjbrown Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Hartland,Me.
    the simple fact is and was stated before, that the athens mill is new and they ARE trying to work the bugs out of their pellets.i spoke with dave carr at the athens mill on saturday when i picked up another 3 ton of the athens pellets, and he stated that due to the bad press from this forum , they are woking on the mix and the drying of the pellets. so far , the 3 bags i have burned from this load seems to be a little lighter in color and seem to burn a little hotter. i am no scientist, and dont know a thing about how these things are made, but i do believe that when a person or company starts something new, they have a learning curve to get thru. .... dont throw in the towel on them yet, give them a chance.

    myself, i have to go with availability and affordability.i dont care if i have to clean the stove a litle more often, i do it once a week regardless. it doesnt bother me to open the hopper and scoop the pellets b4 i go to bed, its not that hard a job....it bothers me to hear the furnce kick on... so far it only does it once a week( when i clean my stove).



    forgot to mention...cubex up here are going for 310 per ton and i buy my athens for 215. so in thoery, if i buy the athens for a 100 bucks less per ton , i can buy 3 ton for the price of 2 and have enuff to get me thru the rest of the winter.


    mike
  15. tumbles

    tumbles Member

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    The "big deal" with the Athens pellets is they labelled them as "premium" and they are not. They are a "standard" pellet. If they would have labelled them correctly, I don't think people would be so upset. People feel they were taken advantage of in a tight market. If they were labelled "standard", people would say I got what I payed for and I learned from my mistakes. These pellets stink. They do burn, but do not burn hot and they produce a lot of ash (no matter how you set your stove). I'll never buy them again and I know a lot of people won't buy them again. A little honesty goes a long way. They should have tested their product before they put it out. They were able to take advantage of a tight market. I'll make do for this year, but it won't happen again. It' too bad because I really wanted to see a Maine company do well. In fact, I'm a little disappointed it has gotten to this point. If I were the owner, I would send out a letter of apology to all the
    dealers I sold to and allow people to return them for a full refund. This may not be the wisest business decision, but the right one. Then, if you want to trade them for the "new and improved" Athens pellets, people might be willing to give the company a second chance.
  16. Saltair

    Saltair New Member

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    The word is Athens is taking the pellets back which is good. You are correct though the anger on this forum is a direct result of people feeling as if they were taken advantage of in a tight market when an inferior product was rushed to market to fill a vacuum. People find that hard to forgive. I still cant believe they have not responded to this forum
  17. sydney1963

    sydney1963 New Member

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    Loc:
    Windham Maine
    Ok, so with Athen's pellets you have to clean a little more often. But from what I can see from this post the heat output is the same. I,m not excusing that they need to look into their production process, but let's not hang a start up company. Maine needs the business and with feedback I'm sure they will work on the complaints. Question: If you knew nothing about a start up company selling a new product, would you buy from them? Answer: Probably not! At least until you heard how folks liked the product. They will make it right.
  18. sparkydog00

    sparkydog00 Feeling the Heat

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    I would buy the Cubex...the amount of ash and possible damage that is being done to the stoves by burning the Maine Woods pellets would be more important that the money. Not to mention I hate waking up in the middle of the night cold becuase the Maine Woods pellets have once again binded up my auger.
    This company knowingly sold standard grade pellets marked as premium. I payed considerably more than 215 for a ton of these. So I paid a premium price for a standard grade pellet. Fool me once....your fault....you will never fool me again. I will never purchase another product from this company!
  19. j00fek

    j00fek Feeling the Heat

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    Auburn, Maine
    i have had 2 exhaust blowers die already in 2 months burning these pellets. in the 6 years i have burnt pellets i have never had this much trouble.
    but i put most of the blame on myself for not buying pfi pellets, i have always bought pfi pellets in the past. never had any problems, always got them from lowes or the stove shop on center st.
    i also spoke with mr.carr yesterday and he said he would change out the pellets, but im not going to stack a ton in my fathers truck, and drive almost 100mi to get another ton.
  20. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Sydney,

    It is more than just having to clean a little more. You need to check the burn pot every few hours especially if you have a top feeder and no ash extractor.

    My stove can handle the standard pellets provided they are not out of spec, it is much, much, happier on true premium pellets.

    I am burning Maine Woods aka Athens.

    I had to have a burn pot modification done to the stove in order to keep up with the ash production and to cut the clinker formation rate.

    The pellets as I suspected and have now seen confirmed were not to moisture standards either.

    My pellets at least weren't all crumbs as some of the folks here have talked about, I have yet to find any metal objects in them, and I've only had one augur jam (it occurred on bag 7 of the 79 burned so far) caused by me not noticing part of the bag coming off into the hopper.

    I have now burned 4 different brands in the stove and all three of the non Maine Woods pellets I've tried have been much, much better.

    I'll give these folks another chance once I see a lab report that backs up the grade label. Until that happens these pellets will be the last I'll buy from their dealer network.

    It was -4 here this morning and the house (1800+ square feet being heated by the stove) is at a nice 70F upstairs and 75F in my office. I like the stove and the heat it can throw, now if I can get it so I don't have to change its diapers like it was a little baby.
  21. 4124elad

    4124elad New Member

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    I posted on this topic here.

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/31538/

    The problem and it is not limited to Athens is the selling of standard and industrial grade pellets as
    premium grade.


    This is the same as passing off Bunker C or number two fuel oil as kerosene.

    WHY IS THIS PRACTICE GOING ON?

    Can be only one of two reasons.

    1. Ignorance and carelessness

    2. Profitable Fraud and Deception

    Either reason is unexceptable and a criminal act.

    All of our stoves are required to have premium grade pellets.

    By labeling and selling anything else to us at inflated prices the pellet producers are putting every stove
    owner at risk.

    When the insurance claims start rolling in the insurance industry is going to refuse to insure a home with
    a pellet stove installed.

    I would not blame them.

    The bad press that will result from newspaper stories of hopper fires will halt new stove sales.

    WHAT YOU CAN DO TO CHECK THE QAULITY OF YOUR PELLETS YOURSELF


    Sorry if your having problems with your pellets it is on you to do some investigating. It is easy to do
    though.


    Just put a handful of pellets in a glass of water. They should dissolve within a few minutes. If they do not dissolve completly within a few minutes and do not dissolve at all that means that they are not premium and contain some sort of additive.

    Drain the water and put the residue in some paper towels. Squeeze the water out. Lay it out on a piece
    of paper. It should be the consistency of corn meal. IF NOT THEN IT IS NOT A PREMIUM PELLET.

    HERE ARE PICS OF THE TEST I DID ON FUTURE FUEL II I PURCHASED FROM HOME DEPOT.

    Those pellet sat in water for twenty minutes and did not completly dissolve. They have large chunks and
    forieng objects within and even pieces of corn.

    I returned the whole ton to Home Depot as burning even a half a bag of these would produce a clinker
    the size of my fist in the burn pot of my Quadra Fire Santa Fe. I showed the manager the results of my
    testing. I even showed him the test on Greene Team pellets that work fine.

    After explaining to him that the Future Fuel II pellets were not and could not possibly be premium pellets
    he put the ton that had returned right back on the floor and is selling them for 5.98 a bag.

    This is in Rockland Maine by the way.

    Check out my Future Fuel II review I posted some links there that show how to test your pellet for yourself.

    Do the test and post your results.

    If your building clinkers it is not premium fuel.

    Attached Files:

  22. pellet0708

    pellet0708 New Member

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    Heat is NOT the same. Fact is that our other brand of pellets produce almost as much ash as the Athens but the heat from the new ones is at least doubled. We have been able to turn our stove down 2 settings which means we go through only a bag a day instead of a 1 3/4 bags. so it isnt just more cleaning, we are talking about real savings in amount of pellets used and that is huge. Didn't know any better when we first burned the Athens as hadn't put anything else through our stove. When we started burning other brands the stove got so hot we started to worry about the normal things new pellet stove owners so such as hopper fires etc..... Hearth pad never even got warm burning the Athens, now it sure does. THAT is the difference in the heat output.
  23. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Just for your information clinkers (sintered ash) will form anytime ash is produced and not evacuated from the burn pot, no matter what grade the pellets are.
  24. 4124elad

    4124elad New Member

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    Not to attack you but that statement is not helpful and provides no information.

    Do you just make things up or have you aquired some knowlegde from somewhere.

    Yes ash can produce a clinker.

    However, reading from my Quad manual it says "Dirty fuel will cause clinkers to form in the firepot. A clinker is formed when dirt, ash or a non burnable substance is heated to 2000 degree F (1093 C) and becomes glass-like."... An opinion based on a reference and experience is a wonderful thing.

    I have attached a picture of what I define as a clinker. Included in the picture is the results of the water test done on the future fuel.

    Attached Files:

  25. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Not made up.

    Every single form of wood fuel compressed or not has in it impurities ( so called foreign matter ) it is there because in the process of growing it gets trapped by the tree.

    Those impurities are what cause ash.

    The burn pot provides the required temperatures.

    The process of burning the pellet is what provides the charcoal (carbon) which along with moisture, the amount of trapped silicon (in the ash), and the temperature in the burn pot will determine the rate at which a clinker will grow.

    I am familiar with clinkers because I burned many tons of anthracite and other solid fuels prior to burning pellets.

    A growing clinker will eventually cause burning pellets to fall out of the burn pot, smother the fire (very unlikely but possible), or cause a pellet backup in the drop chute (which may or may not lead to a hooper fire).
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