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Bad News on Pellets Stoves???

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by AlaskaCub, Apr 14, 2008.

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  1. Richardin52

    Richardin52 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    Messages:
    122
    Loc:
    A farm in Maine
    Think about this, How many billions of dollars did the area where you live send out of the USA last winter just to buy heating oil?

    Take all the money every business, school and home spent on oil last winter, Now think what would have happened to your local economy if all that money had stayed in the local economy. That’s what would have happened if all of them had bought fuel pellets made as close to you as possible. Think that would have helped the economy just a little do ya?

    If there were a shortage do you think the mills would be expanding this summer or new ones would be comming on line? Do you think that would help the housing industry? Peoples jobs? boots, glove, pants, chainsaws, truck manufacturers dealers?

    As far as I’m concerned they can take their oil and stick it on their dinner plate or some place else not so sunny. I’ll burn pellets, use solar and burn bio fuels or use electric cars made in the USA or ride a bike if I have to. It’s time for us all to look local for our needs. The longer our dollars stay local the bigger chance they will have of coming back to you in one form or another.

    Pellets will never be as high as oil and they are a local (US) fuel source.

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Maybe out of the USA (some), but a lot of our oil comes from Canada and Mexico..and Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. I see nothing wrong with the idea of trading partners and fair trade. LOTS of our wood pellets come from Canada also.

    There are many cases which can be made for pellets, but I don't think they are either the holy grail nor the solution to our energy problems. They are potentially ONE of many solutions, but only when (and if) the supply of the fuels and the reliability of the appliances both improve.

    All in all, the bad economy is probably good news for pellet buyers this year. Despite higher transportation costs, a number of pellet plants have come online in the last year....these companies are going to want to sell their fuel. I really doubt we will see the $300 pellets we saw two years ago....
  3. Ken45

    Ken45 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    Messages:
    545
    Loc:
    southern Ohio
    Generally I very much agree with your message. However, if the economy really goes sour, maybe no one will have money to buy a pellet stove?


    .
    I agree about the convenience of the pellet stove but I never took that long to refuel the wood furnance. Get up and refuel it before it runs down too far, and be back in bed asleep within ten minutes. However, you are right, the pellet stove is nice, I don't have to get up at all. I set the wood furnace at a lower setting so that it lasts the entire night and the pellet stove (with thermostat) comes on late in the night and picks up the slack. There's usually enough coals left for the wood furnace to get going easily at 7 am.


    .
    Agree. The thermostat control of a pellet stove is nice. Also very convenient for milder weather.


    .
    True, but I think wood will still provide more BTU per dollar, especially if one scrounges or cuts some of their own wood.


    .
    Actually there is less "true" inflation than what it appears. Our government is reducing the value of the dollar in real terms with it's irresponsible fiscal policies. Oil isn't going up as much as it seems, the value of the dollar is going down! Of course the oil producers want real value for their oil, they aren't going to sell it for the same cheapened dollars.


    .
    Now wait a minute!!! Who are you calling old? I turned 61 this week and I've split and stacked 4 cord of wood this week, with another cord+ to go. And I am not in "excellent health", but I'm trying to keep myself in some kind of shape. But yes, I know I won't be able to do this indefinitely.


    However, it may be less expensive to buy wood than the equivalent amount of pellets and it's easier to bring in a few pieces of firewood than lug a 40# bag of pellets. My wife can handle the firewood, she can't handle a bag of pellets, so I'm not sure that pellets are better than firewood for "the old folks" ;-)

    As I said, I mostly agreed with your post.

    Ken

    Blazeking 1400
    PE Summit awaiting installation
    Harman Advance pellet stove (a disappointment)
    Husky 353
    Huskee 22t splitter
  4. PutnamJct

    PutnamJct Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Messages:
    236
    Loc:
    Putnam County NY
    A pellet stove may or not be for everyone, you have to research and see if it is right for you. This is a great place to do that. Nevertheless, if you can not access a reasonable supply of pellets locally, it is not an option for you.
    It is hard to use the retailers (Depot, Lowes, Sams, etc) as your baseline for how the market is supplied. They always run months ahead of reality. (think Back to School displays in July when school just let out)
    For myself, I replaced about $5000 dollars in heating costs (using today's cost per gallon of oil) with $955 in pellets that are sitting on my property as of this week ready for next winter. For me it works.

    John
  5. Fencible

    Fencible Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Messages:
    24

    I agree with lots that you say, but.. pellets do not have to be kept in a shed, garage, basement. You do need room for them to drop the pallets outside where the aesthetics won't bother you too much though.

    I've been burning pellets for many years now, and regarding pellets, the two most important things are to buy early (Late Spring) and enough for the year, and cover them properly.

    Mine are always left outside on the pallets they come on, with the original plastic wrap. Of course, I do cover that wrap with two layers of impermeable tarp. I have 8 tons outside right now, including 1/2 ton left over.

    I only lost about 3 bags and I've been doing it this way for 10+ years. I lost those 3 because I got lazy with the covering. The 3 punky bags worked just fine around my blueberry bushes.

    I'm lucky in that I'm very country where I live and having 1/2 ton of pellets sitting on the porch is not a bad thing, ready to bring in one bag at a time.
  6. thomcoastal

    thomcoastal New Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2008
    Messages:
    24
    Loc:
    Near Bangor Maine
    Discussions concerning the US supply of oil can be a bit misleading. Most of the oil from Prudhoe Bay Alaska is being shipped to ports in Asia not the US. The production counts as US production in the global market but the bulk (65-75%) of the oil we are currently refining in the US comes from outside the Western Hemisphere. The pricing is not directly related to costs for commodities that are traded on the futures markets.

    The energy futures markets sells oil still in the ground for "future" delivery. When lots of money flows into the market prices increase - think supply and demand (the actual cash flowing into the oil futures markets has increased from $40 Billion in September of 2007 to over $255 Billion in May of 2008 - more money in, more demand for the basically set supply [OPEC] causes an increase in pricing). The actual costs involved in the drilling, pumping, shipping & production are eclisped by the greed of people who want to make money in the market (who bid the prices up after watching the local news saying oil went up again). As long as oil is freely sold on the US commodity market, the prices will reflect the increases from traders who want cash in their accounts.

    Wood is a locally grown commodity in most of the US. Pellet plants (current ones) use every bit of the tree to amke pellets not just the sawdust. In Maine our tree cencus showed that the number of trees in the forests are increasing at an astounding rate due to the reduction in use of raw wood for paper production. The overproduction has reduced the value of trees standing in the forest so the use of trees to make pellets makes sense. The new pellet plants in Maine can use sawdust but are also equipped with machinery to utilize the entire tree making the risks of China using all our sawdust a little less of an issue in Maine (as well as most other places with modern mills).

    Wood pellets will contribute at least 90% of my heat and hot water this coming winter.
  7. gw2kpro

    gw2kpro New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    Messages:
    188
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    I just got a quote for heating oil, 4.52/gallon.

    At that price, which is today's current price, a ton of pellets would have to cost roughly $550 (for equivalent BTU output).

    Today's price for pellets here is $219.

    That's real savings. Today. I am buying 3 more tons of pellets this week, they plus the ones I have (got them on sale for $200 -- anyone else ever get to use a 10% off coupon on oil?) will get me through this winter.

    My stove and install will pay for itself in 1.5 years.

    If the price of oil does not increase at all, and the price of pellets doubles, I will still see good savings each month.
  8. thomcoastal

    thomcoastal New Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2008
    Messages:
    24
    Loc:
    Near Bangor Maine
    I hadn't thought of using the 10% off the entire purchase price from a local lumber dealer for a delivery of $1000 or more. i need 8 tons of pellets, I just asked the store manager and she said everything is included in the 10% off....I am off to pay for the pellets now...
  9. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    2,140
    Loc:
    Waxhaw, NC... Formerly North shore Mass
    I know this is not the average price for wood...... BUT these guy's have been charging more per BTU than the cost of pellets for years.....
    I believe they were $379 a cord before they were sold out for this year... Check out the kiln dried pricing.... :eek:hh:

    http://mywoodenergy.com/2.html

    FWIW Not alot of people have the space to store and season thier own wood therefore they are stuck paying for it from companies like this.

    I can't wait to see what they charge this fall.......
  10. kohout77

    kohout77 New Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    9
    Loc:
    long island
    Always pellet wood is 10x the work 30 new pellet mills this year as far as dust when lumbered half the tree lays on the ground raw material will be there they might have to work a little.Some pellet mills set price buy oil price in aug.
  11. InTheRockies

    InTheRockies New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Northern US Rockies
    There were many things that led me not to even consider a pellet stove when I decided to replace the old wood stove that was in my house. Pellet production is one of those things, especially living in a more rural area. Milling operations keep disappearing in the US. A local pellet facility in an adjoining county is closing because the last small milling operation was shut down on short notice in August. Virtually all of the people in that county who had bought pellet stoves got their pellets from that facility. They're now going to be stuck traveling a distance (minimum of 89 miles) to buy pellets. Needless to say, there are many in that area who are now worry that they won't get enough pellets to make it through the winter. If you're in an urban area, you may have several big box stores or other distributors you can easily turn to--if you're in a rural area, your sources are more limited and if they disappear, you'll pay a premium in shipping if you can find someone who will ship to you or you'll spend a pretty penny to travel to pick them up yourself.
  12. hoverfly

    hoverfly Minister of Fire

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    If that the case then pellet manufactures can buy equipment to process whole logs, all ready being done in many plants do to the decrease of lumber production.
  13. MainePellethead

    MainePellethead Minister of Fire

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    Thats correct. Corinth is doing that exact process. They recently have installed the necessary equipment and will be starting up very soon to use whole logs. That will help in the process seeing as sawdust is about 50 dollars a ton at present with them.
  14. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Western Mass.
    It doesn't matter if they CAN, it matters if they do.........

    You can't argue with the fact that many people cannot buy pellets - or at least cannot buy them from multiple sources at decent prices. For those people, a pellet stove may not be a good idea - just like solar is a better deal in New Mexico than in Vermont.
  15. thomcoastal

    thomcoastal New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Near Bangor Maine
    Pellets are available in nearly all parts of the counrty within 10% of last years prices...Not sure about your exact part of Mass but in the 8 differing communities I have checked with pellets are available with little or no increase in prices....
  16. hoverfly

    hoverfly Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Southern NH

    Solar is a good deal in Vermont, or in Maine As a mater of fact a community center in Springfield VT was built two three years ago and solar is used to heat the pool. People will get their pellets, maybe just not for the whole winter all at once, I my self have yet to get my first ton but there are limits on how much one can purchase to limit hording and the prices I got are not much different than last year.
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