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Big box store Pellet comparing! List and mini review!

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by jtakeman, Oct 3, 2009.

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  1. tractorman100

    tractorman100 Member

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    Patiently waiting on you AWF review

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  2. opus74

    opus74 Member

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    It was more than fun, it was an education for me.

    Thank you for your efforts.
  3. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    They are going in the hopper sometime today. Its been cold here for the last few days. I am at a bag a day right now, So they should finish some time Sunday or so. I will try to do testing on the weekends from now on. I will try to do some during the week, But I really don't want to come home to a cold house. I will do what I can to finish these up ASAP.

    Ooh I'm not done yet! Just a little break to do a project. Then its back to it, But I have to finish the log cabin project(its getting there) first and for-most. I'll post a photo of the cabin later on. So far so good!

    Please stay tuned.
  4. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    AWF are in the stove.

    Here are some photo's of damp pellets that were on the top of the first bag. Not too many, But the bag had got wet at one point. I bought them at lowes in danbury. The sales rep opened the pallet. There were no holes in the bag. This is an issue with pellets that are kept out doors, Granted there wasn't very many. I will see if the other bag is the same.

    There were also a few pellets that were longer than 1 1/2 inches as well. I didn't sort them they were right on top after dumping the bag in the hopper.

    I will try to post the temp reading as soon as I get it.

    Attached Files:

  5. Oilhater

    Oilhater Member

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    Where can I get some Barefoots in southern NH?
  6. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

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  7. craigsward

    craigsward Member

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    What a great thread. Thanks Jay.

    I have two tons that i'm working through of the pres to logs, and with waht little experience i have with burning pellets i would have to say they stink. Heat output is ok, but they produce SO much ash, and blacken the glass very quickly. Harman says i should be able to burn a ton of pellets before i have to empty my ash pan on the XXV, and i have emptied it twice now and i'm about half way through the first ton.

    It sounds like AWF and Marth are the clear winners of the box store pellets. Rockies look pretty good too. Lignetics are good too but they seem to fall in to the higher price category.

    I'm curious to see how Greene Team does, as i have heard these are pretty good. Thats what Lowes was supposed to deliver to me but i ended up with the Pres to Logs. I didn't really have a problem with it at the time seeing they were made by Lignetics and i assumed they would be good. Bad decision.
  8. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Update on the other project

    Hard to believe its been a whole week and I'm still not finished with this yet. I think I went a little overboard with it. (Check out the pict.) Fire place with a smothered fire even. I can't wait until its finished. Not my cup of tea!

    Hopefully tomorrow I can install the loft and start the roof.

    Attached Files:

  9. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Hey Dad,

    Ain't the young pellet piglet in training the one to be doing that little project?

    This Grandpa is just asking ...
  10. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Mom said no tools yet. He has been doing the glueing and painting for it. Dad has the cutting and measuring detail. But We are doing it as a team. He is fully involved and got more glue on him than the shack though. Gorilla clue very tough to get off skin, Or Dad's beard(ouch).

    Grandpa is welcome to lend a hand! :lol:
  11. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Sorry I too have a beard and have no desire to remove Gorilla Glue from it so you'll have to Pig up and bear it.

    I had to oversee one 5 year old completely hyper active tree decorating machine this morning.

    Never knew if the ornaments were going to make it to the tree or into orbit.

    Grand daughter still hadn't chilled out from her week at school, of course it didn't help any that before she started decorating she had more than a couple of freshly baked high sugar yummies.

    House still smells really good and tomorrow might be bread day.
  12. Benski

    Benski Member

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    I have a few thoughts to share about ash content in pellets.

    It has been mentionned in this thread earlier on that pellet companies have been struggling to find wood chips and shavings to make our pellets. Pellets are usually at 5% moisture content. Drying is therefore often required. As we do on our farm to dry corn, pellets can be dried by using propane or natural gas. But I am also sure it could be dried using wood fired furnaces from which heat would be sent into a kiln type dryer.

    But by doing so, most of the fly ash coming from the heat source gets trapped by the wood chips (or "powder"). I would guess the pellet plant operators would constantly try to use wood chips and bark at different ratios to save on costs, while still having an acceptable level of ash in the finished products. Of course there could be ways of using indirect heat by means of heat exchanger between furnace and kiln....

    That would explain variability in ash content in different batches. Because if pellets are truly bark free, I would expect that their ash content be always the same within 0,1 or 0,2 percent. But I am not a wood scientist and cannot argue on that.

    I would welcome anyone having actual experience with pellet mills to confirm or not what I just mentionned.

    Thank you,

    Ben
  13. littlesmokey

    littlesmokey Minister of Fire

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    Benski: Check out the sticky on making pellets at the top of the forum. It's my opinion, and mine only, apparently that the heavy black ash is caused by operating the stove without enough combustion air.The ash is a product of the non-combustion. That is operator error in my opinion, not maximizing the burn for the pellets in the stove. As I have said, I am a tweaker and have a manual stove and fiddle with it until I get it right.
  14. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Ben,

    Interesting observation's you have. Wish I had some solid answers for you. I can only speculate what is happening. With the lack of fiber, The mills are scrambling to still produce a product with what they have available. I think they lowered the standards of what they were once holding. Excepting a slightly lower quality fiber and also using chips instead of 100% dust. If the chips are not ground fine enough there might be less overall fiber compressed into the pellet. This would lower the overall BTU value. As for the ash content. Lower grade fiber would have a higher ash content overall and different wood species themselves have different ash contents. There was a list posted that BTU value and ash content for different wood species. Who knows maybe there even adding fillers to extend the fiber?

    I would love to here what a pellet maker or mill worker would have to say too! What else is going into these pellets when the quality fiber isn't available?



    Just my opinion: All I have to say the best and most efficient stove in the world is still going to burn dirty if the pellet is dirty, sub par, Full of ash or Below Standard! It has already been said "What is available in the east is totally different that what is in the west!" If you put quality in the hopper. You will get a quality burn. If you put a high ash content pellet or a pellet full of bark and fillers your going to get a cruddier burn.

    I have burned high bark(3%) pellets meant for commercial furnace's. The burn was Dark. Tweaked till the pellets were flying out of the burnpot. Bark does not and in no way burn clean. Tweak all you want-the burn is dirty! If bark burned clean every premium or super premium pellet made would have a higher bark content! My stove is new technology and is made to burn high bark content fuels. I love to tweak and tinker too. I can adjust the air with the damper. I can tweak the feed rate with 5 different ratio's within each heat range. I stat and log everything I do. Each change is data to me. But there is one thing I just can't seem to be able to do. Make bark burn clean. Anyone else burned high bark pellets? Love to hear the honest results.
  15. Topshelf

    Topshelf New Member

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    'm a newb to pellets and I didnt see mine listed? I'm running Pelletpro's that I picked up at TSC in Michigan.
    I'm pretty happy with them so far. some fines but notto many. Seems some bags are worse than others which I guess is normal.

    I clean the hopper every 2-3 bags adthen do a good cleaning of the whole stove once a week or so. I have had a couple of auger feed jams due to fines or saw dust accumulating at the auger feed in the hopper. I get decent heat out of them, low ash per bag.

    Any input on these?
  16. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    I have seen Propellets my way. But have not seen any Pelletpro's around me.

    Can you post a photo of the bag?

    Some bags have web addresses and Physical address on them.

    jay
  17. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    AWF are done See photo for ash amount. Right at the 12 ounces mark on jar for volume. Ash weight was =.28lbs. or 4.48 ounces or .35%.



    Currans are in and burning.

    Temp average was 228ºF Fines were low. Chart on 1st post is updated.

    jay

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  18. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Currans are done.

    Ash was at the 20 ounce mark on jar. As weight was .38 lbs. or 6.08 ounces or .475%. They seem to burn OK and are about average overall.

    I am back on my pellets due to a cold snap coming in and Don't want to wake up cold. I will try to do the Eco Flames this weekend when I am home a bit more. a little busy at work lately.

    I will try to update the chart this PM.

    jay

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  19. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    The cabin project is finished. And WE are glad to be finished with this. Hope to get an A! Maybe relieved is the correct word to use.
    See attached photo.

    I will go back to pellet testing tomorrow night. The Eco Flames are next on the list. I am excited and anxious to try the Eco's.

    Attached Files:

  20. nailed_nailer

    nailed_nailer Minister of Fire

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    Jay,

    Nice work on the cabin. Looks great. You guys did good!

    Just for grins I brought home my Fluke 189 Meter and attached a thermocouple to it.

    Best I can get measuring air output from my heat exchanger is 174 deg F. When burning in what I call my "normal" range on my EF-2.

    I am burning this years New England's in the tan bag with brown letters. I just quick cleaned the stove (tonight). That after I deep cleaned it last weekend.

    I was surprised at how low that seems. I am off until the end of the year so I have time to fool around with the stove.

    Even with the low convection temps my living room is sitting at 71 deg F. With the outside air at 16 deg F.

    ---Nailer---
  21. CanadaClinker

    CanadaClinker New Member

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    see any good look'n pellets, er,seeds??? NWOntario
    ........ all I can say is........ WOW!!! ..... u guys did good!! .... I can see an 'A' coming for your efforts........ cc :)
  22. ablejoy

    ablejoy Feeling the Heat

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    Nice cabin great job.
  23. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Nailer,

    Your temp numbers may be fine for that stove. I would only worry if the vent was higher than the heat exchanger. These temps would depend on stove effiency. Use this as a base and try other pellets and watch the heat temps try to find the brands that burn the hottest. Then sort out the brands that burn the cleanest of the hottest. You will then have your Ultimate pellets for your stove.

    You just have to make it interesting and log the changes. Most important things are having fun and sharing your results with others.

    jay
  24. poconoman

    poconoman Member

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    WOW! That's a quality looking, masonry chimney! I'm very impressed! :gulp:

    Great job Jake!
  25. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for all the nice comments on the cabin. Fun but not sure I want to do that again.

    Eco Flames are done. Right at the 16 ounce mark on the jar. I will weight them Monday.

    Green Team is in. House it at 76ºF so no temp until tomorrow morning.

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