1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Dealers Explanation of Pellet Quality

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by mrbean1025, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. mrbean1025

    mrbean1025 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2007
    Messages:
    98
    Loc:
    Southern New Hampshire
    What are talking about??? Are you referring to softwood putting out more btu's than hardwood in cord form, which is correct? I agree that softwood pellets should put out more btu's per 40LB bag than hardwoods as the only reason they don't in cord form is because a piece of softwood is less dense than a piece of hardwood. My statement that you quoted was the salesman simply saying that the difference in a BAG (NOT A POUND) of bad pellets and a bag of exceptional pellets is only 600 btu's.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    12,060
    Loc:
    Standish, ME
    The salesman is incorrect. You need to only look at the twin port test results for several pellets to know that isn't the case at all.

    ETA: Just so everyone understands the test results are reported in terms of BTU/pound. Bags usually have varying weights of pellets, weigh a few for giggles.
  3. mrbean1025

    mrbean1025 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2007
    Messages:
    98
    Loc:
    Southern New Hampshire
    Can you post a link to the "test results" that you are referring to? Also, doesn't "ETA" stand for Estimated Time of Arrival?????
  4. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    12,060
    Loc:
    Standish, ME
    Edited To Add ...

    You can go back to that salesman and ask to see the test reports. You'll either get to see them or understand that the salesman knows not what he is talking about.

    Softwood LaCreates as tested 8730 Btus per pound.

    Hardwood Barefoot as tested 7976 Btus per pound.

    That makes a difference of 754 Btus per pound.
  5. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Messages:
    13,580
    Loc:
    Northwestern CT.
    Ahhh, Like Smokey said Pellets are rated by BTU/lb NOT BY THE BAG! See some test results posted all over the net and not one will say BTU per bag! I'll post a couple so you can see for yourself if you don't believe what we say here! You can also check woodpellets.com as they do their own testing for each brands they market. All rated at BTU/lb.

    Thats what I'm talking about! PFFT! :mad:

    Attached Files:

  6. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    12,060
    Loc:
    Standish, ME
    The only thing about the testing is it has to be done on a regular basis as the run quality is always changing. A number of pellet houses post the test results for the pellets they sell.

    There are threads on here dealing with Twin Ports, pellet testing, PFI approved labs, and a multitude of other sins and crimes against humanity.

    Always try before you buy and always buy from what you try or results can and likely will vary.
  7. mrbean1025

    mrbean1025 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2007
    Messages:
    98
    Loc:
    Southern New Hampshire
    "PFFT!" man, I have not seen that many exclamation marks in a text form since my 16 year old daughter sent me a mean text on the phone. Call the Stove Keepers if you want to fix the misconceptions within the pellet world as I only want to know a few simple questions.

    Smokey, thanks for the info as your last post of the basically ever changing information is what causes such a big headache when dealing with pellets. I wish there was a more standard form of how they are manufactured. This may sound a bit ignorant but does the 700btu difference make a big enough difference to justify more money/bag?
  8. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Messages:
    13,580
    Loc:
    Northwestern CT.
    Guess I figured if I was talked to like a little kid, I had to act the part? Don't need to call stove keepers, I don't buy from them. Pellet peeps in my area have already got it. One hangs out here. BTU's per bag, Sure did make me chuckle a lil. Yeah, Pellet are all the same too.

    I could give you some pellet comparison tips, But I just don't feel like typing. Have fun smokey(PM sent)! ;)
  9. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    12,060
    Loc:
    Standish, ME
    If you start with the low BTU pellet (Barefoot) the higher BTU pellet (LaCreate) is worth a premium of 9.45 percent over the price of the Barefoot pellet. Just on BTUs only.

    Now what you need to understand is that both of those BTU figures are within the range that one can find on the market these days. It is generally recognized that there is range of heat output that is about 20% better at the high end over the low end for premium pellets. Things get even more interesting when you factor in time or costs of cleanings which generally increase with the lower BTU and higher ash pellets.

    If you have to have your system cleaned twice a season by so called professionals because of using the low end pellets instead of once per season the advantages of the higher BTU and low ash pellets to the run of the mill pellets becomes greater. A single service can cost more than the price of a ton of pellets in some locations.

    If you do your own service then you have to figure what your time is worth.

    It is up to you to figure it all out.

    The one place where the extra BTUs really comes in handy is when you have maxed your stoves firing rate out and can't quite keep up with the heat loss of your house. In that case the extra can mean the difference between comfort and being cold. Again that is your call when you size the stove (or stoves) to your house's heating requirements.

    Every year we hear the stories of woe (jtakeman is an expert in this situation and has shared his first hand knowledge of such, he has also done more than a little pellet testing and taken far more than a fair share of crap for it).

    I keep telling people to do a heat loss calculation and make certain their stove can cover it at its middle firing rate. Some folks listen and some don't.

    Most of the pellet makers try to improve their product some make great strides and some don't.

    Some folks get hung up on dollar signs going too far in either direction only to get caught up short in some manner in the end.

    Pellet prices where you are are different than they are where I am or other people are. You can use the BTU/pound figures to decide how much of a premium to pay for one pellet versus the other, just don't forget the end goal and all of the other operational considerations of keeping the house warm.

    What I've done is when I find a good run I stock up, the pellets keep if kept dry. It has been almost 2 years since I've purchased a bag of pellets and I likely won't for at least another year.

    The other thing you have to watch out for is getting old and/or abused stock, it can stay in the pipeline for a long time.
  10. mrbean1025

    mrbean1025 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2007
    Messages:
    98
    Loc:
    Southern New Hampshire
    jtakeman,
    After reviewing what I posted, you are right. I apologize for talking to you like a kid and I appreciate your input on this.
    jtakeman likes this.
  11. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Messages:
    13,580
    Loc:
    Northwestern CT.
    Don't worry about it. Bumps in the road just happen, water under the bridge!

    Its all good and thanks. :cool:
  12. turbosporsche

    turbosporsche Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2012
    Messages:
    137
    Loc:
    Shelton,ct
    So here's my take on all this. Being in the manufacturing field for some years quality control is everything and quality control equals time and money. The better pellet company's charge more because u r getting consistency . Where as when u buy from the big box stores they tend to buy the cheapest price. When brokers go shopping they tell manufactures what they wanna pay for a product. At that point the manufacturer has a decision to make and decide whether or not if they wanna sell there product. When they do they must cut back on quality to make a profit. Walmart is notorious for this they tell manufacturers what they are willing to pay for an item. Big box stores don't care if you come back or give good feed back but smaller mom and pop shops do and that's y they will sell the better more expensive items. Ever notice the rigid drill from hd is not the same as from sears or a true hardware store.

    Also if I made a pellet that produced 18,000 btus but cost 600 a ton or say 700 would u buy them. Some people would but majority of people look at price in this economy. More consistent pellet can generally product a higher btu .
  13. seaken

    seaken Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Messages:
    580
    Loc:
    Shokan, NY
    You have to decide for yourself if spending more for pellets is justified. In my experience it is. But if you are just getting started you'll have to go through the learning curve. Sometimes you just have to go through it and there is no easy answer available on the internet. But it's good to question and get opinions, just no substitute for experience.

    What Scott said above is true, many dealers are not truly knowledgeable about how things work in the marketplace. I would caution you about thinking your dealer, or salesperson, an "expert" just because they are a dealer. They MAY be an expert but not simply because they are selling pellets or stoves.

    In our shop we encourage our customer to come here, to hearth.com, and woodpellets.com, to learn about pellets. We tell them what we buy and use in our own stoves and we share our opinion. But we are not pellet fuel dealers. We sell fuel by the bag at exorbitant prices when priced by the ton. Most folks here would say I'm "ripping" you off selling my pellets at over $6 per bag. But of course I'm not. I don't make any money selling pellets. But we have a few bags to help you get by while you're waiting for your delivery. And we use pellets to heat our store, houses, etc. No sales pitch from us. And we tell you when we don't know. But what we do know pays our bills.

    I know this, when we have a customer who insists on buying the cheapest pellets and never cleans their stove we end up charging them over $600 a year for service calls. If you buy better pellets and do the routine cleaning you end up paying about $250 per year for service. If you're a do-it-yourselfer you have to decide how many times you want to clean out the ash? Once a year? Twice? Ten times? Twenty? You decide.

    Sean

Share This Page