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How healthy is the pellet industry in your area?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by save$, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

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    In 2008, there was this mad rush for some of us to convert from fossil fuel to pellets. The fear was that fossil fuel would be in short supply, or priced at a point too high for many of us. Several jumped in and made the conversion. Just look at the membership dates for this forum and you will see when the interest spiked. Then there was this pellet and stove hunt. Lots of wild guessing how much they would cost and even if they going to be available in the later winter months. Moving ahead 4 years. Maine is using half the oil it did before. Stoves and pellets are plentiful. The box stores should be given some credit for holding down the price point on pellets. Mills have opened and closed. Fires and over guessing the market given the blame. Now things seem almost too quiet yet I see deliveries on the road most any day. How is the market in your area? Anyone seeing a move toward the pellet furnace, or bulk delivery?

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  2. P38X2

    P38X2 Minister of Fire

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    I see the Sandri fuels bulk pellet truck in my area fairly frequently. They're out of Greenfield, MA, I believe. Fairly sure they fill up at NEWP, at least for their deliveries in this area. I heard Sandri recently went from 1 to 3 bulk fill trucks, so they must be doing fairly well. Lot of speculation and hearsay in this post but I think it's accurate.
  3. hossthehermit

    hossthehermit Minister of Fire

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    I started with the furnace, and haven't looked back. Made my decision based on the fact that I already had oil - fired hot air furnace, ductwork was in place, tied right in. I work with several others who made the switch to furnace or boiler at the same time, for the same reasons. Everybody I know that is burning pellets is still doing bags, usually 4 - 5 ton at some point in summer or fall, don't know anyone buying bulk for a silo, not to say the idea doesn't come up once in a while. Kinda wait and see on that for a while, for me, anyway.
  4. boosted3g

    boosted3g Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Central PA
    Pellets have been the same price for a few years here but i think that there has been more manufacturers that are making top shelf pellets. You dont need to go to the stove shop to get good clean pellets nor do you have to pay their prices. I think its a snowball effect with pellet stoves also. I live in PA and coal was king here for as long as i can remember but to be honest there are a lot of pellet stoves running in pa now. I see Englander stoves at the box stores and i see that as a good thing and a bad thing. Its probably the best stove out there bang for the buck but i can see where it hurts manufactures of top of the line stoves as well as the stove shops that sell the stoves. With all that said it must be in good health if we have this much competition.
  5. CT Pellet

    CT Pellet Minister of Fire

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    Torrington, CT
    The "health" of the pellet industry cannot be defined in small geographic area such as cities, counties or even states. The overall "health" of the pellet industry is not even nationwide, but moreover it is encompassed globally. Even pellets that are manufactured in your area end up on a boat to be burned three or four thousand miles away. As far as supply goes, the "percieved" shortage of 2008 has been met with economic compensation with the birth of new mills. What has changed since 2008 is the sprouting of new mill facilities. Some of these start-ups have flourished, while others sank like a lead ship. Some pre-2008 mills could not compete with the new mills, and have since laid themselves down with the likes of Michael Jackson, the Great Andy Rooney and Cindy Lauper's carreer. Even looking deeper, we see the effects of some of the biggest names in the industry, where a once reigning giant was forced to make the decision to put their pellets in the likes of Home Depot and Lowe's despite swearing off such a "low move" for many years previous.
    Then some of the long standing greats, Hamer, Cubex (although not the great pellet that they were pre 2008) Turman, Bear Mountain and Pinnacle have continued to not only survive, but thrive. Overall, the health of the industry is good. I have sold more pellets to "new stove owners" this season that I have ever sold since I have been in business, INCLUDING 2008! I'm happy.Sales were strong for 2012 which is directly indicitive of a strong industry. In early March, I will be going to Orland for a conference where we will learn just how many pellet buning appliances were sold in North America for 2012 and how those sales broke down regionally. I can guarantee that the sales reports will be exceptional! So yeah....the industry is strong, but it is very volitile. Some years I make good money, other years I do not. This is the same for anyone in this industry, and the trick is to enjoy the good years, but spend like they are all bad years. It's not easy, but beats the hell out of going back to working for the Sheriff's dept. here locally. Now, I have a great boss, and I can pick and choose the 70 hours per week that I am going to work!:(
    jgrz0610 and will711 like this.
  6. PoolGuyinCT

    PoolGuyinCT Feeling the Heat

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    Plymouth CT
    I have a customer that trucked a boatload of pellets a couple years ago, I don't think he has in a while.

    Industry must be strong as from what I hear many have started their own trucking lines...

    As a burner, I don't remember the last time a pocket of money wouldn't get me a garage of pellets.

    So my unscientific end user research says pellet industry is getting ready to kick some serious azzzzx
  7. hossthehermit

    hossthehermit Minister of Fire

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    I guess I just don't understand how you define a " top of the line stove"
  8. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    In Northern Maine many folks are getting rid of the wood or pellet burners and going to coal stokers.

    My folks switched to a coal stoker 2 years ago and have no regrets. Bringing in the coal for the whole winter takes about 20 mins from the time the truck shows up to the time it leaves. Can also just buy it in bags just like pellets.

    From what I have seen coal runs about the same price per ton as pellets, though since it has a higher btu content it's a better deal.
    A ton of coal is about equal to 1.5 tons of pellets or a cord or wood.


    What I think is really nice is no screwing with the stove! Fill the hopper, dump out the ash and that's it. It burns clean, no constant scraping out the parts from soot/ash/1/2 burned pellets, etc.

    Clean it once a year and that's "overkill".

    Around here I don't know many folks that use pellets. Natural gas is cheap enough that it wouldn't make sense to use pellets. They would need to be under about $150/ton to be equal to the cost of natural gas.
  9. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Seeing I am very close to CTpellet and not that far from BT Ent. Not to mention I have 3 box stores and an Agway withing 20 miles. I can say I won't have any issues getting fuel. ;) Heck even the Price Chopper and IGA have pellets. Can even add wally world ta boot. I can even through in a couple a feed stores to round out the mix. I won't even get into the numerous stove shops.

    Pellet heaven compared to the early days.
  10. Mr. Spock

    Mr. Spock Minister of Fire

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    Ya good deal. Poor tax payers.
  11. subsailor

    subsailor Minister of Fire

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    That's the first I've heard that. I'm from central Maine, but I don't know of a single person burning coal. 1 ton of coal may equal 1.5 tons of pellets, but isn't the ash over 10%?
    Jack Morrissey and UMainah like this.
  12. Mr. Spock

    Mr. Spock Minister of Fire

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    True. No more groaning from me.
    oldmountvernon likes this.
  13. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Ohio isn't a pellet burners dream.... But there are some good dealers around (none really close to me/ about 1.5 hrs away) :)

    Not a very good pellet selection... My dealer went under this year (Capell's in Elyria) so any warranty I may have had? Is likely gone (I'm over 5 yrs now, no worries)

    That said, I wish there was a better fuel selection. With Hamers and Turmans being produced in the state right next to me, I wish i could get some. Sad that Somersets make it so far Northeast, and the 2 listed above cant make it a couple hundred miles??? :(
  14. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

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    Just off the top, I can think of 7 places to buy a stove, with three of them being stove shops, and about a dozen places to get pellets within a 15 min drive of me. Not bad for an area considered to be rural.
  15. 343amc

    343amc Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    West Michigan
    There are three stove shops within 20 miles of me. Two of those are only a few miles apart in a fairly rural area. There used to be a dealer just down the road (body shop, pool supplies, pet supplies and stoves/wood pellets) but he quit selling stoves and pellets after the prices went sky high in 2008. He sold only Pinnacle fir pellets. I miss those pellets.

    Around here it seems that some new shops come and some old ones go, but the number stays about the same. Definitely much better than years past when a bag of pellets was 6.50 a bag, limit 10, if the store wanted to sell them to you.
  16. subsailor

    subsailor Minister of Fire

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    Based upon the size of your stash and the pics I've seen, I'd say you're doing OK.
    The Ds likes this.
  17. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    I've never owned a pellet or coal stoker stove so I can't really say exactly how one is better or worse than the other.
    Just comparing the fuel, coal is a bit cheaper to heat with. It was $325 a ton this year I believe. Pellets would need to be about $215 a ton to equal same cost for the BTUs.

    I was a bit surprised when I asked my Dad how often he has to clean it out and he said just once a year. All he has to do every day-couple days is fill the hopper and dump out the ash bin, that's it.

    They heated with wood for close to 30 years and used roughly 3-3.25 cords of wood each year. Using coal they burn about 3 tons.



    Not sure how many dealers there are, but Center Farms Coal is where my Dad got his stove and the coal from. I think they deliver all over the state.
    http://centerfarmscoal.com/

  18. rwthomas1

    rwthomas1 Member

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    Here in RI pellets seem to be fairly popular. I know RI has more natural gas available than CT, so I would expect pellets to be even more popular in CT. Dunno about MA. Within 2 miles of my house there are three stove shops. Anywhere there is no NG alternative to oil then you will see more wood, pellets or coal. Sections of my town have no NG, and that is where I see the most "alternative" heating. RT
  19. DirtyDave

    DirtyDave Feeling the Heat

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    western wa
    Question here. Isnt your states all so small that you can travel thru them in just a short amount of time? unlike the western states that any one is equal to say 3 or more? Dont get me wrong, thats cool, but from shipping that would be even greater bonus. no problem out here to truck pellets 1200 miles, for cheap rates, and so many production plants in BC , Wa , Or, ID. that I have never had a problem getting pellets on my way home in the fall for very reasonable rate. Your pellet prices are cheaper than out here normaly for Lignetics, Bear overpriced Mountians, even prestos
  20. subsailor

    subsailor Minister of Fire

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    I don't know what you consider a small amount of time or what constitutes a large state, but I don't consider Maine small. The rest of New England will fit inside of it.
  21. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    What does he do with the several hundred pounds of ash?
  22. mikesj

    mikesj Member

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    Western MD
    Where I'm at I've got a couple of pellet plants within an hour or two away. The AWP's I'm burning this year are from a neighboring town. When I got my stove a few years ago pellets became scarce. Prices and availibility seem to have stabilized. I used to be a pig, but now I just buy a ton at a time.
  23. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Dunno, I'll have to ask.

    I'm guessing either brings it to the dump or dumps it in their yard. They own about 5 acres between 2 properties.


  24. St_Earl

    St_Earl Minister of Fire

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    hmmm. looking at pictures of torrefied wood pellets. similar size as the pellets we buy in bags...

    burns 30% hotter than coal. with less ash. (similar to wood pellets)
    anyone have any idea of if these could be safely burned in a pellet stove/regular pellet stove venting?
    just asking because they will be making these about a mile or so from me soon.
    for the european market (coal plants) from what i've read.
    not even sure they'd sell them to the public even if they were safe and possible to use in a residential application.

    but i'm still curious as hell.
    guessing the ignition point of these is sky high compared to regular wood pellets.

    *edit to add- this article seems to hint that burning these in a regular pellet stove is possible/practical/safe
    http://www.biomasspelletmill.com/Torrefaction_Will_Change_The_Wood_Pellets_Fuel_Market.html
  25. Brokenwing

    Brokenwing Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Northern Maryland
    Even though it is not as cold as the northern states, I think Maryland is right on target with the pellet stove industry. With in a 30 minute drive I can be at 5 stove shops. All the box stores, Lowes, TSC, Homedepot, and many farm stores carry wood pellets. So I am pretty lucky down here!

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