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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. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Messages:
    3,836
    Loc:
    Southcoast, MA
    I cannot speak to the business of others but I can relate this info:

    This year we had about 213 individual copy right infringements against my website. That is to say, about 213 people decided to go into business servicing stoves and rather than make their own copy, they copied mine. Many were craigslist ads so they could have been the same people over and over but interestingly enough, we did see an ad for pellet service as far south as Georgia.

    I do not like to think of the industry as healthy or not...but rather a timeline toward adulthood. I think we are still in our adolescence and we just do not want to grow up, not yet anyway.

    The problem as I see it is that Americans simply do not like to cooperate. We are all in it for ourselves. Because we do not work together, we waste resources. Creating an industry that can sustain itself such as ours take cooperation from everyone...or we need a common motivator. Instability in world governments shouldn't dictate your heating bill, but it does...yet you cannot look anywhere in New England more than 10 feet and not see a tree....yet we buy pellets from BC and somehow that's cheaper?
    Any typical culdisac has 12 homes within 800 feet of one another and they ALL have their own $12k heating system...4 pellet boilers could run in series to generate enough heat for all of them at a fraction of the cost....but it doesn't happen.

    So Americans will continue on....one crisis at a time.:)
    h2ochild likes this.

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  2. midfielder

    midfielder Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2011
    Messages:
    269
    Loc:
    NH
    Very interesting - but double the density of current pellets? So 80 lbs almost in a 5 gal. sheet rock compound bucket. Wow. I wonder what the btu content runs (30% more?) and if existing stoves' fuel trims could be set back enough to compensate. Is the ash content "similar" by weight or volume? Shame to ship them all that way (like so much of the current NA production of wood pellets) - takes a lot of diesel and reduces the carbon savings over fossil fuels. Best consumed locally... oink, oink.
  3. PeteB

    PeteB New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2013
    Messages:
    1
    Having stoked a coal boiler off and on since 1985, I can attest that coal is dirty, unhealthy to be around and moreover is very inconsistent in quality. Quality wise you are at the mercy of the coal dealer who may buy inferior coal to sell to you which can have a very low heat value. This is my second year with an England pellet stove and it is proving a very good choice.
    save$ likes this.
  4. Thaddius Wenderoth

    Thaddius Wenderoth Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2013
    Messages:
    253
    Here in Idaho we have a decent eco system for pellets. Many places to buy a stove (10 within 20 miles of me) and an ok pellet supply. There are quite a few mills in the area but until I get the oppurtunity to try a few bags first I can't attest to the quality. We have HD and Lowes @ $209/ton for Lignetics Orange Labe and Prestos. The biggest dealer of pellets close to me seems kind of spendy: American Eagle (Local) $4.99/bag $200/ton,Natural Glow Premium $5.89/bag $259/ton, Bear Mountain $6.29/bag $279/ton, Lignetics Orange Lable $6.29/bag $249.50/ton.
  5. bonesy

    bonesy Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2011
    Messages:
    303
    Loc:
    NE PA
    Here is a comparison chart of many different fuels from a local (to me) coal company, you can input the fuel prices for changes:

    http://jeddocoal.com/calc.php

    Screenshot attached as well Fuel Comparison.jpg
  6. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    At the mercy of dealers with pellets too.

    Why is coal unhealthy to be around? I seriously doubt a few tons a year would give someone the black lung!
    My Mom said Big difference in dust going from wood to coal. The coal ash doesn't float around I guess??

    I'm not saying pellets are bad, coal is good. The thread was about pellet sales and I threw in the info about many folks going to coal.
  7. rwthomas1

    rwthomas1 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011
    Messages:
    163
    Loc:
    Wakefield, RI
    Take one of those long bed, duallie, crew cab pickups that you guys in the West love so much and bring it here to RI. You'd have to leave the state to turn the thing around..... Yep, its small, just a speedbump between NY and Boston.
    nate379 likes this.
  8. SwineFlue

    SwineFlue Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2012
    Messages:
    542
    Loc:
    NE Pa
    Coal plants can burn up to 10% pellets with the coal. It's part of the greenhouse gas requirements over there. From what I've read, they use 'utility' grade pellets... 6% ash. Make sure you check before buying any!
  9. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    I talked to my Dad for a while today about it.

    Said it's about 15-20% ash. Out of a ton which was 5 55gal drums he got 1 drum of ash.
    He gets rid of it by giving it to a guy that uses it to put on dirt roads, I guess it keeps the dust down? Said if that guy didn't take it he'd just dump it in a pile out back or even truck it to my brother's place to fill in a hole or two (has 100+ acres)

    BTU wise he said they burned 3-3.5 cords of wood every winter for almost 30 years. With the coal they burn 2.75-3 tons. Coal runs $280 a ton. Wood bought c/s/d is $200/cord, or in tree length about $100/cord. Fuel oil was at 3.70$ gal as of a few days ago.

    If you figure pellets at about 1.5 tons to a cord, pellets would need to be $190/ton to be at the same cost of coal.

    As far as availability, there's a ton of places that sell it. He said most of the local gas stations/convenience stores sell it as well as Wal-Mart, Lowe's and the several local lumber yards. Said pellets can be found pretty easy as well but more places sell coal.

    Said he only knows of one guy with a pellet furnace while coal just on their street of 5-6 houses there's 3 houses.
  10. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2008
    Messages:
    1,916
    Loc:
    Chelsea Maine
    I could be way off, but I have been going on a ton of pellets to a cord of wood. I used to burn 5 cord of wood, now burn 5 tons of pellets. As for coal. I don't know anyone who burns it in the capital area, nor do I know of anyone who sells it. Nor have I seen any coal burning stoves for sale. Must be a regional thing. I have a nice littel ceramic clad frensh coal stove that I took out years ago because we can't get coall for it. It can burn small wood. I have kept it in the garage for that day that things might turn around. Things shift around so much. Now there are two natural gas lines coming to this area, but it is said they only want commercial customers. I live on a dead end road up over a rock hill so I don't that I'll ever see a line get in here. We were luck to get electricity, yet I am only 5 miles from the capital. Can't even get internet throug the phone here. We do get Direct tv and cable. Cell phone reception is good.
  11. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
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    12,040
    Loc:
    Standish, ME
  12. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    It will vary with what pellets and what wood.

    I was using "average" numbers to get a rough comparsion.

    Pellets 16 million BTU per ton
    Firewood 23 million BTU per cord
    Coal 26 million BTU per ton


    Here is a good chart to compare coal vs other heat sources.

    Coal 26,000,000 1 ton
    Hard Wood 26,000,000 1.3 cords
    Oil 26,000,000 188 gallons
    Wood Pellets 26,000,000 1.6 tons
    Waste Oil 26,000,000 208 gallons
    Propane 26,000,000 284 gallons
    Natural Gas 26,000,000 260 terms
    Electricity 26,000,000 7618 KwH




  13. outdoorsgriz

    outdoorsgriz Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Messages:
    21
    Loc:
    Western Montana
    I think the market has dropped off this year in Montana and surrounding states. In the 18 years we've been producing and selling pellets, we've sent more to Alberta and B.C. this year then we have in the states. I think market saturation has played a role, too, but seeing a lot of stoves for sale on craigslist.

    Western Bee Premium Pellets - still $165/ton and $3.75/bag. No bark, no clinkers, no dirt - made from kiln-dried #3 COM PP.
  14. tlc1976

    tlc1976 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2012
    Messages:
    68
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Well they recently built a wood pellet factory in the industrial park 10 miles away so I'd say the demand is there. The stuck up tourist town is trying their best to shut them down but that's another story.

    She burns those same Kirtland pellets in the 5500M and they seem to be great. No burn problems whatsoever, no screwing with trying to get the stove to burn cleanly and correctly like other US stove owners seem to have needed to do. And HR1 cooks us out most of the time so I'd say they are good. $3.50/bag if you buy by the ton, $3.70 individually.

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