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My pellet observation as a newbie

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by RichS, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. RichS

    RichS New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2012
    Messages:
    3
    Hi folks - I am new to the pellet world with a Harman Accentra, which is a great stove. Heating a 2,700 sq. ft. expanded Cape with good (in the new part) to poor (in the old part) insulation. Stove has met expectation, not oil-independent but have cut oil use dramatically. And house is much more comfortable.

    We received 2 tons of Maine Wood Pellets with stove. I knew these were more shoulder-grade pellets. Heat was satisfactory, ash seemed a bit heavy but I had nothing to compare too.

    After reading reviews and speaking to the local pellet distributor I tested American Wood Fiber and Barefoot pellets. My unscientific observation - definitely an upgrade. Both produced a higher grade of heat. And the BIG obvious - way less ash and a much cleaner stove. The glass is still clean after a week. You can see the difference when you dump the pellets in hopper, virtually no dust.

    Now granted, the difference in a ton of the premium pellets to the shoulder is $30-40 a ton, maybe more if you go big box store. For me,I find it worth the added cost. But that's just me.

    Still looking for a good shoulder pellet that has reasonable clean burn for the April/May timeframe.

    Good luck everyone.

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  2. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Look in the big box stores for Stove Chow, Fireside Ultras, Greene Team, Timber Heat....there are a few others. All good shoulder/cold weather pellets. The AWF you have are decent pellets too.

    If you can get the Barefoots at a decent price, stock them for the cold weather. A combo of the BF and one of the others I mentioned above would do you nicely all fall/winter/spring.

    Basically, you need to do some calling/shopping around and report back with what you find, and the prices.
  3. ivanhoe

    ivanhoe Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2008
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    262
    Loc:
    great white northern ontario
    welcome aboard! be prepared to be a pellet pig like the rest of us;) and to have a know-how to hide your stash from the bigger pellet pigs>>
    include your stove info in your signature for future reference.
  4. Phil Do's fire.

    Phil Do's fire. Minister of Fire

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    Dec 16, 2012
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    Loc:
    Hyde Park, NY
    Best big box pellet is Somersets from Lowes, real hot with minimal ash for the price;)
  5. gbreda

    gbreda Minister of Fire

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    Lakes Region, NH
    Welcome to the forum ! You seem to have done your homework and have started off well.

    Those MWP mix are not a bad pellet at all. They were a bit ashy this year, but your stove will handle that without a hiccup as the bottom feed just pushes the ash aside. The important thing is the heat, and those deliver very well. I used a ton of them earlier and will pick up some more if I find them at a good price. Save the softies for next year (or that stray cold snap this year).

    Imacman hit the nail on his recommendations. All good pellets, but the Green Teams have been overpriced IMO. Those are all 210/ton pellets.

    Where are you located?
  6. mepellet

    mepellet Minister of Fire

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    Central ME
    Welcome. You shouldn't be seeing a difference in convection air temp with different pellets.
  7. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Northwestern CT.
    Maybe tell him why?
  8. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Northwestern CT.
    Pres-to-logs are also doing pretty well for me this season. FireSide Ultra's we nice when I could get them. Timber heat seems to be decent too!
  9. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

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    Chelsea Maine
    I'm burning pellets to save money, so anything that burns without clumping up the burn pot and gives decent heat is ok. Unfortunately, my stove seems picky, but I have found one locally made brand that is low cost, burns clean, and gives good heat. MWP, both the blended and the softies. The softies have a bit more ash, but no ash cakes pluging up the burn pot.
    Alway try 'um befor you buy 'um.
  10. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Standish, ME

    Don't go counting on that mepellet, your stove is playing with ya.
  11. mepellet

    mepellet Minister of Fire

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    I know…. That didn’t help much. Seems like this is explained all too often on here, Maybe this should be added to the sticky about Harman’s

    Under the same conditions, there should be no difference in the heat output rate from different pellets in a Harman pellet stove. The closest way to create the same conditions and test different pellets with a Harman pellet stove is to first start with a clean stove, put it in room temp mode, convection blower on the highest it will go (just for consistency) and leave the temp dial (1-7) and feed rate dial alone. The stove will use the ESP to maintain a certain exhaust temperature, therefore, resulting in a consistent convection air discharge temperature. If the exhaust temperature begins to dip, the control board will tell the auger to feed pellets. The difference won’t be in heat output from the stove but in how long a bag of pellets will last. Since this is one of the two major differences in pellets with a Harman pellet stove, BTUs/$ is of high importance to me when purchasing pellets. The other is obviously ash content. The P series stoves handle ash very well and have large ash bins so it isn’t as much of a deal as it is for some other stoves.

    Typically the higher priced pellets (even though they have a higher BTU content), are not cheaper when you look at the BTUs/$.
  12. mepellet

    mepellet Minister of Fire

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    It is pretty smart....:cool:
  13. RichS

    RichS New Member

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    Nov 18, 2012
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    Gbreda - I am in the Lowell, Mass. area. And thanks all for feedback. The local distributors here have shoulder pellets running $260+/ton. If Lowes/Depot are $210/ton for decent shoulder pellets then I'll try a couple bags of the pellets you guys mention above. Will try and get photo up soon.
  14. gbreda

    gbreda Minister of Fire

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    Lakes Region, NH
    Lowell, I am from Revere; until 20 years ago. My brother lives in Methuen and works in Lowell. Personally, I am in Lowell only for concerts at Tsongas or Lowell Auditorium: In fact, I will be there for Three Days Grace next Wednesday.

    Look for some local pellets at HD such as Firesides, PresToLogs, American Wood Fiber or even more MWP. Try as many as you can this season so you have a better idea for next.

    Stay away from Infernos and you should be OK.

    Good Luck and Stay Warm !

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