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Pellet Supply......We're trying to help!

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Chris Sharron, Dec 8, 2005.

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  1. Chris Sharron

    Chris Sharron New Member

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    My company, West Oregon Wood Products, is shipping a number of loads per day of Blazer pellets to the east via Wal-Mart. As much as some people despise the big WM, I think they should be applauded in this instance, as they are absorbing a huge portion of the added freight cost from Oregon. Has anyone seen the product? I'd be curious to know the retail price. ---- Chris

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  2. ffffg

    ffffg New Member

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    im thinking of getting a pellet stove, enviro meridian if you youknow anything about its dependablilty and parts cost give me a reply here.. my brother inlaw gets his pellets at wall mart.. he says they are 2.50 or so a bag, and he burns a bag a day, either the more expensive ones or the walmart ones they both use one bag a day.. we probably are close to the source so i dont know what that will do on the price difference between montana and elsewhere.. dave.
  3. rich2500

    rich2500 Member

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    I just bought a half ton of the blazer pellets for $3.77 a bag. thanks for your help I was starting to worry if I was gonna run out of pellets by the end of the season then I seen my local walmart got some in so now im good to go for the rest of the season.
  4. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

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    Rich, how do you like that englander stove? how long burning it. I've been curious about englanders for a while. Almost bought their insert a few years back.
  5. Bushfire

    Bushfire Member

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    I just heard on our local NBC channel (NBC30) in CT that 3000 customers are awaiting delivery on pellets and that both Lowes and HD do not know when they will recieve their next shipments. I feel for those people who rely on pellets to heat their homes to try and keep their heating bills down. Curretnly in CT we have a tax holiday on products that increase your homes ability to beat the cold, such as insulation etc, but it doesn't stretch to wood stoves or pellets - shame.
  6. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    How you like the Morso?
    Easy to clean isnt it

    3000!
    Crykie
    Massachusetts has a similar tax break also, same thing no break for wood stoves

    Arent pellets just a by-product of various timber industries (hardwood flooring, cabinetry ETC)
    DO they process entire trees into pellets or is it pretty much a finite resource in the US?
    I know Sweden has a much bigger pellet program thatn we do and I assume they cut trees down to make pellets but dont know for sure

    A friend of mine has a pellet stove and he loaded up with pellets back in September
  7. rich2500

    rich2500 Member

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    David I like my englander stove alot this is my third season using it and have not had one problem,It heats our 1300 sq. foot house with ease, and best of all was the price when I bought it the stove, vent kit and fresh air kit totalled out to $1200.00 Every season when I do my maintainence I go to their web site and order the gaskets needed and I have them in two days.
  8. richg

    richg Minister of Fire

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    A few things, in no particular order. I ordered 5 tons back in September, and picked up another ton tonight at a local Lowes. Pellets are our primary heat, and my wife won't tolerate anything under 70 degrees. Price was 220.00, and they sold 20 tons in six hours. Given what appears to be a serious shortage, it might help if places like Lowes or Home Depot advised people to ask their stove dealer or manufacturer if a 50/50 mix of corn&pellets can be used. A lot of folks would be able to stretch their pellets out, especially given that the bitter cold means a continuously running stove and could work with corn. Next, I spoke with a pretty big stove dealer, and he said the makers of composite decking are buying up a lot of sawdust, and are willing to pay more for it than pellet makers. It seems like we are coming to a point where pellet makers are goign to have to consider using logs to make pellets, as there does not seem to be enough sawdust to go around. Haven't seen Darryl Rose of Energex around in a while, and his input would be welcome.
  9. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    I heat my home with pellets and it's been tougher this year than in years past. You have to jump on a ton of pellets whenever they are available this year. We have to remember though that the industry is bursting at the seams with growth this year. They will catch up. Pellets are becoming more and more a viable and reliable heating source. There are components that can fail and such but overall it's a great alternative to electric or gas heat. This interest in alternative heat will be good for the industry as it will spur R&D in pellet and wood stoves that we haven't seen as much of lately. This will result in a higer quality product and a more stable fuel supply in my opinion.
  10. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    Strangely (or not), many of the folks who talk pellets on this site are more interested in value than quality. Many are mixing corn (or burning it exclusively) with their pellets. From what little I know of pellet quality, the critical measurements seem to be moisture content (although all seem to be quite low), BTU content, whether bark was included, how well they feed in a specific machine (consistent length?), and ash content. I believe corn has much more ash than quality pellets. I doubt corn is consistent in its size of kernels, amount of chaff, amount of ash, or moisture content. But people are claiming it puts out more heat than pellets for less money. Chris?

    Money seems to be driving the auger.
  11. Chris Sharron

    Chris Sharron New Member

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    In response to richg, Shane, and our friend MO ............. richg is correct in stating there is competition (more or less, dependent on location) for materials suitable for manufacturing pellets for present day and past stove technology. Shane is correct in stating that evolution of stove technology in the future will enable pellet producers to utilize a wider range of raw materials.

    Since the beginning, pellet stove manufacturers have been the ones who have specified the criteria to which a pellet should be made; i.e.: moisture content, fines content, bulk density, ash content, salt content, diameter, length. After all, it is their appliances that will utilize the fuel. As it stands, clean hardwood and/or softwood fiber is about the only thing available in large quantities that will allow a pellet manufacturer to manufacture to the spec. Believe me, if it were left up to us pellet mfgs to develop the spec, we'd be using everything and anything, including what the dog leaves in the backyard (except on my shift). Of course, some of you are probably thinking that, based on quality, there are certain brands of pellets that contain everything and anything, but we'll leave that for another day. Back to wood fiber............ there has always been competition: particleboard, MDF, waferboard, paperpulp, hog fuel boilers, nurseries, animal bedding, smokers (the meat kind), etc., and the ever-growing-in-demand composite plastic/wood decking. It is this competition that is the dilemma of every pellet producer out there; especially those looking at increasing production, which unfortunately cannot happen overnight. The price and availability of the wood is directly relative to the current market conditions of the competition and, of course, the market conditions of lumber from which the residuals are generated. It's tough to plan the construction of a pellet mfg plant (permitting process alone can take six months) not knowing what volume of wood will be available, and at what price, the day you are ready to turn the key. To address MO's post.......if, fundamentally, another product (i.e.: corn) can be used by itself or in conjunction with pellets, it should be considered. First, one needs to determine the financial feasibility ($ vs. btu). Secondly, if the product burns in the stove and causes no damage to the stove, stove owner, or home, it would be solely at the discretion of the user to determine if any added maintenance (higher ash/clinkering) is worth the benefit.

    For those wondering where Darryl is.........knowing him to be one smart cookie, he's probably out setting up Christmas tree reclamation centers. Who knows, it could be the newest thing..........tinsel adorned pellets!
  12. Willhound

    Willhound Feeling the Heat

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    I feel for all the folks out there that are having a tough time finding pellets. I also find it very interesting because during the last big wood burning rush of the mid to late 70's and early 80's there were numerous studies done in our area to find alternate uses for wood waste. One of the outcomes of this were a number of wood pellet plants that were set up by Shell Oil under a company called Bio-Shell. There was one fairly large plant very near here.

    After about 5 years they folded, for a number of reasons I think:

    1) Transportation costs to major markets - we're 500 miles north of Toronto

    2) Lack of local market - sort of tied into point # 1, but they had hoped to develop a strong local market to offset transport costs, but most people balked at having to pay for pellets when you can go just about anywhere in the bush and cut wood for free (at least, back then)

    3) Quality of product - most of the material going into the pellets was from softwoods, so not a great pellet, (from my limited knowledge)

    There is still an awful lot of wood waste generated here, but most of it is now burned along with natural gas to produce electrical energy and heat for local timber industries like paper mills and lumber plants.

    Maybe Chris needs to come take a look?

    Willhound
  13. Chris Sharron

    Chris Sharron New Member

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    Willhound - Although Energex owns and operates the former Bio-Shell, Lac-Megantic plant, I believe you are 100% correct with your assumption in regards to 1) and 2) above. However, 3) above is not necessarily true. Our pellet is derived from Douglas Fir (a very dense softwood, but softwood nonetheless) and I would put it up against any in regards to quality (high btu, low ash, dense ash, minimal/non clinkering). We've been receiving feedback from customers back east that have been able to get their hands on some and they love them. In reference to your last statement, I go snowmobiling in your neck of the woods almost every year and I'm always caught salivating over the mounds of sawdust/shavings/chips that we come across. However, one week of that cold weather is enough for me, and since I've moved west, I don't miss the black flies either!
  14. Willhound

    Willhound Feeling the Heat

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    Ooops! Sorry Chris, I knew that I might be putting my foot in my mouth with the softwood comment, that's why I sort of tried to qualify it by expressing my limited knowledge.

    I can tell you that it was an exciting day when one of my Dad's friends that worked at the plant and knew he burned wood brought him a "present" of a 5 gallon bucket of pellets. No one around here had seen or used them before, so it was, "Hey, let's just throw a shovel full of these in the old wood stove".

    You can imagine the excitement, although I'm happy to say that it all came out OK in the end. I don't think that old cook stove was ever the same though.

    Willhound
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Chris, this has got to be an interesting year for you and Jonas. Are some good experiences and connections are happening too? I'm hoping we'll see some excellent growth in the US pellet industry over the next year.
  16. Chris Sharron

    Chris Sharron New Member

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    It was "interesting" a couple of months ago. I'm not sure what I'd call it now ........ exciting, frustrating, crazy, scary, satisfying, hmmm..... all of the above, and then some! What will be interesting -- to see how things pan out for this industry in the immediate future, and then the long-term.
  17. vgrund

    vgrund Feeling the Heat

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    Indeed. I'm trying to get out my crystal ball and determine if adding a pellet stove would be s-t-u-p-i-d or wise in the context of future availability / prices. My current thinking is that the situation will stabilize, but I still have months to flip flop on the issue.
  18. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Wood stoves, pellet stoves, gas stoves and on and on. Alternative heating has always been a cyclical crap shoot. For heating the home and more especially for manufacturers and dealers. Consumers can just turn the central heat back on. Manufacturers and dealers have to pay the price for over capacity.

    We committed to wood heat 20 years ago and have seen years when we were considered brilliant and years when we thought ourselves that we were nuts. It has to be magnatudes of trouble for manufactuers and dealers to try to second guess the market place and adjust investments in production and inventories to meet it. Think about it. If all of a sudden natural gas prices go down a little next year, investments in production capacity of pellets, stoves etc. could bankrupt companies.

    It happened in the 80's and could/probably will happen again.
  19. vgrund

    vgrund Feeling the Heat

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    BrotherBart,

    I believe you are correct. Howeve I do think that when considering macro trends, oil-derivative fuel prices will rise and probably substantially. Pellets have a significant oil derivative component as well, I suppose, due to oil-derived production and transportation input energy requirements.

    Victor
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Bought into the pellet market 5 yrs ago. One remarkable thing is that pellet prices have been very stable in spite of other energy market turmoil. Each year the benefits of this decision seem to grow and compound. We're currently under a very long term burning ban. If it weren't for the pellet stove and switching to an EPA phase II stove, we'd be sucking a lot of propane right now.
  21. roac

    roac New Member

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    BeGreen

    I also live in the northwest. (Idaho) During a burn ban do you use the wood stove too? They'll give ya a ticket for running the wood stove. If ya can believe it, it's a misdameanor offense,here anyway.
  22. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    So far we're under a Phase 1 burn ban. EPA phase 2 stoves and pellet stoves are legal and allowed. No burning is allowed in fireplaces or uncertified wood stoves at this point. I'm all for the ban. The air is noticeably better without the neighborhood smudge pots burning.

    http://www.pscleanair.org/
  23. roac

    roac New Member

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    Interesting. Phase 1 just eliminates open burning here. (Burn barrels, crop burning etc.) Phase 2 burn ban eliminates all wood burning except pellet stoves which are exempt.
  24. OKCPicker

    OKCPicker New Member

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    Now that wood pellets are in very short supply here in Oklahoma, I'm considering corn until wood shipments arrive. I bought a ton of wood pellets in advance but our local dealer hasn't been able to supply us.

    Is this just dried corn which is available at feed stores or some kind of specially manufactured corn pellets?

    Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks
  25. joedec

    joedec New Member

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    When I purchased my Hearthstone Phoenix in October in CT ( wood burning) there was a customer who who came in as I was doing the deal who reminded the owner of his quote of $100. per ton of pellets. The owner agreed to honor the quote but only for 1 ton.
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