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Storing pellets outside

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by dmaclaren, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. dmaclaren

    dmaclaren Member

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    I re stacked my pellets outside on the pallet. It had a thick plastic cover over the whole stack and then I used moving wrap to tightly cover that.

    Is there any real issue for moisture outside in the winter? Will I have issues burning these? How long can they stay outside without issues? All summer?

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  2. ChrisWNY

    ChrisWNY Feeling the Heat

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    How long have they been stored outside? Winter air is pretty dry so as long as you've kept those pellets covered well enough, they should be ok. Once pellets are exposed to water, they puff up into saw dust balls and are ruined, so you'll know right away if your pellets have absorbed too much moisture. I'd be most concerned about the pellet bags at the bottom of the pallet. If you could get them into your garage or a covered shed of some sort, that would be a better way to store them. Bags of pellets have small holes in them to allow for air movement, so moist air does present a problem for pellets. You'll know when you burn your first couple of bags if those pellets have absorbed too much moisture, hopefully they stayed dry.
  3. Shortstuff

    Shortstuff Feeling the Heat

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    That's a tough call. There have been many posts and comments about storing pellets outside and I really can't help you out here. My personal thoughts would be that the pellets would have to be well protected from the elements (cover), elevated well off the ground, and provided good ventilation, but with any sort of cover that would not really be possible. The best solution if I had to store pellets outside would be to get one of those canvas-type sheds or build one similar and leave the bottom 12" all around open for good airflow/ventilation. Leaving them on pallets is good but even higher the better. But even with all the best outside storage ideas, they are still exposed to one of the worst elements - moisture in the air.

    I keep my pellets stored inside my garage but if I had to store any outside, it would only be for a month or less. I purchased 3 tons of Granules LG for last winter and recently found out that the company I purchased them from had kept them stored outside for up to 18 months. As it turned out, they were a really bad batch of pellets because the moisture just got deep inside over such a long period of time.

    Just my thoughts.
  4. dmaclaren

    dmaclaren Member

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    so when people store the next years in their basement, it's a high moisture area. How is the burning of those?
  5. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    It would depend upon the individual basement as to whether or not it is high moisture.
  6. ChrisWNY

    ChrisWNY Feeling the Heat

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    Especially when your pellet burner is IN your basement. It is as dry as a desert down in my basement after running my pellet furnace down there for a few days.
  7. dmaclaren

    dmaclaren Member

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    I guess I want to hear more from people who store in the basement during the summer months
  8. FordMastertech

    FordMastertech Feeling the Heat

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    I would never recommend storing pellets out side it's just asking for trouble IMHO. I stack them on the pallets and cardboard they came on in the basement and never had a issue of them getting damp. I usually have some left over and get my next seasons pellets around Easter time if the pricing seems ok. They sit in the basement all summer with no issues but I do run a dehumidifier in the basement durn the summer months.
  9. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Well in your case does the basement have to be below grade on all four sides?

    My entire basement is below grade on 3 of its sides and I store my pellets in the garage that occupies the bulk of the basement. The moisture you need to concern your self with is condensation. I've never had a problem keeping my pellets in the garage.

    Outside you have both condensation caused by temperature changes and actual water from rain and snow finding its way into the wrapping, Even though your wrapping may be water tight today, the little critters that love dark warm places can make holes to let water in or if there isn't a water block underneath water can flow under and rise during summer downpours or even splash up around the bottom of the pallets. Then there is the possibility of things being blown around that can pierce the wrap.
  10. chris288

    chris288 New Member

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    properly covered, pellets stored outside dont present a problem whatsoever, winter air is very dry, and pelelts by nature do not attract moisture because they are protected by a natural lignin barrier that forms during manufacturing, the only part that isn't protected are the ends, where most of the fines come from, just keep them off the ground. I just found some bags at the bottom of the stack that sat in my basement for the last 4-5 years dont even remember where I got them ( pure fire, and Eureka ) my basement is damp and floods 2-3 times per summer, very little if any fines, and they burned just as good if not better then the freedom fuel and stove chow I just picked up from HD, nice bright flame. Do you really think pellet manufactures invest millions of dollars in large warehouses to store their pellets ? i'd bet 90% of them are stored outside during manufacturing and while at HD or Lowes.
  11. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    1: Yes, properly covered therein lies the problem.

    2: That is also why a very large number of puff bags exist at the big boxes. Now what is that called in the retail world, ah yes shrinkage, and we wonder why pellets cost so much.
  12. littlesmokey

    littlesmokey Minister of Fire

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    My concern would be for moisture infiltration from the bottom. make sure you seal that up. In the West here, most pellet manufacturers store theirs on pallets outside, so shouldn't be a problem for you. Just make sure you don't trap the moisture underneath.

    One fellow I met bought seven tons last spring and had them delivered to his home. They unloaded the pallets onto shrink wrapped sheets already laid out. pallets, and pellets all got wrapped and "shrunk" like boats in the winter. Seems the guy owned a marina. Great plan, if you have the equipment.
  13. chris288

    chris288 New Member

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    The only " PUFF " pellets I have ever seen were in my basement when the flood waters were higher than my homemade 6 x 6 pallets and 5 bags on the bottom of each one were ruined, but I ran the saw dust through my whitfield anyway without a single problem, or when the heavy duty shrink wrap that every pellet manufacturer uses gets a rip or tear in it from improper handling, and 1/4 to 1/3 of one or 2 bags turned to saw dust at the big box's, but thats easy enough to look for before they load the ton in my pickup. Both my neighbors each burn 5-6 tons a year and have been storing their pellets outside for the last 10 years.

    In a perfect world we would all love to store our pellets inside, but as you know we dont live in a perfect world and people saying you should't or can't store pellets outside really have no idea what they are talking about.
  14. exoilburner

    exoilburner Feeling the Heat

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    I store my pellets in the basement. It is a bit damp in spots. The pellet furnace is located there. The pellets are stacked on pallets but I cover the empty pallet with a piece of plastic and 1/4 plywood before stacking the pellets on it. I have not had a problem and have been burning a ton purchased in the summer of 2009.
  15. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    You need to visit me, less than 1.5 miles from here as the Bear lumbers there are three (yup three) big boxes. During pellet season, one merely has to visit any one of them to see full burst puff bags of puff pellets. Not a pretty sight for a pellet pig, makes me want to cry. You can talk to the folks there all you want, this includes the "managers", nothing ever changes. The real kicker is there is usually space under cover that could have been used but isn't.
  16. Shortstuff

    Shortstuff Feeling the Heat

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    Well then I guess I don't just don't have any idea what I'm talking about.

    Thanks!
  17. chris288

    chris288 New Member

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    I understand, that sounds like a case of improper handling and just not giving a crap. Was at HD a month or so ago when I go the 2 tons of freedom fuel, they had 2 tractor trailer loads outside, 44 tons and everyone was perfect. was there a week or 2 ago and got a ton of stove chow, they had 80 tons outside and none I could see had any damage at all.
  18. chris288

    chris288 New Member

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    Nope, all your suggestions were a great way to make sure your pelelts stay 100% safe
  19. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Which is the case in a lot of places (from what I've seen I go so far as to say most places).

    I thought I'd try some of the pellets that were being sold at a local feed store, they were supposed to be a good pellet, after looking at how they were being handled, and stored, I decided to pass.

    If one can keep the condensation and/or rain and snow from reaching the bags the pellets are in you can store them just about anywhere.
  20. chris288

    chris288 New Member

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    In the beginning some pellets only had the loading dock type of plastic film around them but over the past several years, I have never got a ton of pellets that didn't have heavy duty marine type shrink wrap around them, some even have a layer of plastic loading dock type film around them also. you could leave them outside in a blizzard for years without problems, nothing is getting it there. Anywho, moral of the story is yes, its perfectly fine to store pellets outside if properly wrapped and off the ground.
  21. Casie

    Casie New Member

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    dmaclaren,
    We bought 6 ton of LG's in September of 2008. Just finished up the last of them. We store in the basement, most of which is unfinished. We have 2 large dehumidifiers running automatically. We keep the humidity level set to 40 % or under. We have not had any issues with moisture at all. The pellets are as good as the day we bought them. We have a large basement, as our house is 3000 sq.ft, 90% of house on 1 level. Our situation works, and we'll continue to store this way. Good luck with your storage issues...
  22. Turbo-Quad

    Turbo-Quad New Member

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    Make sure you have some high grade plastic covering them. Plastic will get wet and freeze then crack. Found out the hard way when I covered a Cummins engine outside.
  23. hossthehermit

    hossthehermit Minister of Fire

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    I store 'em in the basement. Leftovers are there all summer, usually get next winter supply in Sept. Oct. Haven't had an issue with the leftovers, I don't plan on storing 'em more than one summer, last years leftovers will get burned this winter. AND, yes, my cellar is moderately damp in the summer.
  24. mkling

    mkling New Member

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    My pellets come on pallets with thick plastic covering then shrink wrapped on top of everything. I have always stored my 5 pallets in my driveway next to my walk-out basement door for easy access. I have room next to the pellet boiler to store 1 ton, so I carry in a pallet at a time (usually once a month I spend 30 minutes moving pellets from outside to inside). The only time I have EVER had an issue was when the forklift doing the delivery accidentally puctured some of the bottom bags, when I got down to them for moving into the boiler room they had absored moisture and had to be thrown in the woods. I get delivery in late summer/early fall and some of the pellets stay there for 6+ months until they come inside. In my opinion, as long as you keep them covered in original packaging they are fine but as soon as you remove shrink wrap/plastic covering move all bags from that pallet inside. FYI, trying to cover an already opened pallet with a tarp is not a good idea... my neighbor across the street does this (out of laziness I think) and he always has many ruined bags of pellets to dispose of, yet he still does it.
  25. Czech

    Czech Minister of Fire

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    If they are wrapped and correctly palletized, they are fine imho. I'm really hard pressed to believe that vendors are giving up sheltered (more expensive) inventory space to store pellets that are correctly wrapped to be stored outside. In fact I'd challenge anyone to show me proof that a specific pellet type is always stored sheltered from start to finish. Every 'puffed' bag I've seen has come from a 'broken' pallet in one shape or form, opened, forked, etc. Think about it, we're talking somewhere around 5% humidity with semi-sealed sides (excellent point whoever pointed that out!)? I'd bet you could let a pile of these sit in high humid conditions (some basements, summer) without them taking on more than a few percent. That said, I didn't stay at a holiday inn last night so I can't say for sure. I do know I've been burning for many years and many types and many things and have yet to see a pellet that was 'wet' if properly stored outside.

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