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Tracking Pellet Usage

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by bdaoust, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. bdaoust

    bdaoust Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2012
    Messages:
    192
    Loc:
    Western, MA
    I was wondering if anyone tracks their package usage - particularly if you use an app to do so?

    I was thinking of creating an app or even a spreadsheet to track:

    1) What pellet I burned
    2) What the outside temperature was
    3) How long it took to burn the whole page
    4) How the ash was
    5) How the heat was
    6) What settings I had on the stove when burning

    etc etc.


    I'm trying to gather data of what works best for me. I've been burning premium pellets and have burnt some of the not so great pellets as well. Ash content is definitely different, but if the heat and how long I burn through a bag is only slightly different, I can deal with cleaning the stove more frequently.

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  2. PutnamJct

    PutnamJct Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Messages:
    224
    Loc:
    Putnam County NY
    The first few years I burned, I kept an excel spreadsheet on date/temps/weather/number of bags used. Once I figured out that I am a 4-5 ton a year user I stopped keeping track.
  3. silverfox103

    silverfox103 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2011
    Messages:
    464
    Loc:
    Littleton, NH
    What PutnamJct said. I keep track of how many bags per month; no outside temp, no ash and no anything else. I have been burning for 6 years; there is not 30 bags difference from the lowest to the highest year.

    Tom
  4. Augmister

    Augmister Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    Messages:
    510
    Loc:
    Socialist Republic of RI
    I used to do the same but my number is coming up consistently 3.5 tons, plus or minus 20 bags. It has been mild here so far as I am about to use just my fifth bag on Thursday. Still think this is a big head fake and looking to add another ton to the stash, pronto!
    iceguy4 likes this.
  5. mepellet

    mepellet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,919
    Loc:
    Central ME
    I keep a calendar near my stash. Each time I open a bag, I write down what it was in the appropriate date box. At the end of the month, I total up the number of bags that I opened up that month and then grab the heating degree days from the web. Then the spreadsheet calculates the pounds per heating degree day. I did start a spreadsheet for details like, length of burn per bag and ash quality etc. but that QUICKLY got old and gave up.
    Lowarea, chken and iceguy4 like this.
  6. Madcodger

    Madcodger Guest

    OK, this is an ideal topic for a data geek like me, but I also decided I wanted to try to predict my pellet use so that I can have enough on hand as we near the end of the season. This is my fourth season of burning, but now we've added a second stove in a basement office and predicting use for it is tough because it's an old Whitfield Quest with no thermostat and no ignitor, compared to my Quad Mount Vernon AE, which can adjust its flame height, air, pellet feed rate, etc., based on the thermostat and other settings. And the MVAE stays "on" essentially all winter, varying the room temp based on a programmed schedule while the Whit is used only when I'm in the office (I'm at client locations on some days, or parts of days). So figuring out what I'll need to have on hand is a challenge, but one that my geek traits embrace.

    The result is my pellet usage and inventory tracker, which also attempts to predict annual usage based on both estimates I enter and projections that get updated as the season continues. Feel free to use it if you wish. It is built to start the heating season in September (I personally start in October) and end in April, and you can adjust it as needed within those dates. If you have a longer season you might just want to think about moving... ==c Also, if there are other data geeks out there, please feel free to adjust this and send it back to me. There may well be mistakes that you will find, or improvements you can make or suggest. All are welcome. Also, the file is uploaded as a .zip file because that's the only format I could use for an upload. Just unzip it to use the .xlsx (Excel) file.

    Attached Files:

  7. bill3rail

    bill3rail Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    Messages:
    438
    Loc:
    LI, NY
    I have a simple spreadsheet that calculates total cost and bags plus I also have oil usage tracked on it.
    Now let's see if I can upload it easily...Nope I cannot upload XLS or RAR files.

    Fuel Oil Side:
    Date Co. Gallons $Per Gal. Total Cost Days Gal/Day Cost/Day
    9/17/2010 COD 148.3 $2.41 $357.25 FIRST FILL
    1/20/2011 COD 219 $3.08 $674.30 125 1.75 $5.39
    6/1/2011 COD 224 $3.42 $765.86 132 1.70 $5.80
    11/8/2011 COD 79.1 $3.50 $276.77 160 0.49 $1.73


    Pellet Side:

    Date # of Bags $ per bag Total Cost Days Bags Used Cost/Day
    12/28/11 4 $2.73 $10.92 0
    1/4/12 27 $5.37 $145.00 7 2 $0.78
    2/26/12 40 $5.73 $229.24 53 23 $2.33
    10/8/12 70 $4.03 $282.40 225 46 $1.17

    I hope this looks acceptable,

    Bill
  8. joescho

    joescho Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Messages:
    374
    Loc:
    Northeastern PA
    I count the bags as I toss 'em
    boomhour likes this.
  9. sandpipe

    sandpipe Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Messages:
    79
    Loc:
    Northern Franklin County, MA
    I count how many bags I start the burning season with and then I see how many I have left over after the last burn day. I then enter that number in my spreadsheet followed by the year. As the years go by the data accumulates.
  10. Pellet-King

    Pellet-King Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Messages:
    1,265
    Loc:
    Northern Ct
    I buyum, I burnum, I buy more
  11. Sniz

    Sniz Member

    Joined:
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    110
    Loc:
    Marriottsville, MD
    ^ yup got other things to worry about
    Jack Morrissey likes this.
  12. Madcodger

    Madcodger Guest

    While it appears most folks won't want to track their pellet usage and try to predict how much they will need, there are a few geeks like me who want to do so, and who have requested a copy of the spreadsheet in other threads. Here is a blank version and an example that shows my purchases and usage through Dec. 31, 2013. Hope this helps those who want it. Others just ignore.

    Attached Files:

  13. DOLLARBILL

    DOLLARBILL Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2012
    Messages:
    227
    Loc:
    Between Augusta and Lewiston Maine
    I keep track year to year and usually add a half ton for good measure this year Im thinking I should have added a ton ! Its been very cold ! I also pre bought and evtra 6 tons that are sitting in my Garage the price was to good to refuse ! Should have bought a few more !
  14. Enigma869

    Enigma869 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2011
    Messages:
    259
    Loc:
    Massachusetts
    Keeping track is a really simple process for me. I go to Home Depot and buy 5 ton of whatever their least expensive pellet is. I dump bags of pellet into my hopper, and enjoy the heat. Finally, when I go to my garage and see that my pellet stash is getting low, back to Home Depot I go to load another ton into the back of my truck, if the 5 ton isn't going to get me through the Winter.
    Jack Morrissey likes this.
  15. Vinelife

    Vinelife Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    May 31, 2010
    Messages:
    496
    Loc:
    Northern Michigan
    I've been through almost 2 tons already ..3 more to go this season ..
  16. AndrewChurchill

    AndrewChurchill Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    613
    Loc:
    Vermont
    I have a 5 ton bag bin so I can't count pellet usage by bag. However, the Pellergy burner I have has an hour meter on it and I know that I burn 14.9 pounds of pellets per hour. For the month of December I have been averaging 116 pounds p/day and since August I've burned just under 11,000 pounds.

    I use a spreadsheet to track my usage.
    Madcodger likes this.
  17. RKS130

    RKS130 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    Messages:
    448
    Loc:
    Croton-on-Hudson, NY
    I have given up on data collection. It is fun but ultimately useless to me. I KNOW that I spend very little on pellets and used to spend a lot on oil. Nuf said.
    Danny9909 likes this.
  18. MacP

    MacP Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2011
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Southeastern MA
    Every time I open up a bag I just note it in the notepad iphone app. I keep track for each month and the added all up. That's about it.
  19. Madcodger

    Madcodger Guest

    I have given up on trying to convince people to collect data.
  20. jimfrompa

    jimfrompa New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    Messages:
    34
    Loc:
    Spring Grove, PA
    This is my method also. I use Excel spreadsheet and record brand, quantity purchased, and date purchased. At end of heating season I'll count "ending inventory" and know quantity burned, average price paid. This method seems enough for me. Since this is my first season with pellets, I also make notes about brand so I can determine if I want any more of that particular brand.
  21. Phil Do's fire.

    Phil Do's fire. Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2012
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    Loc:
    Hyde Park, NY
    Instead of tracking outside temp, recommend using heating degrees per day measurement, much more accurate.
    Madcodger likes this.
  22. Madcodger

    Madcodger Guest

    Excellent idea. I have a weather station that calculates it for me each day, but for those in the US here's a link to a site from which you can download the data using local weather stations.
    http://www.degreedays.net/

    Fairly certain there's a similar source for Canada and most other countries if anyone in those locales wants to suggest them.
  23. DamienBricka

    DamienBricka Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2013
    Messages:
    332
    Loc:
    Pittsburgh, Pa
    I tried using the website all the information that I get on the spreadsheet is only in Chinese. I guess there is a glitch in the system
  24. Madcodger

    Madcodger Guest

    I just don't know what to tell you... I clicked the link and it brings the page right up. I believe it's part of Weather Underground, a well known weather site. Would try again.
  25. Phil Do's fire.

    Phil Do's fire. Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2012
    Messages:
    560
    Loc:
    Hyde Park, NY
    The website requires a CSV plug in. I just checked the sight and all data is there. Also the local utilities track HDD on there websites.:)

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