Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by justinc25, Jan 29, 2011.
Another person with a sickness.
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Yea, this sickness is wide spread in NW CT and moving east. :bug:
[quote author="xuperman" date="1297060296"]My wife just rolls her eyes when I pop in a new store to see what pellets they have, but I've tried 14 brands so far. I received a ton of PA Pellets with my Harman and they just weren't very good (not hot not clean) so I got to comparing... It amazes me how different folks' experiences are, but here's what this winter has shown me. Keep in mind I'm in NE Pennsylvania and didn't take a very scientific approach.
Barefoot are among the hottest and cleanest but pricey at $260 per ton.
Freedom Fuel are very hot for me but produce a lot of ash and due to diameter and texture don't always slide well in my hopper. ($187ton/$3.74bag).
Maine's Choice, American Wood Fibers and Nation's Choice are all nice and hot. MC are ashy and AWF dirty. At the current Lowe's price they're each a good buy. I believe these are all blends.
Allegheny Pellets, Southern Indiana Hardwoods, and maybe Warm Front get an honorable mention; Tristate Biofuels, Stove Chow, Prestologs and Clean Energy just sort of blend in to the crowd. As I'm burning in an unfinished basement, dust and ash aren't a big deal...the bottom line is heat for me, and these range from good to mediocre.
For me the clear losers have been PA Pellets and and Curran Renewable Energy. Not much heat and PA pellets are dirty, making a mess of my glass. I actually scooped the Curran's back out of the hopper and mixed them with Freedom Fuel just to use them up. My stove died with both of these and when starting, sometimes wouldn't get the chamber hot enough to engage the auger before burning out.
I like blends and don't mind more ash. Everyone loves Okies which are a pricey softwood. Can't find any locally. The Freedom Fuel lasts well and is a softwood blend for $100 or more less per ton. I have been mixing 3 bags with 1 of PA Pellets in a plastic barrel both to us the PA's up and help the Freedom's slide in the hopper. I am going to try and buy a ton of Maine's Choice if I can get them for $187 a ton. I may end up with SIH for that price which would be ok too. The AWF are also at Lowes in Dickson City PA but for $200 a ton and were $219 a ton at Tractor Supply until they ran out and stocked Stove Chow. I'm willing to play the odds and bet that pellets will be more expensive next year...maybe get a couple ton while I can get something I know I like. Hopefully I won't get any bad surprises.
UPDATE: I tried North American Pellets which are a hardwood softwood blend from Currans and was very impressed given the Lowes price of $3.74. They come in a clear bag with few fines, not a lot of dust but best of all they're pretty dang hot! I'm glad I tried a different Curran type since they were such a bust the first time. I'll buy some more along with some Nation's Choice to get me through the season. Tried for Southern Indiana Hardwoods or Maine's choice but they were long gone.
Lignetics - works very well on mild days, 25 and up
Stove Chow - use these on the cold cold nights/ days
and Pennington (these became ice/ snow melt for our yard)
Spearfish (hot and fairly low ash) kinda pricey
Rocky Mountains (good heat little heavier ash) not as pricey
Pennington (hot and lowest ash) cheapest in town
White Flame (cold dirty flat junk not worth getting them for free!)
Green Tree (just bought 6 bags to try since they were out of the 3 mentioned above)
i gotta say , that was one of the most entertaining posts ive seen in a while :lol:
FTR ive burned 2 ton of blue letter (VA ) lignetics and a ton of independance brand pine pellets also a Va product this season , had no complaints at all from either one overall though the lignetics seem to have a bit more ash in them than im accustomed to from burnig the green letter (WV) lignetics in past seasons but on the good side i had practically no clinkering from either brand.
short version , I Be Happy
Finished off my Maine Choice
All Okies at the this point Burning great!
Is anyone still burning Treecycle? A friend said she tried a few bags from mid-2010 and the ash was pretty bad. Just curious - heard the company is running out of money, and looking for investors after a large investor decided it is a failed company and won't invest any more in the plant. They are in violation of stack emissions and sound levels, and could use an infusion of capital. But if they can't sell pellets that probably won't happen. They have been in operation for over 2 years but don't seem to have ironed out the bugs. Anyone having success with their pellets?
Oakies - best heat, least ash :cheese:
Barefoots - good heat, but more ash than the Oakies
I had 33 bags of TC and GAVE them away!! The guy that got them likes them. Go figure! Oh well, at least they aren't taking up bike room in my shed!!
Greene Team, Nature's Own, TreeCycle, Prest o logs.
TreeCycle puts out plenty of heat but it is high in ash volume. I've been getting up to 24oz of ash per 41 lb bag. Ash weight has been within premium limits(well under 1% limit on several tests) Nature's Own Pellets is slightly cleaner then TC(not by much), I didn't get a chance to collect any info on greene team's but have used it before and they are noticiable that the ash volume levels were less then these first two. Prest o logs I just got 2 bags yesterday to test the ash.
I wouldn't just like them If someone gave me 33 bags of whatever brand, I would LOVE them. Just mix them with half of a better pellet or use them shoulder season.
Dang you guys have a lot of choices I've only been burning a month and have been primarily mixing with corn and I've tried:
The only other pellets I've even seen here are Indeck.
I've burned a fair amount of the ProPellets and only one hopper mix with the Somersets. The Somersets seem to produce way more heat.
Why did you give the Treecycle away, and do you remember approximately when you bought them?
I bought them the beginning of the burn season. Maybe Oct.
The pellets looked like they had been beaten to death with a baseball bat and then bagged for sale. Dirty, lot of fines, left clinkers and did not put out much heat at all. The ash wasn't as bad as the Ligs I burned last year. My stove just didn't like them. Neither did I.
My little stove is a very finicky eater! LOL
Thanks - just trying to get a handle on their quality control. It sounds like they were somewhat better in 2010, but still have issues. The last I heard they changed to a bag that seals better, which hints they are working on more than one issue. They have been bringing decent looking raw material this past year (it looked absolutely horrible in 2009 - dirty - maybe stumps, old pallets?), but they also have numerous old pAllets they brought in two months ago that appear to be waiting to be ground up. Many of them do not look like hardwood, and some came from China and appear to not be 100% wood. I hope they learned their lesson, because they need to put out a consistent product if they want to survive.
I bought these from my installer. Apparently, the girl did not do her homework. The date on the bag was 10/08, but that could have been the date the bag was made. I called Mike, but he never called me back. These remind me of the 09 bad pellets. Who knows, they may have sold them to my installer at a great price.
They were supposed to be on the right track, but I don't know what happened. If I still had my pick up, I would have hauled them back to Nazareth, PA and asked what they were going to do about the lousey pellets.
The best thing I can say about them is NO moisture! Did the microwave test and had to look hard to see the moisture!!
10/08 - that was the beginning. That plant put out a toxic cloud at the time, I mean it burned your eyes and throat. Never found out if it was the process or what they were burning, but they cleaned it up. Still smells horrible and makes a lot of smoke most of the time. Sounds like you got Alpha pellets. There was a period in early 2010 when they had stacks and stacks of returned pellets sitting out back - maybe they were from the 2009 batch. Rumor is that if they don't get some large orders they are closing up shop. Saw they shipped out one load of pellets a few weeks ago, so they still have some stock on hand (plant is shut down). Don't know if that means demand is poor or what.
10/08 those are old. If you say they looked beat up then they were old stock that has been moved around quite a bit. Without going through the "Tree Cycle followup" thread I'm going to guess that those were still the really bad pellets that are still around I guess. They were changed to better pellets sometime late 2009/early 2010.
Mine are dated 06/2010 and produce plenty of heat, don't have many long pellets and any long ones break real easy, never jammed auger, light great, never had stove go out and I run stove mostly on lowest settings, low fines probably because I had them delivered late July 2010. Everything about this pellet has been great except for ash volume which is plenty high at about 20-24 oz per bag. There is definately better deals now on better quality pellets but at the time I took a chance on and am not dissatisfied. The reason for no moisture on those you had is probably due to them being over a year old and kept dry.
10/08 - that was the beginning. That plant put out a toxic cloud at the time, I mean it burned your eyes and throat. Never found out if it was the process or what they were burning, but they cleaned it up. Still smells horrible and makes a lot of smoke most of the time. Sounds like you got Alpha pellets. There was a period in early 2010 when they had stacks and stacks of returned pellets sitting out back - maybe they were from the 2009 batch. Rumor is that if they don't get some large orders they are closing up shop. Saw they shipped out one load of pellets a few weeks ago, so they still have some stock on hand (plant is shut down). Don't know if that means demand is poor or what.[/quote]
I remember a member here that said the same things your saying about the TC plant. http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/47828/ read all about the good and bad of TC over the last few years. Hope they did clean the plant up and hope they get better at pellet production. Sounds like your pretty close to the plant yourself reading that you see so much going on in and around the plant. Do you know how long plant has been down?
BTW, what brand of pellets have you been using this season? Need to get back to what this thread is about.
Live in the area. The plant was shut down for the season in late November. It usually opens around April, but this year may be different. I use tree pellets - I am a woodburner (scab alert). I didn't see many people mentioning Treecycle pellets, and I wanted to find out more about the recent batches. You can return to your regularly scheduled program.
On my third ton of Independence Pellets. They need a bit more air but have very low ash and glass stays real clean except when burning on low setting.
All I have been able to find here in SW Va the two seasons I've had the stove is AWF. I have bought 2 tons for $199.00 at the Tazewell County Farm Bureau and 2 tons for $175.00 at Southern States Co-OP. Paid $265.00 for a ton at local Tractor Supply early in the season. Wish I had more storage I would stock up @ $175.00 a ton.
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