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what to do with moist pellets

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by tyler walker, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. tyler walker

    tyler walker New Member

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    Highland, NY
    first season with a pellet stove. i burned about half a ton of instant heat, and being noob, i had no idea how poorly my stove was performing (napoleon nps45). i had to vacuum every day, and dump an almost full burn pot of clinkers. also got about a 4" band of thick black soot on the glass after every bag. i grabbed a bag of somerset from lowes after reading good reviews, and i can instantly tell they're in another league. i noticed when fresh instant heat pellets would hit the burn pot, a bit of whispy vapor would come out of them. i didn't know if it was smoke or moisture until i saw the somersets burn without any whisps at all. the instant heat were stored outside at tractor supply, and for the first week i had them on my covered porch. seems like at some step they got exposed to moisture. they're now in my basement with a dehumidifier running. can i hope to save these by waiting a few months and trying again? was wondering if maybe rotating 6 bags or so through the hearth room every couple days would help dry them out as well. they're not moist to the touch, and don't exactly crumble when i break them, so they can't be "that" moist. any advice is appreciated. i've already reserved a ton of somerset from lowes, and might just grab another if i can afford it. (esp at $209)

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  2. jrsdws

    jrsdws Feeling the Heat

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    I don't know how much they'll dry out but it's worth a shot. Maybe you could mix some in with the Somersets and see how it works? I'd probably start with a 50/50 just to see what happens. You might have to go heavier on the Sets' too...especially if its cold or as it gets colder. Hopefully you don't have too many of these left.

    I wonder what Tractor Supply would say if you tried to return them?
  3. moey

    moey Minister of Fire

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    You may try opening a bag and spreading them out for a couple days maybe on a sheet of plywood see if they burn ok after that if they dont give up. Not sure if they will dry in a bag.
  4. Eatonpcat

    Eatonpcat Minister of Fire

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    I would take them back! Just tell them it just started happening when you got to these bags...If you restacked the bags from the pallet, the ones on the bottom would have been on top at the store (If that makes any sense)!
  5. CT Pellet

    CT Pellet Minister of Fire

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    I really do not think that moisture is the issue here, unless your pellets actually look like they got wet. If these pellets were in bags and shrink wrapped, they probably did not get moisture in the bag. (Yes...despite the fact that there are those little air holes in the bag!) Air just has no way of exchanging from in and out of the bag. If they actually wicked up moisture from rain, then that is a different story but it would be very obvious...there will be big clumps of swolen pellets and sawdust. But if your pellets are still hard and loose, they probably are just not that good of a pellet. Laying them out to dry will not help but burning them up and not buying those pellets again will!!!
    Eatonpcat likes this.
  6. tyler walker

    tyler walker New Member

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    Thanks for all the suggestions, guys! Nice to know there is an active community of helpful folks here. Tractor Supply said they'd take them back. They even looked up my receipt which I had cleverly discarded. These pellets might stink, but Tractor Supply is a good company in my experience.
    The Village Idiot and Eatonpcat like this.
  7. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Glad they are taking them back. List what other brands they have, We might be able to help pick through them for something decent.
  8. SXIPro

    SXIPro Minister of Fire

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    TSC has the best people working there. Seriously, there are a LOT of businesses out there that could take customer service lessons from TSC.
    DexterDay likes this.
  9. tyler walker

    tyler walker New Member

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    TSC only has the Instant Heat, so I have to choose between Somerset or North American from Lowes (also tried Green Supremes, but had similar problems as Instant Heat). I've burned 2 bags of Somerset, and am burning second bag of North American now. The Somerset seemed to have more fly ash, but very little build-up in the burn pot. The North American are burning a tiny bit faster, likely because of softwood component, but seem to be blacking the glass a little faster. By the way, every pellet I've burned so far has blacked the glass after 1 or two bags. Is this just the way it is? I have only used commercial stove glass cleaner once, but I've cleaned the glass to clear with a paper towel every single day that I've owned the stove so far. Any suggestions on which way to go, or things to look for if I need to do further experimentation would be appreciated. Unfortunately, the outside temps have been very different between the two tests, so I don't have much to go on as far as pure heat output for each brand.
  10. CT Pellet

    CT Pellet Minister of Fire

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    This vote will end up in favor of Somerset by a landslide.....Watch this!
  11. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Somersets!
  12. tyler walker

    tyler walker New Member

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    when people say they clean their stoves every 4 or 5 days, does that mean the stove stays on the whole time, and all they do is dump in pellets, or is there any daily maintenance going on? i'm trying to make better sense of the reviews i'm reading. i was told that i needed to shut the stove down every day and brush, if not vacuum the firebox once a day to maintain efficiency. no matter what pellets i've burned, i've at least needed to clean the glass every day. it's odd, because the manual mentions that you'll need to clean the glass every day, but then says that you only need to vacuum the firebox once every two weeks.
  13. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Cleaning is all ash driven.
  14. subsailor

    subsailor Minister of Fire

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    To help us out, please put your make and model of your stove in your signature. That said, I will be cleaning my stove tomorrow for the first time in 2 weeks. It's been running 24/7. I do open the door and scrape the ash out of the burnpot on occasion, but the stove and glass hasn't been cleaned in 2 weeks.
  15. tyler walker

    tyler walker New Member

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    Updated signature. Good suggestion.
  16. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Same here....been 2 weeks, door never been opened during that time. Shut stove down and gave the firebox a good vacuuming, cleaned glass, scraped burn pot, closed door.....done.

    When I hit 1 ton (probably another 2 weeks), I'll give the steel back wall some good smacks with a small hammer, then get the vacuum & rubber hose and snake around in the ash traps and empty the ashpan too.
  17. MSmith66

    MSmith66 Feeling the Heat

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    BON FIRE!!! :))
  18. MSmith66

    MSmith66 Feeling the Heat

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    BYOB
    Smores!!!!!!!!!!
  19. SXIPro

    SXIPro Minister of Fire

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    You've got an issue w/your stove if you need to clean the glass everyday and it happens with all pellet brands.
  20. Awesome move by what seems to be an honest company. Nice to see in this day-and-age. Will be sure to chalk-up Tractor Supply in the "Not a bad place to purchase goods from" column.
    Stay warm. :)
  21. tyler walker

    tyler walker New Member

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    after two bags the amount of ash from the North American pellets is INSANE! and my glass is almost half black. Somersets are the clear winner. Going to pick up a ton today, and hopefully reserve a second if they're still in stock. thanks for all your help guys. might start another thread if i continue to have glass problems with the somersets.
  22. tyler walker

    tyler walker New Member

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    Grabbed a ton of Somerset today, and I have another ton on reserve. Lowes has no idea if they'll get another shipment this season, and there were about 4 tons left. The guy said they weren't even expecting this shipment, as they had been told the price was going up. I've estimated I'll need about 2 tons to get through the rest of the year, but the question is, is it worth buying a third just in case, and to get a head start on next year? My basement stays about 40% humid in winter, and I run a dehumidifier all summer that keeps it about 60%. Should I expect the pellets to last in storage for a season?
  23. Millsk

    Millsk Member

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    I believe that the box stores are starting to smarten up. I think in the future there will be a tiered pricing system. Somersets probably won't be in the $209 ball park. If you can afford it, I'd buy another ton now.
  24. Gary Gileau

    Gary Gileau Member

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    I must be the lucky one. I bought just a few bags of instant heat and I thought they burned very good. Maybe I got a good batch? Or maybe you got a bad one. I've been burning cherry pits so I guess everything else seems to drive you out of the living room.
  25. CT Pellet

    CT Pellet Minister of Fire

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    Actually Millsk,
    Lowes is "smart"
    You see, Lowes does not need to make money on wood pellets, Lowes just needs to make money in general.Wood pellets are actually a fairly significant product in their overall formula for achieving profits. Lowes chooses certain items (such as wood pellets and 2X4's) to serve as "loss leaders." 2X4's are typically underpriced at Big Box because people typically know the cost of a 2X4...But they will nail you on the 2X10's (which most of us could not price in our heads) at a much higher price than other lumber yards because we typically don't know the going rate!!! Wood pellets is an excellent choice as a loss leader for them for a couple of reasons. Namely, they are a relatively large item. It is a very visable item and if you ever notice, they are always situated at the very front enterance of the store. Most people,(even those who do not burn pellets) know that the average price is somewhere around $250-$270 per ton. (at least here in CT) So what happens is, when you come into the store, whether you want pellets or not, you see them. And the customer's impression is "Holy Dung!, this store sells for cheap!" Once the store has "earned the customers trust" that customer is much more likely to part with his/her Benjamins on other items. (Sometimes, at a much higher price than other reatilers."
    Interestingly, in 2011, Home Depot was about 30% higher across the country on lightbulbs than most other retailers. The lightbulb section is usually within eyesight of the seasonal department. (which everyone browses through for fun) So, please do not be fooled into thinking that they need to "smarten-up" In reality, they are pretty smart.;)
    ChadD, Eatonpcat and oldmountvernon like this.

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