Bragged too much maybe? Pellets

tbear853

Feeling the Heat
My old stove had been running the Hamer Hot Ones that are bagged under Southern States label, really great since the new burn pot. While back I noticed I was getting low, so I bought some at Tractor Supply labeled as hard wood too, just 15 bags to augment my supply. Last few days it has been awful, partially burned pellets in the ash pan, black smoke, we just turned it off last night. I had done a good clean on it yesterday too. In just a few hours, the ash pan was half full, dammit. Today, emptied it all out, got some of those SS branded Hamers Hot One's in there, she has been running like a well oiled swiss watch. After 6 hours, virtually NO ash in the pan, at all. I have maybe half a bag of those TSC pellets left, might mix them with HHOs in a ratio like the half bag with a full bag of HHOs And stir well. It's hard to believe two brands of labeled "premium hardwood pellets" can so differ.

Anyway, just a late night rant as TCM spools up another one.
 
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MalcolmH

Member
Jan 22, 2017
95
Ontario
I don't think Pellet companies need to conform to much in the way of standards, especially packaging claims, I have a few go to brands, and even more no go brands, and I've had to switch to and from my go to brands from year to year depending on the quality or moisture content I assume, and almost all of the bags of the pellets say they have the highest BTU and/or lowest ash, but none of them have a joint standard testing procedure nor do they compare to there competitors. I have 2 different pellet stoves and a temp gauge on one of them I monitor, you can see the difference some pellets make and no amount of draft adjustment or cleaning will help a poor quality pellet burn as well, and they didn't burn better in one stove or the other, I'm sure the biggest problem is moisture, I don't buy pellets from suppliers that leave them in the snow outside, this seems to be standard practice up here except for 2 places in my area, cold warehouse fine, heated warehouse bonus, outside in the snowbank forget it, unless you buy early and store inside problem solved.
 
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SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
My old stove had been running the Hamer Hot Ones that are bagged under Southern States label, really great since the new burn pot. While back I noticed I was getting low, so I bought some at Tractor Supply labeled as hard wood too, just 15 bags to augment my supply. Last few days it has been awful, partially burned pellets in the ash pan, black smoke, we just turned it off last night. I had done a good clean on it yesterday too. In just a few hours, the ash pan was half full, dammit. Today, emptied it all out, got some of those SS branded Hamers Hot One's in there, she has been running like a well oiled swiss watch. After 6 hours, virtually NO ash in the pan, at all. I have maybe half a bag of those TSC pellets left, might mix them with HHOs in a ratio like the half bag with a full bag of HHOs And stir well. It's hard to believe two brands of labeled "premium hardwood pellets" can so differ.

Anyway, just a late night rant as TCM spools up another one.
You ought to try shelled field corn sometime if you want to see ash... I have to empty my ashpan twice weekly like clockwork. Nice fluffy black ash, looms like mini coal lumps. You can actually see it jump out of the pot if you watch closely. The gravel driveway has various black spots on it from dumping the ashpan..... :)
 
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mtnbiker727

Member
Mar 11, 2019
92
PA
There is a voluntary pellet standard. Pellet Institute or something like that.

I burned a few bags of TSC pellets when I started out and they were not the best at that time.

I will say that pellets were bad in our area a few years ago because it rained constantly all spring, summer, and fall, so there was no way to keep the sawdust dry, so the pellet quality was poor no matter which brand you purchased.
 
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SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
That PFI certification on the bag is a joke far as I'm concerned.
 
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bogieb

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2014
2,864
South Central NH
Those TSC say hardwood, but are most likely a mix. Don't ask how that can be, just go with it - my local TSC has Maine Wood Pellets in their bag that is labeled "hardwood", but MWP doeesn't make a straight hardwood - so there ya go.

The UPC code can tell you whose pellets are in that bag. Most likely in your area, GS or NEWP, which are both generally pretty ashy.

You went from a really, really good pellet to a middling pellet - and now you know the difference.
 
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tbear853

Feeling the Heat
Those TSC say hardwood, but are most likely a mix. Don't ask how that can be, just go with it - my local TSC has Maine Wood Pellets in their bag that is labeled "hardwood", but MWP doeesn't make a straight hardwood - so there ya go.

The UPC code can tell you whose pellets are in that bag. Most likely in your area, GS or NEWP, which are both generally pretty ashy.

You went from a really, really good pellet to a middling pellet - and now you know the difference.
I ran the bar codes a while back, after I bought them, best I could determine, NEWP. I knew the SS were Hamers which my stove has always liked. I took a chance, glad I bought just 15 of those TSC ones. Was checking the stack, still 21 bags of the SS pellets left, the TSC ones are gone.

I had it happen a few years ago with some pellets in a transparent bag that were labeled Lignetics.

Back when I first got the stove in 1992, I then tried various pellets from where ever they could be found, found then the Hamer's Hot Ones at a tractor / Whitfield dealer, they were hard to find just anywhere, but I did get some from another stove dealer once that I tried, stove acted up, called Vermont Castings as it was in warranty, they sent me a new thermocouple, I swapped it out, the OEM one is in a cabinet still, looks new. I seem to remember that it did not immediately fix the issue, that for years I would buy nothing but HHOs, then they got scarce and soon, SS started selling in their bags. I used to store them in the baement a ton at a time, then I put a ton in my shed and they were there for a couple years but dry, now I keep them on my car port next to the front wall, dry.

Stove's been running great now. I stirred in some HHOs with the last bit of the TSC ones until they were all used up, now back on 100% SS ones (HHOs). I know now that I can run the TSC but it's a struggle. SS also keep theirs in a unheated but dry store room, TSC just keeps theirs covered outside, so there is that too.

Lesson learned again.
 

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SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Lignetics will never pack their pellets in clear plastic sacks FYI. Most be an imposter or blended.
 
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tbear853

Feeling the Heat
Lignetics will never pack their pellets in clear plastic sacks FYI. Most be an imposter or blended.
The bags weren't totally clear, they were labeled, etc, Just clear where there was no labeling. Could be they were blended and re-bagged. Was a number of years ago, likely in the mid to late '90s or early '00s, never seen them at but the one store, but I made sure to remember the name on the labeling. Haven't noticed them since either. I recall some green writing, I didn't have a PC then to research them but if I see their bags with the name and it's not clear, I'll maybe try them out if I need some, I know some here like them.
 

bogieb

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2014
2,864
South Central NH
Huh, the code comes back as "Tractor Supply" - I don't remember that happening before.
 

tbear853

Feeling the Heat
Huh, the code comes back as "Tractor Supply" - I don't remember that happening before.
Yeah, I had to check several sites before I saw NEWP mentioned. I kept looking because TSC doesn't manufacture pellets to my knowledge.
 

mtnbiker727

Member
Mar 11, 2019
92
PA
That PFI certification on the bag is a joke far as I'm concerned.
I was told by my stove dealer that all other pellets are garbage because there are no standards, blah blah blah.

The pellets I buy aren't PFI, but they write some good information on the bag. I can't prove or disprove what they wrote, but they burn just fine for me!

20210220_150536.jpg
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
I look at the Pellet Fuels Institute certification as a bunch of dues paying members getting together once a year at a swanky beanery and having dinner and a few drinks and going their ways after paying their membership dues for the next year. Like a good old by club so they can put the 'seal of approval' on the bag. I think it's pure fantasy myself and provides nothing for the end user.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Yeah, I had to check several sites before I saw NEWP mentioned. I kept looking because TSC doesn't manufacture pellets to my knowledge.
TSC manufactures NOTHING. They buy in large quantities so the cost is less and then resell the merchandise for a profit.... Good capitalists
 
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SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Probably why the don't offer Somerset anymore. Somerset has their own dealer network and sell them in truckload quantities to individuals (if you require 42 pallets at a crack). I don't.
 

tbear853

Feeling the Heat
Well, back on 100% SS branded Hamer's Hot Ones, running as good as I have ever seen. Three days only put a small handful of ash in the pan, big sigh of relief here ..... :)
 
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mr meener

Member
Aug 11, 2017
41
NY, USA
My old stove had been running the Hamer Hot Ones that are bagged under Southern States label, really great since the new burn pot. While back I noticed I was getting low, so I bought some at Tractor Supply labeled as hard wood too, just 15 bags to augment my supply. Last few days it has been awful, partially burned pellets in the ash pan, black smoke, we just turned it off last night. I had done a good clean on it yesterday too. In just a few hours, the ash pan was half full, dammit. Today, emptied it all out, got some of those SS branded Hamers Hot One's in there, she has been running like a well oiled swiss watch. After 6 hours, virtually NO ash in the pan, at all. I have maybe half a bag of those TSC pellets left, might mix them with HHOs in a ratio like the half bag with a full bag of HHOs And stir well. It's hard to believe two brands of labeled "premium hardwood pellets" can so differ.

Anyway, just a late night rant as TCM spools up another one.
I have a harmon P 43 never had any problem with home cheapo or tractor supply pellets. green supreme are the worst leave a lot of ash but the stove burns them all up