"How to buy pellets"

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tiger

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2014
347
Seabrook, MD (DC suburbs)
My 1st topic and IIRC my 2nd post. Reading here all about the shortage of pellets -- and experiencing it first hand -- I'd like to know more from the experienced users on the pellet-buying process... surprised a bit that there wasn't a Sticky on the subject. If there is a FAQ or forum topic covering it, please direct me to it.

The 12 bags I got with my Accentra lasted, eh, 2-1/2 weekends and then I figured, hey, I should pick up more in small batches and then consider full tons for next winter. Uh, three dealers (including the one who had just installed the unit) and two home centers later, I've shut down what is now a brand new $7000 paperweight for lack of pellets. Surprise!

Anyway, how to buy pellets. (a) what businesses sell pellets and how do I find them? (b) when is the best time to buy, is there a general time window when sellers tend to get their "fall shipments" in [I have no problem stocking up, say, mid-summer]? (c) are there caveats on transportation & storage? (d) are there other questions I should be asking?
 
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iron stove

Minister of Fire
Sep 14, 2009
524
Central CT
Anyway, how to buy pellets. (a) what businesses sell pellets and how do I find them? (b) when is the best time to buy, is there a general time window when sellers tend to get their "fall shipments" in [I have no problem stocking up, say, mid-summer]? (c) are there caveats on transportation & storage? (d) are there other questions I should be asking?
A. Do a google search, phone book. You can contact pellet mills to and find a stocking dealer in your area.

B. Usually later April and May our dealers have Spring pricing, when its the cheapest. Might not be cheaper this year, but I buy May-August to avoid the rush, and get best choices.

C. Transport, either get the dealer to delivery, or move as much as you can with what you have. I like my Heavy duty truck. Dealer drops in a ton and im off. Feel sorry for everybody around me hand loading 25 bags into SUV's and Toyotas.
 

john193

Minister of Fire
Jan 11, 2010
1,053
Southeast PA
Buy by the ton and buy before the end of spring. Call local pellet stove dealers and sign up for their early purchase program.
 
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katman

Member
Jul 7, 2008
168
annapolis md
Tiger, where are you at in Maryland? DC suburbs covers a lot of territory. I've found that many of the dealers in my area near annapolis don't even start getting their pellet shipments until late September so if you find any in the spring they are leftovers. I did buy a couple of tons at the end of the heating season last year (April/May) from a dealer who wanted to clear them out. He gave me about 25 percent off, but his normal price is pretty high so they weren't a real bargain. I do start shopping in September and pick up a pallet whenever I find the supply and a price that looks good. I like to have my supply under roof before thanksgiving if possible. Lowes and Home Depot got their deliveries in November in my area. I did pick up 3 tons in January cause I was running low and they were running out. Glad I did. Just started into the last pallet last night. Burned a lot of pellets this year!
 

Enigma869

Feeling the Heat
Aug 27, 2011
282
Massachusetts
Buy 2 years worth when it's 95 degrees and everyone is more worried about staying in with a/c or going to the beach.
Do the big box stores even carry pellets in the Summer? I've never seen pellets at any Home Depot or Lowes I've ever been in until about September each year. I've definitely never seen them in stock during the Summer months, so I just assumed that they didn't stock them year round.
 

Ram 1500 with an axe...

Minister of Fire
Mar 26, 2013
2,327
New Jersey
I'm not a pellet head so I have no clue..... But.......I drive by a lumber yard with a sign that says they sell pellets....
Maybe you can look into that....gl
 

tiger

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2014
347
Seabrook, MD (DC suburbs)
Thanks, all, for the input; some of it is useful. Where I'm at (Seabrook, MD, just outside DC's infamous Beltway), I think I had found (yes, I Googled it) within a 25-mile radius 4 stove dealers, and Lowes and Home Depot, and that's about it. I'll stay in touch with those, not sure who else I should be scoping out. Further out causes transportation issues; I mentioned in another topic that instead of a truck we use a passenger car with a trailer -- rated at 1500LB, so a full ton is multi-trip and if going, say, 75-100 miles R/T that is no fun. I presume that you want to only transport when it's not raining. Sure, I'd go to Annapolis (the stove came from Edgewater anyway) but unsure what additional sellers might be around there (as an example).
 

BigJohnfromCT

Feeling the Heat
Dec 29, 2012
264
Danbury, CT
I usually burn 5 tons per season although this season will probably be closer to 6 unless the weather breaks. The dealer that sold me my stove typically runs a special through the end of August. Pellet price is still the same bit he discounts the delivery charge. I'll be ordering my 5 as soon as he offers them. I have him bring a pallet so I can just roll them into the garage where I store them. No muss, no fuss.
 

RKS130

Minister of Fire
Oct 14, 2011
602
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
My 1st topic and IIRC my 2nd post. Reading here all about the shortage of pellets -- and experiencing it first hand -- I'd like to know more from the experienced users on the pellet-buying process... surprised a bit that there wasn't a Sticky on the subject. If there is a FAQ or forum topic covering it, please direct me to it.

The 12 bags I got with my Accentra lasted, eh, 2-1/2 weekends and then I figured, hey, I should pick up more in small batches and then consider full tons for next winter. Uh, three dealers (including the one who had just installed the unit) and two home centers later, I've shut down what is now a brand new $7000 paperweight for lack of pellets. Surprise!

Anyway, how to buy pellets. (a) what businesses sell pellets and how do I find them? (b) when is the best time to buy, is there a general time window when sellers tend to get their "fall shipments" in [I have no problem stocking up, say, mid-summer]? (c) are there caveats on transportation & storage? (d) are there other questions I should be asking?
I just order the tonnage I need as soon as my HD has a brand I like.
 

Xena

Minister of Fire
Nov 30, 2005
2,493
South Shore MA
Best time to buy has usually been around April/May when the pellet houses
have their early Spring buy specials. Check here https://www.hearth.com/talk/forums/wood-pellet-pricing-reports.29/
to find additional shops in your area that sell pellets year round.
Lot of farm supply places sell pellets so check those. Ice and coal
dealers sometimes carry pellets too, as well as some stove dealers.
Also woodpellets dot com has early spring buy special deals that
can be reasonable if you buy a certain amount of product.
 
Jan 21, 2014
189
Central Maine
Last August or September, my local HD was offering free delivery with a five ton purchase. If you can store five tons, that is precisely the right time to buy. I did not buy then, as my new garage would not be finished until mid October. I built it extra large purposely to be able to store pellets. I bought 4 tons and paid the $65 delivery fee. Next time HD offers free delivery, I will be jumping on it.
 
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Bridgeman

Burning Hunk
Dec 14, 2013
116
Center Barnstead N.H.
There seems to be and endless debate about the relative quality of different brands and types of wood pellets. Try five bags of each of the brands you have access to and then do what RKS130 says. Get your projected tonnage delivered in September or October. I'm using HD this year and their pellets work just fine in my stove and delivery is a cheap $65 in this area. I have tried the picking them up as you need them approach and the one ton at time approach. Both of these are time sucking pain in the butt wastes of time and gas. I sure all those folks waiting in line for five bags this week would agree.
 
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SwineFlue

Minister of Fire
Nov 3, 2012
602
NE Pa
we use a passenger car with a trailer -- rated at 1500LB, so a full ton is multi-trip and if going, say, 75-100 miles R/T that is no fun
Ask about delivery... it's well worth it, especially when they can wheel the wrapped pallets into the back of the garage.

Try Tractor Supply and Agway.... around here, they store the pellets indoors and generally stock them year-round. You can also try local hardware stores & lumber yards.
 

Lake Girl

Moderator
Nov 12, 2011
6,940
NW Ontario
The 12 bags I got with my Accentra lasted, eh, 2-1/2 weekends and then I figured, hey, I should pick up more in small batches and then consider full tons for next winter. Uh, three dealers (including the one who had just installed the unit) and two home centers later, I've shut down what is now a brand new $7000 paperweight for lack of pellets. Surprise!
When you had it burning, were you happy with the heat? So, not a paperweight, just an investment for next winter unfortunately. Good luck with the pellet hunt.
 

tiger

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2014
347
Seabrook, MD (DC suburbs)
Some more good input here, thanks.I think the nearest Tractor Supply is well over 100 miles round trip. And the DC area is not exactly farming country (not counting the USDA's research farm) so farm-supply stores are thin on the ground. Still wondering where besides HD, Lowes and the aforementioned stove dealers I might look. The Google search from MD directs me rather far from here.

Ask about delivery... it's well worth it, especially when they can wheel the wrapped pallets into the back of the garage.
Interesting point, thanks for mentioning it. Not sure what delivery charges tend to run; I guess it's mathematically possible for a source further away to be cheaper enough that it's worth paying a delivery charge versus a closer supplier. And I have a couple of neighbors with pickup trucks, big ones. It might be worth a couple of cases of beer for the use of a truck.

Storage won't be in the garage. I have three cars (the pictured one lives on a lift) in a 21x24 two bay garage, with the bicycles and tool chests and little else, it's already tight. Right now I was planning for the pellets to reside where my firewood did before the conversion, in a 12x12 lean-to "annex" off the side of a storage shed... alas, 100 feet from the back of the house and no hard surface in between. So, extra work and mess when I get the pellets and again when I use them. Long-term, that might not be viable.

We'll likely be weekend and holiday users, not 24/7, so I can only guess what annual use might be. 1.5 tons? 2 tons? I need a full season under my belt to even estimate.
 

katman

Member
Jul 7, 2008
168
annapolis md
Tiger, if you got your stove in Edgewater and it's a Harman I guess you bought it at Bay Stoves. My friend started that place in the mid-80s and sold it to the current operators. they have good brands of pellets but they are expensive. The Ace on Rt 214 carries 3 different brands (and price points) and usually tries to blow out their inventory in the spring and then has a special price for early fall purchasers. This year our Home Depot stores were charging $75 delivery fee. I used them for the last three tons I got cause I didn't have time to make three trips with my trailer. I might have them deliver for me again in the fall. Another option might be to join in a group buy. My neighbor just put in a new equipment barn and was talking about getting factory prices for a truckload. I'll buy my supply from him (he has a forklift) if he does it so there might be an option for you. I'm not sure how much he figures he nees for himself.
 

tiger

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2014
347
Seabrook, MD (DC suburbs)
Yes, Katman, Bay Stoves, I think I'm pleased with them. Yeah, I'd say $6.95 for Hamer Hot Ones is a bit pricey; but just getting into this and not yet determining whether I should be sourcing from the stove dealer, or elsewhere. Nice to know about the Ace -- still a bit far to tow a trailer. Wasn't thinking about hardware stores and none came up on my google search, wonder if other franchises (Do-It centers, Servistar, etc.) get into pellets, it's probably up to each store owner. That group buy of yours sounds great!

$75 to deliver I guess is OK, but doesn't HD rent pickup trucks for a fraction of that? Hmm, just thinking out loud here...

Related question -- how do these pellets handle prolonged storage? What if I overbuy in say, April and don't use them all but by partway into the second season they are 1-1/2 years old? Deterioration?

Tiger, if you got your stove in Edgewater and it's a Harman I guess you bought it at Bay Stoves. My friend started that place in the mid-80s and sold it to the current operators. they have good brands of pellets but they are expensive. The Ace on Rt 214 carries 3 different brands (and price points) and usually tries to blow out their inventory in the spring and then has a special price for early fall purchasers. This year our Home Depot stores were charging $75 delivery fee. I used them for the last three tons I got cause I didn't have time to make three trips with my trailer. I might have them deliver for me again in the fall. Another option might be to join in a group buy. My neighbor just put in a new equipment barn and was talking about getting factory prices for a truckload. I'll buy my supply from him (he has a forklift) if he does it so there might be an option for you. I'm not sure how much he figures he needs for himself.
 

wsar10

Burning Hunk
Feb 8, 2014
227
Central, PA

RKS130

Minister of Fire
Oct 14, 2011
602
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
Sounds a bit sketchy to me - actually sounds more like animal feed than fuel!
 

Bridgeman

Burning Hunk
Dec 14, 2013
116
Center Barnstead N.H.
Pellets store very well from one season to the next. I have always stored them in the basement of my raised ranch that is very dry and actually air conditioned in the humid part of the summer. I would think any inside storage would be fine.
 

wsar10

Burning Hunk
Feb 8, 2014
227
Central, PA
Sounds a bit sketchy to me - actually sounds more like animal feed than fuel!
I don't think it sounds sketchy, but I did think it was feed......One of his previous ads said "tired of paying over $200 a ton for wood pellets, try my homemade "bio" pellets" I don't know, he is 3 hours or so from me or I would go and check them out.
 

tiger

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2014
347
Seabrook, MD (DC suburbs)
Pellets store very well from one season to the next. I have always stored them in the basement of my raised ranch that is very dry and actually air conditioned in the humid part of the summer. I would think any inside storage would be fine.
Interesting comment and unless I've missed it, the first I've read on "quality of storage environment". I was planning on eventually storing outdoors under roof but not necessarily "indoors as in all walled in. This is a storage no-no? My alternatives might be reduced to basement storage, which I can do but that eats into space in the basement especially if I eventually buy multi-ton. That space is not heated nor air-conditioned but I do run a dehuimidifier.

An alternative might be a dedicated outdoor building? I guess I could pick up a cheap pre-fab shed or build one and find the SF in the yard somewhere. The spouse won't like either of these choices.
 
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