"How to buy pellets"

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Chitownhillbilly

New Member
Mar 10, 2014
38
Illinois
My local Ace Hardware said he'd get pellets for me if I was going to be buying 5 ton a season. Might be worth walking in and talking with whomever does the ordering at a smaller hardware store. Of course I bought a ton at Menards a week ago in Illinois, so it doesn't seem as crazy as you guys out east.
 
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TimfromMA

Minister of Fire
Mar 6, 2014
2,306
Central MA
If you have the storage space, I highly recommend pre-buying enough pellets for the entire season and maybe even a bit more as a "cushion"
 

Chitownhillbilly

New Member
Mar 10, 2014
38
Illinois
If you have the storage space, I highly recommend pre-buying enough pellets for the entire season and maybe even a bit more as a "cushion"
Oh yea, that was my other question.... for the guys who said buy 2 years worth. Where the heck do you guys store 10 pallets of pellets? LOL I should have built a bigger barn.
 

TimfromMA

Minister of Fire
Mar 6, 2014
2,306
Central MA
Here is 4 1/2 tons in my finished family room downstairs. The large pile in the back is 4 tons. I could easily put another 2 tons on top of that plus 2 additional 1 1/2 ton stacks infront of those.



2013-05-05_07-02-54_677.jpg
 

bob burke

Member
Mar 9, 2014
69
n.y.
Typically, the box stores offer the best pricing. Pellets arrive here sometime around late Aug. There are a few factors to consider....you can't always go by brand name. Some higher quality names always have the same type of pellet, but many don't. If you smell the bag, or if you slice one open, and it smells like pine (walk down the lumber aisle in H.D./Lowes) then you don't want those pellets. Generally speaking, hardwood pellets will be darker, because early season pellets are often made from oak. Many are primarily maple though, so the sniff test is usually the best method. Def try to buy all of your pellets early, as the quality differs as the season wanes.

The spring 'sales', are leftovers, and they may have more fines (from handling), and they also may have higher moisture content from sitting in damp storage.

If you are planning on storing them outside, then you'll want to cover them with layers of plastic/tarp, because they can absorb moisture. Some companies have perforated bags, which also allows moisture to get in.

You might be able to rent the H.D truck by the hour, and transport multiple tons at once. You should consider inside storage, for the best results.
 

RKS130

Minister of Fire
Oct 14, 2011
602
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
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.

I cannot see why outdoor storage, under a roof, would be bad. Obviously you need enough overhang that your pallets are not in direct rain, and obviously, once the exterior shrouding of a pallet has been breached the entire pallet of pellets should be moved indoors. But, in theory, whats the problem?

A confession: I have room in my shed for no more than 100 bags of pellets . . . maybe 120. But, I buy 4 tons at a time and leave the other 2 outside with their shrouds undisturbed. This year, for the first time, I lost one bag of pellets to moisture after a falling tree limb compromised the integrity of the pallet covering. Other than that no problem.

I did once get some condensation on the inside of my hopper lid, which I assumed was from that particular bag of pellets being a bit damp, but they burned fine. Did I get every last BTU? Probably not. But on the other hand, in this year of shortages, I have had all the pellets I need with no problem. Losing 1 bag and maybe getting fewer BTUs out of some other bags is small price to pay for having enough to get through the season. Just sayin, blasphemous as it may be!
 

katman

Member
Jul 7, 2008
168
annapolis md
I haven't had any problems with my outside storage. I keep them under the carport roof so they don't get wet. The Maryland humidity doesn't seem to affect them. Another place to check is any Lumber Liquidators store near you. I'm not sure if all stores sell pellets but one up in Glen Burnie was.
 

Enigma869

Feeling the Heat
Aug 27, 2011
282
Massachusetts
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.
Many will tell you that pellets shouldn't be stored outside. I find that to be a ridiculous position, given that 95% of all pellets that are sold on the retail market are stored outside by the retailers who are selling them! For the record, I store all of mine in the garage, but wouldn't hesitate on storing them outside if I had a need to. The only real concern I would have (especially this season, with the shortage) would be theft. Ultimately, whether inside or outside, you simply have to keep your supply dry, and I would definitely keep them off of the floor or ground and on the pallets they come on.

John
 

TimfromMA

Minister of Fire
Mar 6, 2014
2,306
Central MA
They really only have to be moved under a cover once the pallet has been unsealed.

I store all mine inside mostly for the convenience but keeping them out of the weather is a plus too.
 

tiger

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2014
349
Seabrook, MD (DC suburbs)
OK, revised "consensus" might be outdoors but under cover might be acceptable but take precautions.

Another place to check is any Lumber Liquidators store near you. I'm not sure if all stores sell pellets but one up in Glen Burnie was.
REALLY????????? Wow, that's interesting and useful "how to buy pellets" info. There's a LL about four miles from my office but I wouldn't want to try their parking lot pulling a trailer. No surprise that a search on LL's website for "pellets" yields no results.
 

RKS130

Minister of Fire
Oct 14, 2011
602
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
The only real concern I would have (especially this season, with the shortage) would be theft.
Sorry to hear you are living in an area where this is a concern.
 

Lake Girl

Moderator
Nov 12, 2011
6,940
NW Ontario
If you smell the bag, or if you slice one open, and it smells like pine (walk down the lumber aisle in H.D./Lowes) then you don't want those pellets.
I love my pine pellets - they often produce more BTUs and less ash than the hardwoods. They smell great - had to burn some Indeck pellets and they smelled like a swamp. The Heartlands did a great job during the -30 to -50F temps we got this winter. Some stove augers may have problems with them so it is best to sample several varieties of pellets before you buy bulk quantities. Find out what works best in your stove - trying to keep as many factors the same when testing them and keep a log (similar outside temps, same power level, feed rate, stove cleanliness).

Off on pellet safari ;lol
 
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bob burke

Member
Mar 9, 2014
69
n.y.
I love my pine pellets - they often produce more BTUs and less ash than the hardwoods. They smell great - had to burn some Indeck pellets and they smelled like a swamp. The Heartlands did a great job during the -30 to -50F temps we got this winter. Some stove augers may have problems with them so it is best to sample several varieties of pellets before you buy bulk quantities. Find out what works best in your stove - trying to keep as many factors the same when testing them and keep a log (similar outside temps, same power level, feed rate, stove cleanliness).

Off on pellet safari ;lol
Yep...I know people who love the softwood pellets. We all have our preferences...as do our stoves!
 

railfanron

Feeling the Heat
Nov 2, 2013
478
Perry MI
I store a ton of pellets on the back porch. It has a roof but it isn't enclosed. I cover the top bags with a piece of plastic and a ton lasts about 2 months. I've had no problems doing it this way.
Ron
 

Enigma869

Feeling the Heat
Aug 27, 2011
282
Massachusetts
Sorry to hear you are living in an area where this is a concern.
Not sure that I even understand your comment. I don't live in an "area" where this is a concern. I've just lived long enough to understand that desperate times cause people to do desperate things. If someone is dopey enough to leave 4 ton of pellets in their front yard (which I've seen), the guy who has been looking for pellets for a month might help himself to the five finger discount!
 

TimfromMA

Minister of Fire
Mar 6, 2014
2,306
Central MA
Each bag weighs 40lbs and has a value of $6 give or take. I'm not saying it could never happen but the risk / reward ration doesn't look too good.
 

wsar10

Burning Hunk
Feb 8, 2014
227
Central, PA
The neighboring business to me is a pellet dealer, the day after X-mas this year someone backed up and stole a ton of pellet's.......
We were out of town but they could plainly see they were on camera, the 20 blinking LED's on the camera's and dusk to dawn lights were not enough to deter them. At that point it was not all that cold out and no talks of pellet shortage.
 

Shaw520

Feeling the Heat
Oct 15, 2012
426
Modena
Myself and three of my neighbors are looking into purchasing a trailer load (22 ton) sometime during the upcoming summer months,.. we have the fork lift to unload and means to transport. I have already call Sommerset Co in Ky, they simply informed me that they are not taking anymore new customers, ..they cant even make enough product for there current customers! Ive seen guys on here buy TT loads before, can anyone point me in the right direction to set this up?
 

Dougsey

Feeling the Heat
Aug 3, 2006
364
Epping, NH
Not sure that I even understand your comment. I don't live in an "area" where this is a concern. I've just lived long enough to understand that desperate times cause people to do desperate things. If someone is dopey enough to leave 4 ton of pellets in their front yard (which I've seen), the guy who has been looking for pellets for a month might help himself to the five finger discount!

There are reports on the news around here about firewood being stolen right out of peoples yards.
 

tiger

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2014
349
Seabrook, MD (DC suburbs)
Oh joy! Wife scored ONE BAG from a co-worker, so we can have a fire for Friday night (and test whatever brand it is).:p

I've just lived long enough to understand that desperate times cause people to do desperate things.
Yeah, that's what I meant in the first place -- I recall gas siphoning after the first Gas Crisis and everyone buying locking gas caps. No gas, gotta go to work, neighbor's car left unattended...

So my take-aways so far are:
* Sources would be major home centers, local hardware stores, wood flooring distributors, and Tractor Supply if you live in Hooterville.;)
* Take precautions storing them away from water and prying eyes but don't be anal about it.
* Buy off-season, +/- late spring, and buying extra helps safeguard against running out if a rough winter is experienced.
 

tiger

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2014
349
Seabrook, MD (DC suburbs)
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.
The best advice I've received yet on the forum. I went by over the weekend and left an e-mail address, signing up to get a notification in June on a pre-order. THANKS!
 
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TimfromMA

Minister of Fire
Mar 6, 2014
2,306
Central MA
The best advice I've received yet on the forum. I went by over the weekend and left an e-mail address, signing up to get a notification in June on a pre-order. THANKS!
Pre-buy discounts are fairly common.
 

ttdberg

Feeling the Heat
Jul 12, 2008
256
Northeast CT
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.
Around here, Lowes and HD don't typically carry pellets in the spring and summer months. However, the local TSC carries them all year round. This year, things are working out a little differently though. Seems like almost every Lowes in this area got about 50 tons of Green Supremes a couple weeks ago; just in time for the warm weather to arrive. Suspect they will be sitting on most of those until late fall. TSC on the other hand hasn't gotten a delivery for about a month. Driving by yesterday, I noticed they had a few pallets sitting outside the door, so I stopped in to see what they were. Nations Choice? Yikes! Why can't we get any Somersets or Lignetics or Blazers in a box store around here?
 

mik_kane

Feeling the Heat
Dec 14, 2012
274
NEPA Poconos
If you are going to buy from Lowes, I would suggest you go to EBAY and buy a Lowes coupon for 10% off, you will save some money if you get 3 tons or more. At least it will pay for your shipping. They also do price match so if HD sells it cheaper you will get the HD price.
 
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