Best wood pellets on ther East Coast

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Cindy in PA, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Well-Known Member

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    We bought my father a pellet stove last year, as oil was eating him alive. He used 2 1/2 tons last year for a 1000 sq. ft. house & it was a super warm winter. His house has little insulation and he kept the thermostsat at 73 in th living room. We were sold Great American Pellets last year for $229/ton. I have been told that Hamer pellets are better & I would like him to try them. The price is $229 for GA & $275 for Hamer. Anyone have an opinion on whether it is worth $40-50/ton to give them a try? He burned last year from the middle of Nov the middle of April. Any wisdom would be appreciated. He seem to have a lot of ash also.
     
  2. Steve L.

    Steve L. Well-Known Member

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    A ton of cellulose is a ton of cellulose.

    The only difference there could be in heating value would be if one (or both) company(ies) were 'cheating' and adding some non-burnable (ash, sand, water, etc) to the pellets.

    If I wanted to know that, I'd carefully weigh an equal size sample of each, and burn them in an old pan or tin can outside, maybe on a camp stove. If the remaining ash from each sample is the same weight, then there's no difference.

    ETA: If the non-burnable is water, you'd have to weigh fresh samples, dry them, and weigh them again.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2012

  3. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Will the stove burn hog-wood or pellets only? Hog wood would be much cheaper.
     
  4. Homesteadwi5

    Homesteadwi5 Well-Known Member

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    my cousin deals pellet stoves/pellets,he said the pellets with soft wood are better for the stoves than pellets with hardwood.
     
  5. momx4

    momx4 Active Member

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    We burn pellets also to supplement our oil heat. We also have an old drafty house. We have found that there can be a pretty big difference in the heat output depending on what pellets are used. Last year we tried both Okanagan and Somerset. There didn't seem to be much difference between those two, so we went with the cheaper one - Somerset. We had tried Inferno the previous year to save some money. I kept saying that I didn't think the pellet stove was producing as much heat. Sure enough, when we went with the Somerset, there was a big difference.
     
  6. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone. I know nothing about the pellets, but since so many claim the one brand is better, I think I will get Dad to try them one time. If they don't seem any better, we will go back to the cheaper ones.
     
  7. lemonthyme7

    lemonthyme7 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I think what brand you have available depends where you live too. I am in western PA and did not reconize any of the brands given. Here one of the good one's is Allegheny Hardwoods but there are lots of other brands and yes, I do think some of them burn better than others.
     
  8. Darren

    Darren Still an :censored:

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    Just like firewood you'll get more heat from hardwood pellets compared to softwood pellets. You should end up with less creosote too.

    AFAIK, Hamer's plants are located in WV. The local pellet plant (not Hamer) also produces hardwood pellets. TSC buys those pellets by the truck load . At least in and around WV, a TSC branded bag of pellets should be hardwood.
     
  9. old school

    old school Well-Known Member

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    Does the pellets put off a good smell like good old hard woods ? I really look forward to burnning wood each year it is a wonderful workout and has many great benifits.
     
  10. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    Good hardwood pellets (oak, ash, rock maple) will be better than cheaper softwood pellets (poplar, moose maple, ect). They are likely priced accordingly. I don't buy pellets, I burn firewood, but I do sell a lot of pulp to the companies that make the pellets. Most of what they buy is the junk. They're looking to minimize their costs.

    Not all "cellulose" is the same. Processing technology also makes a difference.

    Personally, I like firewood because then I'm not depending on buying a highly processed junk wood at a high cost. However, pellets may be nice for an older person who can't deal with tending the fire.
     
  11. farmerscotty

    farmerscotty Well-Known Member

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    Here in Missouri the Hardwood pellets are the way to go. The soft wood pellets just don't do as well. I looked into selling pellet stoves once and I was interested in the ones that would burn corn also.....since corn burns hotter than pellets......but thank goodness I didn't get into that line of stoves.......corn prices would have killed it for sure.
     
  12. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Well-Known Member

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    Both brands are hardwood pellets. Hamer from WV and Great American out of Palmerton, PA I believe. Will do some more investigating, but still think I can get him to try the more expensive once and we will see how they are. I have read that Hamer has 2 plants & one plant's pellets burn better. Who knows! Yes we do wood & coal, but Dad is 86 years old & pellets were the best way to go.
     
  13. Darren

    Darren Still an :censored:

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    The pellets from Lignetics in the East, are made from hardwoods too. The ones sold in the West are made from softwood species.
     
  14. Forlane

    Forlane Well-Known Member

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    Here is a link to a non-official study done by some company, to show how other pellets rate against their own.

    woodpellets4me.com/pdf/2011-2012-PelletReview.pdf

    The company says they rate themselves at 4th in burn temp and 7th in least ash output.

    I would have liked to see rankings based on burn time as well but alas this one did not have burn times for those tested prior to 2011.
     
  15. frankva

    frankva Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Could you buy a 50lb bag of each and test drive them?

    If he used the stove last year, he would know with a couple hopper fills which he likes better.

    Then he gets whichever he likes better.:) Don't tell him one costs more than the other if he is like any other 80+ people I know.
     
  16. solidwoods

    solidwoods Ret. US Army Supporter

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    You all are making me want a pellitizer even more.
    jim
     
  17. jdrobison

    jdrobison Well-Known Member

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    I have had a pellet stove for 5 years and have burned about anything i can get to feed thru it. i use hardwood as it is usually cheapest but i did use soft one year and noticed little heat diff, the stove did stay cleaner with them. one year i ran out of pellets at the beginning of a holiday weekend and so i burnt a mixture of corn and dog food, worked great in a emergency. my stove will burn strait corn also. cedar pellets smell great in a stove to.
     
  18. Plowpoint

    Plowpoint Well-Known Member

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    My Father has a 5280 square foot house and uses a lot of wood pellets to heat it and we looked into a PTO pellet maker for our tractor to save on the cost of buying pellets. In the end the cost was just too prohibitive.

    We would need a chipper to get the whole process started ($2500), then a hammer mill to help break down the wood into something that could be pelleted, ($3000) and finally the pellet roll mill ($5500). That was $11,000 right there.

    Then you have the problem of moisture content. To make pellets, you need the wood to be in the 20% range. To burn it, you need it in the 6% range. That would mean you would need to dry your wood down to 20%, but no more, then process it into pellets, then after making the pellets, further reduce the moisture content down to 6%. We could never think of a cheap, non-labor intensive way to do that with any consistency, and with pellets that would be critical.

    Then there was the issue of production. The PTO Pellet Machine at $5500 could only produce 640 pounds per hour. So that step alone would take 3 hours of work, saying nothing about chipping the wood, running it through a hammer mill, and getting the moisture content down to 20% to get it to that point. Then there is the issue of drying it on the other end of the pellet maker which would be even more time.

    In the end we deduced that producing home made pellets would just not be worth it when you can buy it ready to go at $200 a ton. I think there are ways to skimp a little on the production costs, but the quality would suffer and you would not get a consistent pellet and pellet stoves really require that.

    I think in the right instance pellet stoves are a good alternative. In my father's case it works quite well, but for me, I think there are better choices. But after looking pretty hard into making our own pellets, I am convinced making them yourself is just not financially viable.
     
  19. blufford

    blufford Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I thought softwoods were mostly evergreens.