Archive for July, 2011

Welcome to WoodPellets.com, Jim, and thanks for the kind words!

“It could not have been a better experience. Delivery was on time and delivered in a professional manner. Will not buy from anyone else!”

-Jim, new customer in 2011

How to store 3 tons pellets in your garage – no problem!

3 Tons Stacked and Ready to Go

Having recently purchased a new pellet stove, I quickly found myself facing an issue that just about all pellet stove owners face – where the heck do you store all those bags of pellets?

Some store them outdoors – which if fine if you provide them a little extra protection. The plastic outer shrouding can definitely withstand a season outdoors.  But who wants to trek through snow and ice to get a bag of pellets? I would rather be able to grab them in my socks.

Basements are also popular storage areas. But mine is so full of junk… I mean special keepsakes that my wife could never part with…that I literally have no room for three tons of pellets.

So I decided to make my garage work.

But like most garages, mine was already fully packed with stuff – bikes, mowers, tools, toys – and two large cars to boot. So my first step was a little exercise in organization followed by a couple trips to the dump. I know some folks simply have the skids delivered right into the garage using a pallet jack (which woodpellets.com offers in many areas). But the dimensions of the skids would have meant that they would have stuck out into the garage more than I liked.

My chosen spot was the back wall – which left me about six feet of space to work with. And with 3 tons of premium softwood LG Granules sitting in my driveway, I needed to plan this a little cautiously in order to get them to all to fit into this tight space.

I started by laying out the bags in this formation (against the back wall). I did put down a sheet of cardboard in case water was spilled nearby. But I didn’t want to use anything taller for fear that my pile would be too high to reach.

First Layer of Pellets

The five bags in the top of the picture fit my width requirements perfectly – six feet. But the bottom 4 bags needed a little bit of finessing to get them laid out right. What I did was push them a little closer together to get them to fit into the same width.

Next, I did the same exact thing on the second layer – but in reverse. The five bags where in front, and the four in the back.

I also made sure that my base was very flat and stable. I physically smoothed out each bag to give it a more flat surface on which to stack the next layer.

In addition, I molded the bags a bit to give the bags in the front a little more bulk. Because I have young children, the last thing I wanted was for this heavy pile to fall into the garage. By building the front row a little higher (bulkier), I was able to get the stack to lean a bit towards the wall – and eliminate any concerns for safety.

Then once the first couple layers were in place, I was able to enlist my small army of helpers to carry the bags in and let me quickly build additional layers. At one point I grabbed a small step ladder to finish the top layers. And in about 40 minutes we had finished the entire job of stacking the pelles.

It took 17 layers with 9 bags in each layer (except for the top layer which only had 6 ) for a total of 150 bags (three whole tons). And as you can see, we did it in approximately the same space occupied by two home depot shelves.

And in addition to having them neatly stacked and out of the way, I still have some storage space on top of the pile! Tell us how you store your pellets!

My Helpers

Share your feedback with us!

Hi WoodPellets.com fans! You know those green postcards our drivers leave with your pellets? People have been filling them out and sending them back, and we LOVE when they do! We wanted to share some comments with you, so you’ll see them sprinkled throughout the articles below. And we invite you to share your thoughts as well! Drop your comment card in the mail, or write us a note here.

Thanks!

Dear Darlene – advice for a customer with a single-car garage

Darlene is the Customer Service & Sales Manager at WoodPellets.com.  She’s also an experienced pellet stove owner, and she and her team of Pellet Experts answer all sorts of questions from customers on all things pellet.

Got a burning question for Darlene?  Leave it here, and she’ll get you an answer in no time!

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This is my first year with the pellet stove, and my first order from WoodPellets.com.  I just got my delivery last week (it was great, by the way – your driver was so nice).  Can I keep my pellets outside for now?  I don’t have room in my garage to store all three pallets.

-Single-Car Garage, Monson, MA

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Dear Single-Car,

Ah yes, we get this question a lot… Rest assured that it is safe to store your pellet fuel outside!  As a matter of fact, the fuel you are now looking at in your yard was once stored outside at the pellet mill where it was created.  The packaging you see on your fuel is weather resistant, but to be prudent, here is some advice to help keep your pellet fuel in ‘heat ready’ condition year round:

  • For those who can: Place skids in a high and dry area, away from irrigation
  • Check shroud for possible tears, cover with tarp regardless
  • Shovel around entire skid in winter
  • Check for tenants – you know, the cute furry kind like Alvin, Simon & Theodore!

But, there’s more – read on:

Summer

During the summer months make sure your fuel is delivered to an area in your yard or driveway that is free from any water pooling or flooding.  Direct water contact from below may cause water damage and render the pellets to its original form: sawdust (which is not pellet stove friendly). Also, be mindful of any irrigation heads or water spray paths as well – common sense right there.  In addition, should there be any trees overhead or nearby, we suggest placing a tarp over the skids.  This not only protects the packaging from constant exposure to the elements, but also keeps the leaves, dirt, and bird blessings from littering the shroud that protects your bags of fuel.  Check on your fuel once in a while, just to make sure the chipmunks haven’t developed a condo association !

Fall

Now your fuel has been outside for a couple of months and you are ready to fire up your stove! Carefully remove the protective wrap and slice the shroud on the top edge of the skid in order to slip the top bags out.  Leave the shroud on as long as you can.  Use the shroud to protect the bags and cover with the tarp.  Place a weighted object on top of the skid to keep the tarp in place.

Winter

Shovel a path to your fuel and shovel around the entire skid.  This effort will keep the snow off your fuel and help prevent any water and/or ice damage.  Continue to use the shroud and tarp to protect your fuel from snow and ice.

Spring

You’ve been warm and toasty all winter, and now it’s time for spring cleaning!  If you have loose bags left, find a spot in the garage or keep them outside, just protect them from the elements – as described in the seasons above.  Empty your stove’s hopper and keep an eye out for Spring Buy Pellet Fuel Specials!

Happy Heating!!!

Darlene

Thanks, Derek – nice doing business with you, too!

“Service was great!!! Nice doing business with you.” -Derek, Westfield, MA

What the heck’s a skid? Curious pellet terms defined.

We know there are lots of terms and phrases in the pellet world that you don’t hear anywhere else. Here’s a basic glossary of some of the terms we’re most commonly asked to explain:

Ash content – the waste product left from burning wood pellets. One of the major indicators of wood pellet quality, ash is measured as a percentage of weight. The lower the ash content, the less cleaning and maintenance you’ll likely have to perform on your stove. Premium hardwood pellets have less than 1.0% ash, and premium softwood pellets typically have less than 0.5% ash.

Biomass – organic matter that can be converted to fuel. Wood pellets are a biomass heat source.

BTU – British Thermal Unit. BTU is the measure of heat output for a fuel, and one of the key indicators of wood pellet quality. The higher the BTU rating, the more heat you will feel. You should expect to find a BTU rating of 7900-8200 in premium wood pellets.

Pallet jack (A.K.A. Hand truck) – a hand-operated machine that lifts heavy pallets, allowing our delivery drivers to pull skids of fuel over flat, hard surfaces (such as a garage floor). Because of their maneuverability and small size, pallet jacks give you greater flexibility than forklifts to place pallets exactly where you need them.

Skid (A.K.A. Pallet) – a wooden platform upon which wood pellet bags are stacked and wrapped. Wood pellets skids are packaged in different weights, and can have anywhere from 50 bags (1.0 ton) to 75 bags (1.5 tons) per skid.

Wood bricks (A.K.A. Biomass bricks) –dried and condensed sawdust and wood chips, formed into a block shape that burns as a highly efficient cordwood alternative. (We like to explain wood bricks as big pellets that can be burned in a wood stove or fireplace.)

Wood pellet – highly efficient heating fuel composed of dried and compressed sawdust. Wood pellets are burned in a wood pellet stove, fireplace insert, boiler, or furnace.

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We probably forgot something… Let us know below if there’s a term you have a question about, and we’ll do our best to answer you. 

Robert received exemplary service… and so can you!

“Exemplary service, from Rick in delivery coordination to accommodating schedule to precise placement as requested. Top notch team, all the way! Thank you!”

-Robert, customer since 2010