Archive for the ‘’ Category

Manchester, NH Pellet Pickup: How to Order

4/1 UPDATE: Order today (4-1-14) by 4pm to reserve your pick-up order for today between 5pm and 6pm at Demer’s Garden Center. (15 bag maximum per customer)  Orders are first come first serve! Prepayment is required, and customers must be able to pick up the order today between 5pm and 6pm.

NH Pellet PickupQuantities are limited, and orders will be allocated to the first phone orders. There is a 15 bag per customer maximum at this time for pickups.

How to Order Pellets to Pickup on Tuesday April 1st:


1. Call 1-800-PELLETS (800-735-5387) NOTE: all pickup orders must be placed via telephone, not online or in person

2. Reserve your Cleanfire Hardwood Wood Pellets through credit card pre-payment.

3. Confirm with your Customer Service Rep that you can pickup between 5pm and 6pm on Tuesday, April 1st.

4. Head to Demer’s Garden Center at 656 South Mammoth Road in Manchester, NH and show them your pickup receipt.

5. Back your car or truck up and be loaded up with your pellet fuel!

Please note that all orders must be reserved and paid for by phone.  Only customers who have reserved their pellets by phone will have pellets available for them.

Please check back for more updates on all pellet delivery, including the next pickup order opportunity. Thank you for your patience during this time!

Why Was There a 2014 Wood Pellet Shortage? These 10 Reasons Might Surprise You.​

1. Can You Say Polar Vortex?

Polar Vortex

It wasn’t just cold, it was downright Antarctic.  And we heard the same story repeated again and again from our customers – “I thought I had ordered enough wood pellets to get me through this winter, but I came up a ton short”.    Now multiply that same experience by the 500,000 stoves in New England and you start to see why there was such a drastic shortage.

The problem was made worse by the extremely cold weather in the Midwest as well.  Pellet consumers in the Midwest consumed much more fuel than normal; fuel that might have found its way to the Northeast market. And sadly – according to data on, cold temperatures in the Northeast have simply returned to their longer term averages.  Does this mean that we should expect this kind of winter every year?  Let’s hope not.  But maybe you should buy enough pellets each year to get you comfortably through one of these “arctic” winters. Remember, if you properly store your wood pellets they can last many years.

2. Fossil Fuel Head Fake

Head fake! (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Most of the pellet stoves in New England are used to supplement the home’s primary heat source – typically gas, heating oil, or propane. Because using wood pellets to heat your home takes more effort than using fossil fuels, consumers must weigh this added “hassle” of wood pellets against their estimated savings.

When the spread in price between pellets and fossil fuels grows, consumers tend to utilize more pellets for heating.  But a strange situation developed last year.  Decisions were made last spring and fall (2013) regarding which heating fuel to pre-purchase based on low gas, oil, and propane prices.  Many consumers chose to purchase smaller quantities of pellets figuring they would rely more on fossil fuels for their primary heat source. But when the prices for gas, oil, and especially propane began heading higher in the early part of winter, consumers began to switch to the now much less expensive option of wood pellets.  In basketball, they call this a ‘head fake’. In this market it’s called “pellets sold out”.

It’s no coincidence that the last time we saw pellet shortages was in 2007-2008 when the price of oil rose to almost $150 a barrel. The quick lesson here is that being prepared is your best protection from these “head fakes”.

3. Pellet Exports

Wood Pellets
Did you know that over two million tons of pellets were exported to Europe in 2013?  Granted, much of this export volume is for commercial grade bulk pellets used to replace (or co-fire) coal at European electricity generation plants – and not for home heating.

But these large mills are competing for some of the same raw materials used to produce heating pellets – thereby reducing the amount of wood fiber (a key ingredient) used to produce regular heating pellets. And if you’re a banker looking to invest in this green energy sector, which mill are you going to lend money to help expand their production? The mill with a ten year supply agreement to a German utility – or the mill that sells pellets to a bunch of mom-and-pop stove shops?  That is why we are seeing tremendous new investment and capacity of utility pellet plants down south where labor and raw materials are less expensive; and relatively little expansion of mills producing heating pellets.

But it isn’t just utility pellets being exported to Europe.  Pellet stoves and whole-house pellet boilers are very popular in many countries including Germany, Italy, and Austria.  And because local European mills have failed to keep up with this demand, pellet fuel suppliers have turned to the United States and Canada for a new source of supply.  For example, some wood pellet suppliers right here in the Northeast are already shipping large volumes of bagged pellets overseas.  It’s hard to estimate how much volume is being redirected to European customers, but it’s significant – and getting bigger every year. And isn’t it interesting that exports get so little attention and media coverage in relation to this shortage?

4. Horsing Around

Horse Bedding


Still another competing use for wood pellets that gets little attention is its use as horse bedding. Equine wood pellets provide a couple nice advantages over traditional shavings including being easier to store and more economical.  Equine pellets also do a better job of absorbing horse urine – ala cat litter – and have been demonstrated to absorb up to 3 times as much as shavings.  And because they are free of any chemicals, mold resistant, and dust free – many consider wood pellets to be healthier and safer for horses.

Granted this market is still relatively small, and probably didn’t have as big an impact on the shortage as those reasons already discussed.  But supply agreements with large stables are both profitable and highly valued – and would merit suppliers keeping these customers well stocked with horse pellets ahead of heating customers.

5. Box Stores Don’t Get A Free Pass

Big Box store wood pellets
You can’t explain away pellet shortages without mentioning the effect that the mighty box stores have had on this industry.  Box stores have become a major supplier of wood pellets in the last five years.  Their aggressive pricing has gotten them many customers – but at a major cost to the stores themselves, the rest of the industry, and the customers.

By selling pellets so cheaply (and in some cases below cost), box stores have engaged in a form of ‘predatory pricing’ – defined as setting pricing so low as to drive competitors out of the market.  These low prices create much higher demand for box store pellets than would otherwise exist.  Many pellet retailers find it difficult to compete against the box stores and have all but given up trying. As a result, the number of competitors in the pellet market is now much smaller – and consumers are provided with less choice.

Mills that sell to the box stores usually compete on price alone – and have tremendous incentive to cut costs.  But here’s the rub. Cheaper bags and skids, lower quality raw materials, and reduced quality control standards are just some of the ways mills might adjust to the box store pricing pressure.

Furthermore, pellet mills that don’t sell to box stores are also being affected as they struggle to compete against these subsidized box store prices by focusing on other alternative products (like wood bricks) or ‘higher end’ premium pellets.  Pellet mills like these typically produce lower volumes, and are unable to quickly scale up production to meet higher demand.

6. Stove Sales Growth

Wood Pellets

With the last run-up in energy prices in 2008, pellet stove sales reached as high as 100,000 annual units – and consumers were put on waiting lists for new stoves.  But as oil and natural gas prices have come down significantly in recent years, so too have the sales of pellet stoves.

2013 saw the return of sales growth with the corresponding spike of natural gas and propane.   Some estimate that between 50,000 to 60,000 new pellet stoves were added in 2013. This translates into over 150,000 new tons of pellets required to feed them – the equivalent of two medium sized pellet mills total annual production.  And with new state subsidy programs becoming available – this number is only going to grow.

7.  Drill Baby Drill

wood pellets now used in drilling

Pellet exports and horse bedding aren’t the only new uses for wood pellets that are having an impact on this shortage. Pellets are now being used commercially by the oil and gas industry for a number of important roles. First, wood pellets make a great cleaner for absorbing oil and solvent spills. And because they are better and cheaper, pellets are replacing traditional clay based products that had been in use for decades.

Wood pellets are also used to filter and clean water used in fracking, as well as helping to slow the fluid loss for drilling operations in porous layers. And as a result, drillers are able to use much less water in the process.

Ok, so some of our heating pellets are being used by the oil drillers. But at least you can take solace in the fact that they are also being put to use in helping to clean up our environment.

8.  Another Mill Bites the Dust

Wood Pellet Mill

Making pellets is dangerous work. If the dust from the manufacturing process isn’t managed properly, it can cause explosions and create dangerous fires. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to a few mills this winter.  In fact, fires and explosions affected two mills right here in New England.  One mill was able to quickly recover from a fire – but the other mill has been shut down and has long since stopped shipping any new pellets.

9. Pellet Shortages Beget More Shortage

(Mike Stobe/Getty)

As soon as the media started covering and reporting on the pellet shortages, what little availability disappeared almost overnight.  Should we be surprised?  Much like food and water, heat can be considered a must-have necessity that can easily lead to hoarding, desperation, and price gouging.  We saw examples of gas shortages with hurricane Katrina, and again with Sandy.  Even a big winter storm here in New England can cause a stampede to the grocery store where the shelves quickly turn empty.  The same psychology was unleashed this winter with pellets. When pellet retailers start arming employees with guns – as some news sources reported – you know things have gone from bad to worse.

10. Pellet Mills


(Gordon Murray/Wood Pellet Association of Canada)

The wood pellet industry is historically a tough, low margin business that is hard to turn a profit. Pellet mill producers simply can’t afford to have very much unsold inventory in their warehouses come spring.  Excess inventory can be devastating to a mill’s financial health (at least in years where there isn’t a pellet shortage).  Therefore each year, they carefully estimate how much production they’ll need to meet demand – and try to minimize any overproduction and excess inventory.

This job of estimating demand is made much harder by the fact that so many pellet consumers now wait until the last minute to buy their fuel – long after the mills have finalized their production plans.  So when we endure an extremely cold winter like we had this year and demand is underestimated – it’s too late.  Six months prior, the mills have already bought (or contracted) the raw materials needed to produce their volume targets.  Even with mills only running at partial capacity – many pellet mills are simply unable to dial up more production.  In many cases, there just isn’t any raw materials to do so.

An important takeaway in all this is that we may not have a capacity issue with the pellet mills. Rather, we have an order timing and weather prediction issue.  But with so many new and competing uses for wood pellets, future shortages can’t be ruled out. By buying your pellets in the Spring (or early Summer), you’ll not only secure your fuel ahead of the crowd, you will also help the mills better plan for winter demand.

Paul Tlapa

Please visit us online at or call us at 1-800-PELLETS to find availability and delivery options in your area.

Wood Pellet Pickup Update: Manchester, NH

wood pellets, Manchester, NH, pellet pickup,

UPDATE: We are sold out for Monday 3/17 pickups. Please check back on Tuesday 3/18 for Wednesday 3/19 pickup availability! is opening phone lines for pellet pickup orders at Demer’s Garden Center in Manchester, NH  today (Thursday, March 13th) at 9am. Prepayment is required, and customers must be able to pick up the order on Monday, March 17th.

Quantities are limited, and orders will be allocated to the first phone orders. There is a 10 bag per customer maximum.

How to Order Pellets for Pickup on Monday March 17th:

1. Call 1-800-PELLETS (800-735-5387) NOTE: all pickup orders must be placed via telephone, not online or in person

2. Reserve your Cleanfire Hardwood Wood Pellets through credit card pre-payment

3. Indicate your preferred pickup time on Monday March 17th: 9:00am-11:00am OR 3:00pm-5:00pm NOTE: you must be able to pick up your fuel in one of these time frames

4. At your designated pickup time, head to Demer’s Garden Center at 656 South Mammoth Road in Manchester, NH and show them your pickup receipt.

5. Back your car or truck up (see above picture) and be loaded up with your pellet fuel!

Please note that all orders must be reserved and paid for by phone.  Only customers who have reserved their pellets by phone will have pellets available for them.

Please check back for more updates on all pellet delivery, including the next pickup order time. Thank you for your patience during this time!

Demers Garden Center Pickup Update

We are currently out of allocation for bag sales this week at Demers Garden Center – but should have new availability as early as Monday, March 17th. Check back with our site for the latest information – or give us a call at 1-800-PELLETS. We have customer service representatives available to answer your questions and concerns.

Friday, March 14 UPDATE: Call us at 1-800-735-5387 on Tuesday the 18th to reserve bags for pickup on Wednesday, March 19th!



Is It Too Late to Order Pellets This Winter?

UPDATE: Lead times for delivery service has changed from up to three weeks, to within 7-10 days! Call us at 1-800-735-5387 to place your order now…it’s not too late!

Pellets!The pellets shortage of 2014 has made it nearly impossible to find pellets this March. And even if you live in a region served by our home delivery service, the lead time has now reached three weeks in many areas. But is it too late to order? No.

What we have been telling customers is to “get in line” because nobody knows what might happen in the next couple weeks.

If the shortage ends abruptly and you don’t need the fuel – simply cancel the order. We don’t require any prepayment.

But if the winter continues even longer, or the shortage gets worse – you’ll be glad you secured your place in line.

Free Delivery Offer Extended on Flex Savings Plans

Our Flex Savings Plan allows you to make a monthly deposit in any amount you choose, enabling you to budget your wood pellet fuel purchase over many months – instead of a single large one-time payment.

Sign up before March 21st – we’ll give you FREE  Flex Delivery on your next order. 

  • Sign up must be completed by March 21st 2014.
  • Free delivery is only good on orders of 3 tons or more.
  • To qualify for free delivery you must have a minimum duration of at least 3 months.
  • Free delivery is for “Flex Delivery” – Standard and Precision delivery will have a surcharge.
  • Free delivery offer may not be combined with other offers or promotions.

The wood pellet budget plan is available to everyone, so feel free to let your neighbors, friends, relatives, and colleagues know that this option is available to them. If they are new customers, make sure to have them mention your name when ordering and they will get $25 off their order and we’ll give you $25 off your next order with us (click here for more details on our Pellet Buck Program). The best part is that there’s no limit on the amount of credit you can earn!

Check Us Out on Pinterest

Recycling-Wood-PalletsWe’ve jumped on the bandwagon and are now proud pinners on Pinterest! Come check us out at Our first board is all about things that can be created with recycled wood pallets. There are some really interesting things that folks have done to recycle their pallets, including this pallet bed you see to the right.  If you check out our board on Pinterest you’ll see many other ideas, too!

Have you recycled the pallets your wood pellets have been delivered on to make anything unique or useful? Or have you perhaps stumbled across another cool way to recycle and reuse wood pallets? Please share with us by leaving a comment below!