Wood Pellet Prices Have Dropped

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Chairman
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Joined: 02/14/2006 - 8:11pm
Wood Pellet Prices Have Dropped

I've noticed recently - probably because we're getting low - that wood pellet prices have dropped quite a bit and I guess it's time to buy.

Sam's Club had Pennington pellets (of which I've heard a few people grumble about) for $220 a ton on Sunday and Lowes had Green Team Hardwood Pellets (which I've never heard of) today for $195 a ton. We bought just five bags to try them out and see how they burn in our stove.

What other prices are out there?

johnw
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Joined: 03/11/2009 - 10:06am
Not all wood pellets are

Not all wood pellets are created equally...... the highest I've seen is $261 . Here's a little math.... 1 gallon of oil produces 140,000 btu's one ton of good pellets produces 14,000,000 btu's a 100 to 1 ratio .
Wood pellets priced at $229 per would be equal to oil priced at $2.299 per gallon.
One looks at current prices running around $2.599 and says wow! BUT before you run out and purchase that $4000 pellet stove do the rest of the math. Using the above prices as an example ( $229 per ton and 2.599 per gallon) one would assu,me they were saving $.30 per gallon by using pellets .. but say you use 1000 gallons of oil as a base and you are going to invest $4000 to save $.30 per gallon it will take you 13.3 years worth of oil use at 1000 gallons per year to recoup your investment..... as your already paid for system sits idly in your basement.
And you do increase your electric costs as well.........I'm not anti pellet but anyone really needs to think through the $4 $5 $6 gallon per oil scenario.... we've had one year in the last 20 that I can think of that oil shot up over $3.50 and then cam crashing down........
PS If you don't like lugging pellets you can also invest thousands more ina bin delivery system....And what happens to the math when oil prices fall below your per ton pellet price?

Swaybar
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Joined: 03/07/2007 - 10:51am
$206 per ton Delivered from

$206 per ton Delivered from HD

John, Been burning pellets for over 10 years. I don't have time to refute your facts, but your numbers are overinflated and the argument flawed. I will post later.

woodcanoe
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Joined: 02/22/2005 - 1:01am
An interesting argument that

An interesting argument that has been going on for a while. Wood vs wood pellets.

Generally there are two sides to this argument: 1) The side that is composed of the people who make and sell wood pellets and the folks who own and run pellet stoves, vs 2) The people who sell firewood and own the stoves that use it.

Basically, there are a certain number of btus in a pound of wood. Engineers use this figure to calculate heating requirement and so on. Best info I can find at the moment is this:

...."In a laboratory, it is possible to get about 8660 Btu/lb of wood fuel. This number is often presented as the number to use in determining outputs and efficiencies of appliances. This "high heat value" is obtained only with perfectly dry wood (0% moisture content) and only in an atmosphere of pure oxygen in a "bomb calorimeter"......

[url=http://mb-soft.com/juca/print/311.html]LINK[/url]

A pound of wood is a pound of wood. Since soft wood is lighter than hardwood as anyone can tell by picking up a stick of each, it takes more softwood to make a pound then it does hardwood, which is the biggest reason that those of us who use firewood try to burn mainly hardwood. So in theory anyway, a pound of wood pellets has a certain amount of btus which should be the same rather its a pound of softwood pellets or hardwood pellets. A pound is a pound etc.

We burn firewood in stoves with no electronic controls or electric blowers. Our familes have been heating with firewood for over 200 yrs in Maine, a tradition we are proud to continue.

Nevertheless, we feel there is certainly a place for pellet stoves. They are cleaner, require less for venting, pellets are easier to handle and probably lots more reasons. For folks who like them, and run them, that is fine.

But I have always been interested in which really is less costly to run. We have 70 acres of woods behind our home so our firewood cost is negligible, gas for saw, fuel for tractor and splitter, and time and energy. We would be foolish to contemplate anything else.

I have seen people claim that pellet stoves are more efficient and can extract more btus per pound than a regular stove can, and that maybe so, depending upon the moisture content of the pellets. With the figure of 8660 btus per pound of wood, and figuring firewood can only air dry down to 12 to 20% moisture, some of those btus have to be used just to vaporize the moisture. Same thing with pellets for any moisture in them.

A very important factor for us is this: We like the fact that we are as dependant upon others as little as possible. A lot of what we do is based on the thought of how we could do it if we did not have electricity and could not buy whatever we needed. Many think this a doomsday scenario but we feel it it being prepared. We have lived through way too many extended power failures to not be prepared for that. That is a major factor in our decision to stay away from pellet stoves, they need power to run the auger, the blower and the electronics. There are battery backups but that is extra too.

We have a 28 x 44 ranch home with heated basement also, and heat the whole thing on about 3 cords of firewood a year. It is far cheaper to heat with firewood than oil, especially in our circumstances. Plus, we know we will be warm without calling on anyone else for fuel or power or help. That is a huge factor for us.

I do know that those who make and sell pellet stoves claim they are more efficient at extracting useful btus from a pound of wood, and that may well be so. I would be very interested to see some unbiased testing done under laboratory conditions and be able to study the results.

Even if true, they still would not suit our circumstances, for all the reasons above. But we know many people who use and like the pellet stoves, and making pellets is a pretty good litte industry in Maine, which we need lots more of.

WC

johnw
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Joined: 03/11/2009 - 10:06am
As I said I'm not anti

As I said I'm not anti pellet.... just laying it out as I see it. How do we feel if the gov decides that wood pellets are the way to go for people who receive fuel assitance and give them all a free pellet system???We do have a governor who declared war on oil.......

Islander
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Joined: 02/13/2009 - 12:16pm
Don't forget to add in the

Don't forget to add in the cost of a generator to run the pellet stove when the power goes out.

KathyP
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Joined: 04/28/2006 - 7:33am
Totally unrelated story here,

Totally unrelated story here, well except for the fact it is about wood pellets....

Back maybe 6 years ago I went to a "stove shop" in Bangor looking for a few bags of wood pellets to use for animal litter (breaks down like sawdust when peed on and works amazingly well). Anyway, I goes into this store and ask them for 2 bags. Only 2 bags. They ask me for my phone number and when I questioned why they needed that, they told me they only sold wood pellets to people who bought a stove from THEM.

I laughed a little, kind of taken back, and asked "Seriously." The response was a deadpan "Yes." I wasn't a customer but only wanted 2 bags--not a ton or anything and said I'd even pay for a few busted open bags that maybe others wouldn't want. Nope. No deal. Had to be a customer who bought a pellet stove from them whether it was 1 bag or 100.

They have since gone out of business (surprise) but the logic still floors me to this day. I guess that's when pellets were in short supply and high demand. It certainly wasn't when we had the oil price spike just a few seasons ago.

I've always kept that in the back of my mind when splitting wood and lugging it around, simultaneously trying not to get creeped out by the plethora of crawlies hiding out in my piles. It's a lot of work, and thankfully I can do it for now, but as the body ages I was hoping for an alternative and I'm kind of scared of the potential inavailability of a product...be it oil or pellets.

I did see a Yak for sale recently and, when researching all the groovy things one can do with a Yak, I found that locals use thier dried poo for heat....hmmm.....

:-D

PS--You may want to check prices at:
http://www.corinthwoodpellets.com/

woodcanoe
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Joined: 02/22/2005 - 1:01am
Horse poop, dried, burns

Horse poop, dried, burns pretty good as I have found out before by burning the grass around the pile. Takes lots of water to put it out once ignited.

BTW there is plenty of"'bull poop" in Augusta, Some of it has been around for some time so must be somewhat dry by now. I think you would need a big stove though, as some of it is in very large pieces.

Seriously, I am 63, and have been in the heart cath lab a couple of times. They tell me to "use it or lose it" and that outdoor exercise is real good for me. So I plan to cut firewood as long as I can walk out into the woods.

Over the years I have found that all phases of firewood production are food for the soul, and have spent many happy hours engaged in same.

WC

johnw
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Joined: 03/11/2009 - 10:06am
KathyP Some CN Brown Big

KathyP Some CN Brown Big Apple stores and some Heating Oil offices offer wood pellets by the bag or by the ton. They are packaged in a 25 lb bag with a carry handle...... nope they don't sell pellet stoves but they will sell you acouple of bags.,....

Uljas
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Joined: 05/29/2009 - 6:51am
Just to throw more numbers

Just to throw more numbers into the mix. A cord of wood delivered at the local chip plant is considered 21/2 tons. To be fair lets say when dried the wood only weighs 2 tons. A price picked randomly from the paper shows dry,cut,split,delivered hardwood at $225 per cord . I know it can be gotten cheaper , but at that price a person gets 2 tons of wood for about the price of one ton of pellets and all they have to do is get it inside and burn it . As for stove efficiency I doubt pellet stoves are any better than the new wood stoves. Recirculation and being airtight happens with wood stoves as well as pellets. As Kathy said if pellets get wet they breakdown into sawdust (don't have any water leaks in your basement),but if wood gets wet it just takes a little longer to get burning.It would be interesting to see a fair comparison of top of the line wood burning stoves and pellet burners . I like wc get my wood for free (other than labor) so have no intention of adding an expense.

ListenASec
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Joined: 09/18/2002 - 12:01am
No fancy calculations here,

No fancy calculations here, but I feel we have saved by using pellets. We heated with only oil but were looking for the alternatives and something to run easily when the power was out too. We bought a pellet stove, and it didn't cost anywhere near $4000... more like $2000. It is a direct vent out the wall, so no need for a new chimney, so balance the cost of the stove with direct vent against the cost of the wood stove and a chimney. Then we have looked at the cost of the pellets versus what we save on oil bills, and we save quite a bit by going to pellets. It heats about half the house, but the half is loaded with windows and door with much greater heat loss.
One thing I really like about having the pellets, and I'm sure the same for wood, is that it's all pre-purchased for the winter. I know what it costs me, and I don't mind keeping it on the warm side when I want. With oil, we are always watching the thermostat and not wanting to burn any more than we have too when the prices go up.

Earl Nickerson . Jr
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Joined: 11/24/2002 - 1:01am
Over the years I have found

Over the years I have found that all phases of firewood production are food for the soul, and have spent many happy hours engaged in same.

Ahhh, the yearly wood burning thread complete with all the stories that conjur up Norman Rockwell images in the mind....Coming home to a cozy home with the dog holding your slippers at the door....ROFLMAO..What I remember about burning wood for a few years before I realized how stupid I was , is spending many a weekends sweating and swearing while cutting , splitting ,carrying it in , stacking and cleaning up the mess...Then there's all the bugs brought in with it...Coming home from work or being out all day to a cold house and frigging around for an hour getting it going..Not remembering to wake up at 5 am on the weekends to fill the damn thing and waking to a cold house and yet another hour getting it going again..Having to open windows to cool it off when it's warm out...I also realized that the price of wood is nearly the same as oil no matter how high or low it was...Go figure...And the oil companies get accused of gouging...LOL...So unless one is retired or has a job where one is home during the day AND owns 100 acres with the equiptment to get the wood out it's hardly worth it...Especially if you value your time....Wood pellets are for those who want to pretend to burn wood..Sorta like those who buy a farm and raise a few animals as a hobby business pretend to be farmers...LOL...Nothing beats oil...Yea I know if the crap hits the fan and we enter into a Mad Max world I COULD be screwed..But then again , no gas and oil for the chainsaw and tractor means cutting it with an ax and carrying it out by hand for the VERY few who have land to cut it on...Those without said land will be just as screwed as me....I'll just chance it I guess...LOL...

woodcanoe
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Joined: 02/22/2005 - 1:01am
It would seem reasonable to

It would seem reasonable to think that the cost of producing and bagging and shipping the pellets would add something to the cost when compared to regular firewood.

Perhaps that is reflected by the fact that a ton of pellets cost twice as much as a ton of wood?

WC

johnw
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Joined: 03/11/2009 - 10:06am
How one heats their home is

How one heats their home is obviously a personal choice.
My research tells me that the savings that the wood pellet advocates claim are a little over blown when you look at the math. Even with a $2000 stove....
From a sheer convenience factor oil or LP is the best bet. I'm not particularly worried about running out of oil in light of new discoveries such as the Bakken field in ND and new technologies......
I've cut, split and burned plenty of wood in my life time..... I like a wood fire .... but as I get older my time is a lot more valuable than the few dollars I might save.... Oil and LP works for me and I can depend on the company that delivers..... not always the lowest price but they 've been there for many years..... Not interested in the fly by night guys no matter how low the price is....

pmconusa
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Joined: 04/20/2000 - 12:01am
One can eliminate this

One can eliminate this problem and all the calculations and variables involved by simply going to a Carribean Island for the winter.

Mike Travers
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Joined: 08/04/2002 - 12:01am
Thanks for the tip, Chellie.

Thanks for the tip, Chellie.

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