Following a very strong demand for bagged wood pellets and supply shortages from the last heating season, “wood pellet manufacturers are again working hard to fill late-arriving orders for additional loads of bagged pellets,” states Bill Bell of Maine Pellet Fuels Association. With the added complication of late and larger orders from retailers, bagged wood pellet surpluses are being bought up early in anticipation of another long and cold winter. What does this mean? A 40 lb. bag of wood pellets may be in short supply again this winter.
At Interphase Energy, we extol the use of a fully automated extended operation Kedel pellet boiler, which relies on a bulk fuel supply of 2.5 tons or more. Simply put – we like it better. There’s an inherent ease of use, it promotes a broader adoption of our products, and it supports the maturity and growth of our local bulk wood pellet delivery infrastructure.
We also offer a manually fed Kedel, which requires loading of 40 lb. bags of pellets every few days. Despite our preference, both are excellent options for customers. The manually fed Kedel provides lower upfront cost as a trade-off for using bagged fuel. While the fully-automated extended operation Kedel provides the convenience of bulk delivered wood pellets that you never have to lay a hand on – no bags, no mess, no hassle. Just inexpensive, locally sourced heat.
Perhaps most importantly, loose bulk fuel is not expected to be in short supply this year.
Tim Heutz of Heutz Premium Pellets in Lewiston Maine, notes, “Our Company works closely with our suppliers and has invested in a 300 ton bulk storage depot to ensure reliable [wood pellet] quantity and quality for our customers. Kedel pellet boiler customers, in particular, are easier to plan supply for, since we can view hopper information online for these customers. Most of our pellet boiler customers enjoy automatic delivery and do not worry about supply.”
There is no better time than now for Kedel owners without fully automated systems to upgrade. For folks planning a Kedel pellet boiler purchase this year, it’s to consider a fully automated, extended operation system. These come in a variety of sizes and configurations and generally hold 3-5 tons of wood pellets.
We also recommend several courses of action to ensure your wood pellet supply flows without a hitch this winter:
Plan ahead for 40 lb. bags
- With 40 lb. bags of pellet, buy 110% of what you think you’ll need. You don’t want to buy in a pinch this February. If you’ve got the space, and it’s dry, the pellets will keep until next fall if they’re not used.
- If February first rolls around and you have less than 40% remaining, start shopping for an additional 10-20%.
- Bulk delivery is like the USPS; it will not be stopped come what may. Production levels far exceed what is consumed by bulk-fed, central pellet heating systems like Kedel. The delivery company may even guarantee delivery of fuel to primary heating systems. Contact your local supplier for details.
- Interphase Energy offers an array of options for bulk pellet storage, including a $350 SimpleStore bag – an ideal solution for upgrading manual feed pellet boilers very inexpensively.
- Utilize the savings from burning pellets to upgrade your manual-feed unit to a fully automated, extended operation system.
We’re excited to see this level of demand on wood pellet fuel. We’re also excited to see significant investments in local mills to boost production capacity.
And understandably, the pellet manufacturers are pushing their retailers to develop better buying forecasts to ensure an adequate, reliable supply of fuel for consumers.