5 Tips to Bulletproof Your Wood Pellet Supply
If there is one thing that the winter of 2014 has taught us, it’s that people that depend on wood pellets or any other heating fuel for their primary fuel source need to bulletproof their fuel supply to ensure they don’t run out in the middle of winter. Below are our tips for making sure you have a continual supply of wood pellets for the coldest winter season.
- Plan Ahead: Your best bet is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. A simple way to prepare is to plan on purchasing what you purchased on average for the past three years + 10% more as a buffer for a colder than normal winter. Once you have an estimated amount of pellets you’ll burn, you can create a budget to pay for the pellets over the course of the year or season.
- Store Your Pellets in Bulk: Now that you know how many pellets you need for the winter, plan to keep at least one or two months’ worth of pellets on hand at all times. The average home in Maine uses about 1 ton of pellets or 50 bags during the coldest month of the year.
- Stock Up Early & Keep an Eye on your Supply: It’s important to monitor your pellet supply consistently during the heating season and order pellets well before you need them. If you don’t have an entire winters worth of pellets stored on premise, a good rule of thumb is to have at least 4 weeks of pellets on hand. Especially when you consider that during our current shortage, box stores took 3-4 weeks to fill bagged pellet orders and also limited the number of bags customers could purchase at one time. By keeping an eye on your supply and ordering early, you won’t have to bite your nails worrying about whether you can find bagged wood pellets in time. However, tips #3 & #4 can keep you from worrying at all.
- Think Outside the Box: As we explained in our previous article on Cold Winter Catches Bagged Pellet Retailers by Surprise, box stores such as Lowes, Home Depot, Aubuchon, Paris Farmer’s Union and other retail establishments have limitations on the amount of supply they have and how quickly they can replenish their pellet stock. If your home or business depends on pellets for heat, look for a pellet supplier that specializes in wood pellets and has a continual supply on hand. In Southern Maine, Heutz Premium Pellets & Southern Maine Renewable Fuels are two companies that had plenty of pellets even when the box stores ran out. However bagged suppliers, such as Southern Maine Renewable Fuels, supplies will dwindle as more people seek out alternatives making tip #4 your most powerful weapon for bulletproofing your fuel supply.
- Consider Switching to Bulk Bin Storage & Delivery: The majority of pellet boiler owners have bulk storage bins that contain anywhere from 2 to 4 tons of pellets or more. These bins are filled on site by bulk pellet delivery companies like Heutz. Bulk pellet suppliers have a continuous supply of stock on hand and can manage their client’s delivery minimizing their risk of running out of pellets. Even if you have a pellet stove, you can benefit from bulk storage and delivery.
Let’s face it, nothing is really bulletproof but these tips will help keep your fuel supply topped off and ready for the next polar vortex.