Q. What type of wood is used to make our pellets?
A. HBI pellet fuel is made from a blend of hardwoods and softwoods. We use clean, kiln dried, 100% recycled wood from manufacturing and shipping industry wastes. We don’t use any material that contains toxics chemicals such as creosoted posts or treated lumber. Because we use only recycled wood, we help the environment by keeping thousands of tons of waste out of our landfills and eliminate the need to cut down more trees to produce our product.
Q. How are wood pellets made?
A. Clean, dry scrap wood is received in our grinding building. From there its loaded into the hopper of a large grinder which grinds the wood into a mulch-like material. The mulch is conveyed to a hammer mill which further grinds the wood into a meal (sawdust-like). Wood meal is transferred into overhead bins where it is stored by type and source. From overhead bins, batches of wood meal are weighed and moisture checked. The meal then drops into a large mixer where the blends of woodmeal are moisture corrected and thoroughly mixed to ensure a consistent pellet. These two steps enable HBI to closely control the quality and consistency of the pellet fuel. Once the wood meal is mixed, it is transferred to other overhead bins. From here the meal is fed into one of two pellet mills where the wood is pressed through dies with 1/4″ holes. Friction created while squeezing the material through the die, heats up the lignins in the wood which act as a natural binder, holding the pellet together. Pellets are then cooled and screened to remove fines before stored in yet more overhead bins for bagging. Before bagging, pellets are screened one last time, to remove any residual fines created during handling. Pellets are bagged in 40 lb, heat sealed poly bags and stacked 50 to a pallet. Before pallets leave the mill, they are covered with a 4 mil, UV protected heat-shrink cover which is shrunk with a hot air gun to form a tight, water resistant seal around the pallet.
Q. How do I know I’m getting a quality wood pellets?
A. The grading system for pellet fuel is established by the Pellet Fuel Institute. HBI pellets are Premium Grade pellets meaning they meet or exceed all the parameters set by the institute for that grade such as ash content (<1%), moisture (<8%), and durability index (>97.5) to mention a few. These results are verified by an independent lab endorsed by the Pellet Fuel Institute.
Q. In what type of stove can I use pellet fuel?
A. You need a wood pellet stove, corn stove or combination wood pellet/corn stove. Most corn stoves will burn wood pellets but not all wood pellet stoves will burn corn. Pellets do not work well in fireplaces or cord wood stoves. There are numerous companies that make pellet stoves and fire place inserts. Check your local hardware store or the internet to find a dealer near you.
Q. Will a pellet stove heat my entire house?
A. On average, a modest size pellet stove will easily heat a 1,500 sq. ft. home. It would typically take one to one and a half 40 lb. bag of wood pellets per day to heat this size home without a secondary source. The actual amount used depends upon factors such as the indoor temperature you prefer, the energy efficiency of the home, the outside temperature, and so on. Larger stoves may heat a significantly larger dwelling and be integrated into the central air system. Some use pellets as their primary source of heat while others use it as secondary heat.
Q. Is there a difference in quality between pellets from different manufactures.
A. Yes, It all comes down to clean quality inputs and low moisture levels. Some pellets are produced from logging wastes which can tend to have a higher bark content and some even contain pine needles. These both add a significant amount of ash to the pellet when it is burned. If the wood is poorly handled during collection and processing, a considerable amount of “dirt” can get mixed in, lowering the heat value and increasing the ash content also. The biggest concern for quality comes down to moisture levels. The higher the moisture level, the more water you are paying for and the less heat you get.
Q. Why should I use wood pellets to heat my home?
A. It’s an American made, renewable fuel. Given our dependency on foreign oil, it just makes sense to use a home grown fuel when available. Pellet fuel typically comes from sources within 50 miles of the plant. When you buy HBI pellet fuel, you not only help keep solid waste out of the local landfill and reduce greenhouse gases, you support the local economy. Just like any business we pay wages, payroll taxes, property taxes and income taxes as well as purchase services, utilities, supplies, parts and materials locally.
Q. What are the advantages of pellets vs. propane?
A. One bag of HBI pellet fuel contains the same BTU’s as over 3.5 gallons of propane. Depending upon the price of propane, the savings can be substantial.
Q. What are the advantages of pellets vs. cord wood?
A. CONVENIENCE: No more cutting trees, hauling wood and splitting logs. You don’t have to wait a year for green wood to dry in racks drawing insects and rodents. No more dragging fire wood into the house leaving a trail of snow, dirt and tree bark. Pellets are easy to start. You won’t need to wad up the Sunday paper and carefully arrange kindling to start your pellet stove. EFFICIENCY: Pellet stoves are many times more efficient than cord wood fire places so they are better for the environment. Even a modest priced pellet stove will be 80% efficient. You won’t have to leave that football game or movie every hour to stoke the fire. Fill the stove once and watch it burn all day.
Q. Where can I buy the pellets?
Q. Where should I store the pellets?
A. Store them in a dry area, preferably indoors. You can stack the 40 lb. bags several feet high, so you won’t need a great deal of space.