Great American Pellets
by Robert dewsnap:
Price on these was VERY reasonable and so I picked up three tons on the tax-free
weekend in Massachusetts in August 2012. Ad for them said that they are premium grade
pellets from hardwood.
The “Premium” pellets were delivered at the back of the driveway (as ordered) and had
only a few bags with pellet leaks in them. A few of the bags had the top seal not sealed
and a bit of pellets ran out before I patched them with my trusty tape gun. The bags
for these pellets were the thickest bags that I have ever seen pellets in. The bags must
be 6 mil thick plastic – very few puncture holes but, as mentioned, a few “blow outs”
where the thermal seal didn’t take. Pellet loss was confined to the level that the pellet
bag was on so there was no substantial loss. They sat through a few rainstorms before I
brought them in and the outer wrapping was very good against the rain as are most pellets
delivered these days.
These pellets are being burned in a Quadra-Fire “top drop” stove which is run generally
at low – medium speed. Opening the bag of these pellets provides no odor. The pellets
are dark, like a chocolate brown. Also, there must have been a sale on lignite as these
pellets are really shiny and brittle and the bags contain quite a few long pellets. If your
stove has problems with long pellets you may want to try a bag or two before committing
to a multi-ton order. However, there were almost no fines (sawdust) in virtually all
the bags I have burned this far. The excess lignite must bind these pellets tighter than
a drum so no crumbling of pellets producing the sawdust. Dark pellet coloration is
usually a warning sign for me that the pellets are going to burn “dirty” and I was NOT
disappointed (although I wish I was).
The bag states:
Grade: Premium, Material: Wood, Ash: Less than 1%, Fines: Less than 0.5% and
Sodium: Less than 300 ppm.
Most other premium pellets are around 0.60% ash (or less). 0.60% does indeed qualify as
being under 1% but so is 0.99%. As you may have anticipated what I was going to say –
these pellets are kind of “dirty”. The glass on my stove which usually stays clear for 2 or
three days of burning – it is now clouded up with ash after only one day. In the past with
other premium pellets - I could usually go a week before cleaning the stove – with these –
3 or 4 days is the limit before the vacuum makes an appearance. On the other hand, they
were sub $230 per ton and there are no clinkers. I will have to put up with more frequent
cleanings for this heating season.
On the positive side – these pellets seem to burn reasonably hot. I am satisfied with
the heat given off by the pellets. Nothing printed on the bag but read that they are
rated at 8000 BTU’s. The other positive thing is that, as mentioned, there are virtually
no clinkers. The firepot bottom is free of these annoying solidified pieces which can
interfere with the performance of the stove and also indicate that the wood probably had
nails in them when processed. These pellets are free of this.
As you can tell by the many varied responses by other users of these and other so
called “premium” pellets – pellet quality can vary greatly from batch to batch – even
from bag to bag, unfortunately. I had read a few favorable reviews on these pellets saying
they were clean burning. I took a chance and bought a cheap priced pellet (from a new
company). Although stated that they are premium quality – the batch I got burn dirty. If
I had opened the bag and found golden colored pellets – I would have hit the jackpot –
cheap price and a clean pellet. Not this time.
Would I buy them again? I would have to say that I would be lukewarm. If I knew that
a better pellet was being sold at $10 or $20 more per ton – I would now probably pay
more money to get a better rated pellet and spend less on vacuum cleaner electricity. How
would I rate these pellets? I am rating these 2 and a half to 3 out of 5 stars mostly for
price and no clinkers.