Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pellet Shortage - One Reason I'm Not a Fan of Those Stoves

This was on TV&&4 news tonight:

GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY -- More and more families are turning up the heat as the temperature dips, but some heating with wood pellets are finding it difficult to stock up on the product.

A viewer emailed us voicing his frustration, and we found out what's behind the shortage.

"As this point, we are all sold out of pellets," says manager of Tractor Supply Co. in Traverse City, Jeff Lemerand.

Lemerand says wood pellets for stoves would normally be stocked in the corner behind the main cash register in the store, but that spot could remain empty for awhile. Plus, some pellets that homeowners are trying to buy to heat their homes are selling for higher than usual prices.

"We did a huge pre season layaway sale, we started that very early in the year, probably three truck loads of pellets which was 22 tons on a truck, we sold out," says Lemerand.

He says the shortage could have several causes including fewer homes being built, which normally provides by-products like wood shavings to make the pellets.

"Other one is a high demand and then the third is that one the largest manufacturer of wood pellets on the east coast recently burned down...which we're seeing a shipped of product going that way too," says Lemerand.

And it's not just wood pellets, cherry pit pellets are also disappearing fast at a manufacturing company in Kingsley. Owner, Chris Storms says his pellet stoves are also selling at record numbers this year.

"We've been receiving phone calls from all over the United States with people wanting more cherry pits...This year especially to local people who cannot get wood pellets," says Storms.

Storms says the pellets that he currently has will be completely wiped out in about two weeks.

"I think it's because propane and heating oil prices went so high, people are looking for alternative sources to heat their homes to save money," says Storms.

When it comes to energy efficiency, perhaps these stoves are good; but if the grid is down what good are they? And, they are a manufactured product so you are dependent on their continued production as well as transit and a store being open to sell them. IMO you are too dependent on business as usual continuing. Just my opinion!


Bustednuckles said...

I am trying to figure out a way to get my antique wood cookstove out of storage and into use.
I live in a small trailer in a trailer park and there is no way I could even get it through the door.
I am thinking about building a small shed and making a "Summer Kitchen" out of it.
I have had the thing for over fifteen years and have moved it several times but I am glad to know that if I had to, I could just stick it outside and use it.
I paid two hundred dollars for it back when and I know it is worth way more than that right now!

treesong said...


Sad to hear you live in a mobile home park but glad to hear you've held onto the stove. Don't know where you live but firing it up outside is a great way to cook, especially if you are canning produce from a garden. Depends on what the park rules are regarding wood smoke, etc. as to whether or not you can use it. Also, you would need to check with your insurance agent if you want to build a shed for a summer kitchen. Good luck, Treesong