How to Store Wood Pellets

Wood pellet stoves have become increasingly popular in the U.
S. and Canada since the late 1990s, as pellet prices became competitive with and then often lower than other heating fuel sources such as oil (see Reference 1). By 2009, there were approximately 1 million pellet stoves and fireplace inserts being used in North American homes, according to the Pellet Fuels Institute (see Reference 2). Storing pellets properly is important to ensure they burn correctly and provide the most heat possible for your home.

Step 1

Calculate how many pellets youneed for the winter. Pellets will likely come in 40-lb. bags made of mid-weight plastic. They can be purchased in individual bags, or by the pallet load: usually around one ton, or 50 bags, of pellets. According to the Pellet Fuels Institute, one winter's supply of wood pellets is about 100 to 150 bags (two to three tons), depending on your climate and lifestyle (see Reference 2). Pellets generally can be stored for up to a year (see Reference 1).

Step 2

Calculate how much space you will need to store your pellets. If you buy a ton or more at a time, the bags will take up a lot of space. Luckily, pellets are relatively compact and easy to stack. A winter’s supply of pellets for an average home can occupy a space roughly 6 by 6 by 6 feet, about a quarter of the space you would need for wood (see Reference 3).

Step 3

Choose a suitable place for storage. While your bags and pallets may be coated in plastic, it's not wise to leave them exposed to the elements outdoors, or even in an indoor damp environment. Water or dampness will affect the performance of your pellets, so a dry garage, shed, basement or storage room is preferred.

Step 4

Stack your pellets carefully and gently, so you don't damage the plastic bags. You may want to keep a pallet underneath them just in case water gets into the area, and place a sheet of plastic over the pallet so the bags don't snag on splinters.

Tips

  • Only stack bags of pellets as high as you are comfortable -- even though they may be able to stack 6 feet high, getting a bag down from that height might be a challenge.
  • Keep convenience in mind when storing your pellets. Unless you have a garage or shed where pellets can be delivered directly inside, on a pallet, you will be carrying and stacking your pellets in their storage space, as well as accessing them to bring to your stove. So even if there is space in your dry basement, you may not want to carry heavy loads of pellets up and down stairs.

About the Author

Jennifer Philion has been a professional writer and editor for more than 13 years, with experience in print and online journalism as well as marketing and public relations. She has written for "The Sporting News," the "Boulder Daily Camera" and the "Ogden Standard-Examiner" as well as magazines and online sites. She holds a B.S. in journalism from the University of Colorado-Boulder.