Wood pellets are made using dried wood fibers that are compressed to create tiny pellets. Since they are made from an organic material, they tend to go bad if not stored properly. Even then, you still need to be aware of how long can you store wood pellets in order to get the most value out of your investment.
Now, your BBQ buddies might have their own opinions regarding this. However, most of the time, they contradict each other. Thus, allow us to shed some light on this subject to clear it up once and for all. Before that, though, let us first define what a wood pellet is.
What Is a Wood Pellet?
Wood pellets are one of the most common types of pellet fuel. These pellets, compared to other kinds of pellet fuel, burn far more consistently. This is mainly due to its consistent shape as well as its other characteristics. You can find the more common ones shaped like a cylinder measuring 6 to 8 mm wide and 3 to 45 mm long.
Wood pellets are created out of fine wood particles. More often than not, they are made from a combination of compacted sawdust and other similar wastes from lumber, furniture, construction industries, and more. They are considered one of the most effective forms of wood fuel.
Now, in each biomass pellet, there is around 1% to 3% moisture, 3% to 6% ash content, and 75% to 85% carbon. These make the pellets the way they are: low density, small volume, high calorific value, and high purity. It also makes them easy to transport and store.
Since it is made from wood, people tend to assume that they can be stored for however long they can. What they don’t know is that there is actually a time period before a bag of wooden pellets become completely useless.
How Long Can You Store Wood Pellets?
Because they are cheap, people and businesses buy wood pellets in bulk. In fact, they are sold in quantities that are often way more than what one needs, leading people to believe that they can store it for future use—however far away that future may be.
If you are among these people, then you should know that there are a lot of factors to consider to find out how long a bag of wood pellets can last. These include how you store them and what measures you are doing to prolong its life.
The Storing Period
As mentioned earlier, wood pellets are made by a pellet machine and underwent very high pressure. Inside the pellet mill chamber, the temperatures are extremely high, causing chemical changes in the lignin—a biomass material.
Usually, you will find wood pellets packaged in either woven bags or plastic bags. The period in which they can be stored depends on the humidity of the surrounding where they are kept, which, in this case, is the bag itself.
If the moisture content in these wood pellet packages reaches a particularly high or low level, then they will become loose and, ultimately, useless. To put in numbers for a better understanding of what it is, let us give you an example.
If a bag of wood pellets is stored in an area with 10% humidity, then you will be able to use this particular bag for up to six months. However, if the humidity is higher than 10%, then the preservation period reduces to three months. In some cases, it can even go down to just one month.
The Other Option
If you use wood pellets quite often but the weather in your area is constantly fluctuating, and you have no proper storage space for it, then you can also consider investing in a wood pellet machine. There are two kinds: an industrial-strength pellet machine and one for home use.
Having your own wood pellet machine will allow you to take absolute control over the production on the basis of your needs without having to worry about storage and preservation. What’s more is that the raw material used to make wood pellets are easily available and are quite cheap too.
Wood Pellet Storage
Learning how to store wood pellets the right way is important if you want to make sure that they last a long time. As mentioned earlier, the environment plays a big role in the deterioration of these pellets. They get damp easily and crack, which will render them useless.
The most important thing to remember when storing wood pellets is to keep it as far away as possible from both moisture and fire. Here are some tips and tricks on how it can be done:
- Fire Prevention
Wood pellets are obviously flammable products. So, if there are any open fires around them, it will surely catch fire. If these are stored together in large quantities, then it is a recipe for disaster.
That being said, if you have bought pellets and have stored them, be sure to keep them far away from a stove or a boiler.
- Storing Outdoors
If you don’t have extra or enough room in your house to store the pellets, the next best place to store them would be in a shed or a shelter that is high and sufficiently dry. Ensure that this space has no holes and repair it if there are any. Cover the pellet packaging with yet another additional bag or box and tape it well to keep it completely safe for any puncture or water damage.
- Damp Proof
It is absolutely imperative to protect the wood pellet from water damage. Pellets are very easy to fall loose if not packaged well, and if it gets in contact with water, it will be completely incombustible. In fact, even during monsoons when there is excessive moisture in the atmosphere, the pellets are susceptible to becoming wet.
Hence, it is best to store the pellets indoor during the monsoon season to keep them safe from water. Ensure that the room where you store the pellets is ventilated well and is dry. You could further secure them by putting them in airtight bags and stored off the ground or on a cardboard slip sheet.
As you may realize by now, knowing how long can you store wood pellets is extremely crucial if you don’t want to let them go to waste. Keeping them in a dry space that is high off the ground is always the best bet. It would also be ideal not to store wood pellets more than a month, as that time period would be completely safe for the pellets under any environmental conditions.