When you use a wood pellet boiler to heat your home, multiple tons of pellets will be needed each season, so convenient fuel storage solutions are crucial to a good pellet boiler installation. Wood pellets are susceptible to moisture damage, so they must be kept dry. Wood pellets can be dusty when blown in from a delivery truck, so storage bins created for bulk delivery from blower trucks must be airtight. Here are a few outdoor and indoor wood pellet storage concepts.
Cloth Storage Bins
Factory-made cloth storage bins are the most popular way to store bulk wood pellets. Cloth storage bins are supported on strong wood or steel frames and are designed to be dust-tight. They can store as much as 8 tons of fuel in a space that is 10’x 10’x 8’ tall. Smaller bins are also available, but we always recommend bins large enough to receive 3 tons of fuel or more per delivery.
The base of cloth bins is suspended above the floor so that moisture on the floor cannot damage the pellets unless the water gets several inches deep. Cloth bins have sloped sides or other technology such as vibrators that allow the bins to completely empty. Lastly, cloth storage bins set up quickly and last for many years of use.
Site-Built Wooden Bins
Sometimes the available space to store pellets will not fit a factory-built cloth bin. In these cases building a bin from wood can make the most efficient use of space. As with cloth bins, wooden bulk bins should be designed to receive at least three tons of fuel at each filling. Site-built bins must be airtight to contain dust during the filling process. Site-built bins can be set up with an auger in the bottom to remove the fuel or with up to three vacuum pick up points. Ideally, site-built bins are V-shaped inside so all the fuel slides to a central location from where the fuel will be withdrawn. An additional advantage of site-built bins is that they can be created with doors or hatches, which allow fuel to be added by hand from bags if necessary.
Smaller Storage Hoppers for Bagged Fuel
Most pellet boilers pull fuel from a storage bin about twice a day using a built-in vacuum system similar to a central vacuum system. Fuel can be pulled 50’ or more through a 2” hose and return air goes back through another 2” hose. Vacuum systems can pull fuel from almost any imaginable container. A 4’x 4’ x 4’ box, for example, can hold about 1 ton of fuel. Because of the long distance that the fuel can be conveyed by flexible hoses, the fuel does not have to be stored near the boiler. It is possible to place a simple box in a garage and dump bagged fuel in the box every few days and rely on the boiler to pull pellets down into the basement as needed.
More about Storing Pellets on Pallets
If you have the space, you can keep most of your wood pellets on the pallet they were delivered on. The pallet keeps them off the ground and often comes wrapped with plastic to keep out moisture. Pallets are 40 inches by 48 inches wide and when stacked with a ton of pellets, range from 4 to 6 feet tall. It's best to store pallets inside, but you can store them outdoors if they are completely shielded from weather with a waterproof cover.
Like cordwood, bags of wood pellets stack easily. If indoor space does not easily accommodate pallets, individual 40 pound bags of pellets can be stacked in narrow rows against a wall in a basement or garage, for example. As with pellets left in bags on a pallet, it is important that the pellets stay dry. Most pellet boilers can pull fuel through vinyl hoses for at least 50’. That means that pellets do not have to be placed near the boiler.
Reach Out to Tarm Biomass for Wood Pellet Boilers
Wood pellet boilers are a cost-effective and environmentally friendly heating solution. For homeowners, it's also important to consider the right wood pellet storage idea that will work best for you.