How to Store Wood Pellets

Knowing how to store wood pellets is important because properly stored wood pellets mean you’ll get the maximum amount of heat out of your pellet heater in the middle of winter, so you can keep warm and not waste money on pellets that went bad due to improper storage. Storing wood pellets the right way helps to keep their moisture content down, which means they burn better in your pellet heater. There’s nothing worse than tipping a bag of pellets into your heater only to find they’ve gone all soggy or turned to sawdust because they weren’t stored in a suitable place. Here are a few tips on how to store wood pellets the right way.

how to store wood pellets

Keep Wood Pellets Dry

When it comes to storing wood pellets, it’s important to protect the pellets from moisture. Pellet bags have tiny holes in them to allow moisture out of the bags, meaning the bags are not water proof. So, wherever you choose to store your pellets , you should ensure that they are kept dry and away from rain, snow, and other sources of water. Moisture can cause wood pellets to swell and break apart, which will cause problems when burning them as they’ll crumble and possibly jam the auger or even if they do burn the moisture content will be higher than recommend and you’ll experience reduced heat and probably excessive ash and clinkers.

If possible, wood pellets should be stored inside away from the elements. If you don’t have enough storage space around your home, then a shipping container or shed can make a great storage area, or even underneath your house if it is easily accessible. The obvious benefit to storing wood pellets indoors is they are kept dry, but can also protect your pellets from rats and other vermin. I’ve heard far too many stories from people who discovered that rats had taken a liking to their pellets over summer and caused a lot of damage to their pellet stash. You don’t want to waste money feeding rats.

If you don’t have enough indoor space to store your pellets, there are a few other things you can do. If you purchase wood pellets on a pallet, they typically come wrapped in plastic to protect them during shipping. If you leave the plastic wrapping intact, you can store the pallet of pellets outside without worrying about moisture damage. However, it’s worth noting that even if the pellets are protected by plastic, they may still be vulnerable to humidity and temperature fluctuations, which can affect their quality. I personally would put a tarp over any pellets outside just as another layer of protection from the rain or snow.

If you don’t don’t buy pellets by the pallet you can still store them outside but you do need to be careful and do whatever you can to keep them dry. Do you have a veranda or front porch that is semi protected from the rain? This is definitely once place you could store your pellets but again, take extra precautions to keep the pellets dry. I would definitely throw a tarp over any pellets on a veranda so that if any rain does blow in it won’t make the bags wet.

Elevate Your Pellets

Storing your pellets in a dry spot is the first step, but you also need to make sure you elevate your pellets somehow and keep them off the ground, such as a dirt or concrete floor. When pellets are stored directly on a concrete floor or other type of floor and not off the ground, over time they can absorb moisture from the floor or ground. To prevent this from happening, it’s recommended to keep your pellets off the ground. One common method is to store bags of pellets on wooden pallets. This not only keeps them elevated but also provides a stable base for stacking multiple bags on top of each other.

Another option is to stack your pellets on shelves. This is a great way to organize and store your pellets, but it’s important to make sure the shelves are sturdy enough to support the weight of the pellets. A single bag of pellets only weighs 15kg but don’t forget the compact size and easy to handle nature of them means you can easily stack 30 bags of pellets in a small area but those 30 bags weigh 450kg. So make sure whatever you stack the pellets on can hold a lot of weight, especially if you are looking at 60+ bags to get you through winter.

Whether you use pallets, shelves, or some other method, the key is to keep the pellets off the ground so they don’t absorb moisture and swell. As I mentioned above, if pellets absorb too much moisture they will either not burn at all because they turn to sawdust or they’ll burn but clog up your pellet heater with ash and clinkers. Just like firewood that is too “wet” or not seasoned, you don’t want to burn wood pellets that contain too much moisture.

To Bag or Not to Bag

When it comes to storing wood pellets, one question that often arises is whether to keep them in their original bags or transfer them to air-tight containers. While some websites recommend emptying the bags and using containers, I don’t think this is something most people need to bother doing. If you have a dry spot to store your pellets, keeping them in their original bags is a convenient and practical option. Leaving the pellets in their plastic bags makes them easier to move around when it’s time to refill your pellet heater hopper, and you won’t waste time emptying bags of pellets into containers and then taking pellets out of those containers later to burn.

However, if you’re unable to store your pellets in a dry location (maybe you just don’t have enough space around your house and no spare shed to store your pellets in), storing them in air-tight containers may be a good idea. As long as the containers are water proof, it will keep them dry and prevent moisture from turning your pellets into sawdust. Additionally, if you have a problem with rats and other things around your house, using containers can provide an added layer of protection. Whether or not you leave your pellets in their bags or put them in containers is your choice. I personally don’t do it because I have space around the house but others may not.

Finding the Right Storage Space

How much is enough storage space for your pellets? The amount of space you need to store all your pellets will depend on how many pellets you plan to store and how long you want your supply to last. If you’re like me and prefer to buy a year’s supply of pellets in one go, you’ll need a significant amount of storage space (I’m assuming this means you’ll be buying 60+ bags in one go). This may limit your options for storage locations, as you’ll need a dry spot that’s large enough to accommodate all the bags to get you through winter.

If you only have a limited amount of storage space that’s dry and out of the rain, you may need to buy pellets in smaller quantities, such as 30 bags at a time or whatever you can fit in your car per trip. While this may be less convenient, it’s important to prioritize proper storage to ensure the pellets remain in good condition otherwise you’ll be wasting money if your pellets go bad before you can burn them.

In addition to how much storage space you have, don’t forget about convenience and ease of access to your pellets when you need them. While space under your house may seem like a good option, it may not be large enough to store a year’s supply of pellets. In this case, a shed or other outdoor storage area may be a better option, even if it requires a little extra effort to retrieve the pellets. If you don’t want to walk to a shed in winter, then you may have to opt for keeping them in your house but just accept you may not be able to store as many bags due to limited storage space.

Convenience Matters

I touched on this above but it’s worth looking at in more detail. While it’s important to prioritize proper storage to keep your pellets in good condition, it’s also important to consider how easy it is to access your pellets when you need them. While bags of pellets are generally easier to move than firewood, they can still be heavy and cumbersome, especially if you have to carry them long distances and you need multiple bags at a time. This is why it’s important to find a storage location that’s not only dry and protected but also easy to access.

For example, you may have a large shed where you can store 200 bags of pellets, but if it’s a long walk from your house where your pellet heater is, it may not be very convenient to restock your supply every day during the winter. In this case, it may be more practical to keep a smaller supply of pellets in a more accessible location closer to your heater, like a spare bedroom or downstairs. This allows you to keep a full stock for winter in the shed but keeping some pellets in your house reduces the number of trips you need to make to the shed outside, especially important on cold, wet days.

How Many Bags Should You Keep?

How many bags should you keep on hand at any given time? While it may be tempting to buy in bulk and store a large supply, it’s important to keep in mind that over time, even well-stored pellets can absorb moisture, which can affect their quality and how well the burn. Most wood pellet retailers recommend you keep pellets in storage for no more than two years. Take this with a grain of salt because improperly stored pellets won’t last that long and you may find that where you live is dry, has low humidity and properly stored pellets might last longer. Regardless, it’s a good rule of thumb to keep in mind.

If you only burn a small amount of pellets each year, say 30 bags or even less, it may not make sense to store a large supply (I’m talking 100+ bags here). Over time, the pellets may absorb moisture, which not only ends up costing you money because the pellets can’t be burnt or it could clog up your pellet heater with ash and clinkers. Instead, it may be more practical to buy pellets in smaller quantities, such as 10-20 bags at a time, to ensure your pellets are in good condition and burn properly.

Of course, if you live somewhere cold and go through a lot of pellets every year, then you’ll need to keep more on hand. If you burn a larger amount of pellets each year, such as 200 bags, it may make more sense to buy in bulk and store a larger supply. This may also allow you to take advantage of specials as some, not many, but some retailers do offer discounts on pallets of pellets, especially if you’ve bought a pellet heater from them. However, it’s still important to keep in mind the recommended storage timeline of two years and take steps to keep your pellets dry and protected during storage.

How to Store Wood Pellets Summary

The key to how to store pellets is keep them dry, out of the rain, off the ground and where possible in an easy to get to location. Also, don’t overdo it. Store as many pellets as you need for one or two winters at the most. There’s nothing wrong with keeping them in storage longer, but you are running the risk of your hard earned money you spent on the pellets being wasted if they absorb too much moisture. Incorrectly stored pellets will result in a poor burn and you may find you get more clinkers than normal.

How to Best Store Wood Pellets