As far as trends go, pellet prices have remained quite stable over the years, with a slight increase due to growing demand (click here to read more on this issue). The cost of an individual bag of pellets, however, can undergo even significant variations based on different factors. First of all, there are price variations correlated to quality but, as we often stress in this magazine, your product requires exclusively certified pellets to work at its best. Another factor that highly influences pellet prices is the season or even weather conditions. If the winter is milder or forecast to be so, there is a greater supply on the market and, consequently, prices go down.
In any case, to save on buying pellets, the strategies are essentially as follows.
1. Buy in advance
Making a single pellet purchase in spring or summer is the best way to save. The best time frame is between May and July because by August, prices usually start going up.
You can base the amount you purchase on how much you consumed the previous year.
Instead, if you've just bought your stove, you'll find the hourly consumption on the data sheet, expressed in kilograms of pellets per hour at minimum and maximum operation. For an average consumption, you can consider the intermediate value between the two and estimate how many hours a day and how many days a year you expect to keep your stove on. This estimate depends on how well your house is insulated, as well as on your lifestyle.
2. Buy bulk pellets
Another efficient trick to save when stockpiling pellets is to buy them in bulk rather than packaged in individual bags. The packaging, in fact, has a significant impact on the final cost. Packaging pellets in 15 or 25 kg bags has an influence of up to more than €26-30 per tonne, let alone the costs for disposal and the inevitable toll on the environment.
If you have the space, you can purchase bulk pellets in about 1-tonne big bags or have the pellets delivered directly by tanker, already a very widespread alternative used in Austria and Switzerland. In this case, you need an appropriately sized silo or tank (you can find some examples here or here) or a special room, even underground. Both solutions require a connection to the stove or boiler via a pellet suction extraction system, which allows the two structures to work independently. The cost of installing this type of system is paid off quickly, as the savings can truly be considerable, not only financially speaking but also in terms of the practicality of use.
3. Enrol in a Purchasing Group or create one
One last valid alternative to save when stocking up on pellets for the winter is to affiliate yourself with a purchasing group or make one. The internet and social media are the quickest, most updated sources to find purchasing groups closest to you. It is, however, always very important to make sure that they are certified pellets, regardless of their geographic origin.