Your wood pellet store, whether a bulk hopper or the shed that you keep your pallets stored in until they are needed, will all benefit from a clean and a quick visual check during the summer months. Once you have run down your winter volumes of pellets and before you stock up with summer offers is the ideal time to do this.
If your store is situated outside ensure your store is water tight. Any moisture getting in to the store will be soaked up by the pellets and cause them to break down and turn to dust or to stick together and clog, preventing the pellets from flowing into the feed auger and potentially stopping the boiler.
With the store or hopper empty you have the opportunity check the mechanical handling systems for wear and tear, any repairs needed can be made without the panic of having to empty the hopper and needing the heat on!
A build-up of dust or fines can block up the fuel conveying systems and increase the wear and tear on motors and gearboxes. By removing the build-up of ‘fines’ the flow of pellets to the boiler will be evenly maintained, ensuring the affect quality of the burn is not compromised. Dust and fines can normally easily be removed by running the feed augurs in manual and removing the dust at the point the pellets enter the boiler combustion chamber. During the course of the winter if your home uses 4-5 tonnes of good quality ENPlus A1 grade pellets in a bulk store, you should see no more than about 2 to 3 kilos of dust and fines per annum.
Please remember that you should NEVER enter a bulk pellet hopper or silo as there is the risk of suffocation from Carbon Monoxide!
For those of you who fill your hoppers by hand from bags stored on pallets, take this opportunity to make this process as easy and as safe as possible, can the pallet be placed nearer to the boiler? In short, now’s the time to remember all the things you swore about last winter… even if it’s just to move the children’s bikes so they are not leaning against your pallet of Woodlets!