Heating pellet prices rising ahead of winter

Posted at 9:22 PM, Oct 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-02 22:54:23-04

ROCKFORD, Mich. -- Even though we are still getting into the fall season,  winter weather is right around the corner. Many homeowners are looking ahead at efficient ways to heat their homes, without breaking the bank.

Richard Brill with H2O Oasis says the popularity of pellet stoves has drastically increased, and they are more popular than ever. Affordability is the reason.

While a pellet stove is a pricey investment often costing thousands of dollars, customers who currently use propane heat will recoup their investment within a couple years, said Brill. "If I'm burning pellets, it will save the average propane customer about $2,000 dollars a year."

Pellet stoves may not be the most popular form of heat, but it's the fastest growing. "Pellet stoves actually began in the U.S., then they moved to Europe,' said Brill. "You probably have 10 times higher percentage of people heating pellets in Europe than you do here."

Brill said that he has been on the phone with manufacturers who tell him that a shortage in raw material is making pellets harder to get. Manufacturers weren't able to get into forest areas to cut down lumber as early as normal due to an extremely cold winter. According to Brill, even though West Michigan has had lower pellet prices in past years, this year the price of pellets could increase from about $200 a ton to around $250 dollars.

Brill calls the pellet shortage manageable, adding that planning ahead and not hoarding pellets will help secure availability to everyone.