The price and availability of pellet stove pellets, as with any commodity, will vary according to the demand. To get the best deals, it's an advantage to buy your stock for next winter during the warmer months of the year when there are no shortages and healthy discounts may be available.
If your stove is sensitive to ash content, do try to get some trial bags before ordering in bulk or go with a recommendation you trust. A large quantity of unsuitable pellets will lead to excessive burn pot cleaning - possibly more than once a day. Not a good idea to be stuck with three tons of heartache.
In the U.S., hardware retailers such as Home Depot, Walmart, Lowes, Ace Hardware, Agway and Sam's Club normally keep pellet stove pellets but store stocking policies vary regionally. Another place to try is your local feed and grain supplier. For the best deals it's usually better to buy direct from the pellet manufacturer and cut out the middleman.
Pellet stove pellets will absorb moisture if given the chance, leading to ignition problems and a high amount of creosote emission with consequent maintenance and cleaning. Covered storage is preferable, but if pellets must be stored outdoors check that the bags are not damaged and put an extra covering over to prevent water lying between the bags.
In all cases, bags of pellets should be stored clear of the ground with airflow all around. The pallet they came on is good for getting airflow underneath but don't put it hard up against a wall.
In extreme cases pellets exposed to water will expand, disintegrate and become totally unusable.
Some pellet stove manufacturers permit adding corn to pellet stove pellets, with others doing this will void the warranty. Corn burns slightly hotter than wood pellets, but produces emissions that are more corrosive to the venting system and can result in clinkers in the burn pot.
Corn stoves have more corrosion resistant venting and heavier duty burn pots than pellet stoves, as well as an automatic burn pot agitater in many cases. Unless specifically designed for it, a pellet stove igniter will not light 100% corn.
If you're feeling experimental and need to eke out your wood pellets it can be worth adding a proportion of corn to the mix - up to 50% can work depending on your stove. Make sure you have untreated corn kernels rather than seed corn which has additives. Mix the corn and the pellets well.
Corn storage requirements are similar to those of wood pellets, with the added proviso that steps have to be taken to prevent rodent access - the critters will chew into sealed bags, leave a mess and probably take up residence. A garbage can with a tight fitting lid works well.
Making Wood Pellets
Wood Pelleting Machines
Wood Pellet Mills
Alternative Pellet Stove Fuels
What is Biomass
Pages Related to Pellet Stove Pellets