Pellet stoves?

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Friend has been extolling the virtues of a pellet stove owned and operated by his relative.
He says that it uses about one bag of pellets per-day; which cost about $5-$6 per bag. $150 to $180 per month? There are occasionally shortage of fuel pellets. Disposing of the small amount of ash is very easy and not messy. The stove requires a small amount of electrcity to operate (drive the auger). Not sure if it also has any warm air circulating fan?
It is not the sole source of heat in the house and there are the usual lights and appliances using electricity (which then becomes heat) within the house.
Obtaining the fuel, a pallet load at a time requires either delivery by truck or the use of one own pickup etc. Not the sort of thing you can pick up at the s.market and sling eight or ten bags in trunk of a car, on a regular basis! Although that's what one would do if necessary during a shortage.
As far as we know the pellets are not made (yet anyway) in this area and have to be trucked in; also the pellet stove cannot as far as we know burn anything else. e.g. scrap wood?
Interested in any other comments or expereience with these pellet stoves. Thanks.
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What would his bill be with gas, Split wood would be alot cheaper.
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No gas here except delivered propane; considered expensive. Not investigated wood; although I do burn some scrap wood in my basement workshop. Using an old Jotul stove it is only for occasional use, not an ongoing method of heating. Thanks for comment.
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When I first bought my house, not know what things really cost, I thought 280 dollars for natural gas during the coldest month was expensive. This is in the northeast and that is usually the bill in februrary, which includes gas for stove, furance, water heater for a 2000Sq ft house. I don't have to load any pellets and I don't have to clean ash.
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Find out the BTU of a bag of pellets and compare to Propane BTU per lb and cost per lb or gallon or however its sold, When I fill up a bbq tank I pay by the lb. You might be suprsised after all the shipping etc etc that the cleaner burning Propane could be cheaper.
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ransley wrote:

Around here I think by the bag pellet btu's/$ are about the same as propane. But if you buy pellets by the pallet, there is a large savings.
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How big of a house? I pay that to heat my 2000 sq. ft. house with high priced oil these days. I have a wood burning stove and it was nice when I was able to get wood for free and I was 30 years younger when I put it in so the labor was no big deal. I like the idea of an alternate heat source in case of a storm, but a pellet stove still need electricity.
I'd do a careful evaluation of the potential BTU cost before spending a lot of money on a stove.
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

If I bought a pellet stove I'd also buy a 12vdc deep cycle battery, float type charger, and an inverter. I think most stoves you can turn off the external fan, then the internal fan, auger feed, and electronics doesn't use too much power. On second thought, maybe I'd just run the generator and a few portable heaters and forget the pellet stove?
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Tony wrote:

Electricity in our area has been very reliable - I can only think of one winter outage that lasted more than an hour. The pellet stove obviously went out, so I started a log fire in LR fireplace. If long winter outagges are common in your area, then your stove dealer will probably recommend a UPS with power enough to run the stove for several hours. It's probably more likely that he'll sell you a wood stove. Most other heating systems require electricity for ignition and/or heat circulation.
Keith
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I agree. There are lots of heating fuel price comparison web sites around. Be sure you use a legit one. Or you can use a spreadsheet like this one from the US DOE: <www.eia.doe.gov/neic/experts/heatcalc.xls>
I've found that pellet fuel is tied to the cost of the dominate fuel in the area, so you aren't going to be saving massive amounts by using it. Factor in the cost of the stove and payback is a long time coming. Then realize that the pellet sources, while more plentiful than they have been in the past, are still limited.
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wrote Re Re: Pellet stoves?:

Nice one. Thanks.
--
Work is the curse of the drinking class.

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Hello,
I use coal and wood (large, black, coal stove in basement; pretty, little, red, wood stove first floor). Also propane cooking stove in kitchen and a little amount of baseboard heaters (hotwired). I heat the entire house from basement to attic.
No matter how you do it, it will cost you about $1,000.00 dollars a year to heat your entire house . . . anything can be delivered . . .
I once had an old drafty farm house; turned the hot water, baseboard heat furnace to circulate constantly, and the temp. down to just warm enough to keep the pipes from freezing, and heated one, large room with kerosene. Thatis the only way to get your fuel bill down. It keeps the chill out of the house, and was fun; sort of like going camping. No one ever got cold. I kept a large pot of hot soup on top of one of the pretty, kerosene Moonlighters. We also used electric blankets. Sometimes i would put a canning pot of water on the electric, cooking stove (Flair), during the day hours, for humidity warmth.
Truly
Truth will set you free: John 8:32
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A friend of mine sells pellet stoves. Here (central Illinois) they use either pellets or corn depending on price. Popular with many farmers, of course. If shelled corn is available in your area, price might be OK at $3 a bushel. Check it out.
Joe
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Joe wrote:

I was looking at some a few months ago and now they have ones that will take pellets, corn, cherry pits, barley, beet pulp, sunflowers, and soybeans. Not sure of all of those choices but cherry pits have more btu's/pound than corn and even more than pellets. General rule is the softer the fuel, the more ash and rutine cleaning needed.
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When I was really young, we heated with coal, which meant I learned early to shovel more coal in and to bank the fire at night so it wouldn't go out. But everytime we missed a feeding, it went out and had to be restarted.
Then we got a coal burner with an automatic feeder; what a labor saver.
I think the pellet stove offers the same advantage over a traditional wood burner, as the ones I have seen are self feeding. So how much money is it worth to be freed from constantly feeding the furnace?
Pellet burners aren't as pretty as a nice woodburner, but I think they are the most efficient way to heat with wood. Of course, around here we aren't permitted to heat with wood, so we all use gas.
terry wrote:

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Hello,
You didnot have a coal stove with a hopper. The new coal stoves with hoppers can last two days without any attention.
Truly
Truth will set you free: John 8:32
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Newfoundland? I'm in a new, very well insulated 1800 sq. ft house in Manitoba. I'll trade your winter for mine anytime. I only use hydro. No gas, wood or any other energy source. I pay my electric bill monthly as I use power not spread out over the year. My monthly electric bills in the winter will run into the $250 range in Dec. Jan. and Feb. Summer, perhaps $50 unless I run my A/C a lot. That also includes heating my garage/workshop with an 4800W electric heater most days. By the way, my total electric bill is lower than what I used to pay just for the gas heat in my old 900 sq. ft 1950's bungalow.
Pellet stove's were a big thing around here a few years ago. Of course as more people started using them the cost of the pellets increased.
Whether you like it of not they've got good grip on both of them and they're not going to let go. If you loosen their grip on one side but they'll just squeeze harder on the other.
You'll probably be better off adding insulation, sealing air leaks, installing better windows etc. These improvements pay for themselves over the years and put money back in your pocket, not theirs. Makes your house a lot more comfortable.
If you need proof then how's this. My wife is in her mid fifties. I leave the thermostat in her controll compleatly. I have not touched it in over a year. :)
LdB
On 2/1/2010 9:09 AM, terry wrote:

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Pellet stoves?:

+1 on that.
--
Work is the curse of the drinking class.

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Few people hereabouts use pellet stoves because they need stove heat during power outages (and a pellet stove requires electricity for its fan system). Outages are nowadays rare but the pellet fuel supplier down the road went bust years ago.
My stove burns 5 or 6 face cords every winter cost-free except for chainsaw maintenance (less than $100 in the last three or four years.) Surprisingly, two acres (including some mature trees that need thinning out) produces more than I can burn, including the low-grade poplar (OK if from 40-year-old trees and split and stacked for 2 years.)
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
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terry wrote:

I've heated with pellets for 20 years now, 18 years with my current stove. Our electric rate is one of the highest in the nation at nearly 18c per KWH. Natural gas isn't an option in the immediate area because there is no delivery infrastructure. This house was built with baseboard electric, so there is no distribution system for Hot water or air. We moved here 28 years ago, and our first cold-weather electric bill ran to nearly $800. I immediately installed a big wood burner in the basement and bought a few cords of seasoned wood, and then spent most of the winter culling trees for the next season.
Firewood involves a lot of work, but I always enjoyed the work. My wife, however, didn't like the dust that drifted upstairs, nor the bits of bark and dirt that got tracked up. I first saw a pellet stove in 1990 and bought it on the spot, along with a ton of pellets. It was a pretty basic model, and I just piped it into the chimney in the basement where the wood stove used to vent. A couple of years later I got a nice-looking insert and put it in the kitchen fireplace, pretty much in the center of the house. It keeps us warm with about a bag of pellets a day (more when it drops below 10F outside or on 20F days when the wind is howling. Keeping the downstairs at 70 leaves upstairs at 65, which is perfect for sleeping.
Pellets here are going for about $250-300 per ton and I usually go through 2.5 tons - probably more this year because it has gotten pretty cold. There was a shortage of pellets one year, but my guy had them when nobody else did, so I didn't feel the effect.
Most newer stoves have electric start, so they can go out completely when there is no call for heat. Mine stays lit between cleanings, so probably burns more fuel than it has to. Still, my annual heating bill is about the same as our first winter monthly bill, so I'm saving big time.
Keith
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