Who here has experience with Pellet Stoves?

I read that they are very noisy; something which I had not considered. My wood stove is quiet. I'm just tired of getting up all hours of the night to add wood. Ecoteck boast of quietness but look like they would cost a Georgia fortune; maybe not; no prices. I had hot air oil heat before and can't stand the noise.
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Plain wood stoves work in power failure. electric auger pellet stoves do not, if that is a consideration.
Pellets cost more than wood, but are cleaner to handle, easier to store. The couple of people I know that have them do like them.
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Hipupchuck wrote:

I've heated with pellets for years, and my 15-yo Harman stove is noisier every year, even considering that it was fairly noisy when new. It's the distribution blower system that makes the noise, and manufacturers have learned some lessons since then. In mine, parts seem to have loosened up over time, especially where one type metal (steel) attaches to another (cast iron) with yet another (stainless screws). My stove makes an acceptable whisper on the low setting, which is where it runs 90% of the time. When I let it go out and have to recover quickly, or on exceptionally cold and windy days, I set it on high and it's quite loud.
My son has a pellet stove in his office, a Quadrafire, that only makes fan noise on the high setting, otherwise you only know it's operating because of the warmth. His home is heated by a 3-yo Harman that is much, much quieter than mine. Mine is in the kitchen where stove noise doesn't matter much, and his is in his living room where it never bothers him.
As for the cost of pellets, that probably depends on where you live. Around here (New England) firewood has been around $200 a cord for several years, much higher than that a couple of years back when there was a shortage. A ton of pellets has the btu value of 1.5 cords of hardwood, and runs around $250, so they actually cost nominally less than cordwood. In 1992, a ton of pellets went for $165, so the cost increase over the years comes nowhere close to the rise in other fuel costs.
I heated with wood for many years, doing all the work myself from my own lot. It was a lot of effort, but work that I rather enjoyed. It's a dirty practice, though. My stove was in an unfinished basement, and after the first few weeks of burning each season you could hardly tell that there was a concrete floor underneath all the dirt and bark. When I first saw a pellet stove in operation, it was love at first sight, and I replaced my old wood stove that same day. I kept the old woodstove around 'just in case' but gave it away the next summer and haven't looked back. When I got the Harman, I moved it up into the kitchen fireplace, which was designed for cooking, not heating. I store my pellets in the garage, and it's nice having everything on one level.
Pellet stove prices are all over the map. You'll pay more for a fancy insert, and entry level will buy you a 'space heater', and you can pay from around $700 at the low end to well over 4K at the high end. Several companies also make pellet furnaces if your place is ducted for hot air.
Good luck to you.
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Go to propane- or if you can, Natural gas. I went from wood to propane several years ago & not only is more comfortable, more easily regulated, nearly zero maintenance, it also saved me money over buying wood every year up until this past year. [now wood has caught up & propane has gone down so propane is probably cheaper per delivered BTU again]
My brother went from wood to pellets- and went back in 2 yrs because the supply of pellets was so unreliable.
Brother-in-law has two of the damn things in his house. They are noisy, expensive, and break down frequently- I think he buys a hopper motor for one or the other every year.

Propane ventless- 100% efficient- works when the electricity goes off- completely silent.
*Size* to the space being heated & buy a CO & explosive gas alarm, and they are as safe as your home furnace.
Jim
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Jim Elbrecht wrote:

It's not so cut-and-dried, and the buyer has to learn the cost of things where they live. In the Northeast, electric heat is by far the most expensive, followed in order by propane and natural gas. It's because the gas supply is neither abundant nor, in the case of propane, reliable. There are NG pipelines, but most pass through on their way elsewhere. Propane all comes by truck. Firewood, oil and pellets vie for the low price spot, and it goes back and forth, sometimes dramatically (like the price of oil the past two years). My son lives here, but has a beach house in SC, and electric heat pumps are the common choice there. One unit, heat and AC, and the elec costs about a third of our local rate.
I've used pellets/firewood because this place is all-electric, and the cost is sky high without trying to use the heating system. Cost to convert to anything else is the inhibiting factor. If you already have baseboard hot water, or if you have ductwork, it's not a huge problem to change the furnace to a different type. I wouldn't choose a hot air system, but that's me, because I have allergies. What works for me is a central stove that puts out the btus needed to heat the house. Both wood and pellets do that pretty well, and I know that I've done well financially using them instead of upgrading/converting. Never mind electric around here ... I'd have been on the bus to the poor house ages ago.
The availability of pellets and the choice of available brands has grown such that, if you wanted to, you could probably heat free for a month or more by simply using sample bags.
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Jim Elbrecht wrote:

Propane heaters are certainly lower cost than pellet stoves, much lower. Ventless gas could be a C02 problem couldn't it? Low oxygen would bother me too even though they shut off with low oxygen sensors. I don't want a low oxygen house.
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what bullshit. No combustion process is 100% efficient and no combustion process without a means of bringing the exhaust outside is safe.
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We looked at pellet stoves back in 1999 and whenever any of the fans kicked in, the noise drove SWMBO nuts. The showroom sounded like a carbay at Daytona. We decided on a gas insert. The fan was insulated and I didn't have to worry about pellet storage.
Recently, we went looking to replace that gas insert due to gas costs. I was stunned; the noise issue still significant and caused us to decide that it just isn't worth making the purchase. When the fans cranked on it sounded like a jet engine getting ready for take-off. I already have that with two old PCs; I don't need any others adding to the interior noise.
The Ranger
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The Ranger wrote:

That's what I hate about microwaves, that noisy fan which is totally unnecessary and is only a cheap American retarded design. They COULD make a quiet fan.
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(Aren't you getting up to pee anyway?)
I pack mine *full* on a good bed of coals, get it going, choke it down and it lasts all night... mostly. -----
- gpsman
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Had a great Osburn wood stove. Too much work. Too dirty. Had to let it die and clean it out too often.
Have a Whitfield Advantage IIT pellet stove since 96. Tried less expensive brands and got what I paid for. The Whitfield has been reliable, quiet and bullet proof.
Only repair in 13 years is one heater element for the self-igniter at around $110.
My Whitfield sits on a UPS and will run 12 hours in a power failure.
The choice has to be tempered by local market fuel prices and availability.
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On May 26, 2:17pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Forgot to include...
My Whitfield Advantage IIT has been very quiet on the low and mid blower settings.
I do disassemble and thoroughly clean the unit every year along with a couple drops of Mobil 1 lubing the exhaust fan. Since that fan is exposed to high temps the synthetic Mobil 1 doesn't break down as dino oil might.
Since noise is a consideration for some (many) I wouldn't buy one without hearing it run. Perhaps stopping by at opening or closing time when the store is apt to be more quiet to take a listen.
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