Are you using the stove every day in the winter to heat the house? Or is it
for an occasional hour or two to take the chill off a particular room a
night or two a week? Do you have frequent power failures?
If it is full use, I'd check the cost of operation and that would decide.
If it is more of a convenience factor, propane is just the flick of a switch
with no pellets to drag around.
My wood stove has not been burned for the past two years. Buying wood is
more expensive than paying the oil man. I keep about a quarter cord in case
of emergency in a power failure. Pellet stoves use an electric powered auger
so keep that in mind for your decision making.
You might want to take a look at corn stoves or maybe a combination
corn/pellet stove. I've read articles claiming corn heat can cost as little
as half of what other sources cost.
I replaced my wood stove several years ago with propane. About the
same time my brother-in-law bought 2 pellet stoves.
Hands down, I'd go with propane again-- unvented if the space will
allow it. [pricewise I think it still has an edge over pellets, but
comparing two systems is tricky & prices on both fluctuate]
Here's why I like my propane;
I can turn it on or off in an instant.
It can be thermostatically controlled. [mine isn't]
I never have to lift anything heavier than a remote.
No moving parts. [it seems like b-i-l is replacing a blower, motor or
some auger part every year on one stove or the other. I replaced my
thermocouple the first year-- then I found out that after vaccuuming
the dust in the fall the pilot nozzle likes a shot of compressed air.]
One without a blower will work when the electricity are out.
No hauling heavy bags of pellets or storing outside in a silo.
If there are kids in the house, the propane doesn't get as hot on the
outside. [might just be a design thing-- but my b-i-l's pellet stoves
get too hot to touch, my iron 'wood stove looking' propane is never
too hot to touch.
I turn my propane on in November & off in April. Vacuum it out in
Oct. & it's ready for a new season. If the lights go out, I turn it
up a bit. Other than that, I forget it's there. If you like
futzing with things, get a pellet stove.
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