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
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
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.
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
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.
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
I'd do a careful evaluation of the potential BTU cost before spending
a lot of money on a stove.
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?
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.
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
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
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
Truth will set you free: John 8:32
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.
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.
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.
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. :)
On 2/1/2010 9:09 AM, terry wrote:
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.)
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.
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