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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
and got what I paid for. The Whitfield has been reliable, quiet and
Only repair in 13 years is one heater element for the self-igniter at
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
Forgot to include...
My Whitfield Advantage IIT has been very quiet on the low and mid
I do disassemble and thoroughly clean the unit every year along with a
drops of Mobil 1 lubing the exhaust fan. Since that fan is exposed to
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
hearing it run. Perhaps stopping by at opening or closing time when
is apt to be more quiet to take a listen.