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Big E and 1/2 bag per day pellets

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by pellet9999, Sep 13, 2008.

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  1. pellet9999

    pellet9999 Member

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    I plan on supplementing my electric heat with the Big E and figured on slow and low setting to use 1/2 bag a day. Does this sound
    reasonable.. its cold here around zero sometimes and windy...Montana

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Your location says NY and you say Montana? Which is it?

    1/2 bag a day is less output than one plug-in electric heater. If you think that will do the job, then go for it. Many stoves will not burn that low......in the real world, 1 1/2 lbs per hour is about the minimum.

    You are suggesting that you'd burn 1/3 that much - sounds low.

    Read this:
    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/wiki/You_and_a_BTU/
  3. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    I think the Webmaster`s reply is pretty well on target.
    Please read my reply below to a similar recent thread.

    My interest in the 2 days+ from one bag claim is that my little Harman P38 gets only 36 hrs from a bag on the very lowest setting (#1) and from what I can gather my stove is burning cleanly and appears to be operating perfectly.
    According to the brochure it should burn only .75lb @ the #1 setting. That would put it at 54 hrs .However I wrote that off to hyped up advertising and or tests from optimum conditions that are simply difficult to match under field installed situations.
    Certainly I would not want to refute anyone who claims his stove can attain such a slow burn rate since it could very well be possible that his stove somehow matches or comes close to the exact criteria to get the optimum low burn rate . This is something that probably few of us can lay claim to.
    After even more thought on this I can conclude from my lowest burn rate @1.1 lbs per hr (36 hrs per bag) experience that if I could somehow attain a low burn rate of just .75 lbs per hr it would produce very very little usable heat to my room and would be operating at a severely reduced efficiency . Most of that heat would be going right up and out the the flue. I just can`t see how .75 lbs of pellets burning for an hour can produce enough heat to a room with any degree of efficiency.
  4. jawquin

    jawquin Member

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    You should be able to control your usage to around 20lbs a day to supplement heat if desired. I took a look at the manual. Looks like you will have to put it in on/off mode and hook a programmable T-stat to it. The low feed rate is advertized at .9 lbs on setting 1. This rate will vary abit due to different fuel density.
  5. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    Re thinking this thing over , I would also have to consider the differences and preferences of folks burning habits and temperatures .
    I would have to assume if I ran my stove at mid-high settings during moderate weather ( spring / fall ) for 4-5 hrs in the morning and 4-5 hrs in the evening I also should be able to get 2 days out of a bag.
    Actually it might be better and more efficient than burning constantly on the lowest point.
    When I was burning wood this was a common practice , a fire in the AM and one in the PM.
  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Based on running on "mid-high" for 8-10 hours as mentioned, just those hours would be burn 30 lbs or more of pellets. The other 14 hours would make it a total of one bag per 24 hours, which is a typical use pattern in milder weather or for a stove just doing supplemental.

    mid-high - 3 lbs per hour (20,000 BTU out)
    other hours - 1 lb per hour (6,000 BTU out) - about the same as a plug-in electric heater...many stoves have a difficult time burning this low.

    It is simply not realistic to think about doing any type of real heating job on 20 lbs of pellets in a 24 hour period. I can smolder a log in a woodstove for a long time also, but not much heat is being produced. Most folks who burn space heaters like to see from 10,000 to 20,000 BTU/HR output, about the range of a Kerosene heater. That means 1 3/4 lbs per hour (40 lbs in a day) on the low end, and 3 1/2 (70-80 lbs per day) on the high end.

    Central heaters (pellet) will often use much more.
  7. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    That`s sounds about right drawing from my limited experience.
  8. kinsmanstoves

    kinsmanstoves Minister of Fire

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    Rule of thumb for the Big E.

    setting #1 is 1 lb per hour
    #2 is 2 lb per hour
    #3 is 3 lb per hour
    #4 is 4 lb per hour
    #5 is slightly more than 5 lb per hour

    Please do not pull out the stop watch and US Post Office scale on me but this should get you in the ballpark.

    Eric
  9. bdcbean

    bdcbean New Member

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    Here is an odd one for you.

    Why would a feed rate measured manually by catching the pellets as they fall out of the auger and weighing it come up less than the weight they get when doing emission testing (taking the overall weight of the stove and a final measurement after an hour of burning)? Consistently about .45 lbs difference. Pretty small amount but thats still a bit over just an hour.
  10. DiggerJim

    DiggerJim Feeling the Heat

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    Different pellets. The size and consistency of pellets impacts how well they slip into the auger channel and thus the overall feed rate.
  11. bdcbean

    bdcbean New Member

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    Same pellets over several tests. The average size etc is all very similar. There are a lot of variables though this is one regardless.
  12. DiggerJim

    DiggerJim Feeling the Heat

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    I thought you were questioning your results vs. the stove company's ("less than the weight they get when doing emission testing") in which case I stand by my initial answer - you're not likely using the same brand/lot #/moisture content/etc pellets they are. I'd expect they go for a very specific test pellet that results in the performance they want.

    If you're saying that they get different results in different runs of their own testing, that's another question.
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