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buying a pellet stove

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by glassman, Nov 8, 2008.

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  1. glassman

    glassman New Member

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    A very good friend has offered to install a wood pellet stove for cost in my home. (one of their demo models on the floor) This stove only burns wood pellets, and it is the best stove in this company's line. If you guys were to buy your first stove with your knowledge, would you buy a stove that burns wood pellets, corn pellets, and bio mass? I am not sure of the proper terminology, but he said wood pellets are difficult to get right now in northern lower michigan. I do not know enough about stoves, but it would seem that one that would burn 3 different types of fuel would be the best choice. I dont know much about prices, I am really just asking a general opinion on buying my first stove. Is there inherent problems with a stove that will burn 3 different types of fuel? I also noticed that Harman has a stove that has a battery backup, does anyone know anything about that? Thanks in advance for any help,,,,ed

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  2. kast

    kast New Member

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    well how much is he giving the unit to you for, and what model??
  3. mtalea

    mtalea Feeling the Heat

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    Hey Ed, 1st off a stove that does just pellets isnt 100% accurate.energex a company that makes wood pellets also has a pellet made from switch grass.I would assume as long as the product is made to the correct size as to be fed by auger system it should burn.

    as far as pellets are concerned,I burn every year regardless.I would rather give my money to companies in the usa than the oil monger arabs.

    Just my opinion

    good luck
  4. glassman

    glassman New Member

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    the stove is a lennox winslow, I believe he told me it only burns wood pellets. I saw somewhere in the last week while reviewing stuff about pellet stoves that corn costs less per btu hour than wood pellets. My friend also mentioned wood pellets were scarce right now, so I was just thinking out loud about burning corn. I do not remember the price he talked about, he owes me some favors, so he offered to install this demo, the demo is last years model, he has been open less than a year. This is a large website, after I posted this, I could not find my post, I am glad they just e mailed me an answer, thanks ed,
  5. mtalea

    mtalea Feeling the Heat

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    yes it is a big site.....in your area arent pellet readily available? I live in new england and this is were the shortage is
  6. glassman

    glassman New Member

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    the owner of the business had made an offhand comment that they were having trouble getting wood pellets, thats why I was considering a stove that would burn the corn too. I saw bio mass also, not sure what that even is, like I said, very new at this. I sent the owner this site, it has a very good tech area on it too. He will use it I am sure, thanks again for the help
  7. Defiant

    Defiant Vermont Castings Geek

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    Pellet burning appliances along with the oil crisis has reached a peak and the demand in New England has depleted the supply. This will level off. I have been burning wood pellets for 10 plus years. A great source of supplemental heat. Hopefully with the favors owed to you he throws in at least a couple of tons.
  8. MrKLeen

    MrKLeen New Member

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    Although my stove is wood pellet only, I have not come across anyone who sells any other fuel for a pellet stove. As far as I can tell wood pellets are the way to go. but I am a pellet stove newb so take that with a grain of salt.
  9. glassman

    glassman New Member

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    I just cleaned off my porch to keep the pellets :) Somewhere I read that Canada is looking seriously at corn, and the chart I saw had coal 1st in btu per hour, then corn, and wood pellets was third, the corn was closer to coal than wood pellets in btu's per hour. Wherever I saw that post, the guy was saying that corn is grown in 120 days compared to how long it takes to grow a tree. It just made me think out loud is all, my buddy that owns the fireplace shop is so busy right now, I feel guilty even calling him.
  10. Jester

    Jester New Member

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    If you look on this site, theres some real compelling information about burning corn in one of the threads. Im not sure where the thread is but someone mentioned that the exhaust gasses from burning corn are very caustic to the metals used in the stove themselves. I dont recall anyone here mentioning anything about running into issues with it though. I would also tend to think that the price of corn for fuel would be directly effected, moreso than pellets by climate. You have a bad crop year and those prices could go right throught he roof. You also have to think that as ethanol is used more for alternative fuel (and not just by Mark Thomas in his TAFC) that it will jack the price up there as well due to the competition for the raw material.
    Either way, its better to control your own destiny than ride the wave on an opec boogey board
  11. crausch

    crausch New Member

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    It is important to research the availability of pellets in your area but don't just look at the availability for this year. Look at past trends and future. I say this because the pellet shortage is only temporary as this has happened before (2005) when oil prices go up. My research shows that most pellet manufacturures feel this is temporary. Also, they are expanding to accomodate the recent increase. New manufacturers are also sprouting up to take advantage of the demand. So, don't be scared off just by this years shortage unless you really have to have a stove this year.

    Regarding your question about the Harman battery backup. Most pellet stoves can be hooked up to a battery backup. Harmans solution is simply using a marine battery with a DC/AC inverter. The biggest concern there is whatever battery backup you invest in, make sure to spend the extra money and get a "pure" sine wave model.
  12. glassman

    glassman New Member

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    thanks for the info, do most of you guys have battery back ups? Just curious, whenever my furnace goes out, I usually have to pay overtime, its usually about 400 bucks, and our power goes out several times a year,,,,,,,,,ed
  13. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    I sure wouldn`t think about investing too much in a pellet stove at this time.
    The pellet supply isn`t good right now and hasn`t been since the spring. It`s not encouraging for next year either.
    The cost has risen a lot too and they aren`t as attractive an alternative as they once were.
    Waste wood products are diminishing and seriously contributing to the supply shortage.
    Next spring might be a better time to determine the future of pellet burning.
    IMO the pellet supply and cost has been just as volatile and subject to change as fuel oil not to mention the horrible situation with new stove availability and price increases.
  14. crausch

    crausch New Member

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    I don't know how many of us have battery backups, but I would say that if you loose electric often, then it would be a good investment. Of, course that depends on if your stove is your main source of heat or just a supplement. In my case, I seldom loose electric. I mostly just have brownouts, so I don't need 8 hours of backup. No matter what, at least buy a decent surge protector.
  15. glassman

    glassman New Member

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    thanks again, I am trying to help my buddy with all the extra info I can, with his new fireplace business. Does anyone know how much a battery backup costs? The stove he was going to install is a lennox winslow, I cannot find if that stove will work with a battery backup. Gio, I was reading the same thing about wood pellets, but as one of the other posters said, corn or any other product could go up and down in price also. My primary reason for the stove was for the real bitter cold spells we get, and if my furnace goes out. The computer board goes out about every 4th year, (right after warranty expires :) There is also a site called www.makeyourownwoodpellets.com the problem with those portable units is you have to have cardboard, or wood, or whatever your making the pellets out of pre shredded in order to put them in their pellet making machine. It gets real pricey then, and unless you have a stove that will burn different types of pellets, the manufacturer doesnt recommend that either. thanks again for all the info,,,,,ed
  16. peirhead

    peirhead Feeling the Heat

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    My comment would be..why do you want a stove? For looks? for the nice heat? to solve a problem heating a particular area of your house? Just to help a friend? Just to save money? any one reason is probably not enough to warrant the work, maintenance and cost of a pellet stove...for me it it is these in the following order:
    1) We wanted a woodstove on our family room
    2) We love wood heat
    3) we like the Quad Castile looks and technology
    4) Family room is hard to heat so this will beat turning up oil thermostat to heat the whole downstairs (one zone)
    5) House is quite tight so we hope it will help reduce humidity.
    6) maybe save some money
    7) Ya almost forgot...I believe this is an environmentally (Green) responsible way to help heat my home and put some money back into the local economy.

    ...hope this helps!!
  17. glassman

    glassman New Member

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    burning chunk,
    I have always wanted a wood stove in my living room, I like the heat, the feeling, and the overall looks of this stove. I also dont mind helping my local economy out too. I have owned a glass business in a small town in northern lower mich. for over 20 years, so I understand helping local economies. Having a wood backup for my furnace is a good idea too. After reading a lot of info on this site, I am going to talk to my buddy again about how much work it is for upkeep, cleaning etc for a pellet stove. I have an entreprenural mind, and am looking for ways to help my buddy make some money, I have been looking at a lot of things that have to do with woodstoves in general. He is a good person, and if I can help his business grow, I certainly am willing to help him too.
  18. control1

    control1 Member

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    I would only burn wood pellets I heard that if you burn corn you could get rats or mice infesting where you store the corn I do not know if this is true but it sounds logical.I would buy the stove if oil gets cheaper more people will use it thus take the demand off pellets once the building trade comes back there will be more sawdust available to make pellets.
  19. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    OK, just be sure to secure a supply of pellets before purchasing a stove. It`s got to be a real bummer having a pellet stove with no fuel to feed it.
  20. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    I would think you could find enough pellets in your area.

    Last year I delivered cattle feed around the lower penisula and almost every feedmill had pellets available throughout the winter. Don't rely on the big retailers for your supply... find stove dealers and feedmills as they usually buy in larger quantities. Here in Wisconsin we can get as many pellets as we can buy.... no supply problem here.

    Call Pro Pellet. They are in downstate Michigan around the IN border. they can tell you who carries their product.

    try this...
    http://leadmanager.electricvine.com/Search.aspx?clientID=145

    More online next year...
    http://www.thealpenanews.com/page/content.detail/id/502135.html?nav=5004
  21. rona

    rona Minister of Fire

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    I guess I would ask if you are buying this stove for yourself to use or just to help out your buddy? The next advise is to buy a multi fuel stove that will burn corn alone or pellets but give yourself that option. I have burned corn for 5 years and don't have a problem with mice or rats.
    The Quadrafire AE will burn corn, sunflowers, wheat, soft pellets, hard pellets, Utility pellets. It will start and shut off automatically and runs off the programmable thermostat. It also can be hooked up to a 12 volt battery and can switch over to 12 volt power if the currant goes off automatically.
    This stove had a few problems when it first came out but they are working good now that they got the bugs out. If you use the right vent pipe they will withstand the corn acid problem.
    I guess my reason for explaining this is to show you that you are buying a stove that burns just one thing and therefore are at the mercy of the pellet manufacturers. I wouldn't worry about high priced corn as it usually is cheaper then pellets. Sometimes you can burn a mix of pellets and corn.
  22. glassman

    glassman New Member

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    hi rona,
    I am getting this stove for 2 reasons, I always wanted a stove for backup, or the beauty of watching a fire burn, and when we get that bitter cold spells, my furnace seems to never shut down. My buddy offered the demo to me at cost, and a free install. Kind of hard to turn that down. What brand is your stove? I am not very familiar with brands, and did not want to get into which brand is better discussion on here. I am hoping he will look at a multi fuel brand for his business also. That is why I am doing a lot of research for him. I have sent him many links in the past couple of weeks. He had a month of stove installs the last time I talked to him, he was that busy. If you have a link for your stove, I will be glad to send that to him also, thanks ed
    krooser, thanks for your links also,,,,ed
  23. glassman

    glassman New Member

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    rona,
    one more question if you dont mind. do you use a battery backup? I saw one on the harman stove site. Are there others available? Could you use Harmans on most stoves? Sorry, I just dont know a lot about stoves, trying to learn,,,,,thanks in advance,,,,,,,,ed
  24. hossthehermit

    hossthehermit Minister of Fire

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    There have been several threads on the forum, but basically any stove will run on a backup system, the big thing is to be sure you get one with a pure sine inverter.
    Good luck with whatever decision you make.
  25. mnoack

    mnoack New Member

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    When I bought my stove, last December, I was told that a wood pellet stove could not burn corn because the higher sugar content in corn causes it to burn differently, & therefore the stove needs to be designed to burn corn. I would not assume that this would imply that a stove currenty designed for wood pellets would never be able to burn anything else. It would depend on the shape, the content & the burn of the material. the switchgrass thing in particular is very interesting. Switchgrass is a weed which can be grown almost anywhere very quickly. This could be a very important development, indeed!
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