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Considering a pellet stove

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Rob Beatty, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. Rob Beatty

    Rob Beatty New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2012
    Messages:
    2
    Just moved in with my gf and we are considering a pellet stove because its a big house (2700sq/ft) and its got an oil furnce. I grew up with a wood stove, so I am quite familiar with stoking a stove in the morning, emptying ashes, cleaning the chimney, ect ect.

    So where should I start? I was considering stopping at a local place on the way home to ask them some differences and find out if a pellet stove would work for us, or if a standard wood stove might be a better fit or even a multi-fuel stove. Is there any sort of comprehensive guide out there as to what to look for?

    Thanks!

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  2. Heaterhunter

    Heaterhunter Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Messages:
    206
    Loc:
    Maine
    Pellets are less work because you don't have to cut, split, stack, clean up, restack, clean up again, feed the stove, resweep etc., etc. etc. With pellets you can have them delivered and stack 1 ton/hr no problem depending if they are going down stairs or not. I have a couple of convienent indoor places to stack so I use a wheelbarrel and can do 1 ton/30 min. Compare that to processing a cord of wood from start to finish; no comparison. If your buying seasoned wood delivered it's comparable to buying a ton of pellets but usually much more work to get to the stove compared to pellets. For the most part pellets are very clean feeding although I can't say I haven't melted a bag while dumping them into my pellet stove and dumped half the bag on the floor. Most never do this and if you do it once you'll never do it again! Problem is with pellets is usually no one is offering "scrounge" pellets i.e. free pellets like you can often times find with wood. I have 2 pellet stoves and a wood stove. I would have 3 pellet stoves if there were more(any) oppurtunites for free pellets. They are much cleaner throughout the entire process. The drawback with pellet stoves is you MUST keep them clean which is not as simple as shoveling out ashes and brushing the chimney. Their are several parts involved in efficient burning with a pellet stove. It's not rocket science but can be challenging at times. If you do decide to get a pellet stove make sure you learn your stove and it's components. There is a wealth of information on this website to learn about pellet stoves and why they do/don't heat efficiently. Good luck and welcome to the forum.
  3. flynfrfun

    flynfrfun Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2010
    Messages:
    703
    Loc:
    Bonney Lake, WA
    I grew up with a wood stove also. Be aware that you are not going to get that nice hot radiant heat from a pellet stove. That was my biggest surprise. I expected the area around the stove to get hot (it doesn't), it is essentially a big space heater. So, it takes a long time to heat the area compared to a wood stove that can really crank the BTU's when stoked up. However, the pellet stove is nice because it operates more like a furnace on a thermostat and can be programmed to maintain certain temps and turn on/off as you prefer.
  4. BradH70

    BradH70 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Messages:
    431
    Loc:
    South West NH
    Being able to heat you house with a pellet stove is going to greatly depend on the layout of your house. If it is an open concept then you may not have to much of an issue getting the heat to move around the house. If you have lots of separate rooms then it can be a challenge getting the heat to move around to all the areas.

    I am able to heat ~2200 sq/ft with the M55 insert but when I finished the bonus room above the garage it added another 680 sq/ft and the room never really got warm and subsequently caused the rest of the upstairs to be colder then what we like. So this year I added a second stove and put it in the bonus room. I will still save money over heating with oil.
  5. The Maniac

    The Maniac Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2012
    Messages:
    74
    Loc:
    Winterport Maine
    Hi Rob i bought a pellet stove last year and i would never go back ! Pellet stoves are very efficent and safer than wood hands down just my 2 cents ....Throw a bag in the pellet stove you are good to go for almost a day ! Good luck either one is better than paying an oil bill !:eek: The gf might be able to handle throwing a bag of pellets in the stove just sayin lol :p
  6. oliveone

    oliveone Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2010
    Messages:
    182
    Loc:
    Hudson Valley NY
    Rob I have had a pellet stove since 1997. The money saved over the years has been enough to buy a new car. First stove was used to help offset the oil man. Stove was run on low and provides 50% of the heat for the house. In 2010 I brought an Enviro Maxx this is one of the biggest stove out there. I run the stove on low for most of the winter and on medium when it is below 20 degrees. You have a big house get a stove that is bigger then you need so if it is really cold you can still have room to turn it up.

    Here are a few of the big stoves. Harmon P61A is 61,000 BTU say will heat up to 3,700 SF, Harmon P68 is 68,000 BTU say will heat up to 3,900 SF. The Enviro Maxx is 70,000 it says it will heat up to 2,700 SF. The issue with stoves is that it all depends on house insulation, lay out of house, weather outside and fan blower speed CFM. I can tell you my Enviro Max on 3 out of 5 for heat output will keep house warm down to 5 degrees. House was built in 1967 2000 SF and had good insulation for that time. If I need a quick heat up turn the stove on high for 30 minutes. Hopper holds 3 bags.

    Enviro also makes a Maxx M that is a multi fuel stove. This will burn all kinds of pellets with not issue. Member jtakeman has a multi full Enviro stove and love it.

    Best of luck!
  7. briggsy13

    briggsy13 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2011
    Messages:
    115
    Loc:
    Maryland
    My parents' house only had a wood stove growing up. Lots of work and it would either be really cold or really hot (or so it always seemed to me). My husband and I've have been in our house for 11 years now and last year was our first with our pellet stove. We saved our first year including buying and installing the stove. We have a small house but oil was gonna cost us near to $3000. We regret all the years we spent using oil when we could have been warmer and saved a ton!
  8. FyreBug

    FyreBug Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Kitchener, Ontario
    For a house that size you may want to consider a pellet furnace. A couple of good brands are Harman and PSG. You can make them a 'whole house' furnace by taking out the old one and installing an electric element option as a backup or keep the old oil furnace as a backup and the connect the pellet furnace to the existing ductwork. Mind you its more expensive that a stand alone stove.

    A stand alone stove no matter how good it is, is a 'zone heater'. That is the area where the stove is will be warmer than other areas of the house. It's an imperfect solution to the size of your house. But it's less investment.
  9. exoilburner

    exoilburner Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2008
    Messages:
    424
    Loc:
    NW Washington State
    What FyreBug said X2.

    I have a Harmon Pellet Furnace (PF100). The old oil furnace is a back-up heat source. Was more expensive than a pellet stove but like was said if you have many rooms it may be difficult to get the warm air to circulate. I heated with a wood stove in the living room for a while and when the living room was hot the bathroom was miserably cold. A furnace will burn more pellets but thats the trade-off for having every room heated evenly. So consider taking advantage of your existing ductwork to have control of the heat to every room.
  10. Alain S. Prevost

    Alain S. Prevost Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    Messages:
    56
    Loc:
    Maine

    I completely agree. Stated perfect...
    I also have forced hot water via baseboard and radiant from an oil boiler......
    I wanted to circulate air throughout my home and not have dead spaces or cold spaces in the home.....A great plus to a forced air system is that it filters the air --- you're able to use an air filter just to block out various airbourne particles...or you can toss in a specialty HEPA filter if you have kids (allergies), dogs (hair and dander), pollen, etc. (especially the harman pf100) it is sized perfect for a large home and it works great in my large home, over 3000sq ft living space (5000sq ft conditionedheated space) Here is my install http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/harman-pf100-install.90344/
    PS - my pregnant wife has been able to clean the pellet furnace by herself when I'm at work, fill the hopper, clean the ash pan, and maintain the interior cleanings daily weekly monthly no problem. The filtered air feels great...and the warmth from pellets saved us from the oil guy!! From $8,000/year in oil down to $1500/winter season in pellets.

    Good luck to you and we are all here to help and guide you!!

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