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contemplating a pellet stove but have questions

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by imintrouble, Sep 17, 2008.

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  1. imintrouble

    imintrouble New Member

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    Long Island, NY
    I have been thinking about getting a wood pellet stove for quite a few months and just havent been fully convinced yet because i have a few more questions. I know if i go to one of the local shops they are going to be jerks and conddescending about everything. I would rather ask in a forum where that would never happen :). I have a 2 story home 4-rooms down, 4 up, central staircase - 1800 sf. I have a central air system and hydronic baseboard for heat and hot water. I was thinking about getting a pretty serious pellet stove for downstairs to try to heat the whole house since oil heat is getting too pricey for me. I had a few questions:
    1. if i buy one to heat the whole house, do i have to leave the hydronic baseboard heat running all winter?
    2. could i use the return at the top of the stairs for my central air system to reciculate heat - set it to refresh every 15 or 30 minutes?
    3. how realistic is it that this pellet stove will heat the whole house and leave us comfortable.
    4. i know that use of fuel depends on how high you set it but in the average home, how many tons of pellets in a winter in a 4 season climate like long island.
    5. when a stove says its good for 2200 sf how does that compare to 1800 sf on 2 floors?
    6. would the room it is located in be unbearable because of the amount of heat coming out?

    Thank you in advance for all of your replies

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  2. potter

    potter Feeling the Heat

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    Don't have any special knowledge- but since you have baseboard hydronic you might research a wood or pellet boiler....
  3. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Imintrouble - I suspect that this post will be moved over to the pellet/corn stove room. The pelletheads over there will have more specific answers for ya.

    In general, yes, it is possible to comfortably heat an 1800 sqft house with a stove, but much of that depends on the design of the house, and your ability to move the heat.
  4. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I have oil fired hydronic heat. My house has a few drafty spots and I heat with a wood insert in the living room. If the hydronic doesn't kick on at all I risk freezing a pipe when the temps get way down there. I therefore keep the register set at a temp where it will kick on a bit during the normal wood fire heat cycle on very cold nights.

    Watch out for unused rooms with a closed door- if the register thinks it's warm, and one of those rooms is cold because the hydronic has been off, then you may risk freezing a pipe in a cold spot. For that reason I would try and even out the pellet heat as much as possible, and not cut off zones to conserve heat.

    By the way- a pellet boiler is a great idea and you can run domestic hot water off it too. However- the start up cost is high, and it requires a fair bit of setup. I would love to switch over to this- my house originally had a big old Titan wood boiler- I removed it though because it was a creosote still.
  5. imintrouble

    imintrouble New Member

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    Admins please move this to the appropriate forum. Thank you for the quick responses. I thought it may be an issue with closed doors and that room being frigid and thus risking freezing/bursting a pipe. How much do you think the startup cost would be for a pellet boiler? I know it will depend on the size of the home but what do you think it would run for the average home. What do you feel the real advantage of owning a pellet stove is if i need to keep the hydronic heat on so that it kicks on quite frequently? Do you feel the real benefit would be in the inbetween seasons where i wouldnt have to worry about freezing a pipe but would still need heat?

    Thank you,
  6. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    On those really cold nights where you risk freezing a pipe- the boiler and the pellet stove will each contribute. Even in those cases you will not be using nearly as much fuel as without the pellet stove. The rest of the year- you may be able to run on just pellets- that depends on your exact home layout, how you run the stove, etc.

    I haven't priced out a pellet boiler system. A wood boiler unit is in the $5K range, I think, and to get the whole system installed with exchangers, plumbing, shipping, mixing valves etc- I would widely ballpark it at over $7500, and under $13K.
  7. imintrouble

    imintrouble New Member

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    BTW, no one has addressed using the central airconditioner airhandler on refresh mode in order to circulate hot air through the central air duct system. does anyone see any problems with this or would this just be a waste of electricity?
  8. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I think the big issue is how much of a temp loss you will get from moving the warm air through cold air ducts. That depends on lots of factors.
  9. imintrouble

    imintrouble New Member

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    the air ducts are all brand new and the insulated type. Also, when i do leave the thermostat on on the cold nights, what temp do you normally set it to to make certain it kicks on?
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Answers above in bold.
  11. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Sounds like you have as good of a config as possible to give the best chances of success. I personally have the Forced air set to 65F at night. Inside temp never gets below that.
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