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Drawbacks to pellet stove vs wood stove?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Sheepdog, Jun 11, 2008.

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  1. Sheepdog

    Sheepdog Member

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    Loc:
    York, Maine
    I know there are some good reasons to go to a pellet stove, but can anyone point out the drawbacks of pellet stoves? Electric use? amount of heat produced? Any thoughts?
    I heat with wood, but have been wondering about pellets.

    Thanks!

    -Sheepdog

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  2. Alan

    Alan Member

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    Jan 31, 2008
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    Loc:
    Northern California
    Pellet pros: easier & cleaner to handle pellets over wood, cleaner burning

    Pellet cons: stoves are noiser, no heat when you loose electricity, more expensive/BTU than wood

    Best, Alan
  3. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Western Mass.
    I would add service issues to Alan cons. Pellet stoves are more complex machines than wood stoves, so therefore subject to more potential problems.

    A recent thread here discussed electric use. They do use electric, but you use less electric for your furnace because they are replacing some of your heat. Still, some can cost as much as $25 a month or more in electric use.

    A Pellet stove fire is certainly less romantic than a wood fire.....if that figures in!
  4. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    madison hgts. va
    i would add a few "pro's" to Alans comments;

    pellet stoves are much easier to regulate and can be dialed back to avoid getting run out in the shoulder seasons.

    setup is generally less expensive , especially if you would have to install a flue system for a wood unit to be installed.

    the flue cleaning chore is not as labor intensive in many cases its a quick "DIY" job where woodstove chimneys in a lot of cases can be better left to a chimney sweep.

    and is some styles , such as the "big-E" by breckwell, and our 25-PUF can be run for a few to several days at a time without have to be touched, much less reloaded.

    there are "cons" as well as stated above and i agree with Alan, and Web's assessments on them as well. there are pro's and con's to either type of appliance. do your research (you found a great place for that here), and ask questions.
  5. ducker

    ducker Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2008
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    Loc:
    Leominster, MA
    I heat with wood as well, and I'm about to get a pellet.
    For me it was really the handling of the consumables. the wood vs. the pellets. Stacked neatly on a pallet delivered.. bring in a #40 bag an evening done. vs. Stacking 3+ cord of wood in the summer, and then in the winter lugging in approx 3 bushes of wood to burn for 1-2 days. And then my stove would cool off usually by around 4-5 am, if I stocked it around midnight, and by 7am my heat would be kicking on (with the thermostat set to around 64) This didn't cut it for me. I wanted a steady source of heat.

    Oh so there's another pro - steady, easily controlled amount of heat.
  6. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    ou guys should get a kick outta this...

    in 1993 i started at ESW , that october i bought the house i live in , when we moved in there was baseboard electric heat and a chimney with nothing attached. it was chilly at night that october so we had the baseboard running to keep us (and my 1 yr old daughter) warm. our first electric bill was just short of $400.00. next day i purchased a 24-ac woodstove from Ron (my boss) at work , electric bill for the first month with the woodstove 68 bucks. flash forward to 2004...

    brought home a 25-pdvc pellet stove to replace the woodstove as the primary heat. wife fought me tooth and nail (she loved the woodstove especially since she let me do the work with it :) ) but i put my foot down , installed the pellet stove , she watched me with a gimlet eye through the process and when i finished she said "ok now what?" i said , here's what you do (opened the hopper and poured in a bag of pellets) she said "ok what now how do you work it?" i said , see that "on button"? push it. she did , and asked again "now what?" i said , watch for the fire. since then she has absolutely loved it. it just took showing her the thing and how easy it was to convince her. she wouldnt touch the woodstove (though to her credit she did help some with the wood stacking and such) but she was scared to light it on her own regardless of how much coaching i gave her. different story with the pellet stove. therein lies the biggest advantage to a pellet stove over wood. its so easy that anyone can operate it. cleaning is a few minutes with an ash vac or shop vac. no heavy lifting , no worrying about hot coals in the ash bucket as the units will shut down and go completely cold before turning all the way off. so all in all , the basic day to day chore is really simplified.
  7. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Con: I don't have to haul in 40 pounds of cord wood at one time and heft it up to pour it in the the wood stove.

    And yes, I have wood and pellet stoves.
  8. mainemac

    mainemac Member

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    Loc:
    Maine
    BB

    Where did you put your pellet stove?
    Do a lot of folks use both wood and pellet?
    Just wondering down the road about adding a pellet stove myself depending...


    Tom
  9. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I installed it for a couple of weeks in the office/shop in the basement for training purposes. Took it back out and reinstalled the wood stove. I had cord wood and it was cold outside and I missed the quiet of the wood stove. They are both on steel, wheeled platforms so change-out is a ten minute job.

    I wish the darn thing didn't have the base on it. Makes it too tall for my fireplace and it would be great for when I get too gimpy to cut wood for the 30-NC. Which today feels like that may be like a week from next Tuesday.
  10. imacman

    imacman Guest

    I agree 100%. I'm switching to pellets for the same reasons, plus no hibernating bugs/wasps/hornets crawling around the house in the middle of the winter.
  11. kilarney

    kilarney New Member

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    Loc:
    Vermont
    Con: The pellet market has supply issues. You can't grow pellets. You are dependent on sufficient manufacturing.
  12. SteveT

    SteveT Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    West of Boston
    To me that was the big reason I went with a wood insert -- there are fuel options with a woodstove (harvest/scrounge/buy) that don't exist with a pellet stove.

    Plus there are delivered biomass options such as Envilogs or BioBricks that bring many of the pellet advantages to a wood stove or insert. They are aesthetically a very nice burn. That is the option I took; bought a stove and plenty or BioBricks for 2008/2009 with a plan to obtain cordwood for some of my requirements starting the following year.
  13. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    I burn wood but want a pellet stove as well.

    The woodstove is large enough to heat the house in the middle of the winter which makes it tough to use in the spring and fall. In those seasons a short burn from a pellet stove would be enough to warm the house but would quickly shut off and cool when the thermostat orders it. Huge benefit there.

    The overnight burns without having to stuff the woodstove would be appreciated. The new EPA woodstoves have a habit of getting really hot if there's sufficient fuel such as when stoked for the night.

    The negative is cost. Pellet stoves are very expensive.

    Complexity. I've repaired neighbor's pellet stoves and they just aren't as reliable.

    Noise. I hate noise. The woodstove is silent, which makes me happy.

    Fuel availability. Very good right now but tomorrow?
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