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first year's experience

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by lmei007, Apr 15, 2008.

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  1. lmei007

    lmei007 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Messages:
    117
    Loc:
    Boston MA
    This is my first year be a house owner. This is my first year need to take care of the winter heating. This is also my first year using a pellet stove. Started from thanksgiving, we have used 3 tons of pellet for my 1600 sqft ranch. Our Quadra 1200i did a good job but the result was not as we expected regarding the room tempertures( living room where the stove installed was about 70F, bedroom about 60F). The result might be caused by the following reasons:

    1. house insulation is not good enough. we have two big (8'x4') windows and two normal double hang windows in our living room and they are old. The wall insulation is not good, I think. Our cast iron radiators were inserted into the wall, so there is only one drywall there.

    2. don't know how to use the stove efficiently. many times we used lower setting (lower blower speed) with higher feeding opening. We should use higher blower speed and lower feeding opening to get more heat out of the stove and minimize the pellet comsumption.

    3. air circulating was not good. we should have some sort of fans to force air circulating around those rooms.

    4. stove blower stop freqently sometimes (as I reported on this thread: http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/11761/), during that period, there was no heat flowes out from the stove. When we start the stove from room temperature, it almost always takes about 20mintues or more before the blower start. Even today, the blower still stop, go, stop and go (far below the expected temperture and the stove still in heat calling state). I am not sure it is caused by a bad snap disc or it is caused by the stove is not hot enough.

    Anyway, the spring is here and we are planning to do something in order to improve our situation next winter.

    We like summer because we have a solar panel hot water system and our house is good for summer. Last summer we did not turn on the central air system.

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  2. moralleper

    moralleper New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2006
    Messages:
    173
    Loc:
    Kalama, WA
    we have some big windows as well and our santafe does pretty good. generally the stove is most efficent at high, I use medium unless I need quite then I go to low during that time. On the coldest nights I put the stove on high at night, then back down to medium durring the day. For air circulation, try to blow the cold air to the stove instead of the warm air away.

    when the stove stops has the stove heated the room to the set temp on the thermostat?
  3. lmei007

    lmei007 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Messages:
    117
    Loc:
    Boston MA
    No, we set temp to 78F but almost never got that high. that is why we felt not good.

    I think the pellet stoves, particularly the insert pellet stoves, wast too much heat via the exhaust. Because there is only a little radiation heat and lots of heat was blowed out of the house.
  4. moralleper

    moralleper New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2006
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    173
    Loc:
    Kalama, WA
    how far away is the t-stat? what kind of tstat are using? I have a programable digital one that is around the corner from the stove so the room actually has to heat up a little hotter then what it is set at before it clicks off. As for the radiation heat, my stove never gets too hot touch with the exeption of the glass, and I believe this is by design.
  5. lmei007

    lmei007 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Messages:
    117
    Loc:
    Boston MA
    We have a honeywell programmable tstat and similar location as yours.
  6. Ken45

    Ken45 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    Messages:
    545
    Loc:
    southern Ohio
    Did you clean the stove regularly? I'm not familiar with the Quadrafire, but efficiency drops off if they are not regularly cleaned. Pellet stoves require a fair amount of maintenance, more than a wood stove. I know with our Harman Advance, it's a filthy, frustrating job.

    Is your stove blowing the heat in the right direction to heat the rest of the house? From what I can tell, a pellet stove doesn't distribute heat as well as a freestanding wood stove. More auxillary heat movers (fans) seem to be required.

    This was our first winter with a pellet stove and we were disappointed. During colder weather, we were even uncomfortable in the same room as the stove, I think it causes a lot of floor level drafts. We have a good wood stove to be installed for next winter. The pellet stove will be for milder weather. We have a cheap wood furance in the basement. I don't think we would have made it through the winter without it.

    Ken
  7. The Patriot

    The Patriot New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Southeastern Mass
    I'm not sure how a pellet stove doesn't distribute heat as well as a wood stove. If anything, given that pellet stoves require a distribution blower, you would think the opposite since the fan itself should create more air flow. Although your point of where it's pointing could be a factor.

    The issue for the OP could be insulation, stove placement, air flow, or a combination, but I don't think heat distribution would be any better with a wood stove.
  8. The Patriot

    The Patriot New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
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    If the fire is burning hot, the distribution blower should be on.

    I'm not familiar with your stove, but if the room doesn't require heat and your distribution fan turns off accordingly, then the fire should be dying down or going out entirely as well. There shouldn't be a situation where the fire is blazing and the distribution fan is off.

    With my stove, if I'm on room temp, when I go out for the day, I'll turn my stove down to 60. It will immediately turn off the distribution blower and the fire will begin to die down and eventually die out.

    When it starts up again, once the fire is hot enough, the distribution blower immediately turns back on.
  9. Ken45

    Ken45 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    southern Ohio
    A freestanding wood stove radiates it's heat as well as having it's heat rise to the ceiling where it flows into other rooms.

    Pellet stoves blow their heat out horizontally which mixes with the ambient air and perhaps doesn't spread out as well.

    In the 70's we heated with a wood stove in a very poor location in the house, but it kept the house warm. Currently, we have a wood furnace in the basement with a duct that rarely requires the blower to come on. It heats the house very well without overheating the room it's in. Our pellet stove, OTOH, doesn't heat the house very well and I've actually been chilly sitting six feet away from it, due to the drafts it creates.

    For more efficiency and to be able to enjoy the fire more, we've puchased a new wood stove (PE Summit) that will be in the main living area instead of the basement. We are looking forward to next winter :)

    Ken
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Insulation is very important, regardless of heat source. The better the insulation and caulking, the less leakage and fuel consumed.

    FWIW, we always ran our stove on high in the winter. The medium setting was only used in the early fall and late spring. We never ran it on low. The blower would come on in about 5 minutes and would stay on until the stove went out, having satisfied the thermostat.
  11. lmei007

    lmei007 Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Boston MA
    yes, did as the manual required
    I think so. My house is a ranch. Living room is at one end and the fir place (pellet stove) is facing another end.
  12. lmei007

    lmei007 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
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    Loc:
    Boston MA
    I will ask the dealer to see if he can replace a blower contol snap disc for me. I think it may not work properly. I think my thermostat is good. My issue is even the stove is on heat calling state and the room temperature is far below the target temperature, the stove may stop, go, stop and go. Usually it will stop for about 10 - 20minutes and then go from about half hour to hours. no pattern but randomly.
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