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For The Love Of Pellets

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by CT Pellet, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. CT Pellet

    CT Pellet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2012
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    677
    Loc:
    Torrington, CT
    I have, over the course of the last 8 years in the wood pellet business, had occasion to speak with well over ten thousand different people regarding their pellets, our pellets, other people’s pellets and everybody’s pellets. Every day, literally EVERY day, I find myself engaged in some type of discussion about wood pellets and it never gets old. This is because every conversation, in some way , is different from the next. But the one comment that I hear consistently is…..”Man, if these pellets get any more expensive, I’m just going to burn oil!”…. And when I hear this, I just smile and nod, because experience tells me that this is much, much more often than not, just the customer’s way of venting; and here is why…..

    Most people who own a pellet stove, probably bought their stove with a “cost savings analysis” being their primary motivator. And that is reasonable, seeing how people don’t mind dropping money on a night out, a great vacation or a new car, but people absolutely abhor the idea of spending money to heat their house. But what they didn’t realize is that they were entering into a passionate love affair, one where the installation of their new “appliance” would be sealed with the nuptials of a simple sales receipt and a local building permit.

    Don’t believe me?....Well then explain to me why you are here on this forum….why exactly in the last year or two or three you have posted not just hundreds, but in some cases thousands of posts, either describing your love for the stove or satisfying your own personal desire to help someone achieve the same love that you enjoy. Show me anywhere in the vast internet, a site where passion runs as deeply and as wildly as it does here among a group sharing their love for the electric company or the heating oil industry.

    I read posts here of people who hunt pellets, who study pellets, who diagram and chart Excel spread sheets of data and boast about their own ability do it all better than the rest. It is no longer for many of these people just a way to heat…it is a game….a hobby…and in some extreme cases a way of life. People who go from store to store, buying two bags here and two bags there, only to get them home and hold them, feel them and smell them, trying desperately to see the differences between them just so they can come back here and post their findings. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, does this with oil! In a couple of weeks, there is a group from this forum, who is going to Vermont to tour a mill and see first-hand how this stuff is made. It’s really cool; from the initial chipping, to the dust to the shrink wrap on the pallet and everything in-between. For those of you who go, it will be a wasted trip if you come back without holding those steamy-hot-fresh-off the-press pellets in your hand. See for yourselves who can hold them the longest!

    Yeah, pellets are great. They are warm, cozy and right now, reasonably less expensive than oil. And although saving money may have lead you to initially buy your stove; I don’t believe that the money savings is what fuels the passion that is shared within this site. So tell us, at what point did you realize that your pellet stove was more than just another heating appliance?()
    Danny Cathcart and The Ds like this.

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  2. smoke show

    smoke show Guest

    Actually I think I had that pegged before purchase. Only because I hung out here with these fruit cakes for a while before the purchase. :p
  3. Eatonpcat

    Eatonpcat Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    2,074
    Loc:
    Eaton Township, Ohio
    Truthfully, I don't even know if I am saving money or not using pellets for heat...But I do know that it is way better than having to listen to the Bull$hit the Propane company dishes me every year when I had to agree on a budget/price!

    I am sure I will save some dough in the long run, but it will take a few years before I pay off my initial investment, plus now my house is actually warm!

    An additional bonus was getting to chat with some of the clowns on this site...Always my first internet stop!;)
    gbreda and IHATEPROPANE like this.
  4. Shaw520

    Shaw520 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2012
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    Loc:
    Modena
    I can agree with some of that,... but I for one am driven by the need to save money....AND I like the warmth (my house would never be this warm burning oil) ...two yrs ago I didnt burn wood or pellets and spent over $2000 in oil,... with pellets I'll spend half that.... with wood Id spend 1/4.
  5. zrtmatos

    zrtmatos Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2012
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    223
    Loc:
    Connecticut
    Well written post CTPellet. I think we are all a little OCD, a little frugal and we all just love the look of a fire in our home in a safe contained heating appliance. It's part human nature to join together around a fire as humans have done for thousands of years.

    I know for myself the love for this began with the first oil price hike in the early 80's and the purchase of my first wood burning appliance, a Vermont Castings Consolidated Dutchwest Extra-Large Woodstove. I had heard of wood burning stoves as many neighbors were installing them to save on oil. Mine was installed in the basement to heat a 1000 square foot ranch. Every part of the warming process I enjoyed. The gathering of wood in the off seasons, cutting of the logs to a size that would fit my stove, in my case 24", splitting the wood with the wood splitter and the stacking of the wood around the house. I did that for about 10 years. I really enjoyed the warmth and the achievemnt fo building the fire in the stove and knowing I was mainly responsible for the warmth in my house. Can't say I felt that when I heated with oil and walked over to the thermostat and raised it up for warmth. And more importantly, it didn't feel the same way. Only wood heating lovers know this difference.

    Now I find myself utilizing this new wood-burning technology that I am amazed that so many still do not know what it is. Pellet stove? You heat your home with pellets? What's that? I smile as I explain it to them and when I show them pictures of my stove and the flame produced they look puzzed. Guess you just have to be a person who has experienced it and loved it to appreciate it. Some will try it and move on saying it was not for me. I like the convenience of a wall thermostat is what some have said. They may not care for the work involved when you have to clean the hearth and stove. But the the rest of us will know what it feels like to have your home at a toasty 75 -78 degrees and know it came from a renewable source, from right around here in the US or Canada, not from a volatile foreign country dictating how much you will pay each year.

    For me the gathering of wood has now changed to the search for a good pellet source and obtaining it when I can. Researching which pellet puts out more ash than another and more BTU's of heat has become my seasonal quest for my analytical and partly OCD mind. Like I said, I think we are all part OCD, (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and we refuse to pay more for heating our homes than we have to. This leads us to become the fire-burning folks that we are who love the smell, feel and touch of fire in our homes, as long as we have it contained!

    Let's continue the discussion and post your views on your love for fire in your home.
  6. iron stove

    iron stove Feeling the Heat

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    Central CT
    While i also factored in some cost savings, even though the STOVE is a major $ setback, my biggest interest is keeping my MONEY in the USA with AMERICAN produced energy.
    briansol, The Ds, Justin M and 2 others like this.
  7. CT Pellet

    CT Pellet Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Torrington, CT
    Amen.
  8. moey

    moey Minister of Fire

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    Southern Maine
    Its one of the few items you can spend money on and do not have to justify it in any way. Its heat...
  9. Danny Cathcart

    Danny Cathcart Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2012
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    Loc:
    Michigan
    Nice write up CT :) I enjoy how your mind works.

    For me, it was simple logic. It had been so long since I'd been around wood heat, I actually had forgotten how the relaxing and penetrating power of wood heat made me feel. The additional costs to stay one half blink below warm using gas heat wasn't cutting the mustard. So, after a co-worker of mine told me he was using pellet power to heat his abode, I started my investigation into pellet powering my home during the winter. Alas, I found this site where I can read and search to my hearts content. I whole heartedly give my thanks to the folks who give of themselves and their knowledge. I am getting myself a pretty good thumb nail education about these wee little pellets.

    Secondly, keeping my monies spent state side was and is for me, a no brain'er! Above all else, I am American!

    Thirdly, as many would say - renewable is the new future as I'm seeing it.
  10. stoaf88

    stoaf88 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
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    Loc:
    RI
    You guys arent saving a bunch of money???

    I sure am.

    5 years ago with oil at around $3.50 a gallon I went through around 600 gallons of oil from October till mid April.

    So It cost me $2100 for heat that year. And that was to keep my house at a freezing 63 degrees.

    Even this year paying $260 per ton (Somersets) I go through 3 tons a year (good insulation) that costs $780

    So even at prices over $5 a bag for pellets I am saving $1320. And I am keeping my house at a toasty 77 first floor and 71 second floor.

    The price of pellets would have to dramatically increase or the price of oil would have to drop like crazy for me not to save a bunch of money.
    briansol likes this.
  11. flynfrfun

    flynfrfun Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    707
    Loc:
    Bonney Lake, WA
    Think about it...we love them because it provides heat to keep our wives happy and also a new toy to tinker with. Plus it likely saves money in the process. Those are 3 things that motivate most red blooded American men.
    SteveB, slvrblkk and Eatonpcat like this.
  12. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Northwestern CT.
    I'm guilty of making it a hobby. Found there is also a science to pellets and myths that could be debunked. Either that I could be just plain nuts(don't answer that!) :p

    All I know is pellets are way more fun than playin with electricity. I don't have the oil option and even if I did. I wouldn't have as much fun. No point in comparing brand x oil to brand y. Their all the same! Now where did I here that before? ;em

    Fire wood is fun too, Just not as fun as pellets. Mother nature makes wood and I'm not fooling with her! ;)
    gbreda and Eatonpcat like this.
  13. Paul Raz

    Paul Raz Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Orange County, NY
    I originally bought my stove 100% for heat, but after reading and joining this forum my stove has now become an obsession and a competition as well as a heat source. Don't get me wrong, the heat is great.Warmest my house has ever been, but there is something to be said in hunting down that next elusive great pellet. Puts some fun back into life! Cleaning it is not really the highlight of my week, but c'mon it's 20 min to 1/2 hour every Saturday I think I can manage. Never thought I would be this happy about an appliance, best move I made. And it is certainly saving me money by not burning oil! Love my Harman, Pro America!
  14. RCR

    RCR New Member

    Joined:
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    29
    Well written CT pellet. I am similar to smoke show ... I liked the forum,and the content. The stove is the merely the price of admission.The pellets will be my weekly fix (and its legal) .Where can i find the elusive pellet? Wife will love the heat and I get to manage a fire all winter . When the sad day comes this spring and we have to say our goodbyes and shut the stove down.,the chase for the elusive pellet will just begin. Watch out OMV your stash is in my crosshairs.LOL
  15. mrjohneel

    mrjohneel Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2011
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    Loc:
    Suburban Boston
    It's all about saving money over oil with me. I like the idea of maintaining/servicing my own heating source, and I keep my eyes open for pellets when I'm out and about, but the driving force is keeping my oil bill down.
    SteveB likes this.
  16. ltlhawk

    ltlhawk Member

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    Loc:
    Pelham, NH
    For me it was about being warm at a reasonable cost. I absolutely HATE the cold, I dont know why I live where I live. Maybe it is because the kids live here, who knows... My point is that for as far back as I can remember I was always cold in my house because I could not afford to keep the heat up. Now I can maintain a very comfortable temperature for less money than what I was paying to the oil man.. And yes you are correct I have become obsessed and I am loving it....
    will711 and Eatonpcat like this.
  17. iron stove

    iron stove Feeling the Heat

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    Yes, im saving money. I was saving a bunch when I had oul heat and it was&4 a gallon. But this year i switched to natural gas, new main brough down my street. So savings are less than oil, and there was that new gas boiler.

    But once again, Gas in domestically produced, so another advantage.
  18. Augmister

    Augmister Minister of Fire

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    Good job CT! Before I meet my wife, she was freezing her "assets off" in a small ranch house that was under insulated and heated by electric baseboards. We put 2+2 together and came up with a pellet stove for the winter of 2005. It was both about heat and $$$. With shoulder pellets last year, we heated the house for about $675 and nobody was close to being cold. Even if the price doubled for pellets, we would still use them. I am actually more afraid of the grid crashing, as the Achilles Heel of the pellet stove is electricity. Yes, I have a gasoline generator, but if the grid goes... ppfffttttttt. I am looking for a small wood stove so if the SHTF, I can yank the pellet stove out and split wood. (Never take anything for granted and always have a back up plan....Katrina and Sandy are great case studies.)
  19. Mark Maquillan

    Mark Maquillan New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Central Washington
    New to this forum and not quite obsessed (yet). I hope to save about 500 gallons of fuel compared to what I have used in the past. I think tending a fire is part of the nature of man and that is what brings the obsession with the stove thing.
    The Ds likes this.
  20. bbfarm

    bbfarm Minister of Fire

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    wisconsin
    ahem!....some of us are women here. () actually my poor old man gets dragged into a lot of things kicking and screaming and this pellet stove was just another one of them. He did not want one, but when I asked him how we were going to pay for oil he didn't have an answer. So I did my research and found one.

    We literally could not afford the oil to heat our house anymore. the last month we used the oil burner it cost $400 worth of oil (half a tank) in 3 weeks keeping the house a toasty 62 degrees. brrrrrr.

    When we 1st bought the farm almost 17 years ago, our fuel oil bill was on a budget plan at $25 a month, then that went up over the years to $250 a month, to no one wanted to do oil on a budget plan anymore because the price was out of control. so that meant that it was pay for filling up at time of delivery.

    We installed our stove that we bought used last dec. it came with a 2 tons of pellets and it has already paid for itself with just last year's season and this fall. so am I saving money? - heck yeah!

    I love this site, I read almost every thread just to learn and offer some meager advice when I can.

    my only regret is that we didn't get a pellet stove years ago.
    will711 and Eatonpcat like this.
  21. will711

    will711 Minister of Fire

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    After a few days when the wife looks at me and says "this is the best thing we ever bought" and she has stated this on several occasions. She loves it on Fridays we have cocktails in front of the stove nice place to decompress from BS that went on at work.

    I like hanging out here, I too started before buying the stove very educational and a ton of fun.
  22. will711

    will711 Minister of Fire

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    Oh you will be obsessed:) It doesn't take very long for this to happen.
  23. Eatonpcat

    Eatonpcat Minister of Fire

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    My wife says the same thing!!
  24. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    I did the math once based on $225 tons (predom average price at the time) vs oil. And the price of oil basically had to be 2.75 or less for breakeven/cheaper than burning pellets. Considering it's well north of a $1 more a gallon these days, there's easily a 25% cost savings. Plus, it's fun to sit around the fire and it becomes a center piece of the room. People like fire.
  25. will711

    will711 Minister of Fire

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    For once in our lives we did something right!!
    Eatonpcat likes this.

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