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Going with a Pellet...have questions

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by timss13, Jun 6, 2008.

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  1. timss13

    timss13 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    46
    Loc:
    Peterborough, NH
    Hi All,

    Been reading a bit and mulling the switch to pellet for a couple of years now. Here is the scoop. We have a 2000 sq foot home. Our plan is to place a pellet insert into the brick hearth in the living room which has direct access to the upstairs via an open, old style staircase. four corner bedrooms upstairs. Off of the living room is a door about ten feet away to the kitchen and another door about 20 feet away to the dining room. This area, including the upstairs makes up about 1600 sq ft. We aim to heat that 1600 sq feet with the insert and then zone the rest of the house to use the oil boiler since that continues down a bit and might be hard to get the heat from the insert to it.

    One local dealer with a good reputation thinks the Harman Accentra Insert should do the job except under the most extreme conditions, -20 and windy outside! They also state that they do not recommend lining the chimney since Harman does not recommend it.

    In the winter, we try to go for 68 degrees during the day and low 60's at night. Is there any reason to consider something bigger? Can you put a freestanding stove into a hearth and would that even make sense?

    I appreciate any expertise....

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  2. MoeB

    MoeB New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2006
    Messages:
    82
    Loc:
    Bangor, Maine
    My personal opinion, which isn't worth much, is go with a bigger stove if you can possible afford it, even if it means not getting an insert. My Accentra doesn't heat nearly that much space. We have to shut the door at the bottom of the hallway going upstairs to keep the heat from going upstairs and cooling off the downstairs. We have the stove at one end of the house (and another one at the other due to a weird layout). They both do a good job, and we control the heat upstairs by opening and shutting the doors. If I had a stove in the central fireplace in the living room, the heat would travel up and not out to the kitchen. I wish I had a floorplan to upload to explain this better. Have someone that heats with a pellet stove without a sale to make check out your layout in person and tell you what they think. Then ask another, and another if you can. It's easier to buy the right size and put it in the best place now than after the fact.

    Good luck.
    Moe
  3. sylvestermcmonkey

    sylvestermcmonkey Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    Messages:
    80
    Loc:
    The Land that Time Forgot
    Lots of questions!

    It's difficult to come up with a simple yes-or-no answer based on your information. First and foremost, consider a stove as a space heater, not a central heating unit. Whatever you do, the living room will be warmer than anyplace else in your home. Having said that, the Accentra will probably suffice to warm the adjacent kitchen and dining room. The upstairs bedrooms are more difficult to address. It's a function of the extent to which warm air from the living room will be able to displace the colder air upstairs. That won't occur on its own - you have to move the air positively. You'll probably be satisfied if you normally inhabit the bedrooms only while sleeping, and already prefer them cold. All the more reason to share body heat :)

    If you can determine your overall seasonal BTU usage, you'll be in a better position to determine your required capacity. However, don't think it's a one-to-one comparison, since the more evenly distributed heat from a central heating unit will result in different overall heat loss than that of a pellet stove.

    You can install a freestanding stove in lieu of an insert, as long as your hearth provides a large enough area for code compliance. It stands to reason a freestanding stove provides for more heat circulation vs. an insert, but the amount may or may not be significant. Do what you think results in the best appearance.
  4. timss13

    timss13 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    46
    Loc:
    Peterborough, NH
    The Mt Vernon Insert is the other one I am considering. How noisy is it? The quote I received for it came out to be around $4500 including chimney liner and install. Sound about right?
  5. nhdblfan

    nhdblfan Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    179
    Loc:
    Central NH

    a bit north of you but still wondering where you got prices as I am shopping for one as well.
    Thanks
  6. timss13

    timss13 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    46
    Loc:
    Peterborough, NH
    Mt Vernon quote from All Basics in Merrimack. Harman from Heart Line in JAffrey
  7. sylvestermcmonkey

    sylvestermcmonkey Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    80
    Loc:
    The Land that Time Forgot
    The Mt Vernon has two user-adjustable circulation fan settings, normal and "quiet". I keep mine on normal which is quiet enough for me. I don't hear it running unless I'm in the same room. "Quiet" would be suitable for a library, that's not an exaggeration. Quadra-Fire stoves have a reputation for quiet. $4500 is a good price, if that includes a full length chimney lining then it's a very good price.

    Before shutting it down for the season, I ran it through all its modes including battery backup. I've only burned four bags but so far no problems. I wish it had a bigger hopper capacity, enough for a full 40lb bag, but that's a minor complaint.

    I considered a Harman too but I couldn't find a dealer in my area that seemed motivated. It was hard enough finding anyone motivated at all. All else being equal, go with the dealer most interested in your business.
  8. Kenpobldr

    Kenpobldr Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
    Messages:
    35
    Loc:
    South Eastern Ma.
    I just purchased my MT. Vernon last weekend for $4,064 plus tax ($203.20) for a total of $4,267.20 if the dealer would have delivered and installed it for an additional six hundred dollars but the installation is something that I can complete myself. I did check arround with two other dealers but one was the same price and another was slightly higer in price. I was able to get them to include the log set and two bags of pellets for free. I really didn't want the log set but it might look good at christmas time. I plan on installing it next weekend.
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