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Hardwood vs Pellets: how much is how much??

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Swedishchef, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Hi guys

    I am looking at perhaps moving in the next year or so. I had looked into an old victorian house with a boiler but the cost of upgrading the heating, wiring and insulation is just wayyyy too high. So I will likely build a house.

    Right now I have a wood stove. I love the heat! But since I don't have a tractor or ATV, woodlot or a splitter I can cut the odd tree (softwood) on my property, split it by hand and move all my wood (the stuff I cut and the stuff I buy) with my wheelbarrow. Well after 4 years the novelty has started wearing off. Ha!

    How many BTUs is there in a pallet (say 75 bags) of pellets? Anybody have an idea? Hardwood pellets of course. A friend of mine said that a pallet of 75 bags of hardwood pellets is the equivalent to 2 cords of hardwood. Does this make sense?

    I was looking at the Enviro M55 insert. How many pellets does this eat? How long would a bag last on a medium burn setting?

    Thanks a ton guys

    Andrew

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  2. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Conservative estimate is 8000btu/lb. So 8000 x 3000 lbs = approx 24,000,000 btu's
  3. Cleetussnow

    Cleetussnow Member

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    I have the same stove, and there are some variables with the house and climate obviously, but a couple bags a day is a good guess. I might have burned another alf bag when things were terrible out but not normal
  4. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Approximately 3 to 4 pounds per hour is the average fuel consumption of the M55. But You'd need to figure how long it will run(hours per day) to get what it eats total. That depends on Square footage and how tight the shack is. A good guess is about 1.5 bags per day on average for a 2K sqft home @72::F. Cold days more-Warm days less. Or about 3 to 3.5 tons/year.

    I was told 1 ton of pellets is approx 1.5 cords of hardwood when I bought my stove. I quickly learned it varies because of pellet quality and what the cord wood was. Black locust might have enough BTU's in a cord to surpass a ton of decent pellets.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2013
  5. Utilitrack

    Utilitrack Feeling the Heat

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    Check out softwood pellets, generally more BTU's than hardwoods as well as cleaner. Search the forum softwood pellets vs. hardwoods has been discussed ad nauseum. good luck!
    The Ds and newbieinCT like this.
  6. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the information guys. I am just trying to get a feel for heating a house with an m55. My house would be new, well insulated and air tight. If I go through with this, I just don't want to end up running out of pellets. I guess I would become a pellet pig :)

    My personal opinion about pellets is that softwood or hardwood make no difference. What makes the difference is the density (which is cause during compaction of the dust I am guesssing?) In the wood stove work, softwoods contain less BTUs due to their density. Wood is wood, same type of fibres/cell composition. Just some are packed more tightly.

    I would have access to Canwick pellets and perhaps a couple of other brands. Canwick are made abouto 1 hr from the place I may be moving. I could get them for $4.50 a bag or so. Maybe $5.
    http://canawick.com/en/produits.php?cat=Pellets&c=10

    Online they seem to say that 1 cord of maple/yellow birch yields about 22-23 MBTU/cord. So 75 bags of pellets would yield the same amount of BTUs. I think where a person saves is when taking into consideration efficiency, right? Low moisture content and pellet stoves are much more efficient?

    My new house may have a heat pump in it so the stove may simply balance out the pump, I could use it to heat primarily or as a secondary heat source. I just hate running out of burnable combustibles if I have any kind of stove. Haha. With my wood, I am 2-3 years ahead.

    Also, can pellet stove run on a generator in case of power failure?

    Andrew
  7. boosted3g

    boosted3g Feeling the Heat

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    I'm in a similar situation with having a heat pump and although it's great in the spring and fall it's not the same heat you'll get with the stove in the winter when the temps low. Remember the btu output of a heat pump is rated at 49 degrees F so when you have a 3 ton heat pump which kicks out 36k btu at 49 degrees it's sustantually less at 20 degrees. But you still have an airhandler than can move your stoves heat around. It's not perfect for evening out temps in the house but it's better than nothing. With a new house you could put some thought into your duct design and pull more heat from the stove room to distribute it to the furthest rooms. I personally like this set up although I haven't perfected it yet. A pellet stove can most defiantly run on a generator and the general consensus is that inverter types are much safer. I have not run mine on the Honda in my sig but I would not hesitate to do so.
  8. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    Due to the "pitch" in a softwood pellet they contain more btu's ( and maybe they can be compressed a little more)... Doug Fir is generally considered to be the best pellet material available... period.
    briansol and newbieinCT like this.
  9. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Really? I didn't know that. Good to know!
  10. peirhead

    peirhead Feeling the Heat

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  11. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Thanks PEI. I had forgotten about the calculator!

    WHere in PEI do you live? I am originally from NB and plan on moving back in the next year or so...
  12. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    You're NBish - not Swedish?

    Say what ?!?
    Swedishchef likes this.
  13. moey

    moey Minister of Fire

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    If your new house has a ground source heat pump ( geothermal ) it may be cheaper to operate then pellets. I know ours is of course it depends on electricity rates and pellet cost. A ground source heat pump works at all temps unlike a air source heat pump which I think some others mentioned. The mini splits start to struggle around 0F. We have a pellet stove as backup in case we lose power. I wish now we would have gotten a regular wood eater so I would not have to deal with a generator if we lost power.
  14. moey

    moey Minister of Fire

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    They drop at lower temps the newest mini splits are around COP of 2 at their lowest rating temp. Below that they shut off. Of course most your time is spent at higher temps so COP will be higher.
  15. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Nope, no swede here. Just used to love the Muppet character!

    Moey: electricity rates in the province I may move to are fairly high. Right now I have some of the cheapest rates in North America. If/when I move, soooo long cheap electricity! My rate will be 50% higher than what it is right now.

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