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Head spinning: pellet or wood?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Wear More Layers, Nov 9, 2013.

  1. Wear More Layers

    Wear More Layers New Member

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    People are still allowed to burn coal? It's portrayed in the media as a "dirty" fuel that releases diabolical amounts of carbon.

    You guys are throwing so many creative choices at me that my head is spinning again.

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  2. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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  3. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    Yup, a friend has a coal burner in his basement, he heats with.
  4. Wear More Layers

    Wear More Layers New Member

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    Another creative idea. Unfortunately I don't have a walk-out basement. Anything I store has to go down a flight of stairs.
  5. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    Here is the latest Vermont fuel price report. According to their calculations propane is currently more expensive on a BTU basis than propane: http://publicservice.vermont.gov/si...eport/2013/October 2013 Fuel Price Report.pdf
    If you get a new system and have a different average propane price in your area the numbers can shake out different for you. However, in any case both are more than wood or pellet.
  6. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    My grandparents heated a lot with wood, they stored it in the basement. No walkout/bilco doors, so my grandpa would take out one of the windows every year and use a chute (kind of along the lines of a conveyor, but without it moving) he built to get it in easier than carrying it down the stairs.
  7. Wear More Layers

    Wear More Layers New Member

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    I've been thinking about the very same idea. I think the two things left on my to-do list for now are to investigate mini-split heat pumps and to figure out if there's a flush insert that fits my small firebox.
  8. 930dreamer

    930dreamer Member

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    I wanted a pellet stove for the bagged pellets that were neat and clean. I also wanted emergency heat that required zero gas/electricity or back-up generator if the power went out (Feb2013 blizzard). I picked up an used EPA rated wood insert and CSS at least seven cords of wood just in case. In your situation either may be the correct answer to your needs.
  9. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    Not sure I trust that conclusion :)
  10. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    ;lol

    Ok, it is propane more than fuel oil.
    gyrfalcon likes this.
  11. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    We knew what you meant;)
  12. Oregon aloha

    Oregon aloha Member

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    With pellets your buying into a utility that has no substitute. They ask more you pay more. With wood when your broke you can scrounge wood, when you have money you can burn Bio Bricks and have the same convenience as pellets . Pellets and Bio Bricks need to be stored inside and wood can spend all it time outdoors until you burn it. So I don't see where the cost can be compared as close to the same.
    Besides with a pellet stove if you have no power, you have no heat. I have always voted to stay warm regardless of financial status of other forms of utility.
    This forum can be dangerous for many dealers, because you as a buyer are more informed and they become unable to sell you a bag of goods. If the dealer embraces your knowledge, then he will be a better dealer to trust with your purchase. You shouldn't trust everything you read or everything a dealer tells you. There are truths that you will hear from all sources that you will need to put together for yourself. But know that this site has no one with any other interest then to help you through your decisions.
    gyrfalcon likes this.
  13. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Lots of people make'em. Lot's of people sell'em. Hearth.com shows you how to use'em.

    The only problem I have with my pellet stove is that in an extended power outage I can't burn the coffee table in it. >>
  14. Cynnergy

    Cynnergy Member

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    Has anyone mentioned that flush wood inserts need a blower too? I have neither a flush insert nor a pellet stove, but if noise is a consideration, I think both make noise to some degree.
    gyrfalcon likes this.
  15. Oregon aloha

    Oregon aloha Member

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    But the fan doesn't need to be run all the time. If you heat 24/7 you would only need the fan on the coldest days.
  16. teutonicking

    teutonicking Feeling the Heat

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    Disclosure: I have never owned a pellet stove.

    If I were you I would go with wood. It costs about the same or less than pellets, but probably not more. If you are buying firewood, you can buy one year's worth in advance and store that in your yard. Cover just one cord of it so you always have dry wood to burn. Wood generally produces more heat than pellets, so that's a plus. You can burn for up to 12 hours with wood, and you will light fires at night anyway. Wood makes a nicer fire to look at, in my opinion. Maintenance with wood is less, anohter plus. Wood requires no power (a small plus). Smell, if it exists, is generally good. If you burn the stove right, there is little or no smoke smell, except perhaps when you are just starting the fire. Some woods smell good when burned. My neighbors seem to like the smell of my wood stove fires, to the extent that they smell them at all. If you are willing to buy your own firewood, the only real plus I see from a pellet stove is that you can set and control the temperature more easily. The other advantage, direct venting, doesn't really apply in your case since you have a fireplace and chimney already.
  17. KodiakII

    KodiakII Feeling the Heat

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    I have both, so here is my take.
    Pellet stove=convenience
    Wood=commitment, but with the ability to run without hydro. We have had three outages this fall, all over 1 hour with the longest over 3.
  18. 2stoveshome

    2stoveshome New Member

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    I had a Harman advanced Pellet stove in my previous house and I have 1 wood stove insert and one wood/coal standalone stove in my current house. I have my wood stove insert installed last month. I don't have good size of yard and I don't have source of free wood. Pellet stove is like a furnace, you can set the temp and let it go for a day or two. However, the price of pellet may change by the supply/demand. The reason I chose wood insert is because I like to see/play the real fire and I can choose whatever I want to burn with the stove. Kids like to make smores inside the house too. (with the stove door opened) There are many types of biobrick for wood stove in the market now so burning "wood" stove is not that dirty anymore. They should be easy to store. The price biobrick should be inline with the wood pellet. If the price goes up, I can always go back and burn wood....The only complain I have is the blower for my jotul insert does not kick on until the stove reach certain temp. It usually takes good 40-50 minutes for the blower to start before the heat can be spread to the room. Not sure about other wood insert. My 2 cents.
  19. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    That is by design. First the stove needs to get hot enough to ensure proper combustion before the blower can turn on as it will invariably cool down the stove. I don't have a Jotul but 40 to 50 minutes to reach temp sound excessive, however, even from a cold start. My PE Super insert takes about 20 minutes before the blower kicks in. How do you start a fire?
  20. Dave A.

    Dave A. Minister of Fire

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    Ah yes, flush inserts with high WAF to boot! That's exactly what I wanted when I started looking for inserts (5 or more years ago). The ones I liked the most were Lopi flush face Cape Cod and and the VC Montpelier. They really look great in the fireplace. Eventually you learn what makes a good stove/insert is NOT just a pretty face.

    When I went looking more recently (after I owned an insert for almost 2 seasons) dealers tried to woo me with the Jotul Rockwood and the Quad Grand Voyager and others, but this time I knew better.
  21. 2stoveshome

    2stoveshome New Member

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    Thanks Grisu.
    I don't think I am lack of fire when I start. I mean....it burns pretty well. After 20 minutes, I can feel heat outside of the glass. I think it is just the way the snapstat is designed/configured on the Jotul c450. The location of the snapstat is at the edge of the firebox which takes longest time to be heat up.
  22. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, ours is located on the bottom left side of the stove so it takes a while from a cold start to kick on. We can have a 700 degree top temp and the blower won't be on yet. On the other hand, it will still be running with the top temp cool enough that it's not registering on the thermo so it's basically blowing a cool breeze!
  23. Wear More Layers

    Wear More Layers New Member

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    If I go with a flush insert, I'm struggling to find something that will fit. The dimensions of my fireplace opening are: 35" wide, 30" high, and 20" deep at the opening. The back, however, is only 23" wide and 15" deep. So far I've found only 4 stoves that might fit:
    - Hampton HI200
    - Regency CI1250
    - JOTUL C450
    - Neo 1.6

    Are you aware of any others? Are all of the above too small to be able to heat a 1,400 sq ft home to 60-65 degrees?
  24. 2stoveshome

    2stoveshome New Member

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    JOTUL C450 has a spec of 1,600 square feet of heating capacity. If you run the stove 24/7, I don't think you will have problem heating 1400 sq ft home to 60-65 degree. Again, it all depends on the fuel(type of seasoned wood) you have and the air flow of your house.
  25. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    All of those stoves are rather small with a firebox of less than 2 cu ft. You will only get burn times of 5 to 6 hours with those. They may get your house to the temps you are looking for but struggle to maintain it there. Unless someone wants only a supplemental heater we recommend going a size bigger to the 2 to 2.5 cu ft range. I know you want an insert that does not take that much space but I would look into non-flush inserts. Many stick out only a few inches; hardly a problem even with a small living room. How deep is your hearth in front of the fireplace (E)?
    In addition, when you say it the back is only 15" deep what do you mean by that? Is that the height? A picture may help. Can you use that scheme to measure it?
    [​IMG]
    http://www.woodheat.com/how_to_measure.php

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