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How many BTUs do I need

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by snikr, Sep 17, 2008.

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  1. snikr

    snikr Member

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    Loc:
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    Newbie here so be nice....lol I'm wondering how many BTU's should I be looking for out of a pellet stove to heat my house. It's a 40' x 24' ranch style home. The stove will go in the basement. I have a duct system that I've used with my old King Wood Ciruclator. Home is well insulated and I use about 3 1/2 cords of wood for 95% of my heat now. The King needs replacing so I'm looking into a pellet stove for next winter. I can make it through this winter with my current setup. Thanks

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  2. ktfinch2000

    ktfinch2000 New Member

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    Sep 13, 2008
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    Loc:
    Coventry, Rhode Island
    I have a 1100 sq ft raised ranch. My stove is in the living room. I just purchased a breckwell p23 which does 2200sq ft or 45k Btu. I recommend getting a stove larger than what the size of your home is that way you can run the stove on a lower setting and crank it up if needed. The breckwell seems like its going to work very well when the temp drops this winter. Temps are in the low 50's now at night and I test ran my stove. Temps in my home were at 70 and jumped up to 80 in the living area and 74 in the bedrooms which are down a hallway. I only ran the stove for an hour or two on a low setting. Hope this helps :)

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  3. Dojistar

    Dojistar Member

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    Loc:
    Central MA
    I have the same type and size house and use an Englander 25-PDVC. It's rated at 1500 square feet and I believe 44000btu's. I run it on low most of the time and kick it up to 4 on colder days. The house is usually around 70-74 degrees and I burn about 30 lbs of pellets a day on average in the dead of winter.

    But, my stove is on the living level. The living room to be exact. So my heat is a little more direct. if I had my stove in the basement and was trying to heat the house, I'd probably go with the next size up. Something rated for 2500 sq/ft.
  4. crausch

    crausch New Member

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    I have a question in regards to the BTUs also. I don't mean to post within this post, but the question and answer may help this user and others as well.

    I would have thought that there would be a direct relation with the number of BTUs in relation to the square footage that it heats. For example, mentioned above is "2200sq ft or 45k Btu" and "1500 square feet and I believe 44000btu’s". Only a thousand BTUs apart but the difference in square footage seems significant. I noticed the same kind of differences when researching the specs on different brand stoves.

    So, I guess my question is what makes for the different sq foot coverage on stoves that produce the same number of BTUs? Or, is there a dirrect relationship and advertisment tries to stretch the truth?
  5. mkmh

    mkmh New Member

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    Loc:
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    Yeah, don't get too hung up on sq footage ratings. The BTU rating is obviously more meaningful. You might find that some models do a slightly better job of distributing the heat (thus the higher sq footage rating), but IMO generally speaking your not going to effectively heat the max end of the range. So if a stove is rated for 2200 square feet, you better be well insulated, have an open floor plan, position the stove perfectly etc etc to have any shot of heating that whole space.
    A stove in the 40,000 BTU range works well for most people, but (as another poster pointed out) to get the best "bang for buck" you need to have the stove in your living area.

    In general the "how many btus do I need?" question is one of the most challenging to answer as no two situations are a like, and there are a ton of variables that need to be considered in the equation.
    For lots more information you can also do a search on "how many btu's" you will most likely find several other threads on this topic.
  6. pegdot

    pegdot New Member

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    Loc:
    Upstate, SC
    If you do a search here on "basement" you'll find tons of posts about basement installs. It seems that putting the stove in the basement never works as well as people hope since a large portion of the heat goes towards heating the foundation walls, floors, etc. and very little of it actually makes it up into the living area. After all my reading here I couldn't honestly recommend a basement installation to anyone unless they were talking about a pellet furnace rather than a stove.
  7. crausch

    crausch New Member

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    Great answer. It sounds as though each individual will simply need to make a judgment call based on their own arrangment.

    One thing I read when purchasing my stove was to buy big. Get more than what the specs say you need. And with what you are saying about most likely not getting the max coverage in most instances, this would confirm that statement. As it has been said you can always burn low.

    I have not burned my Harman Advance yet, but I used that same logic of getting more BTUs than needed. My stove is rated at 48k btu and I am just looking to supplement my existing heat.
  8. jrousell

    jrousell New Member

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    also.. keep in mind that many parts of Vermont are much colder than RI, CT, and Mass....

    since pellet stoves are variable output, you can get away with oversizing, where if you did that with a more fixed style applicanece like a furnace, you would be losing efficiency...

    so -- I say go a little bigger if need be... I would look for 50K BTU or bigger
  9. crausch

    crausch New Member

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    Hi Pegdot,

    I guess I might fall into that category of people. I have placed my stove in the basement as well. Since this is my first winter with it, I will not know my success story for several months. I do agree with mkmh though, you have to consider each individual circumstance. In my case, I also have a 24' x 40' house. However, my house is a split-level. The basement is completely finshed and insulated. The layout of the house (broke into 4 levels) lends itself very well to heat rise.

    I'll have to see how it goes though. My fingers are crossed.
  10. snikr

    snikr Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    121
    Loc:
    Wallingford, VT
    Thanks for your answers. The one good thing about my basement install is I have a duct system to get the heat upstairs. It work well with the old woodstove and no blower so I'm hoping the pellet stove with a blower will work as well. Right now it looks like I'll be getting a Breckwell Big E. Most "bang for my buck" I can find.
  11. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    It comes down more to the amount of pellets you will burn than to the exact BTU rating, since most stoves can end up burning as many pellets as you will likely need.

    As a rough guess, you will end up burning as many tons of pellets as cords of wood - maybe 3-4 to do the same job. I'm figuring this based on the fact that your old stove is not up to modern efficiency standards. Otherwise, a cord of mixed northern hardwoods would be more than a ton of pellets -
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