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How many tons I need for the winter season?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by geek, Apr 26, 2008.

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  1. geek

    geek Minister of Fire

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    Since this will be my first time buying in bulk by ton, I'd like to have an idea.

    I have a 2-story colonial, around ~900sq ft on each floor, stove is on 1st floor which is about 950 sq ft, I plan NOT to turn the oil furnace if at all possible.
    House built on 2001 and I think it is well insulated, attick has insulation batts on the floor but nothing against the roof just the plain roof joists.

    I know there might be some other factors but is one bag (or less) per day about average? If so would many tons?

    I was thinking about 3 tons but I guess that will not be enough if I need to keep it running from around October thru end of March/April.....I live in CT.

    Thoughts?

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  2. requin

    requin Member

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    how warm do you want to keep it? Do you want both floors and all rooms to be the same warmth? That makes a diff. My condo is 1000 sq ft and I burned 2 tons last year..I"m going to buy 3 this year. But I like it very warm (about 80). I do not have stove running at night or when I"m at work; at those times I keep the propane furnace set at 60. Doing that, I only had to fill the propane tanks once last winter. I guess my point is, your house is twice as big as mine so I'm guessing you'll need more than 3 tons esp. if you don't want to burn any oil at all.

    My condo has terrible leaky windows though, your house is probably much better insulated.
  3. geek

    geek Minister of Fire

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    with the current oil furnace I always kept the temp. around 69 and lowered it at late night a couple degrees, if I can burn pellets and keep the temp. downstairs (where we spent most of the time) around 70 (or maybe 72?) and around 69 upstatirs that would be perfect.
  4. sylvestermcmonkey

    sylvestermcmonkey Member

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    Calculating the amount of pellets you'll burn involves many variables. One starting point is to use your seasonal oil use to determine your present BTU consumption, and using the actual efficiency of your oil furnace, convert that to BTUs delivered as useful heat. Then, using a realistic efficiency of your pellet stove, determine how many BTUs in the form of unburned pellets you'll need to feed it with to deliver the same BTU output as your past use suggests. Express that answer in tons of pellets and you'll have an estimate.

    There are caveats with this method. If you use oil fired hot air at present, the heat distribution from a pellet stove will be less uniform, which may or may not be acceptable for use as a whole-house heating appliance. Since there will likely be more heat loss from the room in which the stove is installed, you can't assume your home's BTU requirements will be identical to using your central hot air furnace.

    The 25-PDV isn't a central air heating appliance, so I'd advise not thinking of it as one. However, you might find you can live just fine with heating a smaller space, in which case your seasonal heat requirements will be less than they've been. That's the way most people lived before the advent of central heat - before insulation became common it didn't make sense to try heating the entire house.

    In my opinion the most limiting factor is how many bags of pellets you'll be willing to lug into your house every day. Oil and gas are wonderful fuels for the lazy man. Everything else will require some work.

    Your attic insulation is normal. The more insulation in the attic floor the better, but don't insulate the rafters. It should be cold up there in the winter.
  5. geek

    geek Minister of Fire

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    thanks, I forgot to mention I have baseboard hot water for heat, not forced air.
  6. sylvestermcmonkey

    sylvestermcmonkey Member

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    Baseboard hot water is great. Do you have separate zone controls? That would open up some options for you.
  7. geek

    geek Minister of Fire

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    yes, each floor has its own zone and individual thermostat.
  8. sylvestermcmonkey

    sylvestermcmonkey Member

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    That's a great arrangement. Bedrooms upstairs, I assume. Forced hot air circulation would make temperature distribution from the stove an option, but overall I think baseboard hot water is preferable for its ability to control separate zones. I'd say it's realistic to expect to heat the lower floor with the 25-PDV alone, and if that results in an acceptable temperature upstairs, great. If not you could always supplement the bedrooms with your oil hot water zone. If you are willing to accept burning some oil for that purpose, your 3 ton estimate is in the realm of possibility.

    pegdot's post in this thread might be helpful: http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/17620/
  9. kinsmanstoves

    kinsmanstoves Minister of Fire

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    Just a good guess here but plan on a minimum of 3 tons and look for slighlty over 4 tons.better to have a few bags left over at the end of the season than run short and trying to find them in March or April.
  10. smg64ct

    smg64ct Member

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    I'm also from Naugatuck. I have 2000 sq ft open floor plan. I heated my house with 4 tons and I had a little left over. I ran my stove 24/7.
  11. geek

    geek Minister of Fire

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    thanks to all, hey steveg where do you typically get your pellets around here?
  12. nailed_nailer

    nailed_nailer Minister of Fire

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    I live on the south end of a lake. In winter the wind really blows off the water and sucks the heat from the house. The house is around 1000sq feet single floor.

    I burned 3 tons of premium pellets this year. Usually about a bag a day but 2 bags when it is really cold and windy.

    I will be buying 4 tons for next year. Just to have some on hand if the winter goes long.

    Good Luck,
    ---Nailer---
  13. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    Did you heated a 2000 sq house solely on under 4 tons of pellets for an entire year??? That number sounds pretty low. Should I assume there were some (a lot of) very cold areas in the house, or that you had another source of heat?
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