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How much $$$ will you save using a pellet stove?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Mainiac, Sep 24, 2008.

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  1. DiggerJim

    DiggerJim Feeling the Heat

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    We usually don't count "Road Construction" as it overlaps with Almost Winter -- most actual road construction occurs in the 30 days preceding the closing of the asphalt plants in November here. Before that it's just a change from year to year of where they are storing their construction equipment.

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  2. ssupercoolss

    ssupercoolss Member

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    unfortunatley no math will work here. see, i defy all of the math previously stated. i used maybe 100 gallons of oil and 2 tons of pellets to heat my house last year. usually i burn 800 gallons for heating. and here is why pellet consumption is different for everyone. i am single. i keep my house at about 64 degrees. that is comfortable to me. at 70 i start to sweat. i dont heat my basement, unless i am having poker night, and in that case i use an electric heater. i close the door to my 3rd bedroom. so, what you have to understand is with my pellet stove, which is in my living room, i am heating about1/2 the house my oil boiler would heat. it has one zone, and i cant shut any of the radiators off. so for my living room to be 64, my 3rd bedroom will also be 64, which is kind of a waste, since ghosts dont like heat. long story short - its gonna be different for everyone.
  3. 90durham

    90durham New Member

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    I have a new stove myself and am projecting cutting my oil consumption by 50%, I have kept a spreadsheet of usage based on auto delivery the last 3 years and at current delivery prices(still nearly $5.00 a US gallon here). I "hope" that my stove will pay for itself in 3-4 years and with above oil price and pellets at about $300.00/ ton I believe is somewhat conservative.
    I too live in a century brick with 2400 square feet, center hall plan and have 2 kids and a wife who learned to defeat my programmable thermostat within seconds of me installing it.
    The risk of fuel oil dropping in price is meaningless to me, the lower the better. I bought the stove to reduce dependence on oil, be a little greener and add a wonderful addition and conversation piece to our home.
    I won't know until spring exactly where it will shake out but am certain alot of new users will be posting results by then.
  4. RonaldAdams

    RonaldAdams Member

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    Hello

    I purchased my pellet stove to keep the basement warm and to stop my teenage daugthers from interupting me during the hockey ( GO HABS!) game to complain that it's cold downstairs and can they watch TV upstairs where it is nice and warm. :lol:

    And it's an added bonus if some of that heat drifts upstairs and reduces my oil consumption.
  5. Mainiac

    Mainiac New Member

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    It's interesting that we haven't had much feedback from people that have been using pellet stoves for a few years and compare their previous oil usage before they got the pellet stove? I keep doing the "math" so to speak and for the life of me can't see any reason not to put one in? I won't bother to save $50 a month... not worth the hassel. I'm curious what others feel they save each winter with the stove in place?
  6. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    That's because we know all too well how these threads wind up. ;-)

    Seriously though, I'm going into the 4th yr with this stove. The years
    prior to getting this stove oil was way cheap so I can't really compare
    to the past. Can only look forward and do the "math" for the here and now.
    I paid $768 for 3 tons of Cleanfire delivered and my oil guy to date wants 3.48.
    Also save by doing all my own stove maintenance
    and confident I can replace any parts that may fail in the future.
    (Last Feb. I replaced the room air blower, it got noisy because I never removed it to clean)
    I'm saving enough for it to be worth it to me to burn pellets.
  7. ktfinch2000

    ktfinch2000 New Member

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    I guess it comes down to saving a little bit or a substantial amount of money depending on your own circumstances. We are not going to use more oil so thats a good thing imo! :)
  8. iceman

    iceman Minister of Fire

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    i have/had pellet stoves.. they are area heaters in which with the right setup they can heat a house .. however not as good as a furnace (which will give more even heating in rooms) if your house is insulated very well putting it in the basement will do more than alittle for you ... not insulated well forget it! it will take days to get the chill outta the basement running a pellet stove without chewing up pellets! for the money you are gonna spend get a furnace if available! if not find somewhere else in the house to put it ...make a place if need be.. sounds like your house might not be well insulated take the 2000 and start insulating first.. you can prolly do most of it yourself saving ALOTTa money!!! that will be your biggest return this year .. insulate and if done right in such a old home you could prolly cut your bill in half.. then find a place for the stove... in the basement unless you are gonna be down there is a waste of your money at this time..
    i have had 3 pellet stoves and currently a harman accentra... stove works ok forwhat i want it to heat.. but night and day when i took out tile on ground level and replaced with carpet..why the carpet was like adding insulation ....
  9. Mainiac

    Mainiac New Member

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    The house is insulated not the problem. Has blown in insulation in all the walls, all windows have been updated / replaced etc. For a 2 1/2 story home I don't think 1,100 - 1,200 gallons is excessive. I follow the financial markets fairly closely. Very disconcerning to see how oil prices rose to such levels on speculation... it's settled a bit for now, but for how long? I started to realize I've got too many "heating eggs" in one basket. Want to "diversify" my heating options... aka, the reason I'm looking at installing the Pellet Stove.

    It's not the $$$ amount of "savings" I believe is as important for comparison as much as "gallons saved" are. ($ amounts fluctuate too much) Most oil companies can tell you how many gallons you used for any fiscal year. So if for example someone used 800 gallons from june 05 - june 06. And 874 gallons from june 06 - june 07. Then installed a new pellet stove in say Sept of 07. How much oil did they use from June 07 - June 08? And during that time how many bags / tons of pellets? If the oil usage went down to 524 gallons for instance I'd say it's a success... if they still use 790 gallons they are "heat diversified" but didn't save much money? So is it worth the hassle to stack 40 lb bags of pellets, storage, & maintenance? If not then maybe it would make more sense to install a high performance gas stove that runs in the mid 94% efficiency rather than use the oil furnace in the low 83% & forgo the pellet stove altogether?
    It is an interesting topic & thank you everyone for your replys. :)
  10. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    The bottom line is readily apparent IMO. Pellets can definitely save many users a significant amount of money . Surely not by providing the same amount of heat for substantially less than your central furnace but by heating only the most used areas of the house , and this can be a good thing for most folks. It`s almost sinful to keep the heat in sleeping areas the same temp as the living spaces.


    Still, you must factor into account the length of time (in years) it takes to amortize the initial costs of stove and installation not to mention the extra work , noise, maintenance, uneven temps , colder bathrooms? , unavailability of pellets and their rising costs too.
    Then you might have to filter out dust / fines from those pellets. And think about where to store them.
    No free lunch with pellets either.
  11. Mainiac

    Mainiac New Member

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    Just heard an ad on the radio for Frost & Flame & "Save up to 50% on Winter home heating costs!!!"... http://frostandflame.com/default.asp
    I think I need to stop by the shop and see how they can help me save 50%... :) I'll let you know what they tell me.

    I keep hearing you have to compare "apples to apples". BTU's. Have to count BTU's... BTU's, BTU's, BTU's....
    And I'm not sure who is responsible for the "fuzzy math" on this site. Doesn't make any sense whatsover or is it me?... used this online cost of heating worksheet and according to them it should only cost $252.94 cents to heat a 2,500 sf house in Maine? I'm trying to get to these "BTU's" for comparison sake but it isn't easy folks! http://www.travisproducts.com/CostOfHeating_WkSht.asp try the calculator on your own and see what I mean...

    I think Futureboiler said it best when he said: "unfortunatley no math will work here. see, i defy all of the math previously stated. i used maybe 100 gallons of oil and 2 tons of pellets to heat my house last year. usually i burn 800 gallons for heating. and here is why pellet consumption is different for everyone.... " Thanks bud. I believe your on to something... ;)
  12. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Western Mass.
    Little clue for you......

    Comparisons on the sites of companies that sell millions of dollars with of these stoves - and calculators on the site of the trade group that represent them......MAY give best case scenarios. It's called "selling".

    If you can get it into your head that there is NO MAGIC involved, that will go a long way. There are three potential sources of savings:
    1. Fuel to Fuel - BTU to BTU - depending on your costs, this seem to be in the range of a 30% savings right now of pellets over oil. So $1000 worth of oil might take $700 worth of pellets, more or less. You have to add the cost of the stove, maintaining it, service, parts in the future, etc. for a more accurate account.

    2. Space heat vs Central Heat - This can ALWAYS create a lot of savings (but NOT if the stove is located in the basement) - anyway, space heat is a savings over central - BUT, the same goes for a freestanding oil unit or gas unit! So you cannot credit the PELLETS for that savings. That is a space heat savings.

    3. Conservation - because you will be working for your heat (loading/cleaning, etc.), you are more tuned into what it takes to heat your house. This encourages CONSERVATION. That adds to your savings.

    PLEASE KEEP IN MIND #2 AND #3 CAN BE DONE WITH OTHER FUELS OR WITH NO NEW FUEL AT ALL. In other words, turning town your thermostat when you are not there and getting savings is not a result of burning pellets.

    These are separate discussions. Space heat vs. central heat - being tuned in to your heating needs. But the only really accurate way to compare the cost of fuels is BTU to BTU.

    40 lb bag of pellets = 300,000 BTU input when adjusted for moisture.
    Oil is 138,000 BTU per gallon. So 2.17 gallons of oil for the same input.

    50 bags of pellets (ton), therefore, is 105 gallons of oil IF you are getting the same efficiency out of both fuels.
    A $280 ton of pellets vs 105 x 3.50 (Maine price today) = 367.00 - a savings of 87 for each ton in that particular case - not including amortisation of stove price, end of year service, your work, etc.

    The fact is you CAN save a lot of money with a space heat (but not in the basement)....what we have to add to that is the the space heater can be electric, LP, pellet, wood or even oil and still save you money.
  13. mkmh

    mkmh New Member

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    IMO this is probably the biggest, most often overlooked factor. The pellet stove is like a tool that moves you away from central heating. Central heating is really expensive at today's prices (oil, LP, pellets, whatever). Most people who are enjoying savings from their pellet stoves installed them in or near the room where they spend the most time. These folks also accept the fact that the whole is not going to be the same temperature. Once you get that settled in your mind then the savings will most likely come, but it is important to understand that installing a pellet boiler to replace an oil boiler isn't going to save a boatload of money at today's prices.
    The key is to change your lifestyle when you bring the stove in and get to a point where you can be comfortable with fewer BTUs in total. Use half the BTUs over a course of a New England and your savings will be significant.
  14. natnyer

    natnyer Member

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    geez a whole lota numbers here.Bottom line. Pellet stoves will save ya money till you can afford a mini nuclear reactor bought on the russian black market lol
  15. 2c3d

    2c3d Member

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    this will be our 5th yr. burning pellets....(quadra castile free standing).....average oil consumption before stove installation...(600) gal. per yr here in northern N.J.....1,400 sq ft log cabin with very open floor plan...2x6 exterior walls with pella windows....thermostat for pellet stove is 20 ft away from stove....thermostat for oil furnace is 40 ft away from stove....in winter we set the stove thermostat at 72 degrees.....we set the oil thermostat at 60 degrees.....with these settings oil thermostat reads (68 degrees)....we burn (0) oil for heating....if stove should malfunction oil furnace will fire up at 60 degrees, for backup...

    we have NEVER, repeat, NEVER burned more than 4 ton of pellets per yr....we purchased our 4 ton this yr. in June from TSC called (hardwood heat) $ 225.00 per ton x 4 ton = $ 900.00....oil is ($ 4.00 per gal.) x 600 gal = $ 2,400...savings=($1,500)....I can't explain it any better than this....
  16. lessoil

    lessoil Minister of Fire

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    Great Post!
    This is exactly how I will compare our oil usage before/after.
    Sounds like you have a near perfect set up!
  17. MainePellethead

    MainePellethead Minister of Fire

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    The only way I would put a pellet stove in my basement is if I had a complete finished off basement and already had a stove upstairs in the living area. I would never put it in the basement for my only stove, you forever try to get the heat to circulate upstairs correctly.
  18. MainePellethead

    MainePellethead Minister of Fire

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    Thats exactly how I explain my savings....cant explain it any better. I dont even look at BTU calculations.....i look at cold hard cash savings and our comfort levels to that effect. :)
  19. Mainiac

    Mainiac New Member

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    Deercroft, thank you for your post! A few times I've made suggestions that the numbers seem to me that there would be pretty substantial savings not just $50 per month and you confirmed it. Maybe I'm just looking through rose colored glasses... LOL
  20. 2c3d

    2c3d Member

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    hey folks;

    the numbers I have stated are factual.....we purchased our home in 1991, heating oil at that time was .77 cents per gal....we installed our pellet stove in 2004....heating oil then was $ 2.34 per gal....(look where we are now).....in the first 13 yrs. we heated totally with oil.....prices for oil has changed...however our average oil consumption was (600 gal.)....

    after burning pellets for the first three yrs our stove has paid for itself.....since then it has been all biscuits $ gravey....
  21. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    Mainiac,

    Craig is giving you good input on the economics, I can give you some experience on the physical.

    I have a two story, about 1,000 sf per floor with a full basement. The basement is deep, and unfinished.

    I have a coal/wood airtight in the basement and in past years I have run it as a supplemental heat (I had an air-to-air heat pump) and while I lost a lot of heat into the walls, the stove did deliver a lot of heat to the upstairs. In cold weather I was trying to reduce electric use at near resistive cost heating levels, or a COP of 1, for the HP. So, I was saving money.

    I installed a geothermal heat pump about 15 years go, and no longer use the basement stove for anything other than heating the basement, if needed. In general the basement isn't heated.
  22. Mainiac

    Mainiac New Member

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    Hey Jerry, I read your reply about 4 times and think I understand what your saying but your "air to air heat pump" and "reduce electric use at near resistive cost heating levels, or a COP of 1, for the HP" is honestly a bit out of my understanding / knowledge? I understand the concept of heat pumps but I'm more familiar with the concept of geo thermo heat pumps...

    If you could be so kind as to give your .02 as to whether or not your personaly feel it is a good decision to install in the basement I'd be very appreciative. Another poster just had a similiar inquiry and got mixed reviews as well. Thank You. :)
  23. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    Sorry for the jargon. With an air-to-air heat pump one loses most of the heat pump advantage/efficiency as the air temp outside goes below freezing, thus making heating with a heat pump at those times about the same cost-wise as using resistive heat. Thus, when I was considering the cost of coal or wood to gain a BTU, and the efficiency of doing so in the basement stove, I had a very expensive heat source savings to balance that wood/coal cost. Once I installed a geothermal heat pump, uses the earth temperature, not air temperature to draw heat from, I was able to get a Coefficient Of Performance (COP) of 3 to 4 even when it is freezing outside (uses 1/3 to 1/4th the electric KWHs of resistive heat). Now I can't "justify" the cost of coal/wood in the basement as a cost effective alternative to the heat pump. However, if I want some heat in the basement, the stove is great as my central heating isn't set up to heat the basement anyway.

    Hope this explanation helps.
  24. Mainiac

    Mainiac New Member

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    Yes it does sir thank you. :)
  25. Chinkowski

    Chinkowski Member

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    howdy,
    new to the forum and pellet stoves in general. after getting buried with propane bills the last couple years i decided to go to pellets after lurking on this site for awhile. the info is abundant and the the people are very knoweldgeable. hopefully i'll be able to trim the propane bill and actually be warm this winter. i think the savings could be dramatic if everything works out. the key is buying pellets at the right price which i missed the boat on this year. i'm just looking forward being warm and having another option. stay warm.
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