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How to Size a Pellet Stove?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by WKB, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. WKB

    WKB New Member

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    Jul 25, 2013
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    Loc:
    Boston
    I've seen various pellet stoves advertising they heat "x" square feet with "y" BTUs. I've seen other pellet stoves advertise they heat less (or more) with the same BTUs. Does anyone have any guidance to suggest how many BTUs a stove should be to heat a given area? I've also heard that using your stove at max power for too long is a bad idea.

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  2. reallyte

    reallyte Member

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    Binghamton, ny
    Depends on many factors. Those sq ft estimates are often innacurate and also inconsistent. Use the BTUs combined with where it will be installed. How insulated is your house? How many windows? How cold does it get? How does air flow in your house? There are some complex formula that you can use to calculate the BTUs required. When in doubt, don't undersize the stove. For example, i have a 1200sqft cape cod with a santa fe. It heats the first floor well but not the upstairs because of air flow even though it is rated for 1900sqft. Whay i also have is vaulted ceilings in the stove room. This is a big air space. Those ft esyimates are often much larger than what it can heat in the northeast.Your local retailer should be able to match you with the right size stove.

    As far as running on high all the time. This is perfectly OK and in many cases better (hotter is more efficient for many stoves). Once again though this does vary. In general running on high though all the time is fine.
    Lousyweather likes this.
  3. MountainSean

    MountainSean Credo Quia Absurdum

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    NW Montana
    I will agree with Reallyte on the many different factors that go in to determining what stove you need. However once those factors are known then you can do a reasonable job of getting the correctly sized stove.

    I will disagree about running a stove on high all the time. Stoves can run on high and can often do so for long periods of time, but running them on high causes more wear and tear on the stove and leads to a shorter life for the components. Just like you wouldn't drive your car around in first gear at 25 MPH at 6.5k RPM. Sure it can do it but you will go a lot further putting it in second or third and running at 2k RPM. Some manufacturers have in the past stated NOT to run stoves at max for extensive periods of time.
  4. Lousyweather

    Lousyweather Guest

    everything reallyte said, but also, some folks just like it hotter/cooler, so these calcs,well, don't mean much.

    Go with something that is thermostatically controlled....none of this "heat setting 1 etc." stuff.....get as many btu's/hr as you can afford......I know, not much help, but then, I'm not given much info either
  5. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    It's not just about max BTU either, low BTU is good to know so you don't oversize. CFM on blower is important too. A stove with a small convection fan may not adequately circulate the heat it produces, many factors to consider.
  6. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Start with a heat loss calculation for the place you are trying to heat all else is guess work.

    See member garygary's site builditsolar.com he has a decent heat loss calculator at that site.
  7. WKB

    WKB New Member

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    Jul 25, 2013
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    Loc:
    Boston
    That's a really great calculator. Thanks. I did a dry run and it actually was a pretty close estimation to the amt of fuel I used last year. Love it when theory meets application.
  8. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Since you have done some homework the heat loss number you came up with should be provided by your stove at its middle firing rate, this will allow you to shut it down to clean it and to regain the lost temperature when the stove was shut down and even more important to handle record cold.

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