Question: I live in a single floor condo with electric central heat(beginnings of a familiar story?). I figure the portion of my electric bill that went towards heating over the past year came to about $1200(12-000 KWH)- heating an area approx 1100 sq/ft. The unit also has a fireplace in the living room(that I've never used). My condo association will not allow external fuel tanks(oil- gas- etc.). External storage space is a bit of an issue- there is a wooden back deck(no back yard)- and a car port about 200 yards away. The condo association is not ok with a free standing unit but- ok with a stove insert. In the hopes of switching over to another type of primary heat- I was thinking of purchasing a pellet stove- and storing the pellets in the car port and back deck After reading some articles here on 'hearth' I'm wondering whether I should consider a wood stove instead(wood being less costly)?!I've been told that 3 tons of pellets(Energex@ $140 per ton) should take me through a season- how much space would be needed to store wood(how many cords equal a ton?)?It concerns me that pellet stoves(with more moving parts) need more maintenance/service- what might I look for in a stove that would make this task of maint. easier?Hopper size- and btu output considerations for heating the whole condo unit?Other concerns/considerations: Self-igniter- battery backup- esthetics(being that it will be in the living room).Considering all of the above- any suggestions on makes and models? Answer: A pellet stove will be much cheaper than electric heat. However- other factors come into play- namely" 1. Cost of stove and installation (about $2500.) 2. Work involved lighting- loading and care taking 3. Annual maintenance stove is very much a "lifestyle" decision- as well as a heating one. I guess what I'm saying is that if your ONLY reason in getting the stove is saving money- you may not be too happy. You should also be interested in the effect of the fire- the greater warmth- feeling of security- etc.Pellet stoves have been much improved- and most current models are very reliable. If you are a bit handy- you can do most of the service yourself. In addition- the cost for pellets has actually come down- so it's getting cheaper to heat with pellets.You definitely want the stove to hold at least one bag or more (50 lbs is nice). My recommendation is to buy the stove from a retailer with a long term reputation for service...also- it's nice if the stove manufacturer makes more than just Pellet stoves. This assures a long term commitment to you- the customer.