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Just thought Id share some of my opinions in my first year of burning pellets. Long but informative!

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Zakkxx, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. Zakkxx

    Zakkxx New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Bethlehem, CT
    First off, Id like to thank the good people of this site for all of their hard work, opinions, and reviews. Very instrumental in my purchases last year. Our home is an 1800 sq/ft cape built in the 60's. Our goal was to heat the whole house with pellets, keep it @ 70 and use zero oil. We figured on 5 ton. Somewhere around Oct, we purchased a Quad CB1200 along with 2 tons of EasyBlaze, and 2 tons of MWP blend from BT Pellet. Right off the bat, we noticed that the EB put out quite a bit more heat than the MWP. So much more, in fact, that I had to trim down the feed rod almost to the bottom. The MWP needed almost the full stroke of the rod just to get a good flame. The MWP were also very dusty, and had way more fines. EB pellets burned great with almost no fines or dust in the bag, and probably half the ash of the MWP. Made up my mind early on that I didn't like the MWP blend.
    When I was getting low, I tried 6 bags of Lignetics. (only because the local hardware store sells them) They seem to put out less heat than both the MWP and the EB, but burned nice. About the same ash as the EB and very little fines or dust. Id buy these over the MWP, but on cold nights, the stove was eating em up at a good clip.
    I lucked out with the next purchase. Someone was selling 47 bags of Country Boy White Lightning pellets for $200 and it was literally a half mile down the road. Never heard much about them, but too good of price to pass up. These were awesome!!! Almost zero dust or fines in bag and burned very, very hot. What was strange was that the ash was white. I mean WHITE, and had the consistency of talcum powder. Actually made vacuuming a pain, but seriously, only needed to do it once a week. 7 days and had about the same ash as the MWP after 2 days. Great pellet.
    Well here we are in March, and I had to buy my 6th ton. Back to BT and bought a ton of MWP super premium softies. We were going limp by on the Lignetics from up the street, but @ $7.50/bag, we figured we might as well try something different. So far, we've only burned a few bags, but seem as good as the EB. Maybe a bit better. Put out very good heat, and little ash.

    So in conclusion, Id rate the pellets, best to worst:

    1. Country Boys
    2. MWP softies
    3. EB
    4. Ligs
    5. MWP blend

    Overall, I'm very happy with the Quad. Zero issues. I've cut my heating bill almost in half, and used absolutely no oil. Upstairs is a consistent 65-67, while the downstairs is @ 70. I also feel that if I didn't get the 2 ton of MWP's, and got something decent, I might have made it with 5 ton.

    Thanks again guys!!!

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  2. gbreda

    gbreda Minister of Fire

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    Nice going on your first year. Biggest lesson learned was to realize that not every pellet burns the same in every stove, so trying a larger variety lets you know what is best for you.

    Now that you've been bitten by the blazing hot, very little white talcum powder fluffy ash pellet in Country Boy White Lightning you are DOOMED to search the land for that same type of pellet at the price of the others.
    Kind of a pellet pig purgatory :p
  3. PoolGuyinCT

    PoolGuyinCT Feeling the Heat

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    Plymouth CT

    Plus the cool moonshine swilling hillbilly on the bags is bad azz!
  4. john193

    john193 Minister of Fire

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    Country boys is a good brand. 100% Oak, cant go wrong with that. If you have barefoot or hamers in your area, those are some other top notch brands. And welcome to the forum!
  5. mepellet

    mepellet Minister of Fire

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    I'm kind of surprised you found mwp softies this time of year. At least up here they go quick.
  6. subsailor

    subsailor Minister of Fire

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    I'd say the softies are better than the blend too, but the difference in my stove wasn't as great as your stove. But the blend weren't as bad in my stove as you say they are in yours. Harman's seem to eat the blend better than some of the other stoves.
  7. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Congrats on the savings... What setting were you running the Quad on?

    What kind of stat? And what was your swing?

    The stat, swing, and setting play a huge role in comfort level. I am a firm believer that Low (low or med setting) and Slow is better than Balls out Heat (High). Running on Low or Med allows the room/home to "soak" the temp up. Meaning the walls, furniture, and all other articles of the house get warm and radiate heat, long aft the stove shuts down.

    I run a large swing (3*-4*) and run on Low. This means the Stove runs longer, but stays off for a much longer period, and keeps the house warmer.

    Welcome to the Forum. Any pics of the install?? The Classic Bay is a BEAST of a heater!!
    Augmister likes this.
  8. john193

    john193 Minister of Fire

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    Aren't pellet stoves least efficient on the low setting? I try to have my stove run on medium at minimum for this reason, weather permitting. Cant help with the stove being on low when it's 50 out :)
    briansol likes this.
  9. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Good choice, I purchased a CB1200 built in 2000. The auger was jammed with damp pellets. I cleaned it out, painted it and replaced one of the snap disks, It ran like it was brand new! That is a very rugged appliance. Good luck.
  10. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Only run my Quad on Low.. A Quad burns unlike most stoves. Plus, this isn't a woodstove?

    It creates Gobs of heat on Low. Maybe the AE burns like Chit on Low. But mine Burns Quite Nice?

    Its all about air to fuel ratio and heat exchange. Period
  11. Zakkxx

    Zakkxx New Member

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    Loc:
    Bethlehem, CT
    Through most of the heating season, it was on med, with the feed rod set fairly low. Temps are in the mid 40's now and its always on low, with the feed rod set real low. Flame barely reaching the top of the pot, and still getting up to temp. I'm still running the regular stat that came with it, but will probably go with a digital one next year. Swing @ 3-4 as well. I like the low and slow approach. One thing I noticed is that when the stove starts back up, (after satisfying the stat), the flame is real high. It does this every time. Waste of pellets IMHO. Constantly stopping and starting cant be great for the igniter either. I may have used the high setting a couple of times with the Lignetics, but I cant see using high on this stove with any decent pellet.

    Edited to add...

    I kinda like it warm..hence running it on med and going through a bit more pellets. I work outside, and when I come home I want it toasty. I could have had the house at 65 and never switched it off of low.
  12. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Sounds good... :)

    Because of the initial feed, the large flame is almost unavailable.

    If its SUPER LARGE? Then the stove may be short cycling and the T/C may not be getting below 200°?

    How long does the stove shut down for? 10 min 50 min?
  13. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    I have a Lux LTX-1500u Digital T-stat with control board dip switch set to full manual operation on my Quad Sante Fe. The swing is set to 8 which is plus or minus 2.0 degrees so the stove does not short cycle.
  14. Zakkxx

    Zakkxx New Member

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    Didnt know that would be an issue with the T/C. It varies, I suppose. Cold days, it may only shut down for 15 min. Temps in the 40's now and it will stay off for 30 or so. I should get a decent stat to avoid short cycles. Is my swing to low?
  15. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Honestly. If its only off for 15-30 minutes? Then you should lower the feed setting, lower the heat setting, raise the swing, or raise the overall temp a degree or 3.

    If its only gonna shut down for 15 kin? Then the stat is in a bad spot, or your only heating the air, then the air quickly cools and stat calls for heat again.

    Mine may run for an hour or more on Low, but it stays off for about the same time. My stat is still set to 74°, its about 20' away. The stove room may reach 80°, but that heat lingers.
  16. john193

    john193 Minister of Fire

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    This was primarily what I took away from the dealer. In fact he said you'd be worst off running an oversize stove on low than a standard one on med/high. I don't believe creosote buildup was the issue but he seemed to indicate that the medium setting on most stoves typically gave you the most heat per pellet consumed.

    I haven't tested it one way or another but this was the first time I read someone primarily using their stove on low.
  17. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Been using it on low for over 5 yrs now. Hell, I run my Pellet furnace on Level 1 60%-70% of the time.

    Some stoves do run bad on low. Some dont. I have a couple that not only run good on Low, but heat my entire home very well.

    No Propane for heat in over 5 yrs. Heating 2,180 upstairs when using the Quad and 3,000 when using the Fahrenheit (2,180 up and about 800 downstairs).
  18. Zakkxx

    Zakkxx New Member

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    That may work for you, but with the floor plan of my house, this would be unacceptable. This being my first year, it was a little trial and error. I should have included a bit more info. The stove is an insert and located on the first floor family room. The room where we spend 75% of the time. It is a cape so its a fairly open floor plan downstairs, and a very small upstairs. There's no way we could have this room even close to 80 and since its our "main room", I try to keep it the most consistent. Another thing to consider is that its an older home, and not insulated the best. Although we did the attic, and the widows are newer, its still an older home. We lose heat at a quicker rate than we should, but there's only so much I can do. One of the things I think I need to do is move the stat further away, and get a better programmable one. The best way I found to run this stove, in my situation, is to just set the stat on the higher side, but run it on a lower setting as to slowly satisfy the stat. If my house was more efficient, and the heat loss was lower, I wouldn't need to run it in this way.
  19. rcc

    rcc New Member

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    Zakkxx.....I'm in the same situation (almost). We live in a 1992 Cape that has insulation issues (we are working on it). The house is 1700 square feet and our Santa Fe runs on high when it's 30 degrees or colder. When the temp outside drops to 20 or lower the stove can't keep up. (That doesn't mean we turn on the oil heat....we are just not as warm.) I don't have an OAK but plan on putting one in this Spring to help with the drafts. From info on this forum it sounds like an OAK on a Santa Fe won't do too much since it's not a sealed air intake but that's an issue for another time. I changed the swing to 2 degrees (from the default on the programmable therm of 1 degree) but the stove still shuts off for only a few minutes (when it's 30 degrees or colder outside) because of the heat loss. Based on the info on this thread I think I might go to a 3 or 4 degree swing but not sure if that is the most efficient way to go? FYI I'm burning Barefoots.
  20. Zakkxx

    Zakkxx New Member

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    I might be a little better off. I've seriously only went to high a few times. During that last cold snap, where temps were 15 or less for a week, I never went to high. Med was enough to keep the family room @ 70, and the rest of the house 65 or so. I do have a ceiling fan going in the family room. I was burning EasyBlaze's at that time.

    I've come to the conclusion that there are many, many variables to this pellet stove thing. Pellet type, thermostat placement and setting, house efficiency, stove type, I could go on and on. What works great for one person, doesn't work for the next.
  21. will711

    will711 Minister of Fire

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    Well said my friend :cool:
  22. flynfrfun

    flynfrfun Minister of Fire

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    I think you burn more pellets having the stove shut down for 15-30mins than just leaving it on at a lower setting. The reason why is because it dumps a lot of pellets in the pot to get fired back up again. That's why you see such a big fire every time it starts up. Then the stove has to get back up to temp all the while burning the same amount of pellets but with lower temps out of the heat exchanger until everything is back up to temp. I've always felt that unless the stove is off for an hour or so, you will save pellets just letting it run. Just my opinion though...
    john193 and DexterDay like this.
  23. Phil Do's fire.

    Phil Do's fire. Minister of Fire

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    If you ran 6 tons of pellets so far this year, how much of a savings versus oil consumption;? Great post:)
  24. Zakkxx

    Zakkxx New Member

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    I haven't been through 6 yet. Just finished my 5th. Not sure what fuel oil prices are at your location, but they usually @ 3.50-3.70/gallon in these parts. I've averaged @ 600 gallons or so during the cold months, that's @ $2200. So far I've spent @ $1500 on pellets and will have some left over for next year. Not a huge savings, but I know it will be better next year.
    1. I'll buy the pellets in July instead of November.
    2. I'll have more time to look for deals
    3. I know which pellets burn better
    This is no bull, I was going through almost 2 bags to 1 of the MWP blend vs. the EB to keep the same temp. Very disappointed. But I was stuck with 2 ton. If I would have gotten 5 ton of EB, Im confident I would have made it the whole season. I paid $240/ton for them in November. So $1200?
  25. john193

    john193 Minister of Fire

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    But, are you comparing apples to apples? Most people keep their house warmer with pellets than oil? Did you use to set your oil burner at the same temp as your pellet stove? If not, your savings could vary even more.

    In my previous house we had a heat pump. We set that at 68 and the house rarely made it to 68. Electric bills were easily north of 400/month. Got the pellet stove, house was around 71 @ 1 bag a day. Our electric bill plummeted to 50 a month. We experienced over a 50% savings.

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