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Newbie looking for advice

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by TriMom, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. TriMom

    TriMom New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2013
    Messages:
    88
    We are considering heating our home with pellets or wood. We live in SE MA . Our house is 3200 square feet plus a finished basement of about 1200 SF. We have lots of oversized windows. Our house was built in early 1990s.

    Currently we have oil forced air, oil hot water, and a/c.

    Our house is similar to square country farm house with a bump out on one side that is our kitchen and above master bedroom in a rectangle. We have 3 fireplaces on main floor. 2 are brick and opposite sides on square. Third is a Superior FB (BCF 3835) prefab. We have an old Garrison Stove in the basement that is on same side and chimney as the living room fireplace which we had inspected and replaced some tiles. He recommended putting a heavywall liner for $1954 which seems expensive.

    Our house has a lot of rooms with walls and door. Living Room is more open as is kitchen (opposites sides of the house).

    We use about 1000 gallons of oil a year for heat and hot water.

    We only have 2 zones for heating one on main and second floors.

    Goal:
    Kitchen and master bed area are cooler rest of house, heat this area
    Reduce oil useage/cost

    What set up would you recommend?

    Can you use a pellet boiler that you can use existing ductwork we have?
    Is it possible to have both boiler on same ductwork and have choice which to use?

    I found this searching the forums...
    Pinnacle GBU130 - Commercial Furnace

    Are the window pellet units any good?

    Recommended shops? I have been to the two shops in Norwood. I learned a lot but want a better overall plan.

    Thanks

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  2. Thaddius Wenderoth

    Thaddius Wenderoth Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2013
    Messages:
    253
    This is beyond my knowledge as I am a new pellet burner. But I can tell you I am very excited to see what you decide on and pics of it! I would assume a pellet boiler with supplemental heat from a stand alone unit or two. Good luck! I am sure you will get great advice one here. I can only imagine the cost savings you will realize with that big of a home. I am excited for you!
  3. Pelleting In NJ

    Pelleting In NJ Feeling the Heat

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    Sep 26, 2011
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    270
    Loc:
    Central NJ
  4. Lousyweather

    Lousyweather Guest

    Harman dealer here.....the HF-60 was made to be put in a ducted install, but its only 60k btu/hr, so heating your space itself is unlikely. A pellet BOILER wont work for you unless you run alot of expensive plumbing. A pellet furnace (maybe a PF100) might work, but would take an HVAC person to evaluate your system.

    Wondow units....eh, for the most part, reviews are bad.....would stay away.

    Could always put a freeestander in the kitchen (cant put one in the bedroom), if you can find a space for one.....

    sorry, brief, but busy here....
  5. TriMom

    TriMom New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2013
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    88
    Thanks for ideas...skip the window unit.

    If we did a stove in kitchen, would it be best to use fireplace we have with insert or free standing stove?

    How much difference in cost is normal between free standing and insert?

    Are the brands at big box stores any good?
  6. john193

    john193 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2010
    Messages:
    905
    Loc:
    Southeast PA
    Free standing vs insert depends really on your needs or wants. Do you have the space for a free standing? Free standing stoves are generally easier to service purely because their components are easier to get to. They also have larger hoppers and typically more models with high heat output. Inserts work great if space is a premium and you'd rather fill in a fire place with something more functional.

    The cost of the units depends on your dealer. Typically the nicer stoves cost more, to put it bluntly. I personally wouldnt purchase such an item from a big retailer because local dealers typically provide better service.
  7. TriMom

    TriMom New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2013
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    88
    I visited a Harman dealer this afternoon which is close to my house. He recommended the P68 on the first floor. I like the look of the black enamel of the XXV. He explained more about installation and ideas. He did offer to come by and make recommendations to placement and which stove or insert.
  8. exoilburner

    exoilburner Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2008
    Messages:
    424
    Loc:
    NW Washington State
    You have one of the most effective methods of heat distribution; your forced air ducting. I would not abandon that and risk poor heat distribution and individual heat control for each room by installing a stove, especially with your two zones. A pellet furnace makes the most sense. I tried both wood stove heat and pellet furnace forced air. With the stove and a ceiling fan my living room was too hot and the bathroom was freezing. The pellet furnace gets heat to all rooms and the duct registers allow control of temperature in each room.

    The pellet furnace can be used in paralell with the forced air oil furnace which I use for a backup heat source.

    If you have natural gas available that would be an even better option.
  9. TriMom

    TriMom New Member

    Joined:
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    exoilburner: Thanks for your input. How hard of an installation was it to have a parallel oil furnace?

    The dealer I was at today, had PF100 in stock. They have sold a few but do not install them and haven't gotten any feedback from the customers of the product. How difficult is it to find a qualified HVAC specialist? Any idea what range of cost would be for installation? Current Oil Boiler is vented I believe thru one of the fireplace.

    When I look at pricing difference between insert, stand alone stove, and Pellet Furnace, seems I'd gain the most with the Furnace relative to the cost.
  10. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Pellet furnace is where its at..... :)

    If your gonna drop some coin, then do it right the 1st time.

    I have a Fahrenheit and Love it!! Keeps the temps even throughout the house :cool:

    Harman PF-100 is the Cats Meow of Furnaces. Buy it and Never worry again. Just know your chit is the Best ;)

    Here is a Pic of mine and the room temps of my 3 bedrooms (ours and the kids).

    2012-12-10_20-00-47_521.jpg 2013-01-26_16-11-14_164.jpg
  11. TriMom

    TriMom New Member

    Joined:
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    Dexterday: Sweet set up. Are your bedrooms 1 or 2 levels about the furnace?

    I found a shop in ME that focuses on forced air pellet furnaces and carries 6 different brands including Traeger & Pinnacle Biomass Boilers and Ecoboiler Wood Pellet Boiler plus similar one that you have Endurance. They do a lot of dual systems. I like that our situation is what they focus on.

    So many options and considerations.

    Thanks for the suggestions
  12. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Thanks. Furnace is in the basement and only have one level above basement (Ranch).
  13. gbreda

    gbreda Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    1,268
    Loc:
    Lakes Region, NH
    Hey Dex. I noticed that there is a piece of wood out of place to the right of the Englander. You must have had an off day when you took the pic...or maybe it was the beverage of choice that day :)
    SWEET set up there !

    I agree that a boiler/furnace is the way to go here. I wish I had done that.
    DexterDay likes this.
  14. exoilburner

    exoilburner Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    424
    Loc:
    NW Washington State
    The installation is a bit more involved than a stove but well worth the extra planning and effort when you think about how many years of money saving will be going on and the nice even heat.

    As stated many times on this great forum the dealer integrity is one of the most important factors when purchasing a pellet burner. Be sure to check out their service department and their dependability when honoring your warranty. And if they are a service provider for your manufacturer. If they are not go somewhere else to purchase the manufacturer and model you select. It is not worth the risk to take a chance on this.

    I live in a small town and had no problem finding an certified HVAC specialist. My install is over 5 years old so I don't have an idea what the connecting duct work would cost today. There is a requirement for 2 isolation dampers in the ducts to isolate hot air flow from the non working furnace. Here is a link to the Harmon PF install manual. It will clear up your install questions.
    http://hearthnhome.com/downloads/installManuals/PF100.pdf
    My dealer (who has excellent service) has also stopped installing the PF100. They must have had a run-in with an HVAC code.

    You are correct the pellet furnace price is not that much more than a stove considering extra benefits.

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