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pellet newbie lurking around

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by newbieinCT, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. newbieinCT

    newbieinCT Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2013
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    Loc:
    Danbury, CT
    Hi,
    Just wanted to introduce myself. We just moved to an older house (1890's) with a kooky set up that has an old wood stove (with a bad pipe) and a pellet stove (that isn't to code). Before we do anything to fix it, I'm trying to figure out the best situation for our layout. I figure there is no need to fix the wood stove if I am not going to stick with it long term. After speaking with a few people over on the wood stove forum, I realize I have to make the decision on whether we want to heat with wood or pellet. I'll be lurking around and probably asking a few questions....wood and pellet stoves are new to me. We want to make a decision soon becaues it's only going to get colder :)

    -Meagan

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  2. tpme06

    tpme06 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2012
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    Loc:
    Newmarket, NH
    I have both, and use both to heat my house. With that said, my wood stove will be replaced with a pellet stove as soon as I have the money. Wood is great, but pellets are so much easier. Storing and moving pellets are far easier than wood, and you don't have to worry about bugs or critters getting into your house when you carry wood in from outside (not to mention it's far cleaner).

    Another huge benefit of the pellet stove is that they automatically feed themselves. Just top the hopper off and you're good for a while. The wood stove always has to be watched and tampered with to get the right heat.

    Just my two cents. Either method beats propane/oil!
  3. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    13,502
    Loc:
    Northwestern CT.
    There probably a reason the house has both. Most likely the pellet stove had some issues once the weather got really really cold out. Keep both and use pellet for the most part. Then fire the wood stove once you need some extra heat. Plus pellets stoves don't run without power. And the wood stove doesn't need power to keep the house warm. With the recent storms we have relied on our wood stove to heat the house when power was out. Enjoy the benefits of both. ;)

    Keep us posted!
    newbieinCT likes this.
  4. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    Jan 18, 2009
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    1,906
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    central ct
    agreed, keep both.

    pellet is easy, cleaner, but fails without power
    wood is harder, warmer, dirtier, but off grid capable
    newbieinCT likes this.
  5. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Welcome to the forum. Btw, maybe you can fill us in ahead of time with the make, model, etc of the pellet stove, and maybe a pic of the install.
  6. newbieinCT

    newbieinCT Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Danbury, CT
    Thanks for the warm welcome and advice :)

    I'm a bit hesitant to keep the wood stove after a bad experience in our old place. We were renting a place that was poorly insulated and had horrible drafty windows. They had a Vermont Castings Vigilant from 1970 or so in the living room. It was horrible to get started and had a crooked flue pipe (2 right angles) before getting to the chimney. There was no draft and black smoke would often waft back into the room. We smelled like creosote all the time but it was so cold there we tried to light the stove but after the first year of poorly seasoned wood, no draft, and really small fires that we just couldn't get above 400, we just opted to wear ski hats and gloves all winter long. It was pretty horrible and I'm definitely gun shy of working a wood stove again - although I know we just had a really bad situation. Our new home has a working wood stove - but it's older. I think someone on the other forum said it was a Garrison. The pipe may be too close to the house (we are looking into that), attached by a wire (needs a new bracket) and may be rusted. The chimney guy said it's $2300 to replace the pipe but we are looking for a different opinion so we can replace only part of it, if necessary. I do love the warmth of the wood stove and the fire...so I don't know.

    The pellet stove is on a brick ledge and comes out of the fireplace. So it's a free standing stove that is using a small fireplace chimney. Totally weird and not to code.

    We are considering moving that pellet stove over to the wood stove area - since a pellet stove install would be cheaper. Then, we would need to decide between a pellet or wood stove insert for the fireplace. After the horrible time we had making fires and dealing with the our old landlord's wood supply, I'm also drawn to the convenience of the pellet stove. I'm torn! Do pellet stoves heat as well as the wood stoves?

    The old owner of the house also has no insulation above the bedroom (attic) and has gaping crawl spaces between the 1st/2nd floor that have no insulation either. Overall, the previous owner didn't do many things right - so we aren't trusting anything he has.

    Anyway, enough babble from me, thanks again for the welcome!
  7. newbieinCT

    newbieinCT Member

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    I would like to do that, if possible. We'll see....the CT winters means lots of power outages these days. We need to be able to heat!
  8. newbieinCT

    newbieinCT Member

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    Loc:
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    jtakeman - I see you are in nwct. If you have any recommendation on installers, chimney inspectors, etc - I would love to hear them. If you can't post them on the forum, please pm me. I am trudging my way through the list of them and they all seem seedy and I can't find one I really can rely on...ontop of all the wood/stove pellet stove stuff, we need someone to do a chimney liner install on our furnace chimney. It never had one and it's OLD
  9. newbieinCT

    newbieinCT Member

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    Loc:
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    Photos...for your enjoyment. Don't laugh too hard. Looking at these beautiful photos of others stoves and inserts makes me pretty embarassed...but we just got the house and we are going to fix this silly looking thing.

    The owner put some kind of board behind it and painted it red.

    It's a Kozi MX - or something like that. I'll have to look at it closer. It may not even be a good stove...I guess I should look into that too.
    front view pellet stove.jpg pellet stove on pedestal.jpg
  10. newbieinCT

    newbieinCT Member

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    Danbury, CT
    I know it's a pellet stove forum, but here's the wood stove (currently being used to hold our supplies while we fix up the house) and the pipe for the wood stove (one chimney guy said $2300 to replace, the other said it is an internal pipe, not external and needs to come down, online people say it is probably okay). I want to have someone else look at it. btw: it's held up by wire and a broken bracket. Another fun thing to fix :)


    wood stove front view 2.jpg wood stove pipe outside far.jpg wire to roof.jpg
  11. nayslayer

    nayslayer Member

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    wallkill,ny
    I have little to offer but love the wire. at least they tarred the roof where eye screw is
    newbieinCT likes this.
  12. newbieinCT

    newbieinCT Member

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    The previous owner was a piece of work! He had some "interesting' ideas on how to do repairs. I can't believe he lived here for 20 years like this! When the house inspector came off the roof he was laughing and told us he took a picture to show his buddies...I guess they get a kick out of the do-it-yerselfers that really shouldn't be doing anything themselves!
    Bob Sorjanen likes this.
  13. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Sorry, I'm not gonna be much help on who to use. The guy that did my wood chimney liner has retired.

    Your gonna need to remove the wood brace under the pellet stove and replace with a non combustible remedy.

    Do you have Natural Gas in the area? Cheapest form of heat. Beside free wood.

    I think your gonna need a larger pellet stove and if that is what you decide to use as primary. Putting it where the wood stove is makes better sense. A 60K to 70K pellet stove might just be enough to heat what you need. Might have some cool spots upstairs???
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013
    newbieinCT likes this.
  14. Cleetussnow

    Cleetussnow Member

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    Loc:
    Westchester, ny
    Do you need both stoves to heat the house? If the layout is odd, you probably will?

    If so, the plan to move the pellet to the wood stove area and a new stove in the fireplace is a great idea. Pellets are clean and require a lot less maintenance than wood. You got some rickety looking stove pipes which you dont need with the pellet stoves. Just a small stack which probably would not go past the roofline.

    As far disaster preparedness - generator.

    Or - since you need to move the pellet stove no matter what, you could get a wood insert in the fireplace location. But for me, 2 pellets would be the move ultimately.
    newbieinCT likes this.
  15. newbieinCT

    newbieinCT Member

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    I don't think we have NG in the area - we just got here a month or so ago and it's been insane :) I'll definitely look into it.

    Too bad your guy retired. I need someone for the installs, cleaning and now the liner. Everyone has been so sketchy. Not really sure who to trust. I've been googling till my eyes hurt and there are a lot of characters out there...
    if you hear of anyone in NW ct or near NY, please let me know. :)

    I'm excited to get some insulation installed - we are getting a rebate through cp&l. I know it will make a difference - especially since we have barely anything! I'll look into the size of the stove - I really know nothing about it, except that it's sitting a ledge it is waay too big for and there is some make-shift red board behind it. We are afraid to fire it up until we know more.
  16. newbieinCT

    newbieinCT Member

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    Here's the basic floor plan downstairs (we aren't really going to use the room off the side of the living room. The master bedroom is above the family room (where the wood stove is) and there are two small (12x12) bedrooms above the dining and front rooms. Right now, the pellet stove at the end of the long living room and would blow toward the kitchen/dining area.

    That stove pipe is pretty rickety, you are right - haha. That's exactly the word I was looking for. :)
    I didn't realize you could use a pellet stove w/ a generator. We are getting a generator in a few weeks but have to wait to find out which ones will work with the electrical collar we are getting for the interface. We've been stuck in the CT storms and really really don't want to be without water again. that wasn't fun!

    I guess I am going to have to make a decision. Pellet / wood or pellet / pellet. Why can't this be easy?

    The one thing I hearing is that the wood and the pellets both heat about equally. One doesn't really heat better than the other - especially when it comes to larger areas, right?

    floorplan.png
  17. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Wood stoves will put out much more heat, in general. However, many of us ex-woodburners switched to pellets because we got tired of the chopping/splitting/stacking/splinters/dirt/bugs, etc, etc. Plus, the pellet stove can be loaded, turned on, and it runs itself, especially if you have a stat hooked to it.
    newbieinCT likes this.
  18. stayfitz

    stayfitz Feeling the Heat

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    So many things to process...! Without being cheeky, wood vs. pellet and/or wood & pellet comes down to "lifestyle" stuff. Are you going to process your cord wood? Can you acquire good cord wood from local providers? How much is cord wood? How much are "premium" pellets? Are you OK with maintaining a pellet stove (cleaning - daily, weekly, monthly, etc, etc). Do you have suitable storage space for pellet fuel?

    FYI - I think the pellet stove is a Kozi Model 100? Here's the website - http://www.kozistoves.com. I'm not sure about the wood stove details? Looks like pre-secordary burn tube or catalytic construction. Probably less efficient than ideal. Maybe not worth keeping?
    newbieinCT likes this.
  19. Cleetussnow

    Cleetussnow Member

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    Based on that layout, the wood stove probaly carries the biggest load heat wise. With a big pellet stove, you could probably heat the whole house with just that. Then the fireplace is secondary.

    Wood is tricky like a lot of people are saying. Good seasoned wood is needed, and that can be a challenge. Pellets are so much simpler.
    newbieinCT likes this.
  20. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    Geez... I was thinking I was doing a good deed when I allowed the PO to download my wood stove venting plans...
  21. newbieinCT

    newbieinCT Member

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    I can understand the switch to pellets. I only split and stacked for 2 years and it was only about 5 cords total - but it's exhausting. I like we can keep doing it - but there is a big learning curve to add on. I'm not ready to give up on a wood stove yet - but convenience-wise, we end up going with 2 pellets b/c this house needs so much work that I don't know if I want to give up time working on the house. ahhh..I don't know. I'm flipping and flopping. I just want to be warm! I'll feel much better after I get the third chimney guy in inspect and give us an idea of who is right and who is trying to scam us :)
  22. newbieinCT

    newbieinCT Member

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    Thanks, cleetussnow. After doing a bit more research and hearing from you and others on the forum, it seems that if we are willing to put in the time and energy to getting the right wood, then wood will be the best. I just don't know if we have the time with the new house or, most importantly, if the pipe is useable. I'll know more in a few days...I hope. This is causing too much anxiety! I just want to know I'll be warm when the cold sets in!
  23. newbieinCT

    newbieinCT Member

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    Thanks for the link. I think that might be the one - or maybe an older version of that model. I was told the wood stove was a garrison - but I have to see if I can find the flashlight and look up any info on the back. We were working on a insulating and waterproofing the well last night - another fun mess we are in :)
  24. stayfitz

    stayfitz Feeling the Heat

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    Nothing like new house/home ownership !!!
  25. stayfitz

    stayfitz Feeling the Heat

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    Also... Nice pup dogs!

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