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Pellet Stove Homework, help me out guys

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Happy Hour, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. Happy Hour

    Happy Hour New Member

    Joined:
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    Been searching/reading here for a few days now....great info:)

    Thinking of buying a Pellet Stove for my house (Basement is my only option) and looking for some advice from you, the experts.
    Background:
    1) House is an old 1 & 1/2 cape pretty well insulated with new windows, is about 1200sq./ft., and heated buy Forced H/W.
    2) Since 5/31/12, If had oil delivered 3 times @ $3.50/gal and have spent just shy of $1800.00 (Full Tank after yesterday delivery), so I spend around $2500/ yr for oil.
    3) Live in Southern ME. and has been 0* at night for 3 nights. Last night with heat set at 70*, 1st floor was 70* and 2nd floor bedroom was 65* (only one of 2 bedroom doors open) So my furnance heat my house quite well.

    I've gone and talked with 2 different dealers and am between 2 differnt stove (really 3)
    Dealer 1 showed me the Enviro Maxx-M, which I liked the size and features of. Auger in burnpot is great.
    Dealer 2 showed me the Harmon P-68 and P-61-(said this will do what a what of it). Really liked that duct work can be added to this stove and vent right from the basement to anywhere I want to put a register.

    What do you guys think? Is spending this much money really worth it for my heating needs?
    I grew-up with a fireplace and love the heat and being able to have a door open when its cold out, lol.

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  2. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Harmans do not have the Duct option. The Maxx-M has the duct option.

    Whats the Total Sq ft of the house, with basement? Gotta be more than 1,200 sq ft total?

    If your gonna heat from the basement, your gonna.NEED a Big unit. All.above are good units. The Drolet-65 and Enerzone Euromax are 2 more to look at if they are around (they can be ducted). Also maybe look into Pellet Furnace/Boiler route?
  3. stikit2bigoyl

    stikit2bigoyl Member

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    Try evergreenheat.com in OOB .They carry pellet boilers that you can tie into your FHW system.
  4. john193

    john193 Minister of Fire

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    Just to echo the previous sentiment, since you will be heating your house via the basement you will need a big unit. You should also expect to still use the oil burner on your second floor on really cold days/nights. I'm not familiar with the Enviro Maxx but have seen the P68 in action and that thing is pretty much a freight train of heat. Do you have the option to cut registers in your floor to help the heat rise upstairs?
  5. CT Pellet

    CT Pellet Minister of Fire

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    Go with the Harman P68....big stove and monster heat. You will love it if your expectations are reasonable. I am yet to see a finer stove.On the other hand, if your expectations are unreasonable, you can come back here after buying it and whine about every little imperfection of the stove and what it does not do for you that you "just assumed" that it would do. In summation, it will have no problem turning cold air warm if you burn good pellets. It will require some cleaning, feeding, washing and periodic maintenance, It will not clean itself, run perfectly quiet, or wash your balls for you when you are done golfing....but IT WILL keep you nice and warm!
  6. WoodPorn

    WoodPorn Minister of Fire

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    Have the wife take them down off of the shelf....;lol
    CtPaul and will711 like this.
  7. WNCBear

    WNCBear New Member

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    I'm far from being an expert, but will attest to my experience with the Eco-65 thusfar.

    My casa is a two-story above-grade with a full, walkout basement (3 levels total). When I built the house, I included both electric and propane heat systems with an automatic switch over to propane once the outside temps reach a cetain level. I can adjust the level on the main HVAC board. I added the Eco-65 last fall as I made the decision that the propane man could take a hike ($3,000 last year). I have set the system so that the propane will not start unless it gets to be -1,000,000 outside and monkeys start flying.

    The stove is in my walkout basement (insulated, but not finished) and ducted to my main level. The basement stairwell is the de facto air return. Overall, I'm very pleased with the stove's performance. I can keep the majority of the main level of my house (approx. 1,700 SF on the side of the house where the stove is located) at 69- 70 with the stove running on level 2 (of 6) as long as outside temps are above 30. Once temps go below, I can generally achieve the same with level 3. I had to bump it to level 4 earlier this week when the temps got into the upper teens. The heat transfer to the opposite side of the main level and upper level is not as dramatic and the heat pumps are needed to take the edge off once it gets below 30. They do, however, run significantly less that they would otherwise. The basement will stay in the mid-60s with just a little fluctuation depending on the setting.

    As you would expect, the rate of pellet consumption increases with higher settings; I burn 2 bags/day when at level 2 and 3.5 bags/day when setting was at 4.

    Maintenance is consistent with most of what I've read (on this forum) others do. Do your part and clean it, and it will do its part and burn.

    I had one mishap that required a call to customer service at SBI. I was able to talk to a gentleman immediately and was exceedingly impressed with his help and patience. I hate to admit it, but since I'm among friends (right?), I will. It was a post-cleaning operator (that's me) error that was the problem. After about 30 min. of some basic diagnostic work with no resolution to the problem, he gave me a short list of other things to try. I told him I would do them and that I would call back if the problem was not resolved. He said that would not be necessary as he would call me back in 30 min. I fixed my own mistake and the problem was solved. He held to his word and called me back just as he said he would.

    I purchased the stove at Northern Tool last summer (<$2,000 at the time) and did the install myself. I'm into the whole system (stove, OAK, exhaust venting, and duct) for just under $3,000. I've got about $1,000 in pellets and that should carry me through this winter. I figure my payback period to be +/- 2 yrs. After that, I'm going to start emiling pics of the setup to the propance man.

    Good luck with your search, selection, installation, etc.
    FyreBug and save$ like this.
  8. Happy Hour

    Happy Hour New Member

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    Maine
    Thank you everyone for your replies, keep them coming.

    @ DexterDay, My house is appx. 26X30, so about 780sq./ft/floor. I didn't know the Enviro Maxx had the duct work option and the dealer never said any thing about it. How-ever, the Harmon dealer did show me (and installed it) the duct piece that installs onto the front of the P-61/68 to allow to run vent duct. I did a search for dealers of the other stoves you mentioned and they are a little to far away.

    @ stikit2bigoyl, I will look them up but prob. further away from me than I would like. After doing more reading here, looks like I want a dealer that I like and that also is all in one Dealer, installer, and Service) The Harmon Dealer I visited does fit that bill, has been there 35 years, and I really liked the gentleman that helped me. He has been there 17yrs. and installed for 15 of those years.

    @ john193, From my reading here, I do understand I will need a BIG pellet stove, lol. I'm a overkill type guy, go big or go home. I'm glad to see they have some big units available. I do have the option to cut for registers and will buy a stove that allows the duct work option.

    @ CT Pellet, The P-68 seems like the right fit for me and I think it would meet my expections, it just a good thing I don't golf, cause know-one should have dirty balls ;lol Warm balls,YES!

    @ oldmountvernon, Sounds like you have the right stove, just don't get your balls to close to it >>

    @ WoodPorn, ;lol

    @WNCBear, Thanks for sharing your experience. How many registers are you hooked up to on your 1 st floor?
  9. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Problem with a pellet stove in the basement with duct added is the convection blower is a wee bit small. Whats your budget? Look at the St Croix revolution or Fahrenheit 50F I think you'll be happier with the amount of air they can turn around. Plus you can add air returns to lessen the heat being wasted in the basement. I don't think the cost is all that much more to do it right the first time.

    Ask me how I know? ;sick
  10. silverfox103

    silverfox103 Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Littleton, NH
    My 2 cents: putting the stove in the basement is a big mistake. You need it up in your living area. As for stoves, go with the P68.

    Tom C.
  11. CT Pellet

    CT Pellet Minister of Fire

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    P68 is more than enough. Even in the coldest of temps, with that stove you should be able to bake cookies on your couch!
    TheGriz likes this.
  12. Happy Hour

    Happy Hour New Member

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    @ jtakeman, That was my only concerm with the Harman, the Enviro Maxx is like 435CFM (think that's pretty good..??) I will look into the others. The thing is finding a close enough, all in one dealer that I like.

    @ silverfox103, I wish my 1st floor was an option.....She said NO! Happy wife=Happy life ;)

    @ CT Pellet, MMMmmmmmm....I love cookies.
  13. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    She will rethink that NO over repeatedly if you don't have a way of distributing that pellet heat. Cold wife = Unhappy wife = Dog house for you fido.

    The folks above have put it right out there and unless you have a known workable means of getting the heat distributed someone will be kicking themselves many times over.
  14. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    With a pellet stove in the basement(don't care what brand) you'll need to work hard on air flow(adding fans ect). No matter what you do it will be warmer by quite a bit in the basement. Adding duct will help balance it. Problem with the P68 and duct work(if it has that option?) is the convection blower is way too small. You'll need something with at least 400 CFM minimum to accomplish what you want. The more CFM the better to turn the air and keep the duct temps as cool as possible. You don't want to step on a 200 degree duct!

    Trust me I live in your world! I have heated from my basement for the last 17 years and its not an easy task. We were fine for the most part until it got really cold. Then it was all we could do to get the heat upstairs! 80::F in the basement and barely 65::F upstairs isn't all that fun! The star must align perfectly or you will freeze when the severe cold sets in! Been there done that until the beast arrived and duct work/larger cfm blower was added!

    Minimum: Maxx-M or Eco 65 and duct work. Best case would be a pellet furnace. A bit more cash up front, But far better end results!
  15. Happy Hour

    Happy Hour New Member

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    I totally agree _g She wants nothing to do with having it on the first floor due to that our house is pretty small and would take up space (as little as it may be) This is why I looking for help and trying to figure if a stove in the basement with duct work will actually do what I want of it. It would also be nice if my basement was just a little warmer too.
  16. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Do you keep the basement closed off? With a pellet stove you'll need a return path to the stove even with duct. I suggest a louvered door if it must be closed off. The warm return air will warm the basement, But it will be slightly cooler than upstairs(with ducting).

    I am heating 2K sqft with basically the Maxx M(Omega with Maxx mods) and I have the basement at 66::F and the upstairs is 72::F. This works much better than when we didn't have duct. If you want the basement warmer you can open a section of the duct to let more heat in the basement.
  17. Happy Hour

    Happy Hour New Member

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    I will def. not jump right into buying anything until I'm sure I'm doing/getting the right set-up. I see the Maxx-M is 435CFM and can have duct work added. I have not even set eyes on or read anything about a pellet furnace cause I'm not sure it's something that interests me but enough people have now mentioned it, I guess I will atleast read about them.
  18. Happy Hour

    Happy Hour New Member

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    I leave my basement door open to some degree always (Cat box in basement) Wed. night @ 0* outside, my basement was 53.7*, 1st floor 70*, and 65* on 2nd floor (with FHW furnace) so I think my house heats pretty easy.
  19. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    As jtakeman said the thing about a pellet furnace is the size of their convection blowers.

    There are also pellet boilers and you already have the plumbing installed for that.

    Some of the stove owners on here have come up with their own solutions to heating from the dungeons, however a few of these are frowned upon by the stove makers, the code enforcement folks, and the insurance companies.
    jtakeman likes this.
  20. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    The blower on the maxx is barely enough for my setup. And the Maxx M only has partial of the convection air sent thru the duct. I modded mine to have all the convection air to go upstairs where we want most of the heat. I'd look more to the Eco 65(it wasn't available when I was stove hunting) as it offers more air to the duct work. Blower size is still a bit small IMHO. My convection temps are still pretty warm and I bet the Eco 65 is as well in the higher heat ranges.

    Pellet furnaces are going to have cooler duct temps plus more CFM that work on your side. I'm glad you are at least taking a look at them.

    Here is my thread where I covered my mod. We are not cold upstairs anymore even in -20::F weather. Stove doesn't work any harder than if I was just heating the basement. Saving some fuel too(sorry Mr. Pellet man :p )!

    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/...r-to-start-with-more-additions-to-come.61828/
    SmokeyTheBear likes this.
  21. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    SmokeyTheBear likes this.
  22. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    A pellet furnace isnt anything different (internally) but externally they just have a Plenum and duct the Heat..

    Heating from the basement will result in poor attempts and a cold bedroom (mad wife).

    Here is a pic of Mine and also the bedroom temps :) (pretty damn even)

    Granted you have H/W for heat, but installing your own duct work wont take much. I would put one register in every room on the 1st level and let natural convection and cold air return bring warm air upstairs.

    Do it once and do it right. Mr. Takeman has been at this game for much longer than most of us... I listened to him early on and have NEVER been happier. My Quad heated my house great. But it had to be 78° in the dining room, to be 71° in the bedrooms (before through the wall fans).... Whole house is within about 1°-3° now with the furnace :) Love it
    2012-12-10_20-00-47_521.jpg 2013-01-24_20-52-17_921.jpg
    SmokeyTheBear and jtakeman like this.
  23. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    One other problem I see is getting heat up to the second floor. I am only heating a raised ranch, Where you are trying to heat a cape with an extra floor above it. If you decide to go duct you'll need to figure out how to run a truck for the second floor. Plus a vent in each room.

    This maybe the kicker that steers you towards a pellet boiler sistered into the present system?
    SmokeyTheBear likes this.
  24. WNCBear

    WNCBear New Member

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    Plenum kit allows for 2 ducts. I set mine up with 6" flex ducts with 20'+/- runs from plenum. The blocking plate that partially covers the front of the stove redirects a significant portion (2/3, maybe...that's a guess) of the 465 CFM air flow to the vents. The remainder flows from the front of the stove into the basement. I tapped into existing, flexible HVAC ducts near the existing registers, adding Ys and manual dampers so I could regulate air flow, switching between the existing system and the stove. When the A/C is in use this summer, I'll switch the dampers back. Registers are approx. equidistant from each other and the basement door which is wide open on the opposite side of the main level family room.
    SmokeyTheBear likes this.
  25. VTrider

    VTrider Member

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    Basement dweller here...

    I heated my house from the basement with a wood stove for 8 years now, my house is about 20% bigger (around 1,450sq ft) - I replaced the wood stove in basement with an Enviro Maxx unit 2 years ago and couldn't be happier. It cost me just over $900.00 last year to heat my entire house, 72 degrees 24/7 all Winter.

    I also have 2 levels above the basement and have absolutely zero problems keeping the house a consistent temperature. Heating your house from the basement is possible (there are plenty of members here who do it), but you just need to have realistic expectations, do your homework (which includes local codes, etc. when applicable) and think outside of the box. I kinda lucked out since the duct work / registers were already in place when I bought the house - I also have basement steps acting as a cold air return, an insulated basement and ceiling fans.

    Before I made the switch I spent countless hours reading through threads here on the subject and basically narrowed my pellet stove choice down to the P68 and Maxx (or Maxx-M). The reason I went w/the Maxx as stated earlier is that it has a 455cfm convection blower - it has the horsepower to push all that heat through the ducts. The P68 is a great stove, but it simply doesn't have enough convection blower cfms to do the job - I cannot stress this enough. Also, the Maxx series can hold 3 bags of pellets in the hopper.

    If I were starting from scratch then i'd consider a pellet furnace as well, since they are designed right from the start for this purpose (don't have to worry about any code violations as well fooling around with registers, etc.) Below is a link to the duct kit which Enviro offers for the Maxx line.


    HTML:
    http://www.enviro.com/product_notes/1323930425-Maxx%20Heat%20Distribution%20Kit.pdf
    jtakeman and SmokeyTheBear like this.

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