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Pellet stoves: temporary?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by MCPO, Oct 28, 2008.

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  1. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    I think it was the forum owner who referred to pellet stoves as some what lacking in permanence.
    Probably true depending on how long someone has used one and maybe even more so considering fuel oil is now $2.99 and less per gal. and pellets in the northeast being $300+ per ton if and when they can be found.
    It`s going to be interesting following the oil prices vs pellet availability and costs thru the winter and into the spring
    I intend to burn my 4 tons this winter , and when it`s over make a decision whether to reinstall my oil stove or not.
    I really miss the totally silent operation and blue flame of my Franco Belge catalytic oil stove .
    It didn`t require any electricity, ash removal, refilling , or repairs and only needed to be cleaned twice a season. (every 3 months)
    Last year (Apr07-Apr08) I used 800 gals to heat 2400 sq ft and that included DHW with both the oil furnace and oil stove running. The oil stove was in the finished basement.

    200 gals of that had to be for hot water since I already burned 100 gal since last April..
    Me thinks I jumped on the pellet bandwagon too soon.
    I can already realize that my $1100 (4 tons) of pellets are not going to make a serious savings in my total fuel bill .
    My saving grace is that I was very fortunate to come upon a very nice low mileage used pellet stove at a steal the very morning I was to purchase new.
    comments are welcome.
    http://www.pbase.com/johnd1/image/105177897.jpg

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  2. tinkabranc

    tinkabranc Minister of Fire

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    As the prices of oil come down, I think alot of newbies are gonna be second
    guessing their decision to purchase a pellet stove. Pellet prices are so high
    right now and are scarce in certain places, I would bet alot of the ones that
    are still waiting on their stoves cancel.
  3. Jester

    Jester New Member

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    Thats a tough call. I think that a lot of the people that go through the effort of doing the reasearch and taking the time to do everything it takes to make the switch will be pleased enough with the results that they wont go back. I have oil/steam in my house, and grew up with two airtight wood stoves heating as a kid. We've burned the pellet stove on a bunch of nights and shut it down during the day. Even with the price of oil as low as it is now I would never turn the stat up to give a little more heat. I love the heat that the pellet stove puts out, lve the flicker of the flame, and quite frankly light the sound of the pellets dropping much better than the steam radiators hissing)
    I also have to say that I do have some sympathy for the "little guy" in the home heating oil deal. My friend started his own company a few years back, and when he finally gave it up and sold it off, he was only making about 300$ profit after selling an entire truckload of fuel. At one point he had over 50K out on people not paying thier bills, but he still had to pay for the loads of oil at the depot. His final straw was when people were asking him him to deliver in 50 gallon increments. ( he did understand that it was because the price was so high. He gave all of his customers a copy of his invoice from the fuel depot and a letter breaking down the price he was charging sa he was getting to much of a hard time for the prices he was charging, even though he was always 10-20 cents cheaper than the rest of the world).
    You might see a few quick switchers questioning thier decisions, but everyone knows oil will go back up, and Id much rather be giving my hard earned money to people in Maine, Virgina or wherever USA that work in the pellet mills, lumber industry etc than some shiek somewhere else.
  4. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    Pellet stoves have been around since - the 80's I believe?
    Back when oil was a heck of a lot cheaper than it is now.
    Despite that the pellet stove technology & popularity still managed to get
    where it is now. Some newbs who rushed in via the panic buy this yr.
    will likely sell their stoves in the Spring. I think the veteran
    burners will stick around.

    My take is that pellet stoves aren't going away any time soon.
  5. imacman

    imacman Guest

    I bet you're right Tink, but the problem with that is what are they going to do if the price suddenly rises again? (and we all know that oil IS going to go back up eventually).... If they run back to the stove dealer, they end up at the bottom of the list again.

    I think that if I was in the market for a stove, but not in a big hurry, I'd be keeping my eye on listings on a place like Craig's list. If oil stays low for a while, there will be more stoves for sale, and the prices will come down. You might be able to get a great deal on a slightly used stove.

    Here's a listing in my area:"New wood pellet stove, black exterior with sliver trim paneling model number 25 PDV. The make is from englandstoves. For pictoral view visit englishstoves.com. Wood pellet stove was used twice by owner. All necessary attachments and vent acessaries available. With one ton of pellets also available with a pricing of 250.00 extra of inital cost totaling 1350.00"
  6. tinkabranc

    tinkabranc Minister of Fire

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    Totally agree with ya there macman.
  7. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    With today's information (re: prices), it's easy to second guess your decision. If I knew oil was going to be back down below $3/gal., I would not have ripped out my oil boilers and done the conversion to NG. I probably would not have replaced my pellet stove this spring either. But we didn't have today's information when we were (wisely) preparing for the coming heating season, we used the best information we had at the time. All we knew was oil was hitting record highs and analysts were predicting even higher levels in the not to distant future.

    Having said that, while I've spent a lot of money this year preparing for the future and making sure I wasn't at the mercy of the Middle Eastern oil scumbags, I do know that I will be better prepared going forward. While it looks like oil is going to be dirt cheap this season (urggggg), I certainly wouldn't want to get caught having all my eggs in one basket the next time around. If oil, or even NG, pellets, coal, etc. get expensive at some point in the future (and I think this is only a matter of time), I'm going to be in a position to choose whatever is cheapest at that point. I've put some work and money into this preparation, but I won't be caught with my pants down again as the oil man gets his jollies. My advice to you is to sit on your pellet stove (or any alternative heating source for that matter) and use whichever fuel is cheapest and easiest to heat your home... at some point you'll want a choice or two. ;)

    So while I won't be burning any of this year's cheap oil (in my house anyway), I will have cheap, clean, and quiet NG if I feel like using the central heating system... and I'm happy to get off the oil grid and have plenty of options going forward.
  8. Valhalla

    Valhalla Minister of Fire

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    Pellet stoves have their place in the market, usually for the homeowners that do not want the work and care of a wood stove. There are some obvious trade-offs for some of the good "pellet fans" out there. The need for electricity to operate the stove and purchasing a manufactured/processed fuel with an easily manipulated price, are two important ones.

    Choose wisely.
  9. gw2kpro

    gw2kpro New Member

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    Pellet stoves survived when heating oil was less than a buck a gallon.

    They'll survive when heating oil is less than 3 bucks a gallon.
  10. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    They survived back then because pellets and stoves were reasonably cheap.
    And they will again sit on the dealer floors if oil stays low.
    Having the choice of both oil and pellets is good but the problem will be if both oil and pellets go up again.
    Presently oil is down significantly but pellets went way up. There`s a good possibility that oil will go back up eventually but there`s not much chance the price of pellets will ever go back to $200 a ton? Wood byproducts have other uses that will prevent this from happening.
  11. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    There is also the bigger picture; wood(even pellets) are carbon neutral, as another poster pointed out, the money spent on pellets supports your neibors, and finaly, I personaly take great joy in knowing that I will never buy oil again.
  12. kyburnr

    kyburnr New Member

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    I am with Jester "You might see a few quick switchers questioning thier decisions, but everyone knows oil will go back up, and Id much rather be giving my hard earned money to people in Maine, Virgina or wherever USA that work in the pellet mills, lumber industry etc than some shiek somewhere else. "

    I do NOT think that you may never see $200.00/ton pricing anymore. It is basic supply and demand. Here there is supply and even this time of year the three closest sellers are 205/ton, 215.50/ton and 214.50/ton. If the producers in your area get caught up with filling their orders and sliding oil prices eases the demand, I think you may see 200.00 / ton
  13. JBlank912

    JBlank912 New Member

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    I put the pellet stove in this year when oil was shooting up. Now that I have it, even with oil dropping, it will save me money, just the ROI may stretch out a little further. Also the room that its in is the main room we use and has been the hardest to heat with oil (cathedral ceiling). I just asked my wife now the temps this morning in the low 30's , how is the house, she said its great, the main room is with the stove set to 72 is comfortable. :coolsmile: ys Yeah I'll keep it.
  14. drtnshtr

    drtnshtr New Member

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    I also have a fuel oil boiler that is newer and supposed to me the one of the most efficient boilers on the market. I only have $400 in all 3 stoves listed in my signature thanks to a guy at work switching to a propane stove and the local advertiser. The wood stove was free from a friend that couldnt take it when they moved. My whitfield heats pretty much my entire house and when it is 25-30 outside I can run this thing on low and keep it 80 degrees on my whole first floor(1400sqft cape)...The radiators attached to my boiler give you enough heat to keep ya warm and thats it. Fuel oil is only 2.70/gallon today around these parts and my pellets are 225/ton..I will continue burning pellets until they get really high,like 400-500/ton....then I will probably take the wood stove out of the garage and put it in the house. I already have all the supervent I need for it ready and waiting:) all my wood is free if I cut it. That alone should tell ya how well I like my pellet stoves. The Vermont castings in the basement works awesome as well but really dont use it much unless its really cold...
  15. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    Hahaha. Don`t ever say never! This bigger picture carbon neutral thing only goes so far. When it comes to saving money most people will only pay so much extra for that joy.
    But a recent investment of 5K or so just to burn them thar pellets at $300+ per ton might help lend some support to invoke those patriotic and green energy statements / excuses .
    It`s nice to sound patriotic and feel like you are doing your part and I like doing it myself but when oil is cheap I`ll not hesitate to use the thermostat.
  16. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    I think the market for pellets is about to take a major down turn and that we'll see $200 pellet prices next season, assuming oil remains low. There will be very little demand for pellets next year if oil remains low. I bought my pellets in May of this year at $205/ton delivered (although getting them delivered to me is another matter), so I don't think it's unreasonable to see pellets at or below this price next summer when there will possibly be very low demand.

    Keep in mind oil and pellet prices weren't tied at a 1:1 ratio. Pellet prices spiked well after oil price took off, and now we're seeing the lag for them to come back down. What this suggests is that there might be a good opportunity to buy pellets at fairly low prices for some period of time should we see another spike in oil prices. Like I said, it's good to have choices.

    If you're really concerned about fuel prices and being at someones mercy, get back in the wood burning game, or at least be prepared to should things spike again.
  17. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Well, that may be, but then again, who would have thought last spring that a barrel of oil would ever see $60 again, or that gas would be below $2.50 ever again ????

    Never say never
  18. slls

    slls Minister of Fire

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    I kind of like having a fire in the living room, beats hauling 16 inch wood.
  19. tmiraglia

    tmiraglia New Member

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    This is a funny thread given that fuel oil has been under $3 for about 10 minutes.
  20. imacman

    imacman Guest

    I couldn't agree more Sils.

    I don't miss the hauling, or the splinters, or the burned hands/fingers, or the bugs coming out in the house from under the bark, or the slivers that make their way into the carpet, or having to stoke it every few hours, or not being able to leave it burning when no one is home.......nope, I don't miss it AT ALL!
  21. imacman

    imacman Guest

    What??? 10 minutes??? I don't get it.............
  22. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    There is a world outside where you live ya know. ;-) :)

    It's been under $3 from my oil guy for almost two weeks now.
  23. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    Yeah Wet 1 , I really hope you are right regarding pellet costs dropping but you know how these things go , once it goes up it rarely comes down. With so many additional pellet stoves in use now the pellet makers have a larger market that might sustain /support the higher prices.
    Here in western Ma. (the actual western part of the state) pellets are now $340-$360 delivered, $320 pick up. And this is if and when they are available. Last fall they were $267-$290 per ton(delivered) so you can see where I`m coming from.
    Pellets at $205 a ton is just a memory around here.
  24. tmiraglia

    tmiraglia New Member

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    In the world where I live, we use an expression like "10 minutes" as an exaggeration to make a point. My point is that oil has been "cheap" again, if you think $2.60 to $3 is cheap, for what, 2 or 3 weeks? I think the thread is a little premature because people are reacting as if the hey-day of cheap oil is back. Maybe it is, but I'd think I'd wait a little longer than 2 weeks before regretting that I switched to natural gas or replaced a pellet stove.
  25. micpman

    micpman New Member

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    I know alot of people such as myself have gone to pellet stoves because of the oil prices. Now that oil has decreased in price people have started to second guess themselves on their choice. I have not! OPEC and the big oil companies are worried that people are finally understanding that we do not need as much oil as we have been using.

    The United States has plenty of resources to support all our fuel needs if we would just use them!(and I do not mean drilling for more oil.)
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