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Pellet to Wood Convert

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Pierre902, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. Pierre902

    Pierre902 Member

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    Dec 23, 2009
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    Loc:
    Western MA
    I burned wood pellets 13 years before converting over to wood. After burning wood for over a month with a woodstove insert, I am extremely happy I switched over. I have to admit there were some advantages to owning a pellet stove. The primary advantage was the ease of buying wood pellets simply having to pour them in the hopper. No seasoning and very little mess or fuss compared to wood burning.Other than that I guess there was the advantage of not having to monitor the burn as much as woodstove.

    There are many reasons why I now prefer the wood stove compared to pellet. I notice the heat coming off the wood stove is much more than the pellet and I also like the look of the fire compared to the regulated flame of the pellets. It could be a negative for some, but I actually enjoy the process of splitting,stacking, and moving the wood compared to stacking plastic bags in my basement. Cost wise for me switching over has been a plus because I have not had to purchase pellets, instead I have a good supply of free wood. I had some mechanical problems with my pellet stove over the years which I had to deal with. The only mechanical problem I potentially may have with the insert is a blower malfunction. Along the same lines of the mechanical problems is that the pellet stove required power. I can now rely on my wood stove during power outages.

    Those were just a few reasons why I'm glad I switched over. Overall a pellet stove was a good source of heat thru the years and I think it may be a great fit for many people, but for me I'm a happy convert. Anyone else switch over from pellet to wood? I'm sure there also those that converted from Wood to Pellet as well.
    raybonz likes this.

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I switched when I pulled the fireplace. I certainly liked the convenience of having a stove on a digital thermostat. It pretty much took care of itself as long as it had pellets in its belly. The main gains were quiet, power outage heat and a better looking fire.
  3. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I remember when a relative bought a pellet stove and 3 or 4 ton of pellets. He really tried hard to convince me that is the way we should go. He meant well and he knows the physical problems I have so I suspect this was his motive. However, 2 years later there for some odd reason was a shortage of pellets and, of couse, along with this came a large increase in the cost of the pellets. That pretty much convinced me that the pellet idea was perhaps not so good as he expected.

    Then along came the huge increase in sales of corn burners. Wow! A lot of them were sold and the price of corn at the time was hovering in the $1.25 to $1.50 per bushel so the cost of running a corn burner was looking quite well indeed. Then came the big push and the oil companies getting into the new business of converting all that cheap corn into something we could mix with the gasoline. Great idea! Within a month of them getting into the business the price of corn shot up to $4.00 per bushel. So far it has peaked around $8.00 per bushel. Suddenly the price of corn has put the sales of the corn burners onto the back burner so to speak.

    On the other hand, folks have burned wood for hundreds of years. I recall during the 1970's when people were installing wood burners left and right. Folks thought with so many burning wood all our woodlots would be disappearing. Ha! One could not even see any difference when driving down the road because it really does not take that many trees to heat a house. As for me, I'll continue burning the wood and we have plenty to burn.
  4. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Just curious. Do the pellet stoves give off as much radiant heat, or does most of it go to convection?
  5. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I think it is pretty much all convection.
  6. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, I really like the feel of the radiant heat. The number of BTU's may be the same, but radiant just feels nicer.

    I've always thought of pellet stoves as being more like a furnace, which is fine, but just different.
  7. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    If I would have wrote why I switched over it would almost be word for word what you just wrote, also Dennis made a good point, one year it wasnt much cheaper to burn pellets than it was oil. Now I get much more heat and for a lot less money, when we lost power last year for a week, the house was still warm.
  8. Pierre902

    Pierre902 Member

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    Dec 23, 2009
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    Loc:
    Western MA
    Yahh, My pellet stove also had a themostat, which was a plus, especially during the shoulder season with big swings in outdoor temps. Another consideration for those who like the ease of setting it and forgetting it.
  9. mepellet

    mepellet Minister of Fire

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    Some stoves like the Harman p series stoves give off a good amount of radiant heat. Not like a wood stove but still quite a bit. I'd venture a guess of about 20% of the heat output on my stove is radiant.
  10. sculptor

    sculptor Member

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    Loc:
    central nc

    Thanks for this post. I have a very old house with no HVAC system. When I moved into the old house, I had to address the heating issue. The house had a very nice fireplace inside that was an old coal fireplace. I bought an Appalachian wood stove insert and installed it. I loved that stove! Never had an issue with the stove in 10 years!! The few parts purchased through the years were easy fixes (blower, catalytic combusters), and rarely presented itself as an EMERGENCY. I started to think that it would be nice imagining just filling a hopper full of pellets. I was very hesitant because reading up on them I read that you shouldn't use them, or rely on them as a primary heat source. Knowing that my options were limited in a good, reliable heat source like a wood stove. I decided to try it anyways. I made a mistake. I've been burning pellets for 4 winters now. I've been having problems with my stove this year. I've done 2 yearly complete break downs in the past month. Monthly scheduled cleanings weekly; weekly cleanings daily. I've totally disassembled the vent system. Constantly searching for the one square inch inside this stove that needs a vacuuming! I know this stove pretty well now after 4 years. Owning one demands that you do!

    The folks on the site have been more than patient with me, and have been very kind and helpful. Even the folks at Englander have been willing to help. I've been babysitting this thing for a solid month just waiting for the burnpot to over fill up with pellets, and it doesn't let me wait too long. I'm feeling bad about the decision of going from wood to pellets, because my family is paying the price for it. MY pellet stove's unreliability has reached the point where I believe it's time to make the switch back myself.
    raybonz likes this.

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