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  1. rxygal777

    rxygal777 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    1
    Loc:
    Washington
    My home currently has electric wall heaters... We are looking at either a pellet stove or a gas stove. Our home is approx. 1200 sf. Which would you suggest. Which is more cost effective?

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  2. Harley

    Harley Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2006
    Messages:
    997
    Loc:
    Ashfield, MA
    Probably need a little more info for any real helpful discussion....

    Hopefully one of the Moderators will move the thread so it will be seen a little bit more
  3. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Do you have access to natural gas? or do you have to use LP? Do you like the "green" aspect of pellets - renewable heat? As far as the cost- use our fuel cost calculator - see the popular links article in my signature, and you can compare the cost of ALL fuels.
  4. eernest4

    eernest4 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Messages:
    603
    Loc:
    ct
    Pellet stove is the easiest, lest work and cheapest form of heat.

    $ 5.00 for 40 lb bag of pellets,Walmart,home depot,lowes, last 1 or 2 days as primary 24/7 heat, depend on outside temp, last 3 day to 1 week as secondary heat, depend on outside temp.
    Can be installed in any room with a clear outside wall to place stove up against,actually 19 inches out from wall.

    $5.00 at $3.oo /gal buy you 1.67gal/fuel oil or 1 hour heat with 1.6 gal/hr nozzle on oil burner;
    compair to 24 hours" fully on" pellet stove or 2 days 1 hr on, 1 hr off.

    This duuuu,no brainer, like hondyaia car adds.

    Your house 1200 sq ft , get a 1400-1600 sq ft mid sized pellet stove, so that you have just a little extra
    capacity for those really cold nights or for the further reaches of the house.

    You could get a 1000-1200 small pellet stove, but if you need a little extra heat,it wont be there.

    If it would be a problem that the room the stove was in gets too hot for comfort, then either go with the small 1000- 1200 pellet stove or get the remote wall off/on thermostat and autoigniter on the 1400-1600 pellet stove because the thermostat will shut the pellet stove off when the room gets too hot, unelse you are trying 2 heat other rooms too----then you will have 2 let the room the stove is in get a little bit hotter so some heat can travel to other rooms.

    I have my pellet stove ,this second winter, save 4000.oo last winter compaired to fuel oil, no buy any fuel oil the winter yet, spent $202.oo for 50 bags of pellets, still have 30 bags left
    end of nov in new england. So far , this winter, I save 7000.oo -202.oo=6798.oo
    but I also have a wood stove for primary heat,pellet for when I tired or lazy & oil burner for when Im not home but need to keep pipes from freezing.

    I sure it cost me more as winter progresses, but even if i buy another ton,that $250.oo-- not $600.oo like 200 gal of fuel oil/ 3 weeks of 60 deg heat.

    FYI I set my pellet stove for 74 deg, I can afford it, but my oil burner, cant afford to set it a 60,
    keep it off all days & most nights.
  5. North of 60

    North of 60 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Yukon Canada
    Come on EE he asked about natural gas. By the way , what kind of a 1200 sq ft house use a 1.6 gph nozzel? One without a roof!!
    Maybe a .50 or a .65 max. Ya dont need 200,000 btus man. The furnace also doesnt run continuous so per hr your out again!
    You could probably count on the heating appliance operating from 1/4 to 1/3 the time. Depending on the weather.1/2 in extremes. Natural gas is measured in cubic ft Times
    its calorific value = Total btus You can time it/ clock it and figure out pretty much any thing what the appliance being used will
    consume to compare. :zip: Sorry rxygal777 for the rant on your post. :red:
  6. Hammerjoe

    Hammerjoe Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2006
    Messages:
    132
    Loc:
    New Brunswick, Kanata
    I don't understand these claims from people saying that by switching to pellets they save thousands of dollars a year!!
    In my new home I had baseboard electric (didn't know better) and last year got an Harman Accentra.

    I am lucky if I break even at the end of the year compared to using baseboard heating.

    There is no comparison the type of heat that pellet delivers, but I am not getting anywhere the savings that people in this forum claim.
    Sure the electric usage has dropped dramatically, but when I factor the cost of pellets any savings from lower electricity consumption go down the loo.

    Although I have to say that the story would be different if pellets had not increased by more than 50% in less than two years.

    As for the op, I think the best answer is to go natural gas... it just looks like that the end of the world scenerio is not going to happen and gas prices are somewhat stable while pellet prices are going thru the roof.
    Add the lazy factor (no work filling the stove with fuel) it makes it a no brainer. :(
  7. Dougsey

    Dougsey Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Messages:
    333
    Loc:
    Epping, NH
    Ummm... yeah, ok.
  8. Rob From Wisconsin

    Rob From Wisconsin Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    East-Central Wisconsin
    It's like I tell everyone about Pellet Stoves....

    -You'll save some if your main heat source is Propane
    -You'll maybe break-even if you use Natural Gas
    -Heating Oil?? - Some years "yes".....some years not so much...

    Hope this helps....

    Rob
  9. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,379
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    And you will save the most money either after you spend $4000 or after you have a few beers with your friends.

    Ernest, I think what everyone is saying is that we have to look at these thing in various ways.
    1. BTU to BTU - NOT some scenario of bags per day that someone else may use
    2. Lifestyle (dust, hauling 40 lb bags, etc.)
    3. Initial investment
    4. Heat, load, climate, etc.

    OK, after promising myself for 25 years I would write the book (called You and a BTU) I finally have - so start there:
    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/wiki/You_and_a_BTU/

    Note: Electric is cheap in some parts of Washington state - dams (hydro), you know!
  10. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    In Washington, well at least western washington, our electric is cheap and the NG is moderately cheap compared to national averages.

    If the OP is considering two stoves with the only difference being fuel types then NG is almost certainly cheaper. If the OP is comparing LPG to pellets then pellets are almost certainly cheaper. If the home is served by NG then the next better thing about the gas stove is ease of operation. The dang things even work in a power outage, efficiency only slightly lower without the convection blower running.

    If I had NG, I would use a gas stove as a backup to my woodstove.
  11. MrWinkey

    MrWinkey New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2006
    Messages:
    146
    Loc:
    Eastern Washington
    Well having just punched the #'s into the fuel calc a couple weeks ago.......

    For my area of Eastern WA.....

    Electric is dirt cheap.....my current rate is like 4 cents.....

    Natural gas is about a break even with pellets with pellets at 200 a ton.....and the local utility just put in a request to raise the natural gas rates 15%

    Cord wood is not a bad deal.....but we've been through this.....mostly pine in this area and well....it's about a break even with pellets. (paid for not cut for free)

    I paid the same price for pellets this year as last year so I got my fingers crossed.....

    Like always it boils to what type of heat do you prefer? My situation I prefer the pellet/wood heat.
  12. Hammerjoe

    Hammerjoe Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2006
    Messages:
    132
    Loc:
    New Brunswick, Kanata
    I have a question about the calculator:

    How is the annual cost calculated?
  13. snowrider

    snowrider New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2007
    Messages:
    26
    Loc:
    Eastern MA
    If I may..... I have been burning Pellets for 2 years and I can say that it is all relative. I have a 2,100 sq. ft. home and I have electric heat. I was torn between a Gas burning stove as a primary source to complement the electric heat for my lower level, and my father's favorite Pellet Stove, the Harman Advance. My father in law jumped on the Pellet stove band wagon two years ago and bought three stoves from this dealer in NH. My home was originally 1,100.00 square feet so we doubled the size. I let him talk me into the Harman and I wish I never put it in... I have had numerous problems with the unit..... but that aside, I have not saved anything. Whoever said on here you can get Pellets for 5$ a bag must be burning the cheapest crap around. The quality of Pellets your burn DOES matter. The average cost by the ton for a decent pellet is $5.50-$5.75 a bag. last year I burned 4 tons equating to $1,100.00 if you divide that by the 5 heating months, it cost me $220.00 a month in addition to my heat bill and the wood I burned as I have a wood stove as well. Once I fire that up the Pellet stove shuts off.

    Gas burning stoves are much more efficient, and less maintenance. Please keep in mind with a Pellet Stove you need to lug pellets, at least twice, from delivery, and you need to clean the thing at least twice during a one ton burn, in addition to weekly scrapings and glass cleanings. Plus, this thing has turned the side of my house black.... You will also need a shopvac dedicated to the pellet Stove when you do clean. It's a very messy process.

    If you have natural gas, please do your research carefully. The Pellet stove is a good source of heat, but you need to be in good physical shape and willing to do continual cleaning and maintenance.

    I was actually having gas brought in to my house this spring, as I was ready to dump the pellet Stove for a Gas stove. Now where it seems to be O.K., I may hold off for another year as I am not all that excited to pay the $$$ to switch over, in addition to the $$$ I paid for the Pellet Stove. If I had to do it all over again I would have gotten the Gas Stove; No Question about it..

    Good luck with whatever you decide!!!
  14. Tailrace

    Tailrace New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Messages:
    123
    Loc:
    Bullville NY
    During the heating season my furnace uses 5 gallons of fuel oil a day, and at the current rate of $3.05 a gallon, that's $15.75 a day. Since I bought my pellet stove I'm getting about a day and a half out of a bag of $4.75 pellets, which equates to $3.16 a day. It's not too awful cold here, so I'm planning on going through 1 bag a day when the chill really sets in. The difference from spending $4.75 a day to $15.75 a day to heat my house is incredible to me....especially when my house is toasty warm and in the 70 plus degree range, as compared to barely 68 degrees and my feet cold with the oil heat.
  15. Mr Whitfield

    Mr Whitfield Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2007
    Messages:
    311
    Loc:
    Northern Cailfornia
    I heat with a pellet stove, it's cheaper for me than NG, I will say my NG Heater is 30 yrs old, I have a whitfield Advantage II-T. My stove runs from 4PM to 8AM. If I run my gas heater on this time frame, it would cost me more than a half a bag a night using NG heater. I still like the pellet stove better. 199.00 a ton.
  16. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Messages:
    2,491
    Loc:
    South Shore MA
    Keep in mind, a good portion of the responses are from people on the East Coast.
    Electricity, pellets, and gas are all likely to cost more out this way so keep that
    in mind while reviewing the responses.
  17. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    9,293
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    I'll second Zeta's notion. Pellets are less than 200$ per ton today at the local hardware and feed stores. There is a bit of a timber and mill industry in western washington that likely keeps the price down. So bags are indeed less than 5$ each.
  18. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    12,379
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    This kind of "savings" is akin to how big a fish you caught might have been, using your hands spread apart to describe it! A BTU is a BTU is a BTU.

    If the same exact stove was fueled with natural gas, oil, LP or ANY other fuel, the savings would be similar.

    Maybe your furnace is defective or inefficient.....you can't compare apples to apples that way.

    To compare the fuels as you claim:
    5 gallons of oil - 700,000 BTU input
    28 lbs of pellets per day - 250,000 BTU input

    A Natural Gas stove at $1.50 a therm, would use about 2.5 therm a day if you replaced your pellet stove with a gas stove. That would cost less than $4 a day. Consider the original cost, the electric the pellet stove uses, the yearly service and the hauling of tons of pellets.....and I would suggest that the two are approx equal (if that). BTW, the gas stove works without electric at all, so can serve as a backup when the power is out.

    We have discussed this DOZENS of times before. You cannot fool mother nature, and at Hearth.com you cannot fool most of our educated users - but you CAN fool yourself, which is fine and dandy. But just don't expect to get hired as an engineer.

    So, new Mantra - "A free standing stove burning any fuel at approx the same efficiency and BTU input will do the same job"
  19. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    12,379
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Evenly for all the various fuels, based on the heating of an approx 2500 square foot house in a relatively cold climate.

    It is really for relativity between the fuels.
  20. Tailrace

    Tailrace New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Messages:
    123
    Loc:
    Bullville NY
    Sorry...but I wasn't out to try and fool anybody. I was just calculating the difference in cost from fuel oil to pellets from where I sit...and I never claimed to be an engineer. I'm pretty new to this site and i've never read anything on the BTU discussions. My furnace is definitely inefficient. and until my landlord decides to replace the dinosaur I see it as I'm saving money heating the house i live in.
  21. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
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    12,379
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Don't mean anything personal, just trying to make certain folks compare all the stuff before committing their $$$ - a person would ne likely to read your post and thing they might save 75% or more with pellets over oil. The truth is that they may be saving 50% because of space heat over a poor central heater, and the rest from the fuel price, etc.
  22. richg

    richg Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Messages:
    889
    Saving money should not be a deciding factor when you are evaluating a renewable energy heating system. Prices of pellets and corn will go up and down, as will natural gas, oil, propane etc. Renewable energy heating lessens our dependence on foreign oil, keeps money out of the pockets of thugs like Hugo Chanvez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, reduces greehouse gas emissions and provides American jobs. I would continue to heat with pellets if they cost twice as much. 300 of my coworkers still proudly serve our company on floors 86-101 of the North Tower.
  23. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Rich, good theory, but it does not drive 90% of the population or more. A small percentage would continue to heat with them, but of course given your political bent we'd have to carefully look at who is investing in the pellet company and who owns the stove manufacturer! Don't laugh, the Arabs just bought a bigger piece of citigroup, own GE Plastics and many other "American" companies.

    But I agree and have many times mentioned that folks who want a pellet stove - should GET a pellet stove, if they have the money. But as far as misleading someone who may have to borrow against their credit card or who thinks they are going to save a lot of money over NG, etc.....well, that is where I think the truth is important.

    I think we all need to become a bit more "inspired" (well, sounds like you are!).......yesterday I was listening to a podcast about the modern Solar industry and it is certainly amazing what is happening there! I was so inspired when I returned from my walk that I decided to start a little separate "savings account" and invest "X" amount into my home (solar, renewables, etc.) over the next few years. Of course, I have to convince WebWidow, but she is a pushover.

    We are headed toward the tipping point on a lot of these alternative energy industries, and I think the customer DOES have to support the companies that make the stuff. Then again, the companies have an obligation NOT to raise the price of pellets along with oil (which they did last year, but not this year) and make the stoves as reliable as possible.
  24. jamorris

    jamorris New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2007
    Messages:
    72
    Loc:
    Ohio
    Throw this reason into the hopper. A few years back, here in the Akron area, we had a major electric grid failure that plunged a good portion of the eastern U.S. and parts of Canada into a tizzy. As good fortune would have it, it happened in August. All the while I was thinking, "what if this were January, or February?"

    The one major factor for me was a way to heat without juice coming in through the breaker box. My Europa 75 will run on 12VDC. I am already had several batteries for trolling motors. I am good for weeks of power failure. Next spring, I am planning of solar cells to back this up.

    Since I have the Europa, I figure might as well run it and see how it fairs in reliability. Been a month now. No hassles. Clean it out once a week. And it sure cut down the cycling of the gas furnace. The Europa will keep the pipes from freezing up.

    Jerry
  25. smg64ct

    smg64ct Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Connecticut
    I've been heating with pellets for about a total of 7 years. I can't believe in that short time how much they have gone up. I have electric heat and on the east coast electric is high. I have 2200 sq feet and the pellet stove does a descent job. When it gets real cold I do need to put the electric on. My electric hasn't been to high, because you can just put it on in one room. I think a pellet stove would do fine in a smaller home with a good layout.
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