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Pellets versus Oil

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by houset, Apr 25, 2008.

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  1. mjbrown

    mjbrown Feeling the Heat

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    jerry, i am not trying to be a jerk here , but it seems as though you are down on the pellet stove scene.i may be getting LESS btu's from my pellet stove, but they are CONSTANT btu's. when my furnace stops running, the temp drops, and the furnce comes back on, thus burning more oil. when i start my pellet stove with the t-stat set at 70, the stove runs and the temp stay constant(plus or minus 3-4 degrees). that being said, i would rather pour another bag of pellets in the hopper and keep the stove going 24-7 at 5.00 per bag, than call the oil company, to have them come fill my oil barrel AGAIN at 4.00 per gallon. my math may stink, but when it comes to my wallet, you can bet i am pretty good at the figures. sorry if i sound like a jerk...definately NOT trying to start trouble . also, if i misunderstood your post i apologize.


    mike

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  2. MoeB

    MoeB New Member

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    I also suffer from coal stove envy and wood stove envy. My latest affliction is Rinnai heater and tankless water heater envy. At some point, I will need a 12-step group to deal with these so as not to over-spend on heating appliances.

    Moe
  3. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    Mike,

    I am not "against" pellets, it was (is) on my possible list of upgrades for my 20 year old wood insert in my living room. I especially like the clean and true weight bags of pellets when I pass them at Walmart. The firewood sellers/delivers are on my most untrusted list, and that's the only I buy most of my fire wood...I'm looking into buying "ends" (I think its called) from a local lumber mill(s). I have a small pickup truck, Chevy Colorado that gets a little over 20 mpg, so I can drive a few miles round trip to pick up wood that'll need splitting. All this points very positively toward a pellet stove decision....that is in fact the reason I'm looking into the pellet forum threads.

    I for one turn the furnace (Geo HP in my case) way back whenever I have a fire in the (past) wood insert in the living room, and I keep the furnace off for hours, as many as I'm willing to stoke the wood in (a new insert will have a much better controlled burn rate and longer burn rate, wood or pellet) the old insert. And yes, the house is cold back behind the laundry/study room that's behind the kitchen, and the upstairs bedrooms are cool, but the living room is toasty warm, the way we like it for some reading and watching tv.... so I'm saving money and enjoying more warmth in the room I'm in/using.

    My comments here, and elsewhere, is driven at least in part out of a concern that someone who can't afford the new several thousand dollars of debt, if they have the cash on hand, it's not for me to worry about them, unless they save enough in heating cost to make the payments, and especially if they are planning to use the savings to also eat better. I say the economics are not as strong as some share.
  4. Turbozcs2003

    Turbozcs2003 New Member

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    Interesting thread.

    I am looking into a pellet stove. I have all my oil bills goin back 5 yrs to determine consumption and used a loss calculator to determine needed BTU for the conditioned space.

    http://www.builditsolar.com/References/Calculators/HeatLoss/HeatLoss.htm

    It works pretty close for my home, about 650 gallons per season. 2100 sq ft, well insulated. I am in the middle of sealing the attic better around some recessed cans and looking for any wiring penetrations etc. Plus I added another 6 1/2 ". I am also going to seal the bottom plate better. House was built in 1999 and a I have a lot of glass too. there is a lot of opportunity to eliminate losses from air infiltration and lossed thru windows if one wnats to spend some money.

    One thing I was unsure is the efficiency of my boiler(Peerless with Becket gun) is listed as 85%, energy star. However what are the losses in the baseboard FHW?? SO I would think if a pellet stove is 80% efficient, 80% of the BTU go into the conditioned space but if a boiler is 85% combustion efficiency and the FHW has 20% loss(in pipes, walls etc) your overall efficiency is only 68%. So if you get 130K BTU you only get 88.4K BTU in the conditioned space?

    Has anyone on here actually done the #'s of gallons, not changed anything and then installed the stove and run it for a season or two and determined what the # of gallons compared to the amount of pellets used??
  5. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    Moe, I'm with you. Shopping for a new insert makes me wish it was closer to Winter time, in spite of the heating costs, which are higher that cooling costs for me in central NJ. I like stoves/fireplaces, there's something "natural" about sitting near a (controlled) fire to keep warm. I like not burning oil too, I have a real problem with our dependence on foreign oil, especially that supplies by governments that hate the USA.

    I think concern about heat lost in the heating ducts and basement are over estimated in your thinking TurboZ, but you are doing everything right. Heat "lost" in the basement goes somewhere, some through the foundation walls, and lost, and some through the ceiling (US floor), and isn't lost. I need to keep the basement above freezing anyway because of all the water pipes...and I use it for a shop and a VERY informal office (desk/computer/files). I even add heat to the basement at times, but not last year, the airtight stove in the basement was disconnected and the flue closed off...this was mostly because of some old fire odor problems which are being discussed on other threads.
  6. mjbrown

    mjbrown Feeling the Heat

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    Hartland,Me.

    jerry,
    my misunderstanding and also my apologies.to me my pellet stove is worth its weight in gold. it has taken a few years for me to get to the point where i could afford one , and made a grave mistake with th first one i bought. but, when i bought my harmon, i fell insantly in love with it asdid the rest of my family.so much that my parent who were against them have just bought one. no i say to heck with the arabs...keep their oil , i will only use what i need to( gas to get back and forth to work).


    mike
  7. StoveMiser

    StoveMiser New Member

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    Facts...

    I heat 1800 square feet in western NY

    5 year oil average is 900 gallons

    Paid 1800 bucks for stove and pipe

    Started burning pellets mid January

    This was a colder than average year

    I burned 5 tons of pellets that cost me 996 bucks

    Cut oil to 440 gallons @ 3.53 a gallon

    I saved 605 bucks this year starting in January. Should save close to 1000 next year. Depending on how high oil goes the stove may pay for itself in under two years. The home feels much warmer too.
  8. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    Looking over my historical records, this formula appears to be pretty accurate.
  9. MainePellethead

    MainePellethead Minister of Fire

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    Pellet versus Fuel Oil is a no brainer...

    if someone wants to think that oil is for them then open your wallet...

    I saved a ton this winter with pellets(no pun intended). And I plan to save even more next winter :)
  10. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    Souther Maine, hum is that the warm part of the state :question:

    The further north one goes the more one can save by reducing heating cost :cheese:
  11. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    The key factor with pellets vs oil is the constant heat output with pellets.
    Not nearly the same BTU`s but constant output that makes keeping a house warm easier than reheating it at intervals.
    John
  12. MainePellethead

    MainePellethead Minister of Fire

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    lol...warm? not as cold as upstate where i was born.....but if 10 degrees and cooler is warm then I guess it is the warmer part of the state yeah :)
  13. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    I'm not sure about the advantage of constant heat as easier than reheating with a cycling (central) unit. It is clear to me that constant warmth in a part of the houuse one spend the most quite time in (other than bedroom and sleeping) lets me get by with fewer consumed BTUs, that is I can use less energy by using my insert, but it is cooler in distant parts of the house than it would be with central heating in control. I do leave the central heating circulation fan on all the time the insert is being used. That helps a little in distribution of heat, if you have such a feature on your central, that is a plus.... my circulation fan on the central unit operates in low speed, nice for the low noise, but of course it doesn't move a lot of air.
  14. ugenetoo

    ugenetoo New Member

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    thats really northern mass!! maine doesnt start till you are at least up to waterville.
  15. MainePellethead

    MainePellethead Minister of Fire

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    lol u got a point. But....theres more to southern maine than Portland and OOB. Theres a huge amount of land left inland towards fryburg, cornish etc etc. :)
  16. Ken45

    Ken45 Minister of Fire

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    I don't know. In colder weather, I was uncomfortable sitting five feet away from the pellet stove (temp set on 74). I think it caused drafts, shipping the heated air out of the room near the ceiling, letting the cooler air come back in near the floor. Sitting down on the couch, I get the "benefit" of the cooler air, not the warmer air.

    Perhaps our house is "too open" so that we don't get the benefit of the localized heat.

    Ken
  17. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    When all other logic fails, coming up with some superstition has alway worked!

    Heat is Heat - a BTU is a BTU, etc. etc. etc.

    And while ANY fuel that maintains your house within one degree at all times might feel more comfortable than one that swings 4 or 5 degrees, the end result is the same number of BTU's used to keep the house at the same average temp.

    I thought we got over the "nukecler" pellets stuff years ago. Now repeat after me:

    Pellets are just wood
    Pellets are just wood
    A BTU is a BTU
    A BTU is a BTU

    Hey, at $4.00 and up a gallon, not much excuse needs to be made - Pellets will be substantially cheaper if you have a stove with high efficiency.
  18. Ken45

    Ken45 Minister of Fire

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    I agree, you hit the nail on the head EXCEPT for efficiency. I think some of the newer gas/propane furnaces can be signficantly more efficient and, of course, unvented gas fireplaces are definitely more efficient. But probably not enough to make up for the fuel price differences.


    And cord wood probably even cheaper to heat with and less vunerable to supply and demand pricing issues (some locations excepted), especially if one can cut their own wood.

    Ken
  19. ugenetoo

    ugenetoo New Member

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    if you are going to stay warm for a reasonable price, you should be ready to burn anything.
    thats my motto!
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