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Swaping out Hearthstone woodstove for Harmon pellet... need suggestions

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by perley03, Nov 21, 2007.

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  1. perley03

    perley03 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    14
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    Hi all, this is my first post. I currently have a Hearthstone woodstove, well 2 actually, but I was thinking of swapping out one at the other end of the house for a pellet stove. A few reasons are I work long hours and the wife doesn't really like to keep them going, and the pellet stove would allow her to run all day and she doesn't have to worry about it. Another is we live in a remodeled farm house, and that end of the house has some circulation problems. Every room has a ceiling fan, but it does not seem to move around enough air. In the mud room, where the stove is currently, it gets to about 80-85 with the stove on idle, and as soon as you step into the kitchen, the temp drops to about 72. I installed a small door frame fan, but that doesn't really help. The pellet stove has a built in fan, coming off the heat exchanger, and would allow to push this air into the kitchen, regulating the temp between the two rooms. The other woodstove is in the living room, and that does just fine for heating that end of the house, plus the upstairs. I generally have to keep that one on idle, as it will drive you out of the room, and I mostly sweat while trying to sleep. The biggest reason is if I lose power, I can still heat the house on the living room stove and not worry about the pipes freezing. We have a forced hot air furnace, but I have not even used 1/8th tank of fuel in the last 1.5 months. Luckily I filled it @ $2.59/gal before prices spiked to above $3.29/gal for #2.
    I'm getting second thoughts however on the swap idea. I will keep the woodstove for a bit, just incase I don't like the pellet stove, but I'm not too sure if I want to spend the money ($1290) on the pellet stove.
    By the way, pellets are not much more expensive than cord wood here. 3 miles up the road in East Corinth they make pellets there, and I can get them for $219/ton, and cord wood is going for $185+/cord, seasoned, split, and delivered.
    Help me out guys, what would you do? Get the stove and try it out, or just burn wood?

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  2. rdrcr56

    rdrcr56 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2006
    Messages:
    216
    I love my Hearthstone, I wood try and figure a way to circulate air and keep the stoves.
  3. KeithO

    KeithO Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Messages:
    529
    Loc:
    Jackson, MI
    Regarding comparisons between cordwood and Pellets: A cord is about 2 tons in weight. Thus you get about double the wood when you buy a cord compared to a ton of pellets. If you get 2 ton, then you are doing a more apples to apples comparison in cost and bulk compared to 1 cord of wood.

    Pity you are so far away... I would gladly trade my St Croix Greenfield corn / Pellet stove for a Hearthstone / woodstock soapstone stove.

    You may want to investigate this product as an alternative to the ceiling fans. Apparently it works a lot better, uses less power and does not cause the same amount of drafts:
    http://www.solar-components.com/strato.htm
  4. Mr Whitfield

    Mr Whitfield Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2007
    Messages:
    311
    Loc:
    Northern Cailfornia
    Look for a good used pellet stove. I had a Lopi wood insert, I when to a pellet stove because it was easy for the wife to operate. The money you save on a used pellet stove you can buy a generator. What's your time worth, I would rather stack bags of pellets then stack and store wood. Just my 2 cents. Good Luck.
  5. MrWinkey

    MrWinkey New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2006
    Messages:
    146
    Loc:
    Eastern Washington
    Weight is not a good measure of the ammount of heat energy for cord wood.

    I would use the energy calc on this website to figure it out....

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/articles/fuel_cost_comparison_calculator/

    Hardwoods produce more energy than softwoods plus you get into the whole the wood may be greener blah blah blah.

    If I rember correctly 1 pallet of pellets really equals about 1.5 cord of wood if you use BTU values and depending on the wood and moisture content. (your results may vary)

    My wife and I switched to a pellet stove after many years of wood burning for the same reasons. We wanted the pellet stove as it was hard to keep burning 24/7 when we both work the same shift. Also it was starting to get harder to find good burnable wood. The area where I live has increased in size and we were having to go further and further out to get wood and that takes time also so we figured w/ the fuel calc it was time to switch.

    In my area the cost of pellets & the cost of cord wood is about the same. (Only softwood here pretty much)

    I would continue to burn cord wood untill the prices evened out more or your wife complained enough about comming home to a cold house....:p
  6. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Athens, Ohio
    Keep in mind that as more people decide electricity/gas/oil is too expensive and they switch to pellet stoves, you might end up spending a boatload on pellets as demand goes up. Wasn't there a problem last year or the year before with a low supply of pellets? I'm a big believer in wood heat beacause you don't need electricity, and you don't (necessarily) have to rely on someone else for your fuel. Plus, having that old timberframe barn filled with wood that I split with a maul is pretty satisfying. Of course, living in the middle of an 85 acre wood lot makes it an easy decision.
  7. KeithO

    KeithO Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Jackson, MI
    Using the fuel calculator and the figures provided, the comparison comes out as follows:

    $10.57 per Million BTU of Heat delivered to home
    $1,004.15 per year for normal home for Hardwood

    $19.40 per Million BTU of Heat delivered to home
    $1,843.00 per year for normal home for Pellets

    So it is amost exactly twice as expensive to heat with pellets as with wood using the info provided assuming no work input other than hauling the wood into the house and the ash out. Some of us who scrounge don't have to pay for wood at all, but yes it does cost a little time and in my case provides some much needed exercise and er.. shall we say "stress relief"... I can think about the SOB's who give me grief at work while I swing the axe... Priceless.

  8. MrWinkey

    MrWinkey New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2006
    Messages:
    146
    Loc:
    Eastern Washington
    It's 2x as expensive for hardwood......

    Softwood....it's not nearly as clear cut.

    $16.39 per Million BTU of Heat delivered to home
    $1,557.05 per year for normal home for Softwood

    Pellets are not that far off.....

    Depending on your location you can get pellets for less but I would continue to burn wood unless your wife really wants the pellet stove.

    Nearly everything around me is pine so I need quite a bit more of it to heat my house. When I cut it on my own that takes my free time, money to run the truck and the saw to pickup the wood. If I scrounge the wood it agian takes time.

    I figured when the cord wood and pellet prices got to be the same I would toss in my hat and buy the pellet stove.

    It's really a personal choice what one to go with.
  9. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Waxhaw, NC... Formerly North shore Mass
    Punch in the #s again leave them all at 70% eff and make them all 100 bucks a cord or ton, this is the problem the cost is based on the usage...
    Hardwood 5.4 cord per year
    Softwood 8.4 cord per year
    Pellts 8.4 ton per year.
    Does anyone on here really use these amounts?
    I would take a stab at the average person here pellet or hardwood burner we are about equal at 3-4 cord or ton respectivly per year.
    So for the calc to work here for pellets take the price and your efficiency. crunch the #s and then divide by 2..... That's what you will spend in a year :coolhmm:

    Craig can you please adjust the #s it's a bit skewed still
  10. perley03

    perley03 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    14
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    Well thanks for all the quick replies. I think I'm going to try the pellet stove and see what I will use and the amount of heat out of it. I stopped into a stove shop on my way back from a service run today down near Ellsworth and looked at some pellet stoves, their prices were ridiculous. $1795 for a 40,000BTU pellet stove, and a name I haven't heard of. I think I will stick with my 55,000BTU Harmon for that price. I'm going to go back to the first stove shop I visited a week ago and see when he can drop off the stove at my place. Who knows, I might not like it, or I will love it. Either way I can sell a stove, whether it will be the wood stove or the pellet stove.
  11. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,140
    Loc:
    Waxhaw, NC... Formerly North shore Mass
    FWIW Before everyone says I need to use this or that...... The price for ton of pellets for me and stove eff (I'm shooting low) 78%
    and the cost per therm for my new 92% eff NG furnace are equal but the Pellets nudge it out by a couple of pennies,
    You're results may vary.
    Why did I replace the furnace? I'm 900 miles away and can't feed the stove anymore and the old furnace was dead after not firing it for over 4 years :mad:
  12. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    I am wondering if you've tried all the possible fixes that people have suggested for air circulation, which sounds like your real issue... It sounded to me like you had tried blowing heated air out of the stove room into the colder room and not been successful. Have you tried REVERSING the fan and blowing the COLD air from the kitchen into the stove room? It sounds very counter intuitive, but several of our members have reported that this has been a very effective solution.

    Cold air is dense, heavy, and hard to move. It does not "like" getting shoved around by warm air, so trying to blow heated air into a cold space often fails. Blowing the colder air INTO the heated space (try moving the fans to floor level as well) can help get a convection flow going as the denser cold air gets pushed into the heated room and warmed, and the hotter air will flow into the space vacated by the cold air more readily.

    If you have ceiling fans in all the rooms, you can also try different combinations of speeds, and / or setting the fans to blow up or down to see if you can get a better convection pattern, maybe even try turning the fan off in one room.

    One user has suggested the "candle test" - stand in the doorway between the two rooms with a lit candle, and watch which way the flame bends as you hold the candle near the floor or at the top of the doorway. Try to get your airflow so that the candle flame bends TOWARDS the stove near the bottom of the door, and AWAY from the stove near the top. This is the most natural convective flow pattern and should give you the most even heat distribution for the effort.

    Gooserider
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