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Turning it off at night

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Yamaha_gurl, Sep 1, 2008.

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  1. Yamaha_gurl

    Yamaha_gurl New Member

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    I've searched this forum and can't find an answer...so I post...lol.

    Is it ok to turn a pellet stove off at night and during the day while your not home? Bf and I work M-F 9-5, so I;m wondering if starting it every weekday at say 5 and running it till 10 then shutting it off is ok?

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  2. imacman

    imacman Guest

    You can if you want...no problem. Buy why would you want to? Aren't you trying to save on your "other" heating costs?

    They have quite a few safety systems on them, so you can leave them running all the time, which is what I plan to do (except for when it needs to be cleaned, of course....LOL).
  3. firewarrior820

    firewarrior820 Feeling the Heat

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    if you have a wall thermastat. you can put a programmable one in its place
  4. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    It's ok to shut it off but I don't like to. It takes longer for a pellet stove
    to heat up the house than it does for oil or gas. When I get home
    and it's snowing, and I have to shovel the walk, take the dog out, etc,
    the last thing I feel like doing is firing up the stove and waiting for heat
    once I get inside.
    In the four years I've had this stove I've experimented a lot, and I've
    found that it's best for me to leave it running on low rather than
    shut it down or put it in thermostat mode.
  5. Yamaha_gurl

    Yamaha_gurl New Member

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    Thank you for the quick response, so how much lbs of pellets per hour lets say is used on the very lowest setting? Also, does it shut off once it runs out of pellets? THe one I'm looking into is the Timber Ridge 1500 square foot model, or the englander 25 which I beleive is the same stove.
  6. firewarrior820

    firewarrior820 Feeling the Heat

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    the englander 25 operators manual says it should stay running continuously ,you can download the manual online
  7. MainePellethead

    MainePellethead Minister of Fire

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    Shutting the stove on or off at night or whenever will not hurt the stove.....but nothing is worse than trying to bring the house back up to temp. once its cooled down. I keep mine on 24/7......has not raised my light bill much at all. If you was to leave on low I am not sure the pellet poundage you would use...and yes the stove will shut off when you run out of pellets in the instove. Along with other safety bonuses on many stoves.

    Happy burning!
  8. Souzafone

    Souzafone Feeling the Heat

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    For whatever your other heat source is, do you manually shut it completely off, or do you turn down the thermostat? A thermostat doesn't work like a gas pedal in a car, the amount burned per hour depends on how cold the room is for that hour. It makes no sense to burn no pellets all day, then run on high all evening to make up for it. A pellet stove that runs out will shut itself off, the last thing being the blower once the stove has cooled.
  9. imacman

    imacman Guest

    I tried finding info on the Englander's website, but they don't list lbs/hr for different heat settings.

    One of the members on this forum (Mike Holten) works for Englander's Stoves....you could PM him and get much more info. His "name" on here is " stoveguy2esw". He always seems very willing to help out and give info....give him a shout.
  10. yoscratch

    yoscratch New Member

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    the heat loss from your house is proportional to the difference between the inside and outside temperature. If your house cools down at night or during the day when no one is around, the heat loss is lower. Yes it takes a while to heat up a cool house especially with a 30,000 BTU pelletstove in a house that has a 100,000 BTU furnace. So you have to start a little earlier.

    Get a programmable thermostat and play with it a little and you will figure out how long it takes to warm things back up.
  11. DiggerJim

    DiggerJim Feeling the Heat

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    This makes no sense. If it was correct, you could substitute "furnace" for "pellet stove" and you wouldn't see people encouraging you to turn your thermostat down at night or during the day in order to save oil - after all "it makes no sense to burn no oil all day, then run on high all evening to make up for it" based on your logic.

    My programmable thermostat's settings are 70F from 5:30-8am, 55F from 8am-4:30pm, 70F from 4:30-10pm, 58F from 10pm-5:30am. (Weekends the daytime temp is 65 not 55). Your logic suggests that the pellets I burn for a total of 8hrs of real warmth exceeds what I would have burned if I kept it warm 24x7.

    I'm going to be interested to see if I burn more pellets per day during the week than I do on the weekends - which I should based on your logic. If I don't, then conventional wisdom would seem to prevail and we'll save fuel by not keeping the house toasty warm when we're not there. Anyone who has followed a similar program for their use see this phenomenon? Can anyone explain why this would be true for pellet heat but not true for conventional heating systems (where setback thermostats have been proven to reduce fuel usage)?

    TIA
    Jim
  12. mkmh

    mkmh New Member

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    I'm still somewhat undecided on what works best, but I think the rationale for running 24/7 has to do with the fact that it takes a pellet stove quite a while to start producing heat again after it has completely cooled down. So basically it takes a lot of pellets to heat the stove back up again, which can (in this theory) cause you to use more pellets overall. Having said that, I think it can be a great strategy running the stove on the lowest setting during the nights, but programming it to kick onto medium in the wee hours of the morning.
    Running near 24/7 is also generally easier on your electric bill (for electric start stoves) and obviously this strategy will preserve your starter too.

    I have a set back thermostat that I used 2 winters ago and it seemed to do fine, but last year I pretty much burned 24/7 and I didn't see a big savings as far as the amount of pellets I went through. As with most things, run your own experiment and see what works best for you. Personally I think proper use of a setback might save you 5-10% off your pellet usage, but in most cases you'll pay some of that back to the electric company, as those auto-starts use up a lot of juice.
  13. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    Its a zone heater........................
    If you are using a zone heater to heat a house you will find it better to keep it running 24/7.
    it really CAN'T be compared to a furnace....
    setbacks are fine if it is a supplemental heat source but not practical for a sole heat source
  14. DiggerJim

    DiggerJim Feeling the Heat

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    Now that rationale seems to make a bit more sense than the straight "it takes more to reheat a cool house than to keep it warm all the time" argument. I checked my owner's manual and my stove sucks down an incredible 736 watts (it says it will peak up to that) for 6 minutes when self-igniting. At 18.5 cents/KWH (my current rate), that's 1.36 cents of electricity per start. Now it looks like it also uses 362 watts on average in operation or 6.7 cents per hour. So if I leave it on 24 hrs a day, it will cost about $1.61/day in electric (probably something less since I expect that's the middle blower & auger setting causing that and leaving it on low for many hours would be less). But based on that average, as long as it doesn't restart itself more than 118 times during the day, the electrical cost of the setback approach isn't going to be a factor (and is just another savings over running it nonstop). I don't think it could do that because there's a 10 minute shutdown cycle that would have to occur between each startup and together there aren't enough minutes in the day.

    I was initially skeptical about the 736 watts at startup because the parts list calls out a 380 watt igniter. I forgot about the fact that it runs the auger, room blower, and the combustion blower all at high for the duration of the startup sequence.

    Interesting stuff you can learn from reading the manual :)
  15. Yamaha_gurl

    Yamaha_gurl New Member

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    Alright, so logic says keep it on low all the time. I plan on getting the thermostat as well, how much degrees over the set temp does it turn off? Meaning, how much can I expect it to turn on and off at night if I set it to say 60F. Won't it consume some $$ for electricity?
  16. DiggerJim

    DiggerJim Feeling the Heat

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    Actually logic does not say to keep it on low all the time. The physics says you'll save by using a programmable thermostat to heat it when you're there and not when you're not. Anecdotal evidence suggests that perhaps this isn't much savings but it's one person's experience and not a controlled experiment. Even those savings though would still pay for the electrical costs of operating the stove for the season.

    The electrical usage of the ignitor argument doesn't hold up as I noted above - it takes 31 hours for my stove to turn itself on & off continuously 118 times which is what it would take to offset the electrical cost of running on low all day. So electrically speaking it's cheaper to run the programmable thermostat.

    The argument that it's a zone heater also doesn't hold up - my oil burner is a zone heater (two zones) and I saved money when I went to a setback thermostat for that. I don't know anyone who says that you save money turning your thermostat down at night except if you've got multiple heating zones. It's another argument that doesn't take the account the physics of thermodynamics.

    So, I've got a setback thermostat and will cycle my stove. Others may choose differently.
  17. j00fek

    j00fek Feeling the Heat

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    i have the same schedule and i burn it from when i get home till i leave the next morning, never have let it burn when i was not there
  18. mkmh

    mkmh New Member

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    Fair enough, this is good info for sure. The next thing to look at is the average lifespan of an igniter. I can say with reasonable confidence that the lifespan is measured more in number of starts rather than years. Not sure you'll be able to find accurate information on this, but if you said that hypothetically an average igniter last for 200 starts...then you figured the cost of the igniter (including install) was X......then you could probably build a case to where the price of burning that part out faster will take a healthy bite out of any savings in pellets.

    Of course we won't find an answer that applies in any case. Too many variables in play.
  19. MainePellethead

    MainePellethead Minister of Fire

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    I ran mine 24/7 from the time I had installed on Jan. 8th last winter til the end of the season....my light bill went up a max of approx. 10-15 dollars.....but I saved from not running the furnace on the regular upstarts....so it probably balanced out. Furnace uses more.
  20. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    and I suppose that "2 zone oil burner" only has 1 radiator on each floor right? :-/
    didn't think so.....
    for argument sake in this case a "zone heater" would be a stove in 1 room heating the entire house
  21. yoscratch

    yoscratch New Member

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    I agree with Digger Jim.

    the point about the expense of the ignitor is significant. I have gone through 2 already (since 09/05) for $113 each , I installed them myself. I use my pellet stove to heat the entire house and set back. Yes it takes a lot longer for a 30,000 btu pellet stove to heat up a cold house. it just has to start a little earlier than when using the furnace.

    Is there a way to set it to stay on and just go to low until the thermostat calls for more heat? Maybe I would do this during the evening before bed time so that it doesn't stop and start as much.

    I have a St Croix Prescott. have burned corn/pellet mix but now just burning pellets cause its easier (even though i have a farm and can bring home buckets of beautiful corn, just too much ash and hassle).
  22. imacman

    imacman Guest

    I don't know what you use other than pellets to heat your home, but if you used oil (for example), consider what it costs to have a tech come to your house once a year to do a yearly service so your burner runs at top efficiency. I think it might be more than the $75 average/yr you paid for the 2 ignitors.

    Do you think you saved more than $75/yr using pellets ?

    A pellet stove is like any other heating system....there are maintenance costs.

    Just my 2 cents.
  23. yoscratch

    yoscratch New Member

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    My "other furnace" is a propane fired forced hot air that is about 20 years old. We hardly ever use it. only if it is 0 out and pretty windy or something like that. I bought 4 tons of pellets this year for $230 each. that will heat the whole house for the winter. I just paid $2.84 for propane and use about 10-15 gallons per week for hot water and dryer.

    I guess the question is if I save more than $75 worth of pellets per year by turning it on and off. If I use all 4 tons that is $920. I am pretty sure that I save at least 10% by using the setback.

    yoscratch
  24. teddy1971

    teddy1971 Member

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    This is also my first year with a pellet stove. I plan to use a setback as well (65 when no one is home and at night 73 at other times of day). My hous is only five years old and is well insulated (3300 sqft uses 650 gallons of oil to heat and 150 gallons for hot water). I set my thermostat to 58 when no one is home and at night. 68 at all other times of day. Since I will be heating just the upstairs with the pellet stove (2500 sqft) we should either break even or save alittle on pellets (I have 4 tons). I have 240 gallons in my oil tank right now that I hope will last us through the entire season. I will keep the thermostat in the basement at 55 (800 sqft) and use a space heater when needed.
  25. mkmh

    mkmh New Member

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    Yep, I think that is the right question. Our situations seem to be pretty similar. I bought my St Croix Hastings (presumably same igniter as yours) in 2005 and I am still working off the original igniter. I would say it averages 3 starts per week during the heating season, as the stove stays on nearly 24/7.

    As long as the igniters are easy to replace (< 1 hour) I would say that it is going to be pretty close to a "wash". There are pros and cons on both sides of the equation for sure, because I find that my stove burns a lot dirtier on low then it does on medium and high. So, burning on low for 12 hours or so at a time isn't always the greatest option. Winter 2006 I let it shut down a lot of nights and then set it to come on at 5 AM (medium setting). I definitely think this saved me some pellets and didn't put so much wear and tear on the igniter to where it burned out on me.
    IMO this may be the best use of the stove, to allow for maybe one or two shutdowns per day for blocks of 4+ hours, but I think it is a mistake to let it cycle repeatedly throughout the day.
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