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Why did You Buy Your Pellet Stove ?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by www_godzilla, Apr 16, 2009.

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  1. DAGME

    DAGME New Member

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    Two reasons:

    1. Ambiance and Feel! We've wanted to have a fireplace, and love the hot air feel of pellet stoves and woodstoves.

    2. Offsetting oil consumption: While I had no plans on the "immediate" payoff of burning pellet over heating oil, in the long run (i.e., 5-10 years) I think it will pay itself off. Also, it is more (but not quite entirely) carbon neutral than oil - and seemed more environmentally responsible.

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  2. Stentor

    Stentor Member

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    Very well put. It's the enjoyable thing to do now and very probably the right thing in the long run.
  3. peirhead

    peirhead Feeling the Heat

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    I previously posted most of this but I'll repeat it here:
    I wanted to have multiple reasons for getting a stove...I didn’t (and still don’t) think there is one compelling reason to get a pellet stove....
    - If I had room for a good wood pile I probably would have gone for a wood stove (particliarly if I had access to free/cheap wood)
    - We also wanted to reduce humidity in the house as our furnace is in the garage and our air exchanger is under sized.
    - Our family room downstairs was always cold....with an open stairwell to the main floor and hot water radiators any heat we put in the room just went upstairs....the pellet stove gives enough radiant heat to make the room comfortable even if most of the heat goes upstairs.
    - we wanted a “pretty” old fashioned wood stove so aesthetics played an important part of our decision...when comparing technologies, local service and looks we were down to the Quad Castile and the Harman XXV.
    - Finally we thought we might save some money if oil stayed high and pellets stayed low...hhmmm probably broke even there!!

    the stove performs beautifully and solved the humidity issues as well as heating the family room (as well as the rest of the 1600 sqft house) easily.
  4. rgros

    rgros New Member

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    DE
    We bought our Harman P68 this January to save money and be WARM. Our house had a double unit propane furnace that we kept turned down to 67 . It cycled on and off all day and at approx $1300 a tank and two tanks a heating season it just seemed wrong. Especially since we were always cold even with the propane. Now, we don't use the propane at all, just the P68. It keeps the house toasty, heating both the main floor and the second floor very well. It's been worth the money spent. Even though pellet prices aren't great, I'm still saving and also living more comfortably.

    I've started to receive the early buys for pellets and for any folks near Delaware, Byler's is selling them for 249 a ton (Energex and Hamer's). Not as good a deal as the year before but much better than the 300 this past Jan.

    = Rosemarie
  5. Stentor

    Stentor Member

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    This thread seems to have two approaches and they both work. One group shows how important and easy it is to use the Fuel Cost Comparison Calculator (link in an earlier post). That gives you the numbers. The other group looks at what they get in both comfort and cost in their own home. That gives you your own personal situation. For us it's both. We're on the way to break even in cost and, very important, the room where we spend most of our evening together is warm and cozy with the stove on during a winter night.

    Sorry if I sound like a guy in a TV commercial.......
  6. mandkj

    mandkj Member

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    Watertown, CT
    I think a big factor, at least for me, is how many tons you burn. I can get through the season with 3 tons and save about $700 (based on todays oil price). If I needed more than 3 tons, that eats into the savings. 4 tons would be my breaking point but lucky I won't hit that. Now that I've said that, we'll probably have the coldest winter on record in New England.
  7. freebird77

    freebird77 Feeling the Heat

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    High oil prices. And I thought even if I end up paying a lot for the stove,( I did), and if pellets did go up,( they have), then at least I will be supporting an American, or possibly Canadian company other then some gold plated raghead from across the pond. My 2 cents.
  8. www_godzilla

    www_godzilla Member

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    As author of this thread....I'm glad a lot of people are enjoying this question.
  9. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    I'm missing something here... oil in Waterbury, CT is $1.70 a gallon (or less) and pellets are north of $260 (plus delivery) per ton... I'm failing to see how you can save $700 by burning pellets when oil is currently FAR cheaper than pellets. And then you go on to say a 4th ton of pellets brings you to a breaking point... :confused:
  10. mandkj

    mandkj Member

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    Where in Waterbury is oil $1.70 a gallon (or less)? If you know, please tell me so I can call. Also, where did that info come from?
  11. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    Best Oil. Waterbury, CT - (203) 574-4050
    Currently $1.70/gal, I just called them...

    This was the first (and only) place I called, so I would think it can be found for even less than $1.70/gal. through someone else in the Meriden / Waterbury area. ;)
  12. davevassar

    davevassar Member

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    I bought my pellet stove because I hoped it would make my house feel warmer in the winter in the areas that we are in the most. I keep my thermostat at 69 degrees during the colder months. If I turn it up, my funrace would almost alwyas be running. I have 18 ft ceilings in my living room and the heat goes right up. If I turn the fan onit feels cold.

    After installing my stove, the average temp in my house is between 70-73 degrees and I burn much much less oil.

    So, in short, my house feels warmer.
  13. mandkj

    mandkj Member

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    Thanks for the tip. I have called around but never them but that is lower than I pay now so I'll have to make 2 calls - them and my current company to tell them where to go. At the price I just paid for pellets, including delivery + the little oil I use the total heating cost for next winter is $1025.50. 800 gallons at $1.70 is $1360 so I'm still not there with oil. $1.29/gal is my break even point. 800 X $1.29 = $1032.

    My oil company will appreciate you for the reaming they are about to get.
  14. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    You're welcome, but do some more calling around because that was the first place I called so there are likely better deals out there on oil.

    Regarding your numbers, something is not right. What are your assumptions? How many pellets (at what cost) and how much oil to equal $1025.50? The reason I ask is because using only $1.70 oil should be significantly cheaper than burning pellets at today's prices...
  15. geek

    geek Minister of Fire

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    Central CT
    bought my pellet stove because:
    1.oil prices sky rocking and very unstable
    2.I'm an echo friendly person, well at least I try to be. I installed solar panels recently for my electric needs.
    3.rather pay for pellets made in our soil than pay oil to those a$$$% in the middle east.

    BTW. try I.T. Energy in Waterbury, their oil price is always really competitive.
  16. mandkj

    mandkj Member

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    I have a 7 month burning season. During that time, to keep the house at 65, I use 800 gallons of oil. At $1.70, thats $1360. For the same period burning just pellets, it takes 3 tons to keep the house at 70 and 105 gallons of oil to heat water (I have teenage girls). I just ordered 3 tons of NEWP for $255/ton and $82 delivery equaling $847. Combine that with the $178.50 I spend on 105 gallons of oil and its a total of $1025.50 for pellet only heating season. $1360 for all oil minus $1025.50 for all pellets equals a $334.50 savings with pellets. For me to heat with oil for the price of pellets, oil needs to be $1.29/gallon. 800 gallons X $1.29 = $1032.
  17. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    Mandjk,

    I suspect there is some error in your numbers or assumptions. If you know it takes 800 gallons a year to heat the house with oil (I'm assuming you know this to be true based on history), then maybe the error is in the ratios or the amount of pellets being used for the entire year. Either way, it should be cheaper to heat with oil right now.

    You didn't mention how big your house is, but assuming you have historically used 800 gallons of oil a year, your house is probably around 1400 or 1500 sq ft or so. This is obviously a guess based on the info you provided. But either way, it looks like your pellet/oil consumption should be over 3 tons per year plus 105 gal. for DHW if you are indeed heating the same area you previously heated with 800 gallons of oil, especially if you're heating the entire area at an even higher temp of 70°, instead of the 65° you were heating at previously.

    3 tons of pellets only contains about 49.5 million btu of energy. 800 gallons of oil contains about 111.2 million btu. Assuming your pellet stove/furnace is about 82% efficient (possibly a high assumption), that means you're probably getting about 40.6 million btu into the house with 3 tons of pellets. Lets assume you do use 105 gal. of oil per year for DHW, that leaves 695 for heating. 695 gallons of oil contains 96.6 million btu, or almost twice as much as 3 tons of pellets. If your oil burner is 80% efficient (probably a good average number for a used burner), that would mean you're still netting about 77.3 million btu. I'm sure there are some additional losses in distributing the heat to the living space associated with using a central heating system, but there's no way you should be anywhere close to needing/using twice as many btu to use your central heating system!

    Heating DHW for 3 or 4 people (especially teenagers!) over the course of a year would probably require more than 105 gallons of oil (or 14.6 million btu). My guess is you probably use 80+ gallons of hot water every day, but let's assume 80 gallons per day. If so, the energy required to heat 80 gallons per day from 50F to 110F (which your is likely closer to 120°F) is about 14.6 million BTU/year, but there are additional losses, such as tank losses and system losses (conversion and overall) when heating the water with oil. Your overall efficiency is probably closer to .65 to .70 since it has to be heated through a HX. So oil used for heating only DHW is probably well over 150 gallons per year.

    Still, 650 gallons of oil contains a LOT more btu than 3 tons of pellets, about 41 million btu more. So either you're short on your estimated yearly pellet usage, you're severally underestimating oil usage for DHW, or you're not heating as much of the house with the pellet stove (some areas are not being heated like they were with the central heating system). Either way, based on the numbers, oil should still be considerably cheaper at today's prices... about $15.50 per million btu for oil and about $21 per million btu for pellets based on your price of $282 per ton. If you know you used 800 gallons of oil previously, you know you need about 110 million total (+/-) btu to heat the house and DHW, regardless of how it's done.
  18. wak1954

    wak1954 Member

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    Loc:
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    When I went to order K1 last year, they said the price was $4.86 a gallon, but that they hadn't been able to get a delivery for the past three weeks. I finally found the K1 at that price, but decided that I had better find an alternative heat source that I could rely on at a reasonable price. I was scared into buying my pellet stove.
  19. mandkj

    mandkj Member

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    Well, you can either choose to believe me or not, your perogative. I know what it takes to heat my house for the winter with oil and pellets and no matter all the BTU theories and equations, my wallet is what I go by. As stated many times in this thread alone, everyone's situation is different. I live in a raised ranch (your square footage estimate was a little low but pretty close) and with a strategically placed ceiling fan to draw the warm air up, I can heat the whole house (less closed bedrooms) on a very low setting. I'm not sure what part of the country you live in but if you've chosen to go without pellets this year then you have every right to make that decision as do those of us that decide to buy early (unless you're offering to pay for mine of coarse, then that changes the whole equation.)
  20. davevassar

    davevassar Member

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    The BTU argument does not apply to all situations. I'm in the exact situation that mandkj is in. It costs me less to heat my house with pellets then it does with oil AND on top of it, I'm much more comfortable.

    If I used oil alone, I would piss through more then 100 gallons per month at 69 degrees. with pellets, I used 4 tons this past winter and the average temperature was 71.

    71 degrees is MUCH warmer than 69 degrees during the winter where I live.
  21. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    Actually guys, the "BTU argument" does apply to all situations. Saying it doesn't apply at your house is like saying gravity doesn't apply at your house. It takes energy to heat your house, whether it comes in the form of wood pellets or oil. The amount of energy contained in each is very well documented. If you're saving with one over the other (price being equal), then you're either not heating as large of an area (space heating, which can be done with oil as well), you have significantly more loss in one of the two systems (which could or should be addressed), or maybe you just don't have as good of a handle on tracking actual consumption and usage as you might think... ;)
  22. countk

    countk Feeling the Heat

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    I agree with both of the above posts (davevassar and mandkj), I also go by my wallet. I have a drafty circa 1825 house, approximately 1,250 sq ft on both the main floor and upstairs. I use my stove for mostly the downstairs and freeze upstairs, where the bedrooms are.

    At any rate for 25 years we had a wood stove and just last year replaced it with a pellet stove. We only have a main thermostat and some rooms don't even have heaters in them. Bottom line if we had thermostat in every room and an up to date furnace system, we would surely heat for less with oil. But after getting the pellet stove I will never burn wood again. Just a personal choice, no offense to wood burners.

    Wet1, I'm curious why you seem to go to such great lengths debunking people on why they can't be heating efficiently, or with less cost using pellet stoves, compared to oil. It makes you sound as if you work for an oil company!

    Looks to me by this thread there are many happy pellet stove users! I couldn't agree more with you and many posters here that pellets are to high, but that's a choice we will each individually have to make.

    As for me I would rather hedge my bets and if next year oil is still cheap, then I have a choice on how much I wish to use my stove. Pretty simple to me!!
  23. BDPVT

    BDPVT Member

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    Agreed. Although BTU fuel calculations can be very accurate,the argument does not always consider the ineffecency of the delivery system . According to DOE studies a typical forced hot air system can loss an additional 15-30% through the ductwork. That's a lot of wasted energy. On the other hand a typical pellet stove is a space heater with most of the heat being delivered directly to the living area. We can use less BTU's compared central heat because we are no longer heating the entire house.
    My oil fired steam boiler used to go through 1500 gal per year. I now have 2 pellet stoves and burn about 8 tons pellets. I am saving lots of money and have never been warmer. Based on current prices ($2.03/gal & 249/ton) fuel oil needs to be at $1.33 to break even.
  24. smoke show

    smoke show Guest

    agreed, a few others also
  25. freebird77

    freebird77 Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks a lot, godzilla. See what you started.
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