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Wood burner considering a pellet stove....

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by tlhfirelion, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. tlhfirelion

    tlhfirelion Member

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    I've been a wood burner as a main source of heat for about 4 years now. I grew up with wood stoves but my wood connection is going away. I won't be cutting anymore of my oak trees down on my property so the expense of buying and processing wood is making pellets look more appealing. I can deal with buying the pellets as the price to buy wood is getting close, but geesh pellet stoves are expensive. A good friend owns a supply warehouse and I can get dealer price on most stoves, but even then a good stove is close to 2 grand. Maybe I've not looked at the right brands.

    My local lowes and home depots don't drop the prices on the stoves anymore, they just stick them up in the rafters until next year. I've read they are a decent stove and I'm on top of maintenance on anything I use.

    I guess I'm here to ask what brands should I look at? I know Harmons are nice but very pricey. I like the breckwell classic cast p4000fs but even dealer price is alot. I don't mind maintenance, but I don't want to be dealing with repairs all the time, so is it an issues of you get what you pay for?

    I'm rambling on a bit here so I'll sign off. Thanks for any feedback you're able to provide.

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  2. Shaw520

    Shaw520 Feeling the Heat

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  3. Mike D

    Mike D Feeling the Heat

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    I only have the experience of my Lopi Leyden and I love it. Very reliable and great heat output for my 2,400sft home. I know it's tough for you to justify the price of a pellet stove considering you are already coming from a cheap source of heat (wood), but most of us who came from oil, propane, electric, etc. heat the payback on our stoves have been a relatively short period given the steep increase in the cost of these heating sources. So your payback period will be longer than ours. From what I have read here, it does seem to be a 'get what you pay for', but a lot of the issues with stoves happens to be people not putting in the effort to maintain their stoves (daily, weekly, monthly and seasonally). It would help others here to know the layout, size and age of your house and the space you intend to heat.

    From what I have heard from past wood burners, they appreciate the auto-feeding of the pellets which helps maintain a constant temp as opposed to having to load the wood when it gets low etc, not to mention the ease of storing pellets compared to wood.

    Best of luck!
  4. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Converted wood burner here, took the pellet plunge in 1999 when my son was born. Wanted a stable heat source was our main reason. Anyway, took us a while to get used to the pellet stove from the wood eater. No blast effect with a pellet stove unless you stay on the large size. Be careful with the sqft ratings. Look more at the rated BTU and really its net BTU. You might not be happy with too small a unit. Specially if you don't want to use another form of heat. Or keep the wood eater to assist the pellet stove. Plus the wood eater can be used when the power is out.

    Give us a little info on the wood eater and how large you are trying to heat. Also location helps.

    Couple other stove brands to keep an eye out for are Sherwood Industries(Enviro-vista flame-Regency-Hudson River and the SBI units(Drolet-Enerzone-Osborn). Drolet can be found at Northern tool ans usually has a good sale come springtime.

    Englander makes some affordable units, Specially when you get them from AM/FM. I'm just not sold on their heat exchanger on some of the units.
  5. gfreek

    gfreek Minister of Fire

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    Being a former wood burner, then coal, now pellets... I can give input.. The heat is different, wood & coal is more radiant, pellet stoves are more room heaters, all though many heat their whole or most of their houses, cleaning the inside of the stove- heat exchanger, the combustion blower, exhaust path, room blower, ashes/ashpan, burn pot, auger, fine box on some, etc...some do it once a week, some wait longer. Me I do the inside of the stove about every 2 weeks, when the temp is warmer than normal.. Shop vac with fine/drywall ash filter or ash vac.. There are videos on cleaning pellet stoves.. Again it runs on AC so you need "clean" backup power when the power goes out.. Keeping the wood burner as backup as mentioned is a good idea.... Oh and service after the sale...
  6. Mr. Spock

    Mr. Spock Minister of Fire

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    All good info so far. Maybe try thinking of the time processing the wood as money and it may be easier to justify the cost of a pellet stove. In addition you will be able to spend more time enjoying the fire then tending to it.
  7. tlhfirelion

    tlhfirelion Member

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    The ease of operation is a plus. My wife is a farm girl so getting wood isn't a big deal but it would be nice to not have either of us trecking out in the cold, dragging in piles of wood, dragging the dust, bugs, etc in as well. That and the fact my wood supply is gone are attractive. I have a very large and very dry 3' tall crawlspace with access from my basement. I was thinking it would hold quite a bit of pellets. Does anyone else use that method? Thank you for your reply.
  8. tlhfirelion

    tlhfirelion Member

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    I live in southern Missouri and our electric rates are quite low compared to most nationwide, especially the coasts. We have an electric heat pump as our other source of heat and AC.

    We have a small house, 1500 sq ft, but 500 is a small partial basement and 1000 is the main level. Our current stove is in the middle of the house and the ceiling fan overhead pushes the heat down the hall to the bedrooms and kitchen. Its a small one from Lowes thats worked well, but its just a box that holds fire, lol, not much to it really. It works well for the most part. It is a smaller stove designed for 1500 sq ft. The peaks and valleys and our random schedules, working from home, etc can make for erratic fires. Waking up at 5 am to a cold house and the electric running, starting a fire and then having to leave for something is wasting wood when nobody is home, etc is just getting old. I do like the "on-off" nature of the pellet stove. I wish I could turn off the stove, set the electric heat to 50 and then leave. When I come home, fire up the stove. I wish there was a way to run heat from my stove down to heat the basement. Its so small it would take much. I have been reading thot i came across ductwork attachments for pellet stoves to do that very thing. Does anyone have that here?
    I visited a local shop recently and was surprised at how fast their pellet stoves got to blowing warm air. It was so convenient and fast. Thank you for the reply.
  9. tlhfirelion

    tlhfirelion Member

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    Based on the post I just made with my layout and sq footage, what BTU would you suggest I look for? I do have one major concern about a pellet stove and that is loss of power. I do have a back up generator, but it's a big and loud 8500 watt honda. We can lose power in the winters when ice storms roll in and reliable back up is an absolute must. What type of set ups are people using for overnight to keep the pellets running? Thank you for your reply.
  10. tlhfirelion

    tlhfirelion Member

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    I considered keeping the wood burner as a back up but honestly, that would be a big hassle th way our house is laid out. I want to either stay the same or make the switch. Your comment on maintenance is a good one. I always stay on top of things but I would also hope it's not a constant, everyday need. I can handle doing a clean every couple weeks and if my wife and I took turns, once a month would be fine, not a problem. I am also researching pellets and will only use oak. We seem to have nothing but oak trees for days in the ozarks. What I don't know is if there are any pellet mills/manufacturers around me at all. Any idea where to look? Thank you for the reply.
  11. tlhfirelion

    tlhfirelion Member

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    That is a very valid point. I only have a short bed half ton pick up. Any cords I get will be a couple trips and with gas at 3.60 a gallon here, plus my time, saw/splitter gas and time, etc what am I saving? I like to split wood sometimes, it's good for the mind and body I think, but as kids grow and life gets busier, It's becoming a chore. Thank you for the reply.
  12. tlhfirelion

    tlhfirelion Member

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    I like all I read so far but have just a couple main concerns. 1) Back up power in case of power loss. If anyone has any links to quality systems I'm all ears. 2) Pellet supply. Is it going to be hard to find them, do they run out, etc.
  13. Mr. Spock

    Mr. Spock Minister of Fire

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    The general consensus from the members here would be to purchase a quality pure sine ups sized to run your stove power requirements long enough to get an inverter generator up and running. If the stove install includes at least a three ft vertical rise you may be able to forego the ups due to some natural draft.
  14. Mr. Spock

    Mr. Spock Minister of Fire

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    You may want add the general area where you live to your profile. I have never had a problem finding pellets in my area. Local dealers and box stores abound. There was a shortage some years back but demand for pellets has increased supply overall.
  15. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    There are a couple units that are freestanding with Duct options. The Enviro Maxx can be ducted, Drolet Eco-65, and a few Ecoteck models. These have 2 4" ducts that can be ran to adjacent rooms.

    There are some Pellet furnaces on the smaller side to, the St. Croix Revolution, SCF-050, and Fahrenheit Endurnace.. These are all furnaces that can be ran in tandem with your existing HVAC. I have the Endurance and love it.

    If you are looking to heat from just one spot, then it's always better to go big. Better to have more BTU and not need it, than to need more BTU and not have it.
  16. Bkins

    Bkins Minister of Fire

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    Gonna be kinda hard to stack a 40 lb. bag of pellets in a 3' height. Let alone trying mto get them out of that area to burn. A lot of us will stack the bags right up to the ceiling of a 8' tall room. You should figure a cleaning of the stove every week. It can go longer depending on the stove and the pellets used. It is also reccommended to due a total cleaning every ton or sooner. Most stove pronlems are caused by dirty stove. It is not a set it up and forget it operation.

    Lots, and lots of pellet pigs are trying to burn only softwood as the heat output is usually higher. The same rules do not apply when trying to compare firewood and wood pellets.

    A lot of us wish we had bouight a pellet furnace when we first started out. That way the whole house get evenly heated. It sounds like you are choking on the stove prices so a furnace may just not be something that you could consider.
  17. Bioburner

    Bioburner Moderator Staff Member

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    I have not seen anyone mention used. Three stoves currently in my house and all bought used. All purchased at less than half of retail. The latest was the Ecoteck Elena for 500 and was used one season. Now is the time to go hunting on CL and other sites as the heating season I hope is coming to an end.
  18. Mike D

    Mike D Feeling the Heat

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    1. I have a 6kw gas generator I have used during power outages in the past year. Worked fine keep the pellet stove running. When power it out, I don't give a crap how loud the genny is, plus a lot of my neighbors have them anyway.
    2. Here is one link to a wood pellet manufacturer in MO that I found through google: http://www.ozarkhardwoodproducts.com/locations/store_locator.php You'll have to plug in your zip to find a retailer near your. Or if you're lucky your close to the mill and can buy direct. I have never used these pellets, but it's an option for you. HD and Lowes may also carry pellets in your area as well. Stop by - at this point in the season you'll probably have to ask at the service desk for wood pellets (don't ask them by any brand name, the kids there think they're all the same anyway).
  19. Josh8906

    Josh8906 New Member

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    Hi, I just bought a used breckwell p24i and was needing to know if the tube off the air switch is suppose to have two little holes in it with what looks like a piece of black tape over the holes?
  20. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    I don't think the holes should be there, Trim the tube to remove them if its long enough.
  21. Stevekng

    Stevekng Feeling the Heat

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    I've burned with both wood and pellets, most recently with pellets. Pellets have worked out well for me but there are concerns down the road. As I get older, will I be able to handle the 40lb. bags? When I go on a fixed income in a couple of years will the cost of the electric bill and parts for the pellet stove be a problem? Wood has it's own set of age related problems too; stacking the wood under cover, lugging the wood into the house. But the idea of not adding to my electric bill while on Social Security and not buying parts looks like it would be attractive at that point. It might be cheaper to hire the neighborhood kid to stack my wood once a year.

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