Wood pellets in Northern Virginia?

UncleLongHair Posted By UncleLongHair, Jul 14, 2008 at 1:32 AM

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  1. UncleLongHair

    UncleLongHair
    Member 2.
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    Jul 14, 2008
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    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    Anyone have any info on availability of wood pellets in Northern Virginia?

    I'm just starting to investigate a pellet stove and was surprised to find the mania surrounding them. Makes sense I guess based on energy prices and how everyone wants to be green these days.

    I was going over our heating bills (isn't everyone) and found that our electricity bill is nearly 3x as high in Dec-Mar than it is the rest of the year. Here in Northern Virginia that is the cold season. Our KwH usage has gone from about 1200-1500 to as high as 5000. Amazingly, the electric bill is a lot higher in the winter even though our summers are regularly in the 90-100F range (it was over 100F today in fact).

    The culprit I believe is a heat pump that we have in a small extension. The area is not that huge, about 700-800 sq. ft. in two levels about 450 of which is upstairs. The heat pump must be underpowered or inefficient or something, because I suspect that when the outside temp gets below about 40F, it runs constantly in "emergency" mode, so we effectively have an expensive, electric forced air heat. I figure this costs me an extra $1000-1500 per year, and that is probably going to go up this year.

    The area is perfect for a small fireplace or stove since it's a big open space about 32' x 15x with a big exterior wall. A pellet stove would fit in the middle of one long wall and vent right through that wall. So I figure if I could spend that same $1000-1500 on a pellet stove and save money in future years and enjoy a nice fireplace in the family room.

    But I was surprised to find the shortage of both stoves and wood pellets, and worry that the pellets might be so expensive or hard to find that they would not be practical. We do have municipal gas here so if I could figure out a way to run a gas line to where we want to put the stove (not easy), that is another option for us. Does anyone have any numbers on cost and efficiency of a pellet stove vs. gas?

    Anyway, thanks in advance for any info.

    Uncle
     
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