How many quit their pellet stove?

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ChasesAces

New Member
Aug 26, 2021
21
South Dakota
I've had my first pellet stove for about 3 months and I'm already considering selling it in favor of something with a less sensitive diet.

1. I'm finding seasonal pellet availability and pricing annoying, and if I had to guess I'd have to say that isn't going
to change for the better anytime soon, if ever. Pre season stock piling doesn't appeal to me and the savings are
pretty minimal, not at all impressive.

2. The added maintenance and extra cleaning of an appliance that requires electricity that powers 3 electric motors and multiple
switches.

Switching to wood next year sounds pretty good to me at the moment, and I'll be able to turn the pellet gulper for a profit if I do.
 

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
4,375
Eastern Ontario
Had my stove for 20 years now
A whole lot easier than getting firewood ready
for a stove and having to feed it to stay warm
Getting up at 2 am to put more wood in or waking up to a cold house
Thanks think I will stick with my old pellet stove 🙂
 

ChasesAces

New Member
Aug 26, 2021
21
South Dakota
No limit of dead and or fallen hardwoods in my area, and I'm already processing firewood for other uses anyway.

Our pellet stove is in the shop.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,164
central pa
Got rid of pellets in the shop a few years ago. Replaced with propane it is cheaper to run with almost no maintenance or operation.
 

rich2500

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
1,415
Berks County PA.
3 ton of pellets @ 250 a ton - 750 for the season
3 tanks of HHO at about 450 a fill up - 1350 a season
House is warmer and more consistent heating with pellets and maintenance is minimal with my stove. So no quitting here
 

Mt Bob

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2013
4,050
park county montana
Pellet seasonal pricing is related to time and location.
You have been burning for only 2 months, and is non essential.
I would say you did not research well before investing, as you have said you don't heat the shop full time, so it gets cold, and you expect a pellet stove to make a much greater climb in temperature than what they were designed for.
If you have burned for 3-5 years, I might find your opinions valid.
Also,remember, the btu's of firewood and wood pellets is the same, by weight. You will move/handle firewood 5 times, as an average. Have someone stack 40lbs in your arms, and then consider those facts. vs a 40lb bag.
 

stmar

Member
Sep 12, 2014
218
Wyo
We have had pellet stoves for over 30 years and can't see going back to wood, too labor intensive. One dealer we get our pellets from delivers with a fork lift, much easier than hauling wood and using the chain saw. Buying a year or two supply at the right time is also economical and reassuring. Chopping wood is for the younger crowd, guess it keeps you in shape.
 
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Washed-Up

Minister of Fire
Nov 5, 2011
1,035
Kananaskis,Alberta, Canada
Been Involved with Pelletstove’s for over 20yrs and with the price of propane up over %300 where I live….not a chance of quitting
 

Dataman

Minister of Fire
Sep 10, 2018
1,121
Newport, Wa
Switched from Wood (BK King) to Pellets in 2018 (Harmon XXV). Best thing I ever did in long time. Only regret was selling Wood Splitter I only had couple of years. That was nice not having to swing splitting maul. Still do any trees that fall down, but just buck up and put on pallet to dry and put on Craiglist for FREE! Gone in day. Don't miss the work or mess. Few times I paid for Wood. Cost same as pellets. $250 cord. Pellets they stack with forklift and Wife uses bucket of Tractor to bring 10 bags at time for back porch. It's fun compared to Wood. Plus I feel it's safer to leave the house. Daily cleaning is just scrape burn pot and clean glass (Newspaper Wipe). Most of the time I can do it Hot. 1 Ton Cleaning only takes 30 min and not that hard. Combustion Fan, Burn Pot, Glass (Wet PT), Fines Box and use Turkey Baster to blow out Igniter area. I clean chimney with 8" Brush yearly along with Probe (Wipe Down). Nice Heat. We use Heat Pump if above 30f. So far gone thru about 25 bags since Sep (Newport WA) Very Warm Fall. With Wood I would have to overheat house and open Window Up at 30f. Hard to Control. Pellet Stove I can get it 74f in hall. With Wood I had to clean chimney several times a year. Pellets are lots cleaner burning. Plus the Mess of Hauling out Hot Ashes. If no show difficult to dispose of them safely. Pellet ash I just dump out on ground. It's COLD

DSCN1350.JPG IMG_20210119_064818105.jpg
 

tlc1976

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2012
1,139
Northwest Lower Michigan
Different strokes for different folks. I grew up with wood heat, and burned 17 years in my first house, both because we had no money. Cut wood for free off family land, nailed blankets over windows, etc. So it was survival. It got old. On the plus I had heat when the power went out.

When I got into this house, it is well built, tightly sealed, and clean. The boiler was 30 years old and very expensive to run. So even though I own 5 acres of hardwood behind the house, I chose pellets. Actually have to pay for it, still have to stack it and haul it in. But I stock up in the summer when the weather is good, and have a pole barn for storage. Yes there’s more cleaning and parts repair sometimes. I picked up an identical spare stove for cheap and have other spares, but really I haven’t had to put much money into it. And it won’t run without power, but the house came with a generac, the stove has enough of a memory to keep going.

The consistent heat and unattended operation of pellets is nice. But the 2 things that really sold me are: Safety (virtually zero risk of chimney fire if the stove is maintained and running properly) and additional sensors to shut it down if something does go wrong. And cleanliness, particularly no bringing bugs in the house, and no creosote smell and any ash dust from cleaning is very little.
 
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Jeremy6500

Feeling the Heat
Jan 22, 2021
293
Indiana
I've been burning pellets for 3 years now. Took a while to get stoves figured out and running good. Same with finding the best way to move heat around the house.

In my previous house I had both propane and then geo-thermal. Had 240v electric heaters in the shop and also would use a propane salamander to heat it up faster as needed.

For intermittent instant heat in the shop the electric and salamander worked well, but if I was spending a lot of time in the shop or doing something tat required constant heat (like painting) it was very expensive. I don't have heat in my new shop yet and keep debating on a pellet stove or not. The idea of a single fuel to heat everything is appealing. If I did I would make sure it was insulated well and then probably run it off a thermostat. Maintain temps 35-40* and kick it up to 50-55* while working out there. Not sure how many pellets I would use. I still have my 240v electric heaters and might use those to raise the temp quickly.

Geothermal was nice. Super cheap AC in the summer, but in really cold winters it required some help to keep up....plus the expense of the unit and any repairs etc. Pellets stoves are cheap in comparison, easy to fix and parts can be easily sourced.

I can bulk buy pellets for $200 a ton before winter. A lot cheaper than propane in my area, but more expensive than free wood.......but less time than wood too.

For the OP, do you maintain the temp in your shop or do you only heat it when working there?
 
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Tonyray

Minister of Fire
As a former wood burner one of the many advantages of pellets is not having to empty ash every few days of 24/7 burning.. pix is about 3 weeks of ash burning good softwoods. I never had it full but if i did we are looking at February to empty it.maybe... Harman P61A.. no way would i go back to wood for reasons already posted.

20200126_124658.jpg
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,164
central pa
As a former wood burner one of the many advantages of pellets is not having to empty ash every few days of 24/7 burning.. pix is about 3 weeks of ash burning good softwoods. I never had it full but if i did we are looking at February to empty it. Harman P61A.. no way would i go back to wood for reasons already posted.

View attachment 287844
I take ash out of my woodstove once a month.
 
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Tonyray

Minister of Fire
Stove will also put out same heat 20 hrs from now long as the hopper is full.. no slowing or dying down. We can all go back forth here but bottom line is keep what u have if your happy with it. Cant see me going on the wood burner forum and thinking i may convert people to pellets. Just sayin.
 

tlc1976

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2012
1,139
Northwest Lower Michigan
I take ash out of my woodstove once a month.
I was wondering about that too. Days? Yes I took out my woodstove ash about once every 2 months burning 24/7, no big deal. But had to clean the pipe once every 2 weeks to keep the creosote down. No good top access. Push the stove aside, run brush up, let the chunks rain onto the tile hearth, then brush house section, then vacuum up the mess. Don’t miss that at all.

My cleaning schedule is opposite for pellets. Clean firebox, pot, glass every 2 weeks. Traps every 2-4 weeks. Clean pipe every ton or about every 2 months. Don’t have to take anything apart and all the mess stays outside.
 

shtrdave

Feeling the Heat
Feb 13, 2012
339
SW PA
I have an Air to Air heat pump, it is great until it gets down below 37 or so degrees. Then the coil kicks in a lot of the time and the electric bill climbs, does great for AC in the summer. Bought a free standing ventless propane stove, the cast iron ones. Worked great, expensive as everything to use and that was 10 years ago. I did not shop for propane and the dealer I used I found was quite high compared to a few others. But it was nothing to go through $300 in a month the electric was cheaper. Then bought a pellet stove and it is great. I get 3 ton in the fall they bring them and stack them in the corner of the garage. I have 2 buckets from tractor supply that will hold a bag of pellets, dump in the garage to keep some of the dust down in the house. 2 trip a day to bring in pellets, every few days I make 2 trips. I do daily scraping take s2 minutes maybe. Clean about once a month when the ash pan is full. It runs 24/7 usually I have it controlled with a thermostat. when it warms up a bit in the spring I switch from manual to auto on the stove.

No way I would want to mass with dragging firewood in and ashes out all the time. I guess we are all different though.
 

Pete Zahria

Minister of Fire
Jan 6, 2014
1,234
New Hampster
mcmanusfuels.com
I've had my first pellet stove for about 3 months and I'm already considering selling it in favor of something with a less sensitive diet.

1. I'm finding seasonal pellet availability and pricing annoying,
2. The added maintenance and extra cleaning of an appliance
Switching to wood next year sounds pretty good to me at the moment.
It is obviously not for you...
You should change..

After burning both firewood, and coal, I find the little extra work
of cleaning a pellet stove once a month or so, worth it.
I can put an entire winter's supply of pellets against one wall in my basement.
I used to have to fill the basement twice with wood,
chucking it down to the basement one piece at a time..
and obviously one time in the brunt of winter..
Stacking wood vs. pellets? No brainer...
And I never deal with a creosote plugged up chimney.. or chimney fire..
Or bugs.... bark... splinters
Everyone's thoughts are different.
These are just mine.. from a guy that has burned every fuel..

Dan
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,223
Long Island NY
Stove will also put out same heat 20 hrs from now long as the hopper is full.. no slowing or dying down. We can all go back forth here but bottom line is keep what u have if your happy with it. Cant see me going on the wood burner forum and thinking i may convert people to pellets. Just sayin.

My wood stove puts out even heat for up to 26 hrs. And I take ashes about once a month. Many comparisons here are with older wood stoves than the really modern ones, I think.

There are definitely advantages of pellet stoves; e.g. less mess with pellets, potentially less risk of a chimney fire, easy storage. But some of the advantages mentioned here are no longer a true distinction.

Nevertheless, when I am unable to handle wood, a pellet stove is likely to happen.
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,997
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
It's great that folks like their pellet stoves but there are some obvious bad wood experiences that I keep hearing that just don't have to happen.

Removing ash all the time? I remove ash twice per year. Burning softwoods makes very little ash and the stove holds about 2 cords worth.

Bugs, splinters, bark, droppings? That doesn't have to happen if you are the least bit careful. We have none of that. Use a firewood sling for chips.

Waking up to load? Get a better stove. I reload my stove every 24 hours 95% of the year, then every 12 hours for about a week when it's below 10F.

So much more firewood? A # of pellets equals a # of firewood, so you haul the same number of lbs whether pellets or wood.

Chimney fires, cleaning the chimney? Once per year just like a pellet appliance. Zero mess, you just sweep right into the stove.

There are plenty of valid reasons that a pellet burner is more convenient but the above are not true or are perhaps just overstated.

I would like to try a pellet stove. The only thing I think that would bother me is the noise.
 
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EatenByLimestone

Super Moderator
Staff member
The pellet is probably dryer than the firewood, but yes, all wood has the same amount of BTUs/lb.
 

bogieb

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2014
3,171
South Central NH
Had wood heat at my previous house. There we had room to store the 3 years of wood, and most wood was free. We could only use the wood stove at night and on weekends (when we were home to feed it), so used a bunch of oil for our boiler too. Had to clean the ashes out of the stove every weekend.

When I moved here, propane boiler very expensive to run, no place really to store wood that wasn't inside the house, and would have to buy the wood. Put in pellet stoves and love that there are no bugs or mice making their homes in the pellets. I can get pellets off CL for less than market price and have the bulk of my needs before the season starts. Pellet stoves run 24/7 (on thermostats - so at need) so don't use any expensive propane to heat. Plus, didn't have heat in the basement until I put a stove down there.

When I moved here winter of 2013/14, I was using $1,000+ / month in propane to heat just the main floor. With pellets, I spend $1,200 - 1,500 per heating season. Stoves paid for themselves a long time ago.

That being said, December 1, I started an experiment using the mini-split for heating (installed for the main floor this past summer). It won't do the trick when the weather gets really cold, but I'm just seeing what the upped electric usage (I assume) looks like against pellet usage for shoulder season.

Still running the basement pellet stove since that is the only heat down there. Depending on results with shoulder season mini-split usage, could go from using 5-6 tons down to using 3-4 tons. We'll see.
 
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gfreek

Minister of Fire
Nov 5, 2010
1,582
WNYS
Well I hated my pellet stove when I first got it 10 years ago. The noise, cleaning, maintenance, spare parts, and learning how to use it. Having a backup plan when the power goes out.. I have to say I would never go back to burning wood, only thing I miss is the intense radiant heat.. maybe if I was younger sure, but now just moving 40 lb bags around I'm good with.... Use the pellet stove for a while, it may grow on you as it did with me. I think it's a good alternative heat source..
 

Jeremy6500

Feeling the Heat
Jan 22, 2021
293
Indiana
Interesting to hear everyone's different experiences. Sounds a lot like it is personal preference. My pellet stoves require more maintenance and interaction than a propane forced air furnace, but less than burning wood.

Personally I like to tinker with stuff, so a pellet stove fits me well. Figuring out all the best settings on my USSC stove and finding the best/most efficient way to clean/maintain them.

I just wish the hoppers on my stoves were bigger. They are my only heat source and if we are out of town for a week I would like to not have to have someone come over and dump in some more bags. They sell a hopper extension for my PP130 and making one for my USSC 6500 would be easy enough. Plans for the future.
 
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