How many quit their pellet stove?

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Mt Bob

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2013
4,075
park county montana
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.
The extended hopper I made for my Accentra

GEDC0743.JPG
 

ManitobaSky

Member
Nov 20, 2013
90
Manitoba, Canada
I’m not running pellets or wood this year. I moved into a house with electric heat this summer. Here pellets and electric are pretty much equal for cost per btu. The old house would have needed rewired for 200 amp service for electric so the pellet stove made sense for it. I don‘t miss the pellet stove but I do miss the wood stove.
 
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Ben Stark

Member
Oct 31, 2017
45
Upstate NY
I sold my Pellet stove a few years back, and now heat with firewood. The pellets are too expensive ($279 a ton for compressed sawdust?!?), the stove was too finicky, and I and my family didn’t like all the mechanical noise of the motors, fans, augers etc.

With my wood stove I sweep the chimney once a year and clean the ash every few days and that’s about it. Except for adding the fire wood. And it cost me less then $100 a month to heat. I do work from home so adding wood is no problem, but I run it in cycles and load 4 times a day so it’s not that bad really. Most people who give up on fire wood are using unseasoned or wet wood, and it makes for a bad experience.

Personally I won’t go back to pellet stoves because of the cost, it’s just gotten too high for the stove and the pellets. And the quality of many of these stoves is severely lacking.
 
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maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,964
Nova Scotia
Around here, pellets are the most expensive fuel, aside from resistance electric. We got off oil 10 years ago, now use a mix of cold climate mini splits and wood in the boiler. If I was younger and building new I would likely go mini splits and a wood stove. But as the years have gone by, chasing up the required amount of wood every year has been getting to be much more of a drag every year - way too many other things to do with my time. Even though I actually like getting in the woods to do it. So much so that I'm bouncing around the idea of a pellet stove for the far end of our kitchen, for intermittent 'real cold day'use - plus the little bit of ambiance that little flame gives off. I think the splits cut our wood use darn near in half. Would like to get it down even further if I can without breaking a bank too bad.
 
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mtnbiker727

Feeling the Heat
Mar 11, 2019
283
PA
I don't have time for firewood. I work a day job, we have beef cattle at our house, my parents have a dairy farm. I help my dad cut wood for his house and for the 4' x 12' maple syrup evaporator, which takes a LOT of wood. I don't have time to do it for myself too, nor the woodshed to store it in.

I can drive 3 miles to the local hardware store, ask for a ton of pellets, they drop it in the back of the truck, I drive 3 miles home, unload the whole pallet into my garage with the tractor, and I'm good for heat for about 2 months. If I had more room to store pallets of pellets, I'd get them in the summer when they're cheaper and store 3 tons or so, but for where we live now, that's not an option. I just bought a second ton for $265. It's cheaper than the electric heat that's in this house, and most importantly we're warm!

My plans for my future house are to put the P68 in the living room, and buy a corn/pellet boiler from our current neighbor who makes them. With a 14 bushel hopper, I'm hoping to be able to load it up once per week or so and "set it and forget it." We'll use the P68 for when it gets really cold, or for the atmosphere of having a fire in the living room.
 

bogieb

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2014
3,173
South Central NH
Around here, pellets are the most expensive fuel, aside from resistance electric. We got off oil 10 years ago, now use a mix of cold climate mini splits and wood in the boiler. If I was younger and building new I would likely go mini splits and a wood stove. But as the years have gone by, chasing up the required amount of wood every year has been getting to be much more of a drag every year - way too many other things to do with my time. Even though I actually like getting in the woods to do it. So much so that I'm bouncing around the idea of a pellet stove for the far end of our kitchen, for intermittent 'real cold day'use - plus the little bit of ambiance that little flame gives off. I think the splits cut our wood use darn near in half. Would like to get it down even further if I can without breaking a bank too bad.
In these parts right now, cheapest is natural gas (but that is in very few locations and not an option for me), then air source heat pump, then bagged pellets. bulk pellets are 4th, then it is oil, kerosene, cord wood, propane then electric resistance heat.
 

shtrdave

Feeling the Heat
Feb 13, 2012
340
SW PA
You mention bulk pellets, they are more than bagged? We don't have bulk near me or I would be looking into them. I guess the only real downside is if they don't burn well you don' have many options for other bulk. I think there is or was a company about 2 hours or so away offering them.
 

tlc1976

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2012
1,139
Northwest Lower Michigan
The bags are kinda nice. They work perfect as the heaviest tall kitchen trash bags you will find. Floor protection for painting or working on things. Packing material. Hold my recyclables. And at least here, the bags themselves are recyclable so whatever I don’t use I just dump off for free. After I dump a bag into the stove I roll it up tight and add it to another bag. One bag holds about 25 rolled up bags.
 

bogieb

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2014
3,173
South Central NH
You mention bulk pellets, they are more than bagged? We don't have bulk near me or I would be looking into them. I guess the only real downside is if they don't burn well you don' have many options for other bulk. I think there is or was a company about 2 hours or so away offering them.

Yeah, they are more expensive because that includes delivery. The closest place I see on a quick Google search is about 1.5 hours away. I don't have a place for a bulk hopper system, so it was never really a consideration for me. And as bagged pellets, I pick up my own so delivery costs don't factor in.

The bags are kinda nice. They work perfect as the heaviest tall kitchen trash bags you will find. Floor protection for painting or working on things. Packing material. Hold my recyclables. And at least here, the bags themselves are recyclable so whatever I don’t use I just dump off for free. After I dump a bag into the stove I roll it up tight and add it to another bag. One bag holds about 25 rolled up bags.

I use the bags like that and also to hold cat litter box refuse. I've used them to smother poison ivy and other projects. No place close to me recycles, so I do end up taking some to the transfer station. However, our household trash goes to a place that burns trash for electrical generation, so it serves a purpose even then.
 

lefty Ef3

Member
Nov 26, 2018
46
New Jersey 08079
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.
Been burning pellets for approx 30 yrs you defiantly have to know your stove and how to maintain it ..and when buying a pellet stove remember the old saying you get what you pay for
 

zrock

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2017
1,278
bc
Would never switch out my pellet for wood... Don't want to spend my summer cutting and splitting firewood and dealing with the mess inside and outside... My pellet stove i clean once a week could easily go 2 or more weeks for cleaning, always keep a small stock pile of pellets i sorta keep a eye out and if i see supply is getting low around town i will go grab enough for a month or more until supply is back i usually always have a month or 2 worth sitting here at all times...
 

Ocelot

Burning Hunk
Dec 27, 2010
119
Hudson Valley, NY
It all depends on the person and whether they mind the extra work, the prices of other energy sources in their particular area, etc. For me my oil furnace will almost always be more expensive over the course of the winter. Especially because we have to keep the house warm all day every day and can't set it back during the workday. I average about a half tank or less of oil per year and the rest is pellets. I grew up with a wood stove and cutting and splitting our own wood, so the pellet stove is easier, although more expensive because I buy the pellets and growing up the wood was free, but a lot of work.

I've only been emptying the ash pan once per month and shut down once per week to do a better cleaning of the firebox so it's been easy. I keep a big galvanized can that holds just under 5 bags in my heated sun porch and bring up about 6 bags from my storage area on my ATV every 4 or 5 days right to the door by the can.

The oil furnace would obviously be easier, just one service in the fall, but it would cost me double in fuel. Probably more at the moment with the fuel prices so high.

As far as the electric use of the pellet stove? It's less than my furnace. I've had my Harman P43 hooked up to a Kilowatt meter to gauge for my UPS backup and mine is only averaging 100 watts, less if I keep the room blower peed down a bit like I do. My storage spot can hold 3 tons, so I start with that and over the course of the winter I pick up close to another ton or a little more if it's a really cold winter.

Then of course there's just the simple fact for me that I love the fire, the toasty living room, and using North American renewable wood.

Ray
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
20,013
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Especially because we have to keep the house warm all day every day and can't set it back during the workday.

You can’t use a programmable thermostat? They make them line voltage and milivolt.

Solid fuel heat is great but the central furnace should be reasonably good.
 

Ocelot

Burning Hunk
Dec 27, 2010
119
Hudson Valley, NY
You can’t use a programmable thermostat? They make them line voltage and milivolt.

Solid fuel heat is great but the central furnace should be reasonably good.
I can, Actually I have a smart thermostat for the furnace.
What I meant was that due to being home all day, every day, we can't drop the heat to save money during a workday like others that work away from home can. My wife has a licensed Family Daycare here and we have to keep the house a minimum of 68 degrees all day. The stove is away from children access so there isn't a safety concern. Years ago, before we used the pellet stove and just used the oil furnace, we would go through a few tanks of oil each year. Now it's just a half tank per year, mostly first thing in the morning to help bring the house up to temp since I also turn the pellet stove down some at night while we're sleeping. Some extremely cold days the furnace might also run occasionally, but not often.

Ray
 
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rjlets

Member
Dec 23, 2005
18
NW Conn.
I've had a pellet stove for 16 years now. 5 years ago I upgraded from a Breckwell to a Harman P43, My oil boiler has been turned off since, I also put in an electric hot water heater. I have a big house, I also have two gas stoves. The cost of propane is insane, next year I'm replacing my basement gas stove with another Harman. For 20 years before this house I did the wood thing. It was fun, kept me in shape, I knew two apple farmers so I had unlimited apple wood. I enjoy the pellet stove and wouldn't go back.
 

Jake86

Burning Hunk
Oct 8, 2015
179
Plymouth, Massachusetts
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.
My back up generator (20 KW) uses a crazy amount of propane and its oil has to be checked once a day, so, I use my trolling battery (lithium 12 v) with a inverter to run the pellet stove from 2200 to 0600 when the electricity is out-which seems to be quite often in my neck of the woods. Last time it was out for 5 days. I also use a UBS (uninterrupted back supply) which keeps the PS going before the gen kicks on. My battery could probably keep the PS going for 15-20 hours.
Safety was the determining factor for me switching from wood to pellets,too. (knock on wood!) I don't miss the WS.
 
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UpStateNY

Feeling the Heat
May 4, 2008
435
Catskill Mountains
Last two years I stopped using wood pellets. Here are estimates.

- Last yer I burn 800 gallons of propane at $1.45 a gallon for 71F degree heat and domestic hot water. = $1160
- This year I have been using Heat Pumps during fall/spring and Propane boiler. I figure about 700 gallons of propane at $1.76 a gallon. Total TBD this year but probably around $1300 to $1400

- 2008 to 2018 I burned 3 tons of pellets at $320 a ton delivered = $960 PLUS 200 gallons of propane at $3.00 a gallon = $500 Total $1460 (They charge more for propane the less you use. A lot more!!!) We kept living room at nice toasty 74F where we spent most of our time.

Is it worth my time feeding the pellet stove to save maybe $200 ? My answer is no. I rather reduce my cell phone or cable bill. I spend A LOT more on internet and two cell phones then heating the house.
 

MMH

Minister of Fire
Jan 21, 2019
606
NV
Had a pellet stove for 6 years, switched out for a wood stove 3 years ago. I’ll never go back.
 
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tlc1976

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2012
1,139
Northwest Lower Michigan
No delivery charge for me, as long as it’s at least 150 gallons, and can wait till the day of the week they’re in my area. Which is not difficult since they supply me with a 500 gallon tank.

The one time I had pellets delivered it was a flat $90 delivery fee for any amount. So technically it’s cheaper the more you buy at once. TSC or Family Farm and Home doesn’t offer delivery, at least here.
 

UpStateNY

Feeling the Heat
May 4, 2008
435
Catskill Mountains
(They charge more for propane the less you use. A lot more!!!)
I have never heard of this.
Around here you can deal with them to get the propane price down if you have your own tank and use more than 700 gallons. This is standard pricing around here. Even the co-op discounts places have a graduating price discount the more propane you use.
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,282
Long Island NY
Same for (non-contract) oil delivery here. Price per gallon goes down for each 50 increase in quantity.
 

Mt Bob

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2013
4,075
park county montana
Around here you can deal with them to get the propane price down if you have your own tank and use more than 700 gallons. This is standard pricing around here. Even the co-op discounts places have a graduating price discount the more propane you use.
Must be another NY thing. Yes even here there is minimum for free delivery,but you can buy less,and pay for delivery.And some places have pre-buy,where you purchase for future delivery. I see they have that back your way, but perhaps not in NY, I saw no listings there.