Propane and Pellet Stove

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New Member
Oct 18, 2019
Western Mass
I just bought a house. The house has pellet stove and propane forced hot air heat. I am trying to balance the two. Right now I have my propane heat set at 60 and run the pellet stove in the morning or night when the temperature dips. Does anyone have experience with supplementing propane or is there an easier way to regulate it? Thanks.
To me, whatever is the cheaper overall source, use it as much as possible.

I have an LP boiler in the basement. Even if the price/BTU of propane matched that of pellets (which it might if pellets keep going up), it still costs me more to heat with LP because the boiler heats the unfinished basement, where the pellet stove does not.

I do keep the boiler set to about 45F on standby during the winter when the temps remain below freezing, because if the stove went out for whatever reason I don't want frozen pipes.
I have an LP forced air furnace and a pellet insert heating a 3100 sq ft house. I am able to use the insert by itself until the temp stays below 30 degrees. At that point, I set the furnace to 66 degrees to supplement the insert. I keep the air vents closed in the room with the insert so that it runs at full capacity when the furnace is on. It helps that the furnace thermostat is in a different room than the one with the insert. I've been doing this for 9 years and only I fill the propane tank (500 gallon) once a year since it also fuels the water heater, dryer and cook top.
I do the same as pfmoloney does. My house is ranch 2250 sq ft and the Propane thermostat is near the kitchen and the pellet stove is in the family room with it's thermostat. During the shoulder seasons the pellet stove heats the entire house easily. In the middle of winter I set the furnace at 65 and the pellet stove at 69 (wifey likes it cool). That works quite well and I also burn about 500 gallons a year for hot water, house heat and 1600 sq ft workshop heat that's on part time. If it gets too cool in the kitchen we turn the thermostat up to 69 while working in there and then back down when we leave. We burn 2 1/2 to 3 tons of pellets along with the Propane.
In the early morning, I use the central propane forced hot air heat and the pellet stove together to bring the house up to temperature to approx. 70 degrees ( takes about an hour or so) from 62 degrees. The pellet stove then runs all day without propane use until about 9 PM. At 10 PM the thermostat shuts down to 62 degrees, again. If I were to use the pellet stove alone in the early morning to bring the house up to temp it would take to long and I would use to many pellets. I can run things this way with an outside temp down to 5 degrees or so depending on the wind etc. My propane bill is short money now and I save a few bucks.
Since this is my first year with pellets my plan is to use the stove when I get up at about 5:30am until we go to bed around 11:00pm. Then run the propane furnace which is set at 64 degrees overnight. This way any important spots like the Pex Water line manifold is protected by the furnace heat. So far seems to be working out. Of course this is plan A and I'm sure plans B,C,D will be looked at going forward.
Propane forced hot air. Quad MVAE in unheated sunroom where we spend most of our time. Pellet t-stat turns on pellet stove at 5PM and runs until 6AM, set at 72*. Propane programmed to 68* comes on at 6AM and runs till 5PM. Master bedroom is right off sunroom so heat makes it in there nicely. Down side is that the house is a contemporary with 16' ceilings where I lose a lot of heat.
John, I’m looking for a programmable thermostat, which one do you use? I have a Quad and want to make sure it will work with mine. Thanks.
My Quad MVAE was manufactured in late 2010 or early 2011. I'm using the programmable t-stat that came with it. My understanding is that the communications between the stove and the t-stat is proprietary unlike a regular programmable that you would use on a furnace or boiler.
John, I’m looking for a programmable thermostat, which one do you use? I have a Quad and want to make sure it will work with mine. Thanks.
I see you have the Santa Fe. You should look for a thermostat that has a differential that you can set to 2 degrees or so. If you use a standard thermostat, your stove will cycle on and off quite a bit when the temperature is met. With the differential set higher, it allow the stove to run for a while before it meets temperature again. A lot of people here use the Lux brand thermostats.

Here is a link to something on that may interest you. I did something like this, but used a PLC instead of the relays.
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Thanks for the info. Currently I have the non-programmable TStat that came with the stove. It‘s cheep but works fine, I would like one that is programmable.