Replace wood stove with pellet stove

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stoveNewb

New Member
Dec 28, 2014
10
Pennsylvania USA
Hi there,

I need some help. My wife and I bought a house back in May which had a wood stove. The insurance company did an initial inspection and ending up dropping us because we had the wood stove and no papers on it (installation/inspection?). We ended up selling it to the guy who was cutting down some trees for us for $75, I know I'm an idiot. After we got rid of the stove we got another policy with the same insurance company, which ended up dropping us for not having a railing on our front steps. So we decided to go with a new company who hasn't given us nearly the same amount of trouble.

On to the point... We have a concrete slab in the basement, and a 6 inch diameter hole in the wall to the chimney that was there for the wood stove. We have a propane boiler, but it seems expensive to run and we really don't like the company that is in our area which delivers the propane, so we have been looking into alternative heating solutions. We did some research into pellet stoves and getting another wood stove. I like each for different reasons. Mind you the list above is purely what I think I understand from research online and visiting a local stove shop.

Pellet stove Pros:
* Fuel comes in easy to handle bags
* Seems cleaner
* Less danger, maybe?
* Lighter

Wood stoves Pros:
* Lots of people sell firewood
* Stoves seem to be cheaper, only slightly though
* No electricity needed, can use in case of power outage
* Minimal installation ( drop it on the slab and connect some piping )

Pellet stove Cons:
* Installation cost / labor (running electricity, buying + installing adapters + fresh air in...)
* needs electricity to run
* could be noisy?

Wood stove cons:
* Heavier
* More dangerous
* More frequent chimney sweeping?

So my questions to you:

Are there any good resources online to connect a pellet stove to a chimney that had a wood stove previously hooked up to it?

Is the installation of a pellet stove has hard as I am thinking?

Should I consider hiring someone to install it?

Would I be able to contract someone to install a stove I bought from home depot?

Are wood stoves as dangerous and pellet stoves as safe as people say?

If you can answer any of these questions I would appreciate it. I'm starting to go crazy reading stuff online!

Thanks,
Mike
 

bags

Minister of Fire
Oct 12, 2014
2,400
Kentucky
Mike, Welcome! How handy are you? Many do their own installs and it was very easy for me but I am a contractor. There are arguments (differing opinions) about every question you have asked as everyone has their preference on wood vs. pellet, brand of stoves, OAKS outside air kits, on down the line.......

Around here a ton of good quality pellets costs the same and equals one good quality cord of wood if you buy wood. Buying wood and getting good quality and the right amount of wood can be another battle in itself. I know what I see here but there are some reputable guys selling. I do my own wood mostly and have pretty much an unlimited free supply. Wood = work is my motto. I really used to enjoy it but needed a break. That's just me and I've found a very local friend here on the forum that may make wood processing fun again. It's more of a crazy busy time thing for me. I like my 'free' wood here. But I am not going to kid you. It's work.

I have heated with wood for a long time and this is my first season with a pellet stove. I like my pellet stoves. I know what you mean about getting tired of reading buddy but it is the BEST thing you can do. You really need to educate yourself on what the best route for you might be. I will say I believe pellet stoves can be safer than a typical wood stove and this was just argued here recently. Both if not installed, maintained, and used correctly can be unsafe. Neither are idiot proof. Insurance seems to not be affected as much with a pellet vs. wood burner. Varies by company and locality. I mainly went with pellet stoves for ease and convenience. That they are!

In my opinion (IMO) pellet stoves are much easier and user friendly in general. They have much longer burn times than MOST wood stoves in general. 40 lb. bags of pellets are easier to manage for my wife than cord wood too. I will always have wood burning abilities here to keep my options open though. Do a bunch of research on various pellet stoves and brands that might work for you and fit your pricing. They are machines and none are without break downs. Some are more work than others.

Glad you showed up here because there is a bunch of crazy stuff about anything all over the net. Use the search bar here (upper right) and search some of your questions. Pellet stoves can also have minimal installation and not much different than installing a wood stove. You would also have similar costs for a wood burner install if paying a company.

PS You have all the info you need right here at your finger tips on this forum for your questions.
 

chken

Minister of Fire
Dec 7, 2013
1,136
Maine
You say you have a LP boiler, so does that mean you have radiant baseboards? If so, have you considered a pellet boiler instead? Also, can you tell us a bit more about your house and its layout?
 

CBL

Member
Apr 16, 2013
140
MA
I would argue free standing pellet stoves are way easier to install than a cord wood stove. You'll have more flexibility to place it where you want and all that's needed is a vent system that goes through your exterior wall.

Also, make sure you look at all your pellet stove options before buying something at home depot. The nicer quality stoves burn more efficiently and can overall give you less hassle (Harmans, Quadra-fires, etc..)
 

bags

Minister of Fire
Oct 12, 2014
2,400
Kentucky
You'll have more flexibility to place it where you want and all that's needed is a vent system that goes through your exterior wall.
Very true! But you can also locate a free standing wood stove anywhere too if set up right. Bigger holes and thru the roof possibly which does make a pellet thru the wall very simple. Not sure but OP had a stove taken out and sold for $75 so they may want to go back into an existing hearth which could be a game changer on the ease of installation.
 

bags

Minister of Fire
Oct 12, 2014
2,400
Kentucky
stoveNewb,
There are numerous threads on your exact topic I've seen here so you might want to search those too.
 

stoveNewb

New Member
Dec 28, 2014
10
Pennsylvania USA
You say you have a LP boiler, so does that mean you have radiant baseboards? If so, have you considered a pellet boiler instead? Also, can you tell us a bit more about your house and its layout?
We do have a radiators, we looked briefly at the pellet boilers but they were easily all double the price of standard pellet stoves, so we didn't think much more about that.

Thanks!
 

stoveNewb

New Member
Dec 28, 2014
10
Pennsylvania USA
A little more info about our house. We have a pretty small house about 1500 of living space, about 900 downstairs and the rest on the second floor. We only use the downstairs, so we would only need to heat that. The previous stove was located in the basement.

Not sure but OP had a stove taken out and sold for $75 so they may want to go back into an existing hearth which could be a game changer on the ease of installation.
This was my though process, that I would just be able to "plug and play" another wood stove into the existing chimney. To install the pellet stove seemed like a bigger/more expensive venture.

We are going to visit a local stove company again tomorrow to get more information on our different options. Last time I talked to the guy at the stove shop I asked about installation, he never really answered me, but said that installation isn't hard and I could probably do it. I am just a little worried that I will mess it up.

Thanks Guys!
 

SKOAL MAN

Burning Hunk
Sep 10, 2014
231
Kingston, Ontario
No sense heating a basement you don't use! You could hook up the pellet stove on the main floor, through the wall kit $300. In saying that heat rises, if firewood is cheap where you are a good woodstove should roast you out of that house from the basement. Newer wood stoves can get up to 24 hr burn times!
 

bags

Minister of Fire
Oct 12, 2014
2,400
Kentucky
Check wood stove threads on basement locations. Sometimes that setup does not roast you out. It depends on many factors.
 

Skier76

Minister of Fire
Apr 14, 2009
1,468
CT and SoVT
Do you have any pics of the proposed location? Could help with getting some of your questions answered.

I have both; a pellet at our primary house, a wood stove at our weekend house. I could probably write a novel on the pluses and minuses of both types of stoves.

Wood:
Cheaper stove acquisition cost.
Easy to run, hardly any moving parts, no electronics.
Fuel can be cheap if you have a reliable source.

Pellet:
Set it and forget it; it'll run for hours without a reload.
Consistent heat
Can be hooked up to a thermostat. And if you really want to nerd it up, a wifi thermostat.
Bags of pellets take up less room than cordwood.
 

stoveNewb

New Member
Dec 28, 2014
10
Pennsylvania USA
Thanks everyone!

After doing more research on stoves, fuel availability, maintenance, installation and calling some local places we are leaning towards getting a new wood stove.

Mike
 

Chrisnow86

Minister of Fire
I've been heating with wood for a while now.. After burning 9 cord a winter and I was my only source of heat I went to pellets... Pellet stoves still require maintenance but if you think of all the time cutting and splitting wood it's no where near it.. So far I'm happy I made the switch.. I always just make sure to have a nice stock up of pellets (have about 2.5 tons in the garage now) and have a few extra parts incase something breaks, auger motor combustion blower etc. i purchased a low cost stove couldn't see myself dropping 4k on a stove esp if I didn't know if was was gonna be totally sold on it. But now I am.. If it was supplemental heat and did if for fun and somthing to keep yourself busy I would stick with wood.. But as a only heat pellets over wood all day
 

stoveNewb

New Member
Dec 28, 2014
10
Pennsylvania USA
I've been heating with wood for a while now.. After burning 9 cord a winter and I was my only source of heat I went to pellets... Pellet stoves still require maintenance but if you think of all the time cutting and splitting wood it's no where near it.. So far I'm happy I made the switch.. I always just make sure to have a nice stock up of pellets (have about 2.5 tons in the garage now) and have a few extra parts incase something breaks, auger motor combustion blower etc. i purchased a low cost stove couldn't see myself dropping 4k on a stove esp if I didn't know if was was gonna be totally sold on it. But now I am.. If it was supplemental heat and did if for fun and somthing to keep yourself busy I would stick with wood.. But as a only heat pellets over wood all day
Wow 9 cords sounds like a lot. I was hearing about 7 cord is average use. If you don't mind me asking how big were you heating with the wood stove, and what was the placement (finished basement, unfinished basement, first floor, etc)

Mike
 

Chrisnow86

Minister of Fire
2000 sq ft all cathedral house loft style master bed room very open floor plan. My stove was a old Nashua not sure what model I know it was the second from the biggest model took a 24 in log and was 90k btu but a load of wood would last 6 hours at best buring seasoned oak.
 

Big papa

Minister of Fire
May 4, 2014
856
Pa
Hi there,

I need some help. My wife and I bought a house back in May which had a wood stove. The insurance company did an initial inspection and ending up dropping us because we had the wood stove and no papers on it (installation/inspection?). We ended up selling it to the guy who was cutting down some trees for us for $75, I know I'm an idiot. After we got rid of the stove we got another policy with the same insurance company, which ended up dropping us for not having a railing on our front steps. So we decided to go with a new company who hasn't given us nearly the same amount of trouble.

On to the point... We have a concrete slab in the basement, and a 6 inch diameter hole in the wall to the chimney that was there for the wood stove. We have a propane boiler, but it seems expensive to run and we really don't like the company that is in our area which delivers the propane, so we have been looking into alternative heating solutions. We did some research into pellet stoves and getting another wood stove. I like each for different reasons. Mind you the list above is purely what I think I understand from research online and visiting a local stove shop.

Pellet stove Pros:
* Fuel comes in easy to handle bags
* Seems cleaner
* Less danger, maybe?
* Lighter

Wood stoves Pros:
* Lots of people sell firewood
* Stoves seem to be cheaper, only slightly though
* No electricity needed, can use in case of power outage
* Minimal installation ( drop it on the slab and connect some piping )

Pellet stove Cons:
* Installation cost / labor (running electricity, buying + installing adapters + fresh air in...)
* needs electricity to run
* could be noisy?

Wood stove cons:
* Heavier
* More dangerous
* More frequent chimney sweeping?

So my questions to you:

Are there any good resources online to connect a pellet stove to a chimney that had a wood stove previously hooked up to it?

Is the installation of a pellet stove has hard as I am thinking?

Should I consider hiring someone to install it?

Would I be able to contract someone to install a stove I bought from home depot?

Are wood stoves as dangerous and pellet stoves as safe as people say?

If you can answer any of these questions I would appreciate it. I'm starting to go crazy reading stuff online!

Thanks,
Mike
Welcome to the forum!to put my cents in ,the work involved and ease of use in a good quality pellet stove is much less than a wood stove should have got my new stove years ago. I live a busy lifestyle and the pellet stove has made things much more enjoyable over our old wood stove no where near the amount of work.except for cleaning week on the stove my daily routine consists of scraping the pot and filling the hopper maybe 5to 10 min a day and walk away for 12 to 15hour burn time can't beat it as far as ease of use. New pellet stoves run on t-stats so your temp will be more consistent than the wood burner and not too hot on warmer days.good luck let us know what ya decide
 

tjnamtiw

Minister of Fire
I know you would all die of shock if I didn't chime in!!!!!\
YOU LIVE IN PENNSYLVANIA!!!! Anthracite coal!!!!!!!!!!!!! You will heat for 1/2 to 1/3 the cost of pellets!!! AND you will get 2 to 3 times as many btu's out of the stove IF you need it!!!! Modern coal stoves are about the same price as a good pellet stove, very easy to operate the stoker variety, and very little mess IF you learn how to handle the coal properly. AND they run on a thermostat. The ash can go out with the trash. Yes, more ash by far but WAY more heat for a longer time per load.
www.readingstove.com
www.leisurelinestoves.com
www.keystoker.com

http://www.leisurelinestoves.com/product/pioneer-let/

Coal right now in Tamaqua is $170 a ton picked up. A ton of coal is almost twice the btu's as pellets.
 
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Jigger

Burning Hunk
Jan 1, 2014
119
Wareham,Ma.
I burned wood for many years in a wood stove.In that time I had one chimney fire. Which cracked the flu and had to be repaired. At the time I was a some what young man. But as time went on cutting and splitting and stacking 5 cords a years started to get old. One of the problems I hated about wood was having to go out in a raging snow storm to get wood to fee the stove. The other thing about carrying the wood into the house. Was I never knew what type of bugs got into the wood during the summer. Bring the wood in and watch them run around the floor was not nice. Wood stoves also generate a ton of ash. Wood stove also mainly a radiate heat source unless you get one with a blower to circulate the air. I work a long day and I'm gone close to 14 hours a day. Coming home and finding a cold house with a fire that had gone out was no fun.
I've been burning pellets for the past 6 years. Since I switched I'll never ever go back to burning wood. I store my pellets out in my shed. I carry the pellets in a 5 gallon bucket. I do not have to worry about bringing bugs into the house. The pellet stove has a built in air circulator that keeps my house nice an warm as the air is moved through out the house. I fill the stove prior to leaving in the morning and it is still going when I come home 14 hours later. The one thing nice about a pellet stove is you do not have to put heat shields around the stove similar to a wood stove. Pellet stoves are also more user friendly to an insurance company. Because the likely hood of a chimney fire is very minimal. They do happen but not as often. The ash content is much less then a wood stove. I just finished burning a ton and presently have a little over a 1/4 of a 5 gallon bucket full.
 

Tony garofalo

Member
Feb 24, 2013
58
Erie Pa
I know you would all die of shock if I didn't chime in!!!!!\
YOU LIVE IN PENNSYLVANIA!!!! Anthracite coal!!!!!!!!!!!!! You will heat for 1/2 to 1/3 the cost of pellets!!! AND you will get 2 to 3 times as many btu's out of the stove IF you need it!!!! Modern coal stoves are about the same price as a good pellet stove, very easy to operate the stoker variety, and very little mess IF you learn how to handle the coal properly. AND they run on a thermostat. The ash can go out with the trash. Yes, more ash by far but WAY more heat for a longer time per load.
www.readingstove.com
www.leisurelinestoves.com
www.keystoker.com

http://www.leisurelinestoves.com/product/pioneer-let/

Coal right now in Tamaqua is $170 a ton picked up. A ton of coal is almost twice the btu's as pellets.
You live in pa. It is a no brainer, Go with a leisure line stoker stove, I did and love it.
 
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tjnamtiw

Minister of Fire
You live in pa. It is a no brainer, Go with a leisure line stoker stove, I did and love it.
That's good to hear, Tony! Which one did you get?
 

Big papa

Minister of Fire
May 4, 2014
856
Pa
Pa corn at $130 a ton.dont want Coal dust in my house.
 

samfatboy

Member
Nov 28, 2014
24
Connecticut
I have the luxury of having both a wood burner and a pellet stove. One on each side of my center wall colonial 2200 sq ft home.

The pellet stove, an Englander 25 PDVC, which is rated for 1500 sq ft, is in the living room, and does a great job heating most of the house, and especially the bedrooms which are above it. For temperatures above 35 degrees will heat the whole house. The pellet stove is especially great for the work week when I don't have a lot of time to be cleaning, loading, and tending a fire. I vacuum the burner pot once a day, which takes 5 minutes. A full extended hopper will last 24 to 36 hours depending on outside temperature. I do an extended cleaning once a week, cleaning out the augur tube and vacuuming up the rest of the burning area.

My wood stove is in the family room, and is an Appalachian 52 Bay catalytic model, rated for 2500 sq ft. The radiant heat of a wood stove is satisfying in a primal sense, and all of the family members tend to spend hours just watching the wood burner in action, whereas the pellet stove is pretty much non captivating. I burn the wood stove on the weekends, or whenever the temperatures drop well below freezing.

Not sure if your basement is finished or not, but if it is, you might consider putting a wood burner down there, and a pellet stove with a through the wall installation on the 1st floor. Then you could enjoy the best of both worlds.
 

OhioBurner©

Minister of Fire
Aug 20, 2010
1,532
Center of Ohio
Pellet stove Pros:
* Fuel comes in easy to handle bags
* Seems cleaner
* Less danger, maybe?
* Lighter

Wood stoves Pros:
* Lots of people sell firewood
* Stoves seem to be cheaper, only slightly though
* No electricity needed, can use in case of power outage
* Minimal installation ( drop it on the slab and connect some piping )

Pellet stove Cons:
* Installation cost / labor (running electricity, buying + installing adapters + fresh air in...)
* needs electricity to run
* could be noisy?

Wood stove cons:
* Heavier
* More dangerous
* More frequent chimney sweeping?
Looks like you got a lot of the pros and cons but still some things I'll throw in... cost might average slightly higher for pellet stoves but it really comes down to individual stoves. There are very expensive and fairly inexpensive options for both pellet stoves and wood stoves. My pellet stove was far cheaper than either of the two wood burners I've bought in the last few years. Cost of fuel varies a lot by region (both pellets and wood). Around here pellets cost considerably more than wood. And with wood you can sometimes scrounge up free or inexpensive options locally. Wood stoves can also burn compressed sawdust bricks, which is similar to pellets just in much larger bricks. Wood stoves may not require power, but depending on the unit blowers can make a big difference. On my flush insert, it won't put out much heat at all without power. And it also can not be used in a power outage to cook on. Even my freestanding stove isn't very good to cook on, but at least possible. Danger... either stove operating properly the danger should be minimal. But yeah any stove can be dangerous if not maintained and operated properly. It would be much more common for a wood stove to run away on you though. If danger is a big concern for you I may suggest to stick with propane. Chimney cleaning goes back to proper maintenance and operation. If your doing everything right, that should be only a once a year thing for either type.

I have both types currently so I can get best of both worlds. Haven't decided yet, but I'm debating if I'll go with one or the other in the future. The main thing for me was my long hours at work. It was going to be impossible to keep my wood stove going for my 14hr workday. Pellet stoves can easily run all day, mine can hold 120 lbs which could last a few days on low and still over 24hrs on high. Now I know a Blaze King may be able to burn 24hrs+ too, but there were other reasons I went pellet, and I didn't have money to put into something as expensive as a Blaze King at the time. (but might yet in the future consider one). Also running 2 wood stoves was a royal pain, especially trying to get them to run in sync so they were both ready to load at the same time. And it takes 20-30 minutes to get the wood stove going and settled out. Thats a major pain at 4am when you didn't get much sleep and are struggling to get to work on time. I have to set my alarm even earlier in the winter due to the stove. :confused:

Pellet stoves aren't hands off though, and require more effort in cleaning, but this is far easier than handling wood still. Some, like Harmans, require much less cleaning. But some like my Englander can be a daily chore at times. The cleaning is fairly simple and can mostly be done without dealing with hot ashes like a woodstove though.

Everyone's needs/wants will be different but for me the big tradeoff is that wood is much cheaper to run, but can't generally heat my home for a regular workday, or a weekend out of town, whereas pellets might be more expensive but can run just fine for a whole workday (or even multiple days) without being shutdown.
 

stoveNewb

New Member
Dec 28, 2014
10
Pennsylvania USA
I know you would all die of shock if I didn't chime in!!!!!\
YOU LIVE IN PENNSYLVANIA!!!! Anthracite coal!!!!!!!!!!!!! You will heat for 1/2 to 1/3 the cost of pellets!!! AND you will get 2 to 3 times as many btu's out of the stove IF you need it!!!! Modern coal stoves are about the same price as a good pellet stove, very easy to operate the stoker variety, and very little mess IF you learn how to handle the coal properly. AND they run on a thermostat. The ash can go out with the trash. Yes, more ash by far but WAY more heat for a longer time per load.
www.readingstove.com
www.leisurelinestoves.com
www.keystoker.com

http://www.leisurelinestoves.com/product/pioneer-let/

Coal right now in Tamaqua is $170 a ton picked up. A ton of coal is almost twice the btu's as pellets.

Yea I live right in a very coal heavy area. Multiple people in my family have coal stoves and I actually used to enjoy helping my uncle load up their coal hopper when I was younger. My only problem with coal is that it seems to make the basement dusty and dirty, but like you said that may just be a symptom of not handling it properly I don't know.

Thanks for the input! I am going to take a look at coal also.
 

stoveNewb

New Member
Dec 28, 2014
10
Pennsylvania USA
I burned wood for many years in a wood stove.In that time I had one chimney fire. Which cracked the flu and had to be repaired. At the time I was a some what young man. But as time went on cutting and splitting and stacking 5 cords a years started to get old. One of the problems I hated about wood was having to go out in a raging snow storm to get wood to fee the stove. The other thing about carrying the wood into the house. Was I never knew what type of bugs got into the wood during the summer. Bring the wood in and watch them run around the floor was not nice. Wood stoves also generate a ton of ash. Wood stove also mainly a radiate heat source unless you get one with a blower to circulate the air. I work a long day and I'm gone close to 14 hours a day. Coming home and finding a cold house with a fire that had gone out was no fun.
I've been burning pellets for the past 6 years. Since I switched I'll never ever go back to burning wood. I store my pellets out in my shed. I carry the pellets in a 5 gallon bucket. I do not have to worry about bringing bugs into the house. The pellet stove has a built in air circulator that keeps my house nice an warm as the air is moved through out the house. I fill the stove prior to leaving in the morning and it is still going when I come home 14 hours later. The one thing nice about a pellet stove is you do not have to put heat shields around the stove similar to a wood stove. Pellet stoves are also more user friendly to an insurance company. Because the likely hood of a chimney fire is very minimal. They do happen but not as often. The ash content is much less then a wood stove. I just finished burning a ton and presently have a little over a 1/4 of a 5 gallon bucket full.

You brought up a few points which were making me hesitant about a wood burning stove. Mainly the bugs and the chimney fire. I keep switching back and forth in my mind between wood and pellets... and now coal...
 
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