Running a Pellet Stove to keep space at 50 degrees

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.

SunHeart

New Member
Dec 15, 2021
10
Central NY
Hi All,

I have an 1200 sq foot apartment that has a shop below it. In the winter it is only occupied when we have friends and family visit, which is 1/3-1/2 the time. The other portion of the winter the space is kept at 50 degrees. Right now it is heated with backup electric and main OWB to forced air via heat exhcanger, but looking to retire the OWB.

Could a pellet stove manage keeping the space at only 50 degrees? I'm thinking I could go over every day or 2 to check it and add pellets. Ideally the stove would need minimal maintenance and have a large hopper - looking at a p43.

Do pellet stoves constantly fire at their lowest rating, or will it turn completely off and then cycle back on when needed? I'm also wondering if I could hook up a thermostat, or use the included one, to set it with a bigger temp window such as 45-53 degrees or something like that.

Any thoughts appreciated!
 

Jeremy6500

Feeling the Heat
Jan 22, 2021
295
Indiana
I can answer some of your questions.

Some pellet stoves (a lot of them now) have an igniter. This allows the stove to completely turn off and then re-ignite when needed.

I don’t know about the exact stove you are mentioning, but a lot of stoves have options to run them off a room thermostat. It is possible with both mine. I have a USSC and. Pellet Pro.

A large hopper would be helpful. My PP130 can have an add on hopper put on it that would greatly extend the run time on one hopper full of pellets.

So it could be done, but not sure if it would be economical. That is a math thing.
 

railfanron

Minister of Fire
Nov 2, 2013
576
Perry MI
Yes a P43 could do the job but I agree with Jeremy that it might not be profitable. Also there is a daily burnpot scrape that should be done to keep it burning efficiently. Only takes a minute or so. There is a hopper extender that would add a considerable amount of pellet volume. I have my P43 running of an Ecobee WiFi thermostat and can control it from anywhere as well as see the temp. You can set the P43 to turn completely on or off from the thermostat or you can also set it to ramp from low fire to high fire as well. I run mine almost completely on automatic on off. The thermostat on the stove can control it down to 50 degrees but its not WiFi. If the area is open a pellet stove could heat it very well.
Ron
 

SunHeart

New Member
Dec 15, 2021
10
Central NY
Thanks for the replies. What do you mean it might not be economical/profitable? Because of the shutting on and off? Would it be more economical to heat it a little warmer? Use a different stove? I'm open to suggestions and understanding to make a decision.

There are electric baseboard heaters which cost a lot to run and nothing else currently. It's a pretty open space currently heated with one heat exchanger and fan blower running off the OWB. On really cold nights we stick a space heated in a bedroom if someone is in there, but that's not often. I can't imagine that propane or oil would be more economical, or the electric? Maybe I'm missing something 🙂
 

Mt Bob

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2013
4,075
park county montana
Depends on the insulation and tightness of the shop. If any doubts,go larger,P61. Used,I would stay away from the touch control Harmans for this job. Burning softies, I generally scrape burn pot every 3 days, unless stove is not running a lot, can go longer,like days/nights when it only starts up and runs 4 times in 24 hours. Thermostat? LOL I have/had an issue,I usually camp every fall, usually with camper heater off, but sometimes a bit too cold. In a camper, pretty much any set tep. the furnaces will cycle quite a bit in colder weather, and keeps me from sleeping. I got a temp controller, ebay, made in china, that you set the on and off at different temps. As an example, this fall, I set it to come on at 38, off at 60. That would guarantee 3 hours or more of sleep. It is 12v but I think they make them 120v also.
 

SunHeart

New Member
Dec 15, 2021
10
Central NY
Thanks. To clarify, I'm not planning to heat the shop, just the apartment above.

Which are touch screen harmans? Newer or certain models? Just the absolutes?

Good tip on the temp controller, I'll look into them.
 

Jeremy6500

Feeling the Heat
Jan 22, 2021
295
Indiana
I am in no way saying it wouldn't be economical. For me heating with pellets is much more economical than propane or electric. I just don't know your setup and fuel costs. From what you have said it sounds like a pellet stove would work pretty well for you as long as you realize they require more interaction that something like a propane forces air etc.

I would also make sure you size the unit accordingly so it does not have to run on high constantly to keep up.

My house had a PP130 installed when I moved in. It has done really well for me. Has a 130lb hopper and uses about 40lbs a day. Possibly less if I was just trying to maintain about 50*. They sell a hopper extension for it that adds another 200lbs of capacity. So in theory I could run about 8 days on on hopper full. You can also get a Pellet Miser thermostat adapter for it so you can run it off a room thermostat and it has an ignitor so it will turn off completely and re-ignite as needed.

With good airflow and quality pellets it burns pretty clean with minimum buildup in the burn pot. I usually dump the burn pot every few days, but it has gone over a week before. I usually vacuum it out about 2 times a week, but has gone over a week in the past. I use a leaf blower to suck out the vent about every 2 weeks.

So you can see it is more work than propane, but I like messing with it and the cost is quite a bit less for me. Sourcing parts and repairing is pretty easy too.

It is much more of a budget unit than some others, but overall I have been happy with it.
 

rjlets

Member
Dec 23, 2005
18
NW Conn.
Yes a P43 could do the job but I agree with Jeremy that it might not be profitable. Also there is a daily burnpot scrape that should be done to keep it burning efficiently. Only takes a minute or so. There is a hopper extender that would add a considerable amount of pellet volume. I have my P43 running of an Ecobee WiFi thermostat and can control it from anywhere as well as see the temp. You can set the P43 to turn completely on or off from the thermostat or you can also set it to ramp from low fire to high fire as well. I run mine almost completely on automatic on off. The thermostat on the stove can control it down to 50 degrees but its not WiFi. If the area is open a pellet stove could heat it very well.
Ron
Was there anything special you needed to do to run that thermostat? I would like to setup my P43 that way. Anything you can provide would be appreciated! Also what model Ecobee I see they have a few different ones. Thanks!
 

creztor

Member
Nov 13, 2018
18
Australia
It could definitely be done. Easy way to find cost is what do you pay for pellets in your area? Pellet heaters, as mentioned above, can self ignite and it would either run on low (eco mode) or switch off. It would depend on how insulated the room is etc. If it switched on and then off when room reached temperature and then back on again when temp dropped too low you'll save the money etc. However, this will make the ignitor burn out faster. Might only last a year but they are cheap and easy to replace. Also, don't forget you will need to clean it at least once a week. Cost wise, what do Pellets in your area cost and what do you pay for electricity per kW?
 

railfanron

Minister of Fire
Nov 2, 2013
576
Perry MI
Yes there is. You need to build an interface to use any WiFi thermostat with a pellet stove. The thermostat needs 24 volts to power it and a pellet stove doesn't provide it like a furnace would. You need a 24 volt relay and a 120v to 24v transformer and a box to put it in. The crude diagram below show how to wire it. The Ecobee I have is the top of the line one. This one has Alexa built in and is interfaced with her. Any of the model would work but the Alexa one has its advantages.
Ron
Pellet stove wiring diagram - Copy.JPG
 

mtnbiker727

Feeling the Heat
Mar 11, 2019
284
PA
If you get busy and don't check it for a couple days and it runs out of pellets, are you going to have pipes that burst?
Personally, in that situation, (as much as I hate to say it) I'd rather have something that is a little more hands off.... propane, gas, oil, electric.

But if you really want to go through with it and check it every day or two, and clean it every week or so, and carry the pellet bags upstairs..... It would probably work.

It won't take the stove long to bring the room to 50 degrees, so the stove will fire up, go through it's initial burn cycle (probably getting the room much warmer than 50 degrees), then since the temperature is satisfied, the stove will shut off and wait until the temperature demand is there again. The time between firing will depend on insulation, outdoor temp, blah blah blah.... The igniter does use some electricity, other people on here could tell you how much.

It would be cool for the family that stays there to have a fire in the living room, but I don't think I'd want to have a pellet stove outside my house.... out of sight out of mind, and then oops!
 

Mr._Graybeard

Feeling the Heat
Apr 27, 2012
416
Southeast Wisconsin
Assuming you'll keep the electric backup, I think the pellet stove will do fine. A lot of stoves have their own "room temperature" thermostat, although you'll need to research how low you can set them. I know Harman has a thermostat that will go down to 50 degrees.