TALK ME OUT of buying a pellet stove

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trx680

Member
Sep 27, 2011
100
Petersburg Virginia
Older I get the less interested I am in going to the back yard and filling the wheelbarrow with wood, bringing it in the house, making a mess, hearing about it from the wife, getting the stove going, cleaning it, etc, etc.
I have a Englander JC24 fireplace insert. It’s ok, nothing special, no ash pan.
I use it as backup in case the power goes out. I have a heat pump as main heat. Though I’ll use the stove when I feel like hassling with it. I grew up burning a big Fisher.
I know nothing about pellet stoves. Appears it would be much cleaner to use. I generally get oak wood for free, still have to split it. Just have to buy the pellets.
House is small, 1200sqft rancher. And I like the look of a fire burning through the glass door. Can you get that with a pellet?
Why should I get a pellet?
Why shouldn’t I?
what’s a good one cost?
 

clancey

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2021
2,392
Colorado
Not having a lot of experience here and I will light my stove for the first time this Sept and my installer will help me do this so that I can learn. As a female I love pellet stoves and they are so clean burning and so much more easier then a wood burner but in a emergency you have to have electricity or some kind of a battery set up with more batteries and all the wires would drive me "nuts" if I ain't already--lol..You already have your emergency set up with your JC24 and the free wood. Now you want ambiance and pellets I do not think would give you the warmth or ambiance of a wood burner--so what you would need is something easier on your body and less mess and to see something beautiful in all directions as well as entertainment value..I suggest the barie and this is a wood burner but they have them to where you could put one log in the top and burn it for a few hours..Here is the literature on it..Now I got a wood stove only because of a emergency and I did not want to run out of pellets and have to scrabble for them when the times comes--wanted to be completely independent as much as I can be, plus I wanted something that did not depend on electric service and maybe a cooking area as well so that I could make coffee, boil water or have some soup..I have a generator for backup for my home but "just in case"...Your situation is different you want ambiance of a beautiful stove and easier to put a log or two in--so I recommend a bari --the down side is they are very expensive but if I had to pick one for beauty and warmth and ambiance and easy filling--that would be the stove for me...old mrs clancey
 
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johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
4,375
Eastern Ontario
A Pellet stove is not plug and play
They need maintenance (cleaning)
Power goes out no heat (unless you have a backup system)
The stoves are not cheap for the top of the line units
I changed out my wood stove in 2002 bought an
Envio best move I ever made less mess, house is warm 24/7
No fire to light when I get up at 6 in the morning
And best of all the wife likes it
Yes you have to buy pellets
My main heat in this old farmhouse is a combination
wood /propane furnace. Mandated by my insurance Co.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,685
Northern NH
Most folks store wood outside, most pellet stove owners store pellets indoors. They take up a lot of room.

Woodstoves do not require as much routine maintenance.
 

jackman

Minister of Fire
Jan 15, 2013
663
Oregon
If you need something that is no maintenance then you should consider something else, e.g., heat pump, gas furnace, etc. The pellet stove will require you to lift 40 pound bags to load the stove and may also necessitate stacking the bags for storage in a dry location. You have to scrape the burn pot every day or two to get rid of the ash. After every 2 tons of pellets or so you'll need to do a tear down and complete cleaning of the stove. The cost for a high quality stove is in the range of $3000 to $4000 plus installation which may cost another $1K.
 

trx680

Member
Sep 27, 2011
100
Petersburg Virginia
The Bari wouldn’t work for me, its tall and it would have to vent through the fireplace. That looks like it vents through the ceiling. Thanks though! I do have generator too but often won’t run it at night if the power is out in the winter, which isn’t often the power ever goes out. This ice storm back in February was the exception. I used Mr. Heater propane at night. I even thought about my boats 12v deep cycle battery with a DC to AC converter to run the wood stove blower. I could do the same for the pellet stove to keep the feeder moving….right?
I could keep the pellet bags in the garage. Now I’m not too old to lift them. More mental than physical. I’m just getting to that point after working sometimes 7days a week I don’t feel like treking into the back yard and dealing with the wood. The wood makes a bigger mess on the living room floor than the wood stove itself makes. And my wife let’s me know. Yea the wood is free though I have to split and stack it and haul it to the house. I’m not wealthy but I’m not poor either, I could afford some pellets. And I’m not looking to heat 24/7 through the winter. I’ve got a heat pump. Just like to start a fire once in a while or help the heat pump out when it gets crazy cold.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,997
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Often overlooked, there are many very nice and efficient gas woodstoves and inserts. Zero maintenance, no power required, reasonably efficient (heater rated), flame show at least as good as a pellet, zero noise! Zero handling of fuel, zero mess. Can cook on it. No smell, vented through old wood chimney. Thermostatic.

If I was too frail or tired to do firewood then I would probably jump straight to a gas stove.

Gas stoves can run on NG or propane.
 

tlc1976

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2012
1,139
Northwest Lower Michigan
For a true backup, what you have is ideal, takes no power.

I never had to clean my woodstove glass, it kept itself burned clean. The pellet glass varies greatly. My previous brand would plug the glass solid in less than a day, and choke off the burn pot with crud in 1-2 days. The ones I burn now can go 2 weeks and I can still see through the glass and the burn pot is still free flowing.

I just turned 45 and hauling in pellets is no problem. Except when I couldn’t. I had 2 abdominal surgeries in the last 3 years, first one a sudden emergency. There may be more. I couldn’t haul 40 lb pellet bags for awhile. I could take a scoop at a time but someone still needed to get them down off the pile. With wood I could have taken a small piece or two at a time.

I do prefer the pellets for convenience, for cleanliness, for steady and reliable operation, for almost zero chance of a chimney fire for a stove running correctly. I also have a remote device where I can start or stop it when away from home, that makes things nice while saving money.
 

bogieb

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2014
3,171
South Central NH
Older I get the less interested I am in going to the back yard and filling the wheelbarrow with wood, bringing it in the house, making a mess, hearing about it from the wife, getting the stove going, cleaning it, etc, etc.
I have a Englander JC24 fireplace insert. It’s ok, nothing special, no ash pan.
I use it as backup in case the power goes out. I have a heat pump as main heat. Though I’ll use the stove when I feel like hassling with it. I grew up burning a big Fisher.
That right there is the defining sentence. You don't use it often and pretty much as back up, or at times for ambience.

A pellet stove needs electricity so it is not good for backup unless you have a generator. If you had a generator, then you could run your heat pump.

My suggestion is to keep using your current stove, but start using the compressed wood blocks/logs. A ton of those is comparable in price to a ton of pellets (and I'm guessing you could buy in smaller lots than a ton). You would store them inside, no insects, no rodents, no mess.

I love my pellet stoves and use them as primary heat, but I don't think a pellet stove is right for the way you would use it.
 

mtnbiker727

Feeling the Heat
Mar 11, 2019
282
PA
The combustion fan noise in a pellet stove might detract from the ambiance you're trying to achieve. If you just want to look at a fire and get a little occassional heat, I think a propane/natural gas fireplace might be what you're looking for, as someone else mentioned.

If you want to replace your wood stove with something comparable, then a pellet stove might be the way to go for you.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,312
South Puget Sound, WA
Most folks store wood outside, most pellet stove owners store pellets indoors. They take up a lot of room.

Woodstoves do not require as much routine maintenance.
And they are a helluva a lot quieter with a much better fire view.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Feb 7, 2010
5,273
S.E. Michigan
I love my pellet stoves and use them as primary heat, but I don't think a pellet stove is right for the way you would use it.
Neither do I.
 

blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,784
WI, Leroy
Yep, current stove and compressed wood blocks, saw dust bricks, giant pellets ( what ever you want call them) Menards ( only 3 stores in MI though) has some. 20 # package around $4. I am sure other places have as well. I never have checked with them for a pallet price. Some of the pellet shops also sell the bricks as well.
 

md2002

Feeling the Heat
Oct 18, 2011
354
United States
I love my stove but they are a PIA to some degree. If something isn't working it could takes week to troubleshoot and fix. Unlike a wood stove where you load it up and let it go. I don't think a pellet stove is what you want.