Would someone please explain this to me.....

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Bee scratching my noggin for a while about this...

Why would someone buy a multifuel stove to save on heating fuel bills and then have someone else maintain it? Or better yet, run it until it no longer functions properly and then call in a 'professional' to fix it at say 100 bucks an hour? Makes absolutely no sense to me.

I don't see any cost savings in that over running a central heat plant.

Would someone enlighten me?
 

tlc1976

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2012
507
Northwest Lower Michigan
These people probably treat their central heat plant the same way. Either pay to have someone else maintain it, or never maintain it and pay big bucks when it quits.

So if the fuel, combined with how they use it, saves money then it’s still a gain.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Considering the cost of parts of an average +90 condensing furnace, worse than a biomass stove. Maybe I'm wacky but I don't get the 'cost savings' of biomass at all, unless you maintain it. Contracting it out every 3 or 4 months to have it cleaned is insane in my view but not in the view of the service people I would guess.

Couple years back I was offered a job selling and servicing biomass appliances for a local retailer of heating and ac units. I passed. Nasty job servicing them and I have no desire to sell them either. Never been much of a salesperson. I'm not a smoozer.
 

Overfireinthehole

Minister of Fire
May 5, 2017
731
Miller MO
I don’t usually sell them but I repair them and service them. Most of my customers have me deep clean it once a year and they do the daily, weekly, monthly cleanings. It is a dirty job, but it’s honest work and most of my customers are good to me. During the summer they pay 119 for cleanings and 139 from September to March.with LP cheap, there isn’t a ton of savings between the two, but Pellets are almost always cheaper than electric heat, and they save money by not heating the whole house to the same temp.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Dirty job for sure. Been getting dirty for 20 years now..... :)
 

bogieb

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2014
2,802
South Central NH
It all depends on what heating options are available, and what wood pellets you burn. My house has propane and that is second in cost only to electricity. I don't have the option of natural gas. I "could" go to oil, but that would cost majorly to get all new boiler and hot water heater (plus my cook stove would still be propane). Additionally, the basement isn't run for heat, so with my two stoves I can heat both levels.

I don't buy top $$ pellets, but pellets that are a good value between heat and ash. I also buy a lot of my pellets of CL during the summer when people are moving or perhaps moving to natural gas (got a ton of Lauzon Fusion, for $125 this summer for example).

At the rate I pay for propane (which is around $3.50/gal - not what is shown on the chart ), hot water alone costs about $650 per year for 1 person and I don't use the boiler except as back up. I pay somewhere between $1200-$1500 for pellets for heating both levels of the house each season with the thermostats running at 69*. Oh, and downstairs isn't run for heat off the boiler, so to do that would be an additional cost. Both of my pellet stoves paid for themselves within the first year (got the P61a when propane was $5.50+/gal - I was paying over $1k/MONTH to heat the main floor to 64*).

heating fuel costs.JPG
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Interesting table. What I don't understand is the widely varying cost pf Propane. It appears to be regional but there os no correlation between cost and region because propane is a by product of catalytic cracking of crude oil and is pipelined and railed to various storage facilities across the United States and Canada so the cost should be more standardized, but it isn't. Here in SE Michigan, propane is running (and has been) around $1.20 per gallon (liquid).

On the other hand, NG seems pretty stable price wise across the country but I'm not sure about Canada.
 

zrock

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2017
912
bc
i maintain and repair my own unit.... But with what i save every year in heating and electrical costs i could easily pay some one to do my maint and repairs and still come out well ahead...
 

bill3rail

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2012
765
LI, NY
I installed, service and repair my own pellet stove, so I can only guess... I think most people use it to save money and from what I understand annual servicing is about the same as an Oil Burner servicing. Electric is insanely priced here in NY.

Bill
 

bogieb

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2014
2,802
South Central NH
Interesting table. What I don't understand is the widely varying cost pf Propane. It appears to be regional but there os no correlation between cost and region because propane is a by product of catalytic cracking of crude oil and is pipelined and railed to various storage facilities across the United States and Canada so the cost should be more standardized, but it isn't. Here in SE Michigan, propane is running (and has been) around $1.20 per gallon (liquid).

On the other hand, NG seems pretty stable price wise across the country but I'm not sure about Canada.
A lot of our electricity is made thru propane, so customers are competing with the electrical providers - and they can pay a lot because our electric costs are high. Also it seems as if the electric providers have convinced New England legislatures that even though the there is no way the present electric grid could keep up, people that use fossil fuel sources for heat should be punished (because, you know, electricity is "clean") and forced to change over thru "incentives" (yes, that is my take on it).

Also, NH is literally the end of the line for any type of fuel (from Page 47 of this report)

Capture.JPG
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Glad I live in the midwest. Propane is cheap here and so are pellets and corn is cheaper yet because I grow my own. Only problem with that is, if it comes off over 12% which it usually does, I have to dry it down and that takes propane... viscous circle. Least the propane (dyer gas) is tax exempt. heating propane isn't.
 
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Washed-Up

Burning Hunk
Nov 5, 2011
248
Kananaskis,Alberta, Canada
I’m a millwright by trade and love tinkering and learning about my stove, Harman, and other brands....took to refurbishing a few and really enjoy it.....the money saved on pellets vs propane where I live is definitely worth it...I can see that it wouldn’t be for everyone though.
 

bob bare

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2013
3,014
park county montana
I agree mostly with Sidecar. Except maybe on propane,I believe nowadays most is produced from natural gas production,and is mostly shipped by rail or truck, as is economically feasible,unless your area has dedicated LP or unused pipelines. LP here is now $1.61, good pellets are $2.68/ton.SO, depending on whose charts I use,I will spend $100-$200 more for pellets,but perhaps that much less,lol. That would be for the year. Interesting bit--13.76 gallons of propane is equivalent to 3.5 bags of pellets.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
I'm a retired T&D maker and I own my own job and fab shop and I like 'tinkering as well, just not with old grimy stoves.... ;lol
 

tlc1976

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2012
507
Northwest Lower Michigan
I’m a mechanical engineer and I like to tinker too. But only enough to make the stove run reliably. If something doesn’t work to my liking then I do something about it.

As for my setup, even if I broke even with price per BTU, pellets are still cheaper. The LP boiler heats the unfinished bare concrete basement which I only use for storage. Lots of money wasted on heat going that route. Pellets only heat the living space and I can close off rooms I don’t need heated. The boiler only has 3 zones so I couldn’t do that without repiping the house.
 
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