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pellet stoves?


littlered166
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People that have them like them however you are still burning a fuel that you can not produce by yourself so you're dependant on an outside company for your heating fuel that controls the price to their best interests. When worst comes to worst I can always grab my chainsaw and cut firewood.

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If you buy all the fuel you need in the off season, it can be economical heat. If you wait until you need it in the winter I think it’s too expensive. My in laws had one for a while because they thought it would be cheap. They can’t manage their money and would only buy it as they needed it in the winter when it was expensive. The tractor supply store here used to have specials in the summer time at a huge discount if you bought a pallet at a time. 

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We do all the electrical work for a pellet mill. The amount of work and energy that goes into making burnable wood from burnable wood is staggering. Unless you have a bulk hopper and a power feed you are still toting bags of pellets that are heavy, dusty, and are dealing with a stove that requires constant filling. All of the ones i have seen have either a big smoke streak up the side of the house or a great long pipe that sticks out and looks like a turd struck with a club. 
personally if i am paying for fuel i want to be able to set the thermostat and walk away. 

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We’ve had one for about 7 or 8 years now. They’re a finicky thing. They do throw a nice heat and somewhat less work then a wood stove. We had some computer issues with ours after we got it but it’s been working pretty good since. Sits in the corner of the kitchen and when it’s cold out that instant heat is sure nice when you come in.  As for economical heat it’s probably not the cheapest. We go through almost a bag a day and it’s up to 7.00$ now for the hardwood pellets. Just got some on sale at Canadian tire for 4.00 through their gimmick sales promotion where you spend so much and get so much back so that helps a little. We looked into making our own pellets as we have lots of waste slabs from the sawmill. The options were at the time buy a Chinese product that made a somewhat acceptable pellet for 4-5,000 or go all in and spend over 100 k on a proper pellet mill.  We opted to keep buying them lol.  What I’ve tried to do is sell e ouch first cut slabs for firewood to offset what we’re paying for wood pellets so it kind of balances out in the end. 

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I put one in this fall...I like it but computer issues... I think it's a good option for those days when you don't need constant fire... pellets here are 290 a ton...been getting a bag every 2 days in the fall  mine has a thermostat  so that  helps.

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I have quite a few friends who have them, they all seem to really like them. They are not as much work as a wood stove and don’t require as much babysitting, but so have some pitfalls. There are parts that can break and leave the stove totally out of commission and like others have said you really need to plan ahead and buy your pellets in advance and in quantity. For an old house that has no ductwork, they are a decent option, especially if you do not have the time or all the needed tools to cut your own firewood.

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Not sure what your situation is, i have LP already and just bought a Rinnai 38,000 btu direct vent wall furnace, cost 2200 bucks with the remote thermostat kit. Add another 5-600 for installation, it is clean, efficient and does a tremendous job. Lots of energy saving features and settings. I can go away for a week in the winter and not worry. You are going to be all of that into a pellet stove and you still have to babysit it. 

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We have had one for almost 15 years, and have been happy with it.  Having said that, it is not always saving money.  I found a price per BTU calculator online, and when fuel oil is cheap we turn the pellets down to just more comfort, and we crank it up when fuel oil is high. Some times other fuels are cheaper, by a lot

it’s a lot cleaner than wood, I do not have access to good fire wood (we can chose between spruce or birch) and I just do not have the time for cutting wood, so it’s a pellet stove.  I pick up a half dozen bags on my way home when we need them.
 

Not all stoves are equal, mine will burn almost anything, my FIL is picky and needs to be cleaned daily if he is burning pellets that make a lot of ash (his was cheaper and has a thermostat, mine is manual set). Then some are automatic and others run at the feed rate you set.  
 

I have replaced blower motors over the years.  But after running 24/7 for 5 months at a time I can’t complain.  We will replace this one sooner than later, and I hope to keep burning pellets

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15 minutes ago, vtfireman85 said:

Not sure what your situation is, i have LP already and just bought a Rinnai 38,000 btu direct vent wall furnace, cost 2200 bucks with the remote thermostat kit. Add another 5-600 for installation, it is clean, efficient and does a tremendous job. Lots of energy saving features and settings. I can go away for a week in the winter and not worry. You are going to be all of that into a pellet stove and you still have to babysit it. 

I wish we could get cheap propane,  these units would be great. Right now propane is more per gallon than diesel or gasoline 

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I know many folks that have them and most are happy. Good choice if you do not have free or close to free wood, no land or close neighbor's that don't like smoke.

As said what I see as the real drawback; buy pellets in advance. Buy more than you think you need. If winter is average you will be fine and the supply will be good but; if winter is severe everybody will be out of them. A few years ago we had some 0 degree temps and a month below freezing and all of a sudden you are going through a ton in 3 weeks. You don't want to be calling all over looking for pellets.

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Harman stoves are king here.  We have had one since 2006.  From my previous research bulk bins and auger feeding seems to be a New England and European thing.  Definitely nothing like that around here.  Less work then a wood stove but it is a ton of work to move bags around stack in basement fill stove daily etc.

I think I agree with everyone else's comments.  Less work then wood but still needs to be babysat.  Before this year's higher fuel prices I was wondering if they would fall out of favor.  Everyone that has them likes them.  We always buy in summer.  Most places offer discounts for summer purchase.

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I have had a US Stove 6039HF for 15 years.  It has a lousy heat exchanger and needs to be cleaned often or you are wasting a lot of heat.  I have added aluminum heatsinks to the top of the heat box which helped quite a bit in efficiency.  I have had to replace a couple of motors and it is finicky if burning straight corn.  It is also very loud with 4 motors running.   We took it out of the house 4 years ago and I put it in my shop.  I do miss the hot heat in the house versus Forced Air heat though.  It does ok out in my shop, but I was shocked how much a cheap 5KW electric heater outperforms it in speed of getting my shop warmed up by several hours.  Oh and one other important thing.  I almost had a house fire or at least major smoke damage because of a design flaw.  My auger sits right above the burn box and one time I shut it off and it ignited the wood in the auger and then back into the hopper.  Most stoves drop the pellets 6 inches or so to prevent this.  I had shut it off and left to get a haircut.  I came back 30 minutes later and there was white smoke pouring out of my pellet stove exhaust.  I had to rig up power to keep the exhaust running to keep the smoke from filling my house.  Glad I came back home.

If I could figure out a good way to get a wood stove into my current house, that is what I would do.  Ambiance and good hot heat and I have more dying or dead ash than I know what to do with.

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I have a Harman corn- pellet stove. Love it.i am organic and clean my own soybeans. I save the weed seeds to burn in it. Yes I have now found a purpose for giant ragweed seed. This spring at an auction I bought a pellet maker. I haven't made my own pellets yet. I'm sure it will work good. Harman stoves seem to have a good reputation. Made in USA and all parts are available.

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i wish i had gotten ours 20 yrs ago, just had it a year, bought it used and put in my own exhaust pipe thru wall. It starts on its own and shuts off too, self cleans the pot, all i do is suck out the ashes about once every 2 or 3 wks - i love the warmth of a wood stove and have that in the basement but upstairs its nice to sit in front of it in the mornings, drink coffee and watch the sun come up. We absolutely love it. I put graphite on the cleaning rails last yr and did it this yr too or somethings the ashpan cleaner sticks. Outside of that boy its wonderful. It is an all fuel burning stove. Nut hulls, cherry pits, corn, wheat, wood pellets whatever is easiest supply around you. 

it auto ignites and is quiet to run - we keep the pellets in the garage and use a 2 quart pitcher and just grab a scoop when we walk by as we are usually in teh garage a cuople times /day. The bags are only 40 lbs so not super heavy and you can feel the bags for dust and tell if they are very good pellets. I personally like the softwood pellets they burn hotter and less ash than hardwoods I have had around here. 

 

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opinions will vary, but the plant we work for is noted for extremely high quality soft wood pellets. their claim is that there is no benefit to hardwood pellets because all pellets are compressed to the same density and ideally the same moisture content. the soft wood are just a little less expensive. dunno if its true or not, but it sounds good, and they have a mighty good reputation. I have heard folks locally who have experimented with different types and different brands and they all come back to those for low ash and best efficiency. 

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1 hour ago, searcyfarms said:

i wish i had gotten ours 20 yrs ago, just had it a year, bought it used and put in my own exhaust pipe thru wall. It starts on its own and shuts off too, self cleans the pot, all i do is suck out the ashes about once every 2 or 3 wks - i love the warmth of a wood stove and have that in the basement but upstairs its nice to sit in front of it in the mornings, drink coffee and watch the sun come up. We absolutely love it. I put graphite on the cleaning rails last yr and did it this yr too or somethings the ashpan cleaner sticks. Outside of that boy its wonderful. It is an all fuel burning stove. Nut hulls, cherry pits, corn, wheat, wood pellets whatever is easiest supply around you. 

it auto ignites and is quiet to run - we keep the pellets in the garage and use a 2 quart pitcher and just grab a scoop when we walk by as we are usually in teh garage a cuople times /day. The bags are only 40 lbs so not super heavy and you can feel the bags for dust and tell if they are very good pellets. I personally like the softwood pellets they burn hotter and less ash than hardwoods I have had around here. 

 

What stove do you have?  It sounds lots better than mine.

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1 hour ago, vtfireman85 said:

opinions will vary, but the plant we work for is noted for extremely high quality soft wood pellets. their claim is that there is no benefit to hardwood pellets because all pellets are compressed to the same density and ideally the same moisture content. the soft wood are just a little less expensive. dunno if its true or not, but it sounds good, and they have a mighty good reputation. I have heard folks locally who have experimented with different types and different brands and they all come back to those for low ash and best efficiency. 

What brand of pellets are these?

 

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Outdoor wood boiler here, 17 years old, even heat throughout the house, mess is all outside, stock it twice a day. We have tons of dead ash and lots of woods to get it from. It takes one hour to get enough wood for 2 weeks with one saw running and a couple of kids picking it up. Also have Propane for warmer months, but once it gets cold out its wood boiler for 5 months. 

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21 hours ago, vtfireman85 said:

if i am paying for fuel i want to be able to set the thermostat and walk away.

I've finally got to that point. We burned wood and oil for years with a combination furnace. It was fine when the kids were home and I'd buy log length for cheap, cut it, and they'd split it. No matter what though, dragging wood through the house for the furnace or the kitchen wood cook stove is more dirt dragged in and the walls show the dirt as well. This year we spent big money for a dual fuel heat pump/propane. new duct work, two zone, smart wifi thermostats, and I've never been more comfortable. We're waiting for the first electric bill to see what comfort is costing us. Propane cost us $2.19, which I thought was cheap.

We now have central air so no more lugging window units around. They're going to be used in the shop when I retire.

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I have a Bixby corn pellet combo stove. Love it but they stopped making them in 2006. With corn it depends on the moisture, if it’s a little wet I have to clean it about once a week, drier it can go a couple weeks or more without cleaning. Pellets you have to clean it about every ton burned. The stove has been excellent so far with only a few little issues. I started out with a harman pc45 corn wood combo, this bixby makes that stove look like a yugo. 

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7 hours ago, MCC said:

What stove do you have?  It sounds lots better than mine.

i have a quadra-fire mt vernon - fully automatic they still make them but i dont think the new ones are an all fuel - the quadra-fire and harman are the high end stoves that are fully automatic and last for years - they have excellent support from my experience, my cousin has a harman its a great stove too fully automatic thermostat - the bags of pellets are only 40 lbs - mine had 5 settings for heat , on high/5 it will go through a hopper in about 28 hours - on low/1 it will run for a 2 to 3 days - it doesnt take a lot of heat to keep our space warm with the stove in the basement unless it gets down below 20 at night with wind. If its 20ish or above we just let it simmer on low all the time to keep the chill off, keep our furnace thermostat at 60 so we have a cool bedroom to sleep in, close off all the unused rooms. 

the harman and quadra-fire on fully auto will change feed amounts/blower speeds to play catch up if you have it off for a while then ramp back down as they sense thermostat changes. I run mine on manual so i can have a fire longer to watch and gradually warm things up because I like the ambiance. 

to sit and watch a fire is priceless to me - got mine used off marketplace - I do not like propane, we had three carbon monoxide incidents with propane and it was scary/dangerous. No more propane furnaces for me. One due to a hairline crack in a burner in furnace, another due to a stuck tank gauge and ran low, the other due to heavy air/fog and poor exhaust draw is what the fire dept said, they see it in our climate occasionally when conditions are just right. 

All electric now, cept for the wood. Our climate here in MO is pretty mild - rarely do we get big snows anymore that stay around. We get cold stints of a couple weeks of below 20 so sub zero is not that common. More stuff in the teens or single digits at night than anything. Warms up to 30 to 40 during the day so not that much of a frost line in the ground either for long periods. 

for a baseplate - went by a granite place, picked a piece of remnant got it for 75 bucks, smoothed off the corners/edges with my angle grinder and zing...........beautiful piece to sit on. 

yes im thrifty i cant get that out of my system, i grew up with little but what I had was great to me

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Don't have one but I'll just comment on 2 things, you need to store a large amount of fuel that I'm surprised insurance companies aren't concerned about or yet?

Even worse because this is a dependent manufactured product you are at the whims of climate policies to increase pricing or ban product at somepoint

The multifuel burning corn seems like a good option here vs the wood pellets

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48 minutes ago, hardtail said:

Don't have one but I'll just comment on 2 things, you need to store a large amount of fuel that I'm surprised insurance companies aren't concerned about or yet?

Even worse because this is a dependent manufactured product you are at the whims of climate policies to increase pricing or ban product at somepoint

The multifuel burning corn seems like a good option here vs the wood pellets

I don't think the fuel is very flammable without air being blown over it.  Maybe I am wrong but I don't see my pellet stack as dangerous any more so then any other things I store.  You can't really burn pellets outside of the stove or as a camp fire.  On the multi fuel stoves or at least the ones I have seen there is something to stir the fire so it doesn't clump up and another itself out.

Unless one has there own pellet mill I totally agree with you on the dependency.  Kind of like oil gas etc. If you are going to use it you are trapped.  On the harman stove side they may be done making corn stoves.  I understand they were a slow mover.  On their pellet stoves you can mix corn and wood pellets 50/50 and they will burn it just fine without clumping.  Trouble is without a mixing system it is a pain and easier to just dump the bag or wood pellets in the stove.

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