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12/6/2019 7:27:02 PM
Posted: 3/15/2011 12:14:25 PM EST
My electric bill is off the hook. Thinking of getting a pellet stove. Few questions.

1. Do the cheaper lowes models work or are they problematic. I see some upwards of $4,000-$5,000. The one at lowes was around $800.00

2. I have a old ranch house where the rooms are kinda broken up and there is quite a bit of distance between them. Is it going to move the heat around very far?

3. Does it really save money?

My bill ranges around $300.00 just for the heating....not counting the water heater and the basic electrical items. Total has been aroung $525.00 a month.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 12:26:16 PM EST
We have been looking into a pellet stove for next winter as well. We were burning $1200 to $1400 a month in oil between heat and hot water. Also awitching to on demand gas hot water and gas for heat.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 2:09:11 PM EST
I have a $3500 Harman stove. I have not tried a Lowes $800 stove.

My house has an oil burner with baseboard hot water radiators for heat.

My house is not set up with ductwork to circulate air through the rooms.

The pellet stove is located in a fairly central part of the house. I have a fan in that room to help improve the circulation of warm air through the rest of the house.

The room with the pellet stove in it is kept at about 75 degrees. The other rooms in the house vary from the mid-60's down to the low 60's depending on the outside temperature.

I bought two tons of pellets at the beginning of the heating season for $195 per ton. I didn't start using the pellet stove until mid January (too long a story to relate). The two tons should last me through to the end of the heating season, with perhaps 1/4 to 1/2 ton left over. So that means that I'm probably spending less than $200 per month in pellets to heat the house. I still use some oil for domestic hot water and (on super-cold days and nights) to occasionally heat up the baseboard pipes to prevent them from freezing.

The price of oil is crazy high these days, and so I think that I am saving $$. I probably went through a whole 275 gallon tank of oil between half of November, all of December and half of January, at about $3.75 per gallon (or about $1,000 for two months of heating with oil, vs. what would have perhaps been $400 with pellets).

So, I am saving on heating costs with pellets. If you apply the savings towards the cost of the stove, it will still take a number of years to amortize the cost of the stove. If the stove were only $800, I could have saved the stove cost over a single winter.

There is a potential problem in that the price of pellets is a big unknown - for some reason, the price of pellets was relatively low this year for average quality pellets (super premium ones might have been closer to $280 per ton). In years past, average pellets cost around $300 per ton. But YMMV.



Link Posted: 3/15/2011 5:36:23 PM EST
With pellet stoves you get what you pay for. Buy Harmon. Mine was $2500.00 and runs non stop with no problems.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 11:27:33 PM EST
I have a Breckwell which I bought 3 years ago, when the Oil prices were crazy the last time. I run it non stop other than when I shut it down to clean it from about the end of Oct to April. It cut my oil useage by about 40%. My house was built in 05 so it is pretty well insulated and has good windows. I'd say the pellet stove saved us some money over oil. I would gotten a Harmon were it my choice but the year I bought mine you couldn't get one in my area. I am not sure what brand of stove they sell out in OH, but the one they sell at HD up this way(New Englander) seem to have spotty quality reports.

I like mine pretty well and when I finish my basement off I may put a smaller one down there.

Dan
Link Posted: 3/16/2011 4:50:14 PM EST
Thats what i needed...Harmon sounds like the way to go.
Link Posted: 3/16/2011 5:15:00 PM EST
Originally Posted By THOR3232:
Thats what i needed...Harmon sounds like the way to go.


Harmon IS the way to go.
Link Posted: 3/16/2011 5:26:44 PM EST
I've been thinking about one. Some of them also burn corn, correct? Is the corn dried to a certain level? Reason I'm asking is that I store a neighboring farmer's grain cart in my pole barn through the winter. I was wondering if I could make a deal with him, say pay him at least (if not a bit more) than what they would pay him at the scales, and just leave it full when he's ready to put it away for the winter. Seems like it might be a way to spend a bit less on fuel if it would work.
Link Posted: 3/16/2011 5:28:27 PM EST
[Last Edit: 3/16/2011 5:29:50 PM EST by Hamel]
Are they eligible for that energy efficiency tax rebate? If so, might take a little bite out of the cost of the system.

ETA-Looks like there is a $300 rebate for qualifying stoves

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_index
Link Posted: 3/16/2011 5:31:01 PM EST
[Last Edit: 3/16/2011 5:36:00 PM EST by 82nd_Sapper]
I don't have a pellet stove but my parents do. I drive to their house and fill it up every day because they are old. It is a very nice model from a specialty shop here in town. They have had to spend over $1000 having it cleaned and fixed over the last four years. The motherboard was just replaced and now the combustion fan will not shut off. The repair company will not warranty this particular malfunction.

Compared to my sister's modern wood burning stove, the pellet stove completely sucks. Even on the highest setting, the pellet stove can not put out half as much heat as a wood burner. Using pellets is less labor intensive than fire wood, and they take up less space, but I believe the cons outweigh the pros:

Con: You must buy the pellets, you can not go and gather your own. If there is a shortage in your area than you are SOL.

Con: Pellets prices are subject to market forces. The cost of pellets varies greatly with the season, availability in your area, and gas prices (transport costs).

Con: The pellet stove uses electricity. Most pellet stoves use two fans, a motor for the pellet auger, and power for the control board. The electricity cost can offset the savings versus using a conventional furnace if pellets are not dirt cheap.

Con: If the power goes out, so does your heat. This is not the case with a modern wood burning stove. Light a fire and let it go.

Con: The pellet stove will NEVER put off as much heat as a modern fully loaded wood burning stove. You can throw three pieces of pine in a wood burner and it will run you out of the house.

Con: Pellet stoves have electronics that break. My parents have had to repair their stove twice. Both times a skilled technician was needed, he is always busy during winter and they had to make an appointment 2-3 weeks away. Repairs are expensive.

Pro: The pellet stove does not need to be fed at 3:00am to stay running. BUT with my Sister's wood burner, you don't want it to be lit at 3:00am or it will be too hot in the house.

Pro: A fancy pellet stove can be set with a timer/thermostat so that it starts before you wake up and shuts off after you leave for work. BUT, so does a regular furnace.

Pro: Less work. You fill it with pellets and turn it on. No cutting, chopping, or splitting wood involved. BUT, you have to haul 40lbs bags of pellets around. Easy for us young folk, not so much for the elderly.



Pellet stoves may seem like they are a great choice for older people that don't want/can't to do a little work hauling firewood, but they aren't. This was the reasoning my parents used when they bought a pellet stove. They did not want to mess with a chain saw and log splitter. Pellets are sold in 40lbs bags. My mother has arthritis, and my father is recovering from a stroke. Neither of them can handle the 40lbs bags to fill the stove, so I do it. Both of them could easily throw a piece of split wood into a stove.


I would buy a modern wood burning stove. Gathering firewood is a big chore, but if you do it right it will only have to be done once or twice a year. You can also buy pre-split wood. A ton of wood pellets costs $240 in my area. We bought one last week. My parents will use a total of three tons this season. That comes out to $720. That does not include the electricity to run the stove or the repair costs. My sister cut her own firewood this winter and used about two cords to heat a similarly sized home. The permit for a cord is $30 not including gas and time spent. That is $60 plus maybe $100 for gas. You can buy split cords for about $130 here. The math favors the wood stove.
Link Posted: 3/16/2011 5:36:28 PM EST
I bought a Quadrafire wood stove last year , this is the second winter I haven't turned on my central heat !

We are in a little warmer climate than you guys up north and wood is very plentiful here.
Link Posted: 3/16/2011 5:43:00 PM EST
Originally Posted By 82nd_Sapper:
I don't have a pellet stove but my parents do. I drive to their house and fill it up every day because they are old. It is a very nice model from a specialty shop here in town. They have had to spend over $1000 having it cleaned and fixed over the last four years. The motherboard was just replaced and now the combustion fan will not shut off. The repair company will not warranty this particular malfunction.

Compared to my sister's modern wood burning stove, the pellet stove completely sucks. Even on the highest setting, the pellet stove can not put out half as much heat as a wood burner. Using pellets is less labor intensive than fire wood, and they take up less space, but I believe the cons outweigh the pros:

Con: You must buy the pellets, you can not go and gather your own. If there is a shortage in your area than you are SOL.

Con: Pellets prices are subject to market forces. The cost of pellets varies greatly with the season, availability in your area, and gas prices (transport costs).

Con: The pellet stove uses electricity. Most pellet stoves use two fans, a motor for the pellet auger, and power for the control board. The electricity cost can offset the savings versus using a conventional furnace if pellets are not dirt cheap.

Con: If the power goes out, so does your heat. This is not the case with a modern wood burning stove. Light a fire and let it go.

Con: The pellet stove will NEVER put off as much heat as a modern fully loaded wood burning stove. You can throw three pieces of pine in a wood burner and it will run you out of the house.

Con: Pellet stoves have electronics that break. My parents have had to repair their stove twice. Both times a skilled technician was needed, he is always busy during winter and they had to make an appointment 2-3 weeks away. Repairs are expensive.

Pro: The pellet stove does not need to be fed at 3:00am to stay running. BUT with my Sister's wood burner, you don't want it to be lit at 3:00am or it will be too hot in the house.

Pro: A fancy pellet stove can be set with a timer/thermostat so that it starts before you wake up and shuts off after you leave for work. BUT, so does a regular furnace.

Pro: Less work. You fill it with pellets and turn it on. No cutting, chopping, or splitting wood involved. BUT, you have to haul 40lbs bags of pellets around. Easy for us young folk, not so much for the elderly.



Pellet stoves may seem like they are a great choice for older people that don't want/can't to do a little work hauling firewood, but they aren't. This was the reasoning my parents used when they bought a pellet stove. They did not want to mess with a chain saw and log splitter. Pellets are sold in 40lbs bags. My mother has arthritis, and my father is recovering from a stroke. Neither of them can handle the 40lbs bags to fill the stove, so I do it. Both of them could easily throw a piece of split wood into a stove.


I would buy a modern wood burning stove. Gathering firewood is a big chore, but if you do it right it will only have to be done once or twice a year. You can also buy pre-split wood. A ton of wood pellets costs $240 in my area. We bought one last week. My parents will use a total of three tons this season. That comes out to $720. That does not include the electricity to run the stove or the repair costs. My sister cut her own firewood this winter and used about two cords to heat a similarly sized home. The permit for a cord is $30 not including gas and time spent. That is $60 plus maybe $100 for gas. You can buy split cords for about $130 here. The math favors the wood stove.


well i have both. A wood burner in one part of the house and a pellet in the other. I use them both. Local laws made it unpractical to put a wood burner in my living room( I was not going to put a 12 ft stainless steel pipe to clear a bedroom window that damn well isn't opened in the winter). And cord wood in CT is going for about 240 a cord.Welcome to Connecticut.
Link Posted: 3/16/2011 5:47:25 PM EST
Originally Posted By pjg43:
Originally Posted By THOR3232:
Thats what i needed...Harmon sounds like the way to go.


Harmon IS the way to go.


Big +1.

My Dad bought a lightly used one for $1500 and it kicks out enough heat to efficiently keep a 1800 square foot house toasty. He heats his house in northern New England for $800 from Sept through April.

Get a Harmon.
Link Posted: 3/17/2011 10:33:13 AM EST
Our plan is to put ours in the basement then put adjustable floor vents in each room. So the heat can rise up and the vents will meter the amount per room.
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