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Posted: 10/31/2009 2:03:42 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/31/2009 3:14:39 PM EST by TacticalConcepts]
Hi all,

I currently have a wood burning stove to augment my heating in the house. I have long looked at pellet stoves though. My biggest hold off has been the power issue. I like not having to use power to run my wood stove. That said, battery back ups can work for the pellet stove.

So have any of you ever thought about or actually converted from a wood stove to a hopper fed pellet stove?

pro's or con's

TIA

Mark
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 2:08:29 PM EST
This isnt really an answer to your question, but have you thought of coal stoves? They do make wood/coal burning models. I do not personally have any experience, but some of my elders prefer coal actually.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 2:20:05 PM EST
actually no...good response though. I am thinking ease of use here...I have been buying and stacking wood since 1993 and would like the idea of having a pallet of bags delivered. The added plus I see is the run time on a bag....;I know it will depend on how hot I run it, but 18-24 hours on one fill/bag seems very attractive.

The other negative to coal is the emissions. Very very low emissions with the pellets from what I hear.

Mark
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 2:42:06 PM EST
If your power goes out so dose your pellet stove. If its out for a few days you will wish you had a wood stove Plus wood heats twice, once cutting and stacking and once burning
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 2:46:16 PM EST
LOL true enough....battery back up though

Mark
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 3:16:30 PM EST
keep wood, and get a propane heater, it's cheaper than pellets and easier to store.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 3:17:40 PM EST
OK forgot about these as an option. appears that the Promethius is not the only game in town anymore...heard about it about 10 years ago and forgot. I shamelessly took these from a poster on Ebay. These are selling for about 150.00 USD. They claim about 16 lbs in pellets with about a 3-4 hour burn time...I like th eoption of going back to wood if need be...short of storing the old wood store in the garage.







Mark

Link Posted: 10/31/2009 3:33:12 PM EST
Originally Posted By GMZ:
This isnt really an answer to your question, but have you thought of coal stoves? They do make wood/coal burning models. I do not personally have any experience, but some of my elders prefer coal actually.


I have one of these that I bought from Tractor Supply and love it. It's a Wood/Coal furnace that can tie into your HVAC system.
I burn coal in it and it's great.

In the worst of winter, I go thru about a bag of coal (25 pounds) coal a day. They also make great Christmas presents too


My father told me how to use this, cause he used to burn coal when he lived in the big city, and it brought back many memories for him.


The only down side to coal is the dust and in some locations trying to get/find coal.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 3:53:29 PM EST
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 4:00:31 PM EST
Originally Posted By Feral:

Originally Posted By TacticalConcepts:
OK forgot about these as an option. appears that the Promethius is not the only game in town anymore...heard about it about 10 years ago and forgot. I shamelessly took these from a poster on Ebay. These are selling for about 150.00 USD. They claim about 16 lbs in pellets with about a 3-4 hour burn time...I like th eoption of going back to wood if need be...short of storing the old wood store in the garage.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v91/Boltgun/pelletbasket4.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v91/Boltgun/pelletbasket5.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v91/Boltgun/pelletbasket3.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v91/Boltgun/pelletbasket1.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v91/Boltgun/pelletbasket2.jpg

Mark


Is that a rack that you fill with pellets and burn in the woodstove?

If so, never heard of doing that but am intrigued.


yes it is...I have seen a few different ones in the last hour of searching...expanded metal sheet, welded rod, heavy gauge wire mesh....they look neat...not sure if they are worth it though. good thing though, if one spends the 75-200.00 bucks and it doesn't work, better than spending the 2200-3800.00 on a dedicated pellet stove.

Mark
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 4:08:41 PM EST
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 4:25:54 PM EST
neg, appears the pellets burn from top down and the ones below the fire line do not burn till the embers make their way down....I would think that if you could see the pellet then it would burn....that tells me the sides and top, maybe the bottom, but not the middle.

not sure if that helps.

Mark
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 4:43:47 PM EST
i have a corn burning fireplace and love it. it has 5 settings, and MN does get really cold, the highest i have had it was on 3, and it was almost 100 in the house. over 90% of the time i have it set on 2. and at night on 1. i'll post pics tomorrow. off to work now.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 5:01:49 PM EST
Originally Posted By Aramark:
i have a corn burning fireplace and love it. it has 5 settings, and MN does get really cold, the highest i have had it was on 3, and it was almost 100 in the house. over 90% of the time i have it set on 2. and at night on 1. i'll post pics tomorrow. off to work now.


is the corn version similar or the same as a wood pellet type?

Mark
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 6:11:35 PM EST
I burned pellets back in 98 by using an old gym basket with 1/4"x3" bolts for legs to hold it off of the bottom of the stove, it does not get as hot as wood but it burned for 2.5-3 hours.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 7:29:22 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/31/2009 7:31:39 PM EST by Badlatitude]
Originally Posted By TacticalConcepts:
Originally Posted By Feral:

Originally Posted By TacticalConcepts:
OK forgot about these as an option. appears that the Promethius is not the only game in town anymore...heard about it about 10 years ago and forgot. I shamelessly took these from a poster on Ebay. These are selling for about 150.00 USD. They claim about 16 lbs in pellets with about a 3-4 hour burn time...I like th eoption of going back to wood if need be...short of storing the old wood store in the garage.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v91/Boltgun/pelletbasket4.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v91/Boltgun/pelletbasket5.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v91/Boltgun/pelletbasket3.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v91/Boltgun/pelletbasket1.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v91/Boltgun/pelletbasket2.jpg

Mark


Is that a rack that you fill with pellets and burn in the woodstove?

If so, never heard of doing that but am intrigued.


yes it is...I have seen a few different ones in the last hour of searching...expanded metal sheet, welded rod, heavy gauge wire mesh....they look neat...not sure if they are worth it though. good thing though, if one spends the 75-200.00 bucks and it doesn't work, better than spending the 2200-3800.00 on a dedicated pellet stove.

Mark



That looked simple enough ... just make one and put a welded loop on it in the front so you can give it a jiggle with your poker it shake off the pellets maybe?

edit.. instead of getting crazy with the design maybe make the frame out of some steel box tubing and use some diamond wire to retain the pellets? Id think it wouldnt take long if you have access to a mig welder some tin snips to cut the wire and a chop saw , hack saw or sawzall to cut the box tubing.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 8:22:54 PM EST
Originally Posted By TacticalConcepts:
Originally Posted By Aramark:
i have a corn burning fireplace and love it. it has 5 settings, and MN does get really cold, the highest i have had it was on 3, and it was almost 100 in the house. over 90% of the time i have it set on 2. and at night on 1. i'll post pics tomorrow. off to work now.


is the corn version similar or the same as a wood pellet type?

Mark



the one i have can run on wood pellets and corn. but i mix corn and sunflower seeds together. last fall i got 320 50ibs bags of corn and 50 sunflower seed bags for free. I put the corn in a grain bin i got, and just use 5 gallon buckets to haul it to the house, 5 gallon bucket of corn lasts me about 20 hours. i say about because i like the house at about 68-70. above 70 and i'm sweating.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 8:30:41 PM EST
Originally Posted By Bad_Example:
Originally Posted By GMZ:
This isnt really an answer to your question, but have you thought of coal stoves? They do make wood/coal burning models. I do not personally have any experience, but some of my elders prefer coal actually.


I have one of these that I bought from Tractor Supply and love it. It's a Wood/Coal furnace that can tie into your HVAC system.
I burn coal in it and it's great.

In the worst of winter, I go thru about a bag of coal (25 pounds) coal a day. They also make great Christmas presents too


My father told me how to use this, cause he used to burn coal when he lived in the big city, and it brought back many memories for him.


The only down side to coal is the dust and in some locations trying to get/find coal.


any more info on this?
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 9:59:12 PM EST
I wanted a wood heating option when I moved here, the house had a fire place and there is limited wood (cedar) available in the area. As I renovated the house it was discovered that the chimney was in poor condition and my wife's allergies weren't very wood friendly. I ended up putting a QuadraFire pellet stove in as the duct went right inside the chimney and its near zero clearance specs made me feel better about having it in a 100 year old house. The motor for both the blower and the hopper/auger are dual voltage 120 volt AC or 12 Volt DC, I got a 12 volt cord to go with the stove. It burns all types of wood pellets as well as sunflower seeds, corn, wheat, some type of recycled paper pellet, and cherry pits. I have only burned wood pellets and cherry pits as its all that I could find locally. The cherry pits produce a lot of heat for 50$ a ton. The unit was expensive to be sure but after 3 years of use it has proved to be reliable and hassle free. The control unit is highly programmable and user friendly. My only other options involved rebuilding a chimney that ran through the center of a 2 story house, or a gas fire place insert that was furnace grade. I have only used the 12 volt cord once, and only really to see if it would work as the stove has a low enough draw to utilize my battery and inverter system that recharges via a solar panel and air x turbine. I felt a little cheated giving up the wood option but after some thought it occurred to me that the wood cutting in the area was far enough away that you wouldn't be able to make use of it without an abundant supply of gasoline, something that wouldn't be for sure if SHTF.
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 2:14:04 AM EST
US stove multi fuel stove here. 6039 I burn corn, pellets or a combination of both depending on temp. Once winter hits it will be primarily corn. Power usage is low I have a 2500w battery backup from a computer system on it that on low will run it for about 8 hours. The higher the heat the faster the battery goes. Takes about 2 hours on the generator to charge fully and I'm working on a solar trickle charger that I'm hoping will extend the battery life. Wood burning fireplace for backup when the power is out completely.
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 2:16:13 AM EST
Wood stove FTW
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 3:50:06 AM EST
Pellet Basket: MY parents had a pellet stove in their basement and a small ornamental woodstove upstairs.
They used a pellet basket in the small stove and it worked like a champ.
No over-fire problems, and it actually maintained a regulated temp much better than wood.
Started Low, burned Medium mid way thru the burn, then would taper to LOW near the end. You could put it on a chart it was so predictable.

My mother would use a coal hod filled with pellets
and one of those little shovels to add pellets once she saw the Temps going to Low.

I almost got a basket last Fall, never did it. But it's solid in terms of use.
I'd really like to weld one myself, save a few bucks, need to go buy some metal rod and copy the one posted above.

For the OP: I too like the option of switching back to wood. Maybe try the basket for a year or two??
But, since you have to buy your wood anyway, I don't see a big issue, except that Pellets are a processed fuel, so like oil or natty gas,
are subject to supply disruptions like we saw ?Winter-07? (I think). Pellets got scarce and the price went way up.
if i want that type of market volatility I'll burn #2 fuel oil.

Battery back-up: My folks had the 12v Deep Cycle back-up for their Pellet stove. it worked.
Gave them approx. 24 hours of run time on a fully charged deep cycle battery. Their stove had 2 screw lugs for the DC volts in back,
to wire + and - , super simple.
If you had a way to charge the battery with solar panels, I don't see why you couldn't run indefinately.

Link Posted: 11/1/2009 3:58:15 AM EST
when i get a house I am going with a regular woodstove or maybe a multifuel coal stove.

I have a chainsaw and axes and a crosscut saw for backup. I will never be cold.
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 4:39:37 AM EST
It appears that if the fuel is round or pellet shaped you can burn it! anyone try dried rabbit turds? JK

interesting results here. Wood is bloody simple but labour intensive. Just out of curiosity, what are some of you paying for wood?

1 bush cord for me - 280.00 CDN delivered - which at todays exchange on xe.com is 258.16 USD.

I need about 3-4 bush cords to heat the season with natural gas as a support.

Mark
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 4:47:10 AM EST
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 5:09:10 AM EST
that was something I forgot to ask...can you cook on the top of your pellet stoves?

Mark
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 7:44:04 AM EST
Originally Posted By TacticalConcepts:
that was something I forgot to ask...can you cook on the top of your pellet stoves?

Mark


Not on my pellet stove. The zero clearance feature makes it cool to the touch for the most part.

If your only consideration is preparedness, a wood stove wins hands down. As for the gap in preps between wood and pellets I think your area of operation is important to consider in terms of how much timber is available close by. In my area there has been so much wood cutting over the years the nearest spots are 20-30 minutes on a dirt road each way, I live in the high desert so there isn't a lot for trees to begin with. If you add gas for the saw the travel fuel, the time to cut, load and split the wood you find out that it isn't very efficient. If you can haul the 5-6 (minimum) cord a year it takes to heat this place it isn't so bad, if your making 2-3 trips to get what you need its a problem in terms of time and cost. I know people that truly enjoy doing it, so this may not be an issue for some folks. If the SHTF in my area there just isn't enough fuel to make cutting wood like this possible past the first winter. I keep 1.3 winters of wood pellets on hand. With my large propane tank with furnace and the pellet stove, with rationing its theoretically possible to heat for 2 winters maybe more. If the situation outlasts that I wont have water and will have to go to "plan C"anyway. Sometimes I think that many people think that fire places are magic, and the wood will just be there to burn. This reminds me of "I will just hunt for food" that one often hears of SHTF food issues, which works good unless everyone else is doing the same. If you live in timber country you could be set. but with 600 families cutting wood in an area with no true close supply of trees the outlook aint so good. The outlook is even worse if there isn't much for gasoline around, which is often the case in SHTF. The thing that worries me the most about my pellet stove is the high electronic content IE: EMP will equal total unrepairable failure. Not good.
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 3:21:21 PM EST
Pellet and corn stoves might be the cat's pajamas, if you live in a city, where you're going to end up buying whatever fuel you use.

With a wood stove, you can buy your wood, or scrounge (cut your own). The tree trimming services in town work continuously in my area, taking down trees in town. Out in the sticks, where I live, there's always some kind of logging going on, or a storm coming through, or general land clearing, with thousands of cords of hardwoods getting piled up and burned.

In a long term shtf, or teotw situation, who's going to be selling and delivering corn or pellets? Absolutely No One. How many years worth of corn or pellets will you keep on hand? A lifetime's worth? Trees won't mold or rot... if they die, they're cut into wood... otherwise, they stay alive till it's time to feed the woodstove. True, my chainsaw won't run without gas, but my axes and crosscut saws work on beans (or corn!).

I've never paid for firewood. I have plenty of wood on my place, but I never cut any, unless the tree dies, and very close to the house. There are just too many places nearby to get trailerloads, just for the asking.

Of course, I rarely use my woodstove... I have unlimited free natural gas. Everyone should have a gas well on their property...

You couldn't give me a corn or pellet stove. The power issues and purchasing fuel are just anathema to a long term sustainable post-teotw lifestyle.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 12:19:23 AM EST
I have a pellet stove in my house. Built the house about 2 years ago.

Here are my thoughts:


The pellet stove we have is nice but it's a little noisy. Its an Englander model. Cheap parts if they are ever needed and easy to fix. The more expensive ones out there are quieter.

We put it in as a secondary heat source for the house. Our main source of heat is a heat pump. Since I can't run the heat pump on my generator, I needed another source of heat for the house. I am currently planning to put a backup battery system in when I get back home. My plan is that in the event of a power outage, I will run the generator twice per day for about 4-6 hours per run. Then, the battery backup will take over for the rest of the time. It takes a fair amount of battery juice to run the stove so I will only be able to get about 10-12 hours of run time in between charges.

I also have a kerosene tower heater (and about 10 gallons of kero)and a propane Buddy heater. I store several 20 lb tanks of propane and my master BR has a 10k btu propane fireplace attached to a 100lb propane tank.

The pellet stove doesn't produce heat like a wood stove. It produces less heat but runs at a steady heat output over a long period of time.

You cannot cook on any pellet stove that I am aware of. They just don't get that hot. On the good side though, if you have kids, the pellet stove isn't nearly as hot so it would be hard for a kid to get a serious burn from it unlike a wood stove!

As a supplementary heat source, we love it. It's virtually mess free and it doesn't consume any indoor air due to the outside air kit.

However, in my future house, I will probably not have a pellet stove. In my future house I plan to have a dual fuel heat pump/propane furnace, a wood burning furnace in the basement, and high efficiency propane fireplaces in the living room and master bedroom. The wife does like the pellet stove though so we might put one in the future house instead of the propane fireplace...depending on what she wants. It would be neat to have a 4th heat source!

I doubt that burning pellets in a wood stove would work all that great. Pellet stoves are designed to have a steady source of combustion air blowing through the burning pellets.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 12:21:17 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/2/2009 12:25:49 AM EST by Dave_A]

Originally Posted By TacticalConcepts:
Hi all,

I currently have a wood burning stove to augment my heating in the house. I have long looked at pellet stoves though. My biggest hold off has been the power issue. I like not having to use power to run my wood stove. That said, battery back ups can work for the pellet stove.

So have any of you ever thought about or actually converted from a wood stove to a hopper fed pellet stove?

pro's or con's

TIA

Mark

Pellets cost money, I have a backyard full of wood...

Even if you don't have a backyard full of it, at least around here there are plenty of folks giving it away...

IF you have smaller wood, it's not quite as labor-intensive - chainsaw it to length, burn it un-split...
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 5:25:29 AM EST
I should mention that I bought my pellet stove specifically to burn corn when propane was getting upwards of $2.85 and strictly as cost containment had nothing to do with a eotwawki situation. I burn primarily corn supplied by a farmer who supplies me all the shelled corn I need for the use of 10 acres of my property. Last year I used nearly 250 bushel and it was a pretty crappy winter. I have a gravity box parked under a shed roof and use about a bucket a day (40#) during heating season. I have 3 alternates for cooking/baking/heating each depending on different available resources. So for me my pellet stove is nearly free heat, not a primary or sole source of heating the house and environmentally sound.
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