Pros, cons of wood-pellet stoves

Pros, cons of wood-pellet stoves

There are 53 comments on the Lowell Sun story from Jul 5, 2008, titled Pros, cons of wood-pellet stoves. In it, Lowell Sun reports that:

They also produce low emissions. n Cleanup is easy because the pellets create less ash than wood.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Lowell Sun.

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Pellet Stove Owner

Chelmsford, MA

#1 Jul 5, 2008
I installed a pellet stove the year before last. I have a love/hate relationship with it. I love that I can stack the pellet bags inside the house and there's no bugs or creepy crawlies to deal with. I hate realizing i have to vacuum out the ash before I refill the stove because it's too full to turn on and you have to make sure the stove is completely cold before you start to clean it.(a fire place, you could sweep the coals into a metal container and stick outside - a pellet stove you have to handle more parts to actually clean it).

Initially, I thought I could cut vents into the ceiling of the downstairs to better distribute the heat (since the stove is in the lower level of a split). That's against fire codes so I have to do some "do it yourself" ventilating using ceiling fams and regular fans to try to disperse the heat upstairs. It does make the upstairs thermostat think it's warmer on the upper level than it raelly is, making the bedrooms further away from the thermostat much colder (since the regular heat doesn't kick on).

Overall, I like it because it heats really really well, I don't have to go outside to bring in dirty wood and it's nice to look at as well. I can't tell how much it saved in natural gas, because my boiler was recently replaced. But if you are choosing between a wood stove or pellet, I'd go pellet.

Since: Jun 08

Rochester, NH

#2 Jul 5, 2008
Generally speaking, the BTU output on pellet stoves is less than on wood staoves or fireplace inserts. In other words, the pellet stove won't throw out as much heat. They tend to be noisy and there's a lot more work to cleaning them than cleaning a wood stove.
fairway

Londonderry, NH

#3 Jul 5, 2008
With every one buying pellet stoves, they could run out of pellets.
unreal

Prides Crossing, MA

#4 Jul 5, 2008
My parents have a pellet stove and buys lots of them each year, heats her home this way. They have a hard time getting pellets already. I see a price hike or a shortage eventually.
fairway

Londonderry, NH

#5 Jul 6, 2008
They make the pellets in N.H. I dont know if you can buy them from the factory.
Wood burner

Salem, MA

#6 Jul 6, 2008
Unfortunately the big guys will find a way to make burning pellets too expensive,or something similar.
I had a wood burning stove for 20+ years and was being coaxed to go with the pellets. Number one question i didn't was,what happens when you lose electricy?
There is no easy answer folks.
jimmy

United States

#7 Aug 2, 2008
the stoves hard to get and pellits wow even harder BUT! try Aubuchon hardware i got two pallets just walking in and asking $319 a pallet
kim s

Rensselaer, NY

#8 Aug 3, 2008
Hi just bought a pellet stove don't know a thing about them, but everyone I talk to loves them. I have a question. We are installing on an inside wall and going up through the roof. How close to the wall can a pellet stove go and do you have to use cement board on that wall or is the normal sheetrock fine?
Woody

Haverhill, MA

#9 Aug 3, 2008
kim s wrote:
Hi just bought a pellet stove don't know a thing about them, but everyone I talk to loves them. I have a question. We are installing on an inside wall and going up through the roof. How close to the wall can a pellet stove go and do you have to use cement board on that wall or is the normal sheetrock fine?
Check with your bulding inspector. You'll also need a permit.
kim s

Rensselaer, NY

#10 Aug 13, 2008
Just bought a pellet stove and was reading the manual, we are going vertical through the roof more than fifteen feet about 17, the stove is a 3" but read that maybe I would have to go with 4" because of the long run any suggestins?
kim s

Rensselaer, NY

#11 Aug 13, 2008
I found out myself, my evl will be greater than 15 so I would need a 4"
Rick

United States

#12 Oct 24, 2008
Is there a recommended way to distribute heat upstairs from a pellet stove operating out of a finished basement?
Pellet Guy

United States

#13 Oct 24, 2008
benjee wrote:
Generally speaking, the BTU output on pellet stoves is less than on wood staoves or fireplace inserts. In other words, the pellet stove won't throw out as much heat. They tend to be noisy and there's a lot more work to cleaning them than cleaning a wood stove.
There is very little difference in efficiency between a pellet stove and a modern wood burning stove. They both are in the low 90's. They are both beautiful to watch operate...though the wood is a little nicer in that aspect. Wood stoves tend to not be as controllable tempature wise as pellet stoves. Wood stoves take much longer to come to temp...and take long time to adjust temp. Pellets stove installed correctly are MUCH safer than wood stove in homes. This is due to the elimination of the human factor that makes wood stoves inherently dangerous. People tend to overfill wood stoves...and tend to burn sub par wood creating the dangers of chimney fires.
Pellets stoves installed correctly tend to go out when any problems occur because of the small amount of material that is actually burned at one time.
It is also easier to carry 40 lbs of pellets than 40 lbs of wood. Pellets are easier and cleaner to store...as long as you can store them inside as they are very susceptable to moisture damage.
One ton of pellets is equivalent to 1 cord of wood. Have seen wood going for over 360 a cord right now in my neck of the woods...pellets are 299. So not saving much money either way.
The electrical supply problem is solved by a battery back up...similiar to what you use on your computer. Turns on when you loose power automatically.

As for cleaning...really depends on the model..and definitely invest in an ash vac or for either wood or pellet ash. Pellet ash is extremely fine and will destroy any commercial vac you try to use to to clean them up. Not to mention the dust storm you will create in your house. If you are too cheap to do that..make sure you at least use a drywall vac. Trust me on this.

Hope this clears up some of the myths about pellet stoves.
Pellet Guy

United States

#14 Oct 24, 2008
kim s wrote:
I found out myself, my evl will be greater than 15 so I would need a 4"
Is it a Harmen?
Pellet Guy

United States

#15 Oct 24, 2008
kim s wrote:
Hi just bought a pellet stove don't know a thing about them, but everyone I talk to loves them. I have a question. We are installing on an inside wall and going up through the roof. How close to the wall can a pellet stove go and do you have to use cement board on that wall or is the normal sheetrock fine?
While the pipe doesn't get as hot as a wood stove...I am sure it can reach the temp of combustion for most wood products. I would consult a professional about these questions.
The stove should come with the spec on how close to walls it can be. I know all combustable must be further than 3 feet from stove.
And make sure you get the installation inspected., Just because a "professional" did it doesn't mean it was done correctly. Trust no one...
tom

Lake Ariel, PA

#16 Oct 27, 2008
i just put in a pellet stove will it cause a fire in the wall where the exhaust pipe goes outside?
Torvald

Rutland, VT

#17 Nov 22, 2008
I've a newly installed Quadrafire Mt Vernon stove. I've had it since august. I absolutely love it. It has automatically battery backup in case I lose power. I've been through 15 bags of pellets out of 100 so far (2 tonnes. I used to burn 900 gallons of fuel oil per year (900* 3.5/gal =$3,150). The two tonnes of pellets cost me $500 delivered. At this time with 15F outside, my estimates is that I will be out of pellets in March. May need 20 more bags to keep me going through April. Bottom line is that I'm looking at saving $2,500 this winter.

The stove cost me installed $3,800. By mid next winter it will be all paid for by the savings. So far I need to empty the ash tray and clean the stove out every ~8-10 bags. This is a ~15 minutes job.

I was a little skeptic to the stove when I bougth it, but looking at $4.00/ gal for oil this witner, I had to do something.

The stove has automatic control with a wall thermostat that is programmable. I set it to 60F at 10pm, at 71F at 6:00am, and 69F at 10:00am, and 71F at 5:00pm. This works great. It has automatic ignition and requires no attention execpt for adding a bag of pellets every two days or so. It holds two bags at the time.

Best purchase I've done in years.... Highly recommended.
Pellet Guy

United States

#18 Nov 24, 2008
Torvald wrote:
I've a newly installed Quadrafire Mt Vernon stove. I've had it since august. I absolutely love it. It has automatically battery backup in case I lose power. I've been through 15 bags of pellets out of 100 so far (2 tonnes. I used to burn 900 gallons of fuel oil per year (900* 3.5/gal =$3,150). The two tonnes of pellets cost me $500 delivered. At this time with 15F outside, my estimates is that I will be out of pellets in March. May need 20 more bags to keep me going through April. Bottom line is that I'm looking at saving $2,500 this winter.
The stove cost me installed $3,800. By mid next winter it will be all paid for by the savings. So far I need to empty the ash tray and clean the stove out every ~8-10 bags. This is a ~15 minutes job.
I was a little skeptic to the stove when I bougth it, but looking at $4.00/ gal for oil this witner, I had to do something.
The stove has automatic control with a wall thermostat that is programmable. I set it to 60F at 10pm, at 71F at 6:00am, and 69F at 10:00am, and 71F at 5:00pm. This works great. It has automatic ignition and requires no attention execpt for adding a bag of pellets every two days or so. It holds two bags at the time.
Best purchase I've done in years.... Highly recommended.
I have been burning pellets for over 8 years now. What you say is true...with the exception of the amount of pellets used. Figure that you will burn between a bag to a bag and 1/2 a day...depending on the outside temps and how warm you like your house.
My 1600 sft house heated to around 72 degrees F takes about 3.5 tons a year. This is my primary heat source...so it burns 24/7. So I think you are being very conservative in the amount of pellets you would use. But then again I have already burned 3/4 of a ton so far this year!
sholloway

Phenix City, AL

#19 Nov 28, 2008
Pellet Guy in Atlanta, I'm in Alpharetta and I just bought one off Craig's list and it needs a repair. Do you have a reliable service option for a Quadrafire Mt Vernon? Thanx.
sholloway

Phenix City, AL

#20 Nov 28, 2008
Sorry, I left out contact info. Feel free to email me at scott@electricavenueinc.com thanx.

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