Advice on buying Pellet Stove Insert


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Old 11-11-10, 11:33 AM
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Advice on buying Pellet Stove Insert

hey all
I am new here - single mom and looking to lower my electric heating bill during the winter months by purchasing a pellet stove insert. I've been doing alot of research online (haven't yet gone to dealer) and I see that there is pretty wide range of price. I need to heat 2000 sq ft. its a bilevel with the insert on the lower level. i have a heat pump that i suppose i can turn the fan on only to circulate the heat. i have read that i need 60,000BTU for 2000 sq ft. is this correct? and what stoves do you all recommend or don't recommend. I don't have alot of money but i also don't want to do this and not get a stove that will heat the house either because i cheaped out. can anyone help me? i definitely want the kind with the automatic starter and temp control and i know that adds to the cost too.
thanks for all the help in advance!
 
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Old 11-11-10, 05:20 PM
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when looking for a pellet stove there are many things to consider , such as maint. i work with pellet stoves and a lot of people are unaware of how much it takes to maintain. then there's the pellets ,you should be careful of brands because some brands are more saw dust than pellets and can cause problems. check for moisture content ,depending on where they are stored and if they are in a damp area the pellets can suck up the moisture. i believe if you are informed properly it is beneficial to have one . i have a mount vernon a e unit and it is awesome,you can upgrade some of the newer units to burn corn , sunflower seeds and wheat. be sure you understand the difference between hard wood , soft wood , and utility pellets.


i hope this helps.
 
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Old 11-11-10, 05:42 PM
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You won't know exactly how many BTU's you need unless you do a heat loss calculation on your home. The size of the house alone cannot determine your needs. How well the house is insulated will play the biggest role.
 
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Old 11-12-10, 04:28 AM
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In most locales, a pellet stove will save money over propane, oil and baseboard electric. However, this is not always true for natural gas or heat pumps. So before we jump the gun and assume a pellet stove will save you money can you post back the general cost of a ton of pellets in your area and your electric costs. To find your electric costs take your latest bill and divide the final amount by total kilowatts used, so that all taxes and fees are taken into consideration.

Can you also tell us the general area of the country, as that will give me a general idea of your Heat Pump's overall Coefficient of Performance, or at least part of its HSPF.

Once we know these numbers I can post back the comparison calculations so you can do it yourself when the cost picture changes.
 
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Old 11-12-10, 07:49 AM
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We have a free standing Harmon stove XXV anniversary model. It is a very good stove and have had no problems with it. Harmon makes very good products but they also cost more. Our stove was $2200 just for the stove. Add for the venting and installation. (which I did myself.) Here are my suggestions:

Buy your stove from a dealer which can service it if you do have a problem.

Try a couple bags before buying a ton. As mentioned, pellet quality varies quite a bit. Not the heat output as much but the amount of ash. I had one brand that I had to clean the pot after every bag and another brand which I could burn a ton (50 bags) without cleaning it out.

Buy only an insert that uses outside air for combustion (I think most do but be sure to ask)

Be realistic about your heat output of the stove. Our stove is 50K btu. Our home is 4600 sq ft. It is only supplemental heat. Even with the fan running it will be very hot (80+) by the stove and cold in the farthest room. It will take the edge off your bill but it will not replace it entirely.
 
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Old 11-12-10, 08:23 AM
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hhmmm thanks all. i will get back to you with those actual numbers when i get my next bill. thanks - right now over winter my electric bill goes up to $500/month in Dec,Jan,Feb,and sometimes Mar. I am in in Eastern PA. without heat on - the electric bill is $100 - $150 as everything is electric. even in summer with air on its not near the amount in winter. pellets here are $4-5 / 40lb bag.

i gotta say - i am disappointed in these responses. i really thought it would help with the cost - that i could go back down to $100 electric in winter knowing i would also have the cost of pellets not sure but that couldn't be near $400/month could it?
was going to try to do it this yr yet for the tax rebate but maybe i need to research this more, huh?
 
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Old 11-15-10, 08:43 AM
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I do believe that an insert would take the edge off your bill, I'm just saying it will not eliminate it entirely. With that tax credit I think it will pay for itself in the long run.
 
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Old 11-15-10, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Twinsinpa View Post
hhmmm thanks all. i will get back to you with those actual numbers when i get my next bill. thanks - right now over winter my electric bill goes up to $500/month in Dec,Jan,Feb,and sometimes Mar. I am in in Eastern PA. without heat on - the electric bill is $100 - $150 as everything is electric. even in summer with air on its not near the amount in winter. pellets here are $4-5 / 40lb bag.

i gotta say - i am disappointed in these responses. i really thought it would help with the cost - that i could go back down to $100 electric in winter knowing i would also have the cost of pellets not sure but that couldn't be near $400/month could it?
was going to try to do it this yr yet for the tax rebate but maybe i need to research this more, huh?
I suspect you will see a heating cost reduction because you live in an area where heat pump performance is poor during coldest winter months (it is likely spending much time using its heat strips), and your pellet per ton cost is reasonable. But since I don't know your KWH cost it is hard to quantify by how much. Of course if your hot water is electric obviously that part of your bill will not change.

So post KHW cost and I can provide some better numbers for you. From there you can get some idea of the payback period.

If the numbers show a reasonable payback period (say less than 5 years), do realize that pellet stove are somewhat like a large space heater with its heating success dependent on your homes interior architecture. The greatest benefit is seen when folks heat the same floor they live on, or have an open architecture. Also, pellet stove do take some care and feeding in the form of feeding it pellets and weekly cleanings if you run the stove 24 by 7.
 
 

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