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Pellet stoves... #78050 08/28/10 03:01 PM
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Bob M Offline OP
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Thinking about purchasing a "pellet stove" to replace my current Quadrafire wood-burning fireplace insert. Anybody have a pellet stove in their fireplace? What brand do you have and what do you think of it?

All comments and suggestions would be appreciated. This stove will be vented through my current existing brick chimney which has a stainless steel flue liner.

smile Bob

Re: Pellet stoves... #78051 08/28/10 04:21 PM
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rscroope Offline
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My son has a free standing pellet stove that he uses to heat part of his house. It has an automatic feeder which he fills once a day on the coldest days. It has a very small exhaust that pipes through ths adjacent wall (no chimney required, so you should be fine). I have a wood burning stove and when I went to check on a REPLACEMENT, I found them to be initially expensive.


LONG ISLAND BOB
Re: Pellet stoves... #78052 08/28/10 04:24 PM
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Bob M Offline OP
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I figure the cost will be just under three grand for a good one. I figure the pellet stove will be less messy and burn cleaner. What do you think?

smile Bob

Re: Pellet stoves... #78053 08/28/10 06:55 PM
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rscroope Offline
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Definitely cleaner. You can buy the pellets in bags so the is minimal dirt. Even the cleanup of ash is reduced. Very efficient, easy to use, my son loves it. The stove was already in his house when he bought it. He's used it two years and is very happy. It has it's own thermostat and blower. Room he has it in is big with two ceiling fans, it heats most of his house.
He lives upstate near Rochester so it works in tough winters.


LONG ISLAND BOB
Re: Pellet stoves... #78054 08/28/10 07:02 PM
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WackoPaul Offline
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How many rabbits do you have to raise to have a big enough supply of pellets..


Onward to The Land of the Midnight Sun!
Re: Pellet stoves... #78055 08/29/10 01:07 AM
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wvlights0 Offline
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You can start with just 2.


Laura
Re: Pellet stoves... #78056 08/30/10 03:41 AM
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Bob M Offline OP
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Wrong pellets, I would say (LOL).

One disadvantage of "wood" pellet stoves would be if the power goes off. No power, no auger to feed the pellets in, and no blower. How hot does the area get near the stove or is it more of an even heat? Anyone know?

smile Bob

Re: Pellet stoves... #78057 08/30/10 07:14 AM
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rscroope Offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bob M:
Wrong pellets, I would say (LOL).

One disadvantage of "wood" pellet stoves would be if the power goes off. No power, no auger to feed the pellets in, and no blower. How hot does the area get near the stove or is it more of an even heat? Anyone know?

smile Bob
You could probably setup a battery backup.

Pretty even, much better tnan wood


LONG ISLAND BOB
Re: Pellet stoves... #78058 09/04/10 05:24 AM
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mombo Offline
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Bob,

My ex is on his 2nd pellet stove. The first one he vented into an existing chimney that he had used for a wood stove. His new one is in a different location so is directly vented to the outdoors.

He's very pleased with the stove, especially as his current wife (of 25 years, yikes!) lugs in the bags of pellets. laugh I don't know how the cost compares with wood but it is definitely much easier. Buying in bulk is the most cost effective if you have the storage.

As stated if you are subjected to power outages you may want to rig up a battery back up. Ash disposal is simple as you don't get much. I do believe there is some maintenance with these stoves.

I think one of the main advantages is that you have the ability to regulate the heat and not have to worry about feeding the beast all the time. When you're not home just turn down the feed. When you want more heat just increase it.

And I also think the heat is more even. When I've stopped by and Bill's stove is running it's always nice and toasty. He's been to my place and sat right in front of my woodstove and complains he's cold. But then I don't think the old guy's circulation's what it used to be. wink

Re: Pellet stoves... #78059 09/04/10 02:50 PM
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Bob M Offline OP
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Thanks for the reply, Mombo! I've received replies here and on my facebook page that got me thinking. Pellet stoves sound like the way to go yet there are a few things I'm concerned about:

Power off/stove stops working: How complicated is the battery backup to set up?

I was told to avoid pellets from soft woods. How do you tell if they are made from soft or hard wood? Are there labels on the bags?

I have a chair and my HD Sony TV right near the stove area. Does the pellet stove get hotter than a regular wood stove?

What do I do with my old Quadrafire insert? It weighs around 400 lbs, I think. I know the people that installed it have to take it apart because it was so heavy. The swapping of the two stoves could become aggravating. Best scenario would be to possibly trade the old stove in, I guess.

So many thoughts both ways. A decision must be made soon because I can't wait too much longer to old my wood if I keep my current stove.

smile Bob

Re: Pellet stoves... #78060 09/04/10 07:03 PM
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Hello Bob
I changed from a free standing wood burning stove last Oct-Nov?
to a Avalon Model Arbor free standing pellet stove. I love it, it was recommend by a friend that has had a Avalon brand for years and has had no problem with it and so far I have not had any problems.
I do not know how hard a battery back up would be. I don't lost power too much here in Ca. As far as the pellets, He told me to get
Heat'rs brand and they have worked wonderful for me, and so little ash. Your dealer or the bag should tell you if they are hard wood (recommend) My pellet does not get near as hot on the outside as my old wood burner did, so I think you will be save with chair and T.V.
I made a deal with my installer on my old stove, I could have maybe made more off it buy selling it myself, but like you said it's heavy and the hassle of listing it and showing it, I thought it was easier going to the installer.
In all I think you will enjoy the convenient and performance of the pellet stove, I know I am.
coolTwiggy


Twiggy
Re: Pellet stoves... #78061 09/04/10 08:14 PM
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Bob M Offline OP
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Thanks for your input, Twiggy. I'm learning, little by little, that this may be the thing to do. I'm hoping that whatever dealer I buy from will be willing to take my stove in trade. When I originally purchased it around 8 or 9 years ago, the dealer took my 2 Jotul Stoves in trade. He didn't give me much but it was better than nothing.

Another question: Can you add pellets by hand if the auger quits?

smile Bob

Re: Pellet stoves... #78062 09/04/10 11:11 PM
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Bob I'd ask your last question plus the one about battery back up of the dealer. If they want to make a sale they should be able to answer any and all questions you may have.

My old stove is in the back of my basement. No one, including the dealer, wanted it. It's an antique I guess. From what I've been told it's from the turn of the last century, a big old parlor type stove, maybe a coal burner. The "window" is made of mica. Not very efficient but it sure put out a lot of heat. As far as I'm concerned if I ever sell it goes with the house. Weighs a ton.

Of course you have to get rid of yours. Tell the dealer you'd like to offer it in trade. Maybe check used prices to see what it's worth so you have some idea what you should get. But as Twiggy said, better to accept less if you can get rid of it. Just like a trade for a new car, we all think we should get more. But most of us take the offer to avoid the hassle of trying to sell on our own.

Re: Pellet stoves... #78063 09/05/10 06:24 PM
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Bob M Offline OP
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Thanks for the reply, Sue. When I purchased my current wood stove, I paid $1800 with my Jotul trade-in. I was just happy to get rid of the old stove. I figure the dealer may offer me a low-ball amount, and I would probably accept it just to have it taken away. I want no part of trying to move this thing myself. It's just too heavy and bulky.

smile Bob

Re: Pellet stoves... #78064 09/06/10 06:51 PM
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Twiggy Offline
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Bob I would say you can not add pellets by hand. I assume you are thinking if the power goes off, in which case the blowers would also shut down and if the blowers are off the stove will automatic shut down too. If your asking if just something goes wrong with the auger, my answer would still be no, because the blowers would still be working and if you open the doors to get to the burning chamber hot ash could be blown out the open door and a fire could happen. Being as I have not tried to open the doors to mine while running I would again assume that the stove would automatic shut down or would not allow the door to be opened.


Twiggy
Re: Pellet stoves... #78065 09/06/10 11:55 PM
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Bob M Offline OP
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Thanks for the reply, Twiggy. The bride and I were going to look at different types of pellet stoves today but everyone was closed on Mondays, even if it wasn't Labor Day. I don't blame them. They need time off too.

Pellet question: Do the pellets have to be stored inside, or can they be left outside as long as you cover them to keep them dry?

smile Bob

Re: Pellet stoves... #78066 09/07/10 04:01 AM
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BGBaccaro Offline
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Hi Bob,

Rachele and I have had a pellet stove since 2001 and it is installed in the living room. We had have excellent luck with it, but ran into a "problem" with a power loss about two years after it was installed. Smoke started to pour out of the stove as the pellets then in the small firebox burned out. Needless to say, it was probably the coldest night of the year and we had to open all the windows to clear the house. There are two ways to avoid that kind of problem: one is to purchase a heavy duty inverter made specifically for pellet stoves. (some are brand specific) This inverter also acts as a battery charger. I have two marine batteries hooked up in parallel which should power the stove for 8 plus hours. The second way to avoid filling the house with smoke is to install at least 9 feet of vent pipe vertically. This length provides a natural draft to exhaust the smoke when the blowers go off. Our exhaust vent pipe merely goes through the wall and sticks out perhaps 18 inches. I also see that you had questions regarding clearances. Our unit can be as close as two inches on sides and back to walls, furniture, etc. One other comment, our unit has a 3-position switch for the convection fan that blows the hot air into the room. The fan can be pretty loud when operated at the high position. Some stoves are now available that place the exhaust blower and convection blower in a separate compartment that be be mounted outside on the wall or below the floor such as in a garage or workshop, etc. Those units are quiet. As for pellet storage, we keep the majority on skids completely covered with heavy duty plastic sheet and tarps at the end of the driveway . We also keep about two or three dozen bags in garage to make it easy to get them. It simply saves having to untie the tarps every time a new bag of pellets is needed. Whatever you do, keep the pellet bags dry! Hope this helps you...

Bruce

Re: Pellet stoves... #78067 09/07/10 12:34 PM
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Bob M Offline OP
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Great to hear from you, Bruce! It's been a long time, my friend! Our plans are to buy an insert that will replace our Quadafire wood burner in our fireplace. When the Quadrafire was installed, I had the chimney relined with a stainless steel liner. If I purchase the pellet stove, it will be hitched up to the liner in my chimney.

I've lived in my home for 35 years. During that time, we've had but a handful of power failures lasting maybe an hour. We did have one during a hurricane that lasted about four hours, and that was back in the 80's I think. I keep antifreeze in my forced hot water heating system so my heating pipes are protected. I guess I could let the water run slowly to prevent freezing in my regular water pipes. Yet again, most people don't have a back-up heating system like a wood stove, or pellet stove. As long as the power outage didn't last too long, I wouldn't think there would be a problem.

Thank you for your input, it is very helpful.

smile Bob

Re: Pellet stoves... #78068 09/11/10 01:29 PM
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Bob M Offline OP
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Well the bride & I went to the Fireplace Showcase in Seekonk early yesterday evening. We looked at several pellet stoves which would be great replacements for our current Quadafire wood stove. The Sales Rep gave us a demonstration of the operation of the stove and fired it up. It had nice even heat while the stove itself remained just warm to the touch. We spent the better part of 30 minutes there and we both came to the conclusion we would rather keep our current wood stove.

There's nothing wrong with pellet stoves but we just didn't like how the fire looked through the glass as compared to our current stove. The Sales Rep explained you should cool the stove down once a day and clean out the area at the bottom of the fire pot of residue. He also advised that these stoves are not maintenance free. He further advised we would probably have to reline our current chimney to accommodate this stove. The cost for everything would be around $4500.

I had my chimney relined about 10 years ago at a cost of approximately $1300. One of the things we enjoy about our current stove is being able to view the fire. If we were just interested in a stove's ability to heat, we would probably purchase a pellet stove. Operational costs aren't that much different between pellets and cord wood.

I thank the Sales Rep for being as honest as he was. He could have easily stretched the truth to make a sale, but he didn't. He told it like it is. I'm not sure all sales personnel would have done that. Needless to say, we're sticking with what we have. Many thanks to all who answered my inquiries on pellet stoves.

smile Bob


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