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Thread: fireplace insert, pellet corn or ??

  1. #1
    Senior Member powerjoke's Avatar
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    fireplace insert, pellet corn or ??

    i need some input on pellet stoves,

    I have a complete masonry fireplace upstairs and down with NO fans or blowers, no insert etc.
    house is 2500sq on each floor
    currently running a 21 seer heat pump
    i have a thermal img camera and have checked the entire house and have little to no heat loss to speak of, basically the studs are transfering more heat out than the insulation or the windows etc. ( closed cell foam on a 2x6 wall)

    i have never jacked with the fireplaces because they are a pain in the butt, this year after getting our first $700 elec bill i decided it might be time to start burning some wood lol, my problem is that with no blower I have read that a fireplace will actually suck more heat OUT of the room than it puts in so i am thinking of installing a couple of inserts just to assist the heat pump out a little bit....... so now we are finally getting to my question

    should i just install doors on the fireplace and hope that it will cut down on drafting air out of the room and rely on the radiant heat coming from them

    should i install a pellet stove and if so what do you think it will actually in real world numbers help? i have seen some that burn corn..... which is kinda handy because i am a farmer as well. should i spend the extra money on a corn/pellet burner ?

    what size of stove should i look for ?

    they are talking about -9* tomorrow night so i doubt i can find one tomorrow but winter is far from over im affraid



    pj

  2. #2
    Senior Member Tiny's Avatar
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    Just a couple of things I learned over the years . Pellet stove will work but the one I had (Englander) was over rated as far as how much it would handle Sq foot wise but this is an old farm house . Mine is an early model , something about it wouldn't burn corn . Pellets started getting so high that I lost interest and the only way to buy them right is by the ton ,That adds up to 50 .. 40 lbs bags that have to be kept absolutely dry . The bags always leaked and if you had some left over the mice loved the pellets . Pellet stoves I have been around are all power exhaust so if you lose power ( Needs 110 to run the exhaust motor ) they are Not a back up . ATM I'm back to a wood stove .

    Had a fireplace and took it out . It had a blower on it but by the time you could close the dampener any benefit was sucked out .. 1st thing I did after getting the wood stove working was move the thermostat . Wood stove was in the room with the stat and so there were times when the wood stove would burn down low but have enough heat to keep the furnace shut off . The house on real cold days would be pretty uncomfortable before the furnace would pickup and run ..

    One more thing to remember is kids , Can you block them from getting to the stove ?? When little ones are here I shut this down just so that worry is gone .

  3. #3
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    Pj, I have a New Aire wood insert that has a steel shroud and blower on each side with a return air inlet. It will heat a 2500 sq' home with ease at -10 below and you can damper the fire down to a smolder to prevent excess wood use. This unit is connected to my propane furnace ductwork but is totally independent of it. I have steel door with excellent draft control built in the door.

  4. #4
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    I have been looking hard at the corn stoves too, particularly seeing $4/bu. If nothing else, I figure it would help out my customers, as corn would hit $15 before my check cleared.
    "Don't sweat the petty things, and, don't pet the sweaty things." That's what I live by.

  5. #5
    Senior Member powerjoke's Avatar
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    i ran across a guy that had a pellet/corn stove that was 800,000btu he used to heat a 40x400 he has several but they are a little too big for me lol

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    Had similar thoughts the past few years powerjoke . Our electric bill is still reasonable but we heat with propane . After this latest shortage & price rise on propane it's prompted me to look hard at other options . We have an older 2 story farm house that has two chimneys in it . I will go with a wood burner but I'm on the fence somewhat as if I should go with a wood furnace in the basement that ties into the ductwork . Or just go low tech old school wood stove in the living room ? I currently cut wood for our shop and my parents house so one more home wont make much difference . This will be supplement heat in my case as I will keep the propane furnace , just want something to help buffer the propane cost . For backup heat like for a power outage we use kerosene heaters and they do pretty good for what they are . www.yourheater.com/kerosene.htm

    I'm really leaning toward the wood stove in the living room setup. The Wife is not .LOL.

  7. #7
    Senior Member FSERVICE's Avatar
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    I have a "Buck" insert with blower & dampers. it heats my upstairs (2780 sqft) very well its at least 20 years old & still going strong. if it gets cold like it has been several times this year I have a regular Buck wood stove in my basement that I will fire up & just turn the blower on, on the propane furnace to circulate the heat thru the house... I know several people that have the pellet stoves, the big problem that they are having with them is the auger getting clogged up & not feeding the pellets to the fire bowl.. they buy the pellets by the skid & get them cheaper. just my thought but if you don't want to rely on anyone the regular wood insert would be the best cause it uses readily avalible wood to make heat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by td25c View Post
    Had similar thoughts the past few years powerjoke . Our electric bill is still reasonable but we heat with propane . After this latest shortage & price rise on propane it's prompted me to look hard at other options . We have an older 2 story farm house that has two chimneys in it . I will go with a wood burner but I'm on the fence somewhat as if I should go with a wood furnace in the basement that ties into the ductwork . Or just go low tech old school wood stove in the living room ? I currently cut wood for our shop and my parents house so one more home wont make much difference . This will be supplement heat in my case as I will keep the propane furnace , just want something to help buffer the propane cost . For backup heat like for a power outage we use kerosene heaters and they do pretty good for what they are . www.yourheater.com/kerosene.htm

    I'm really leaning toward the wood stove in the living room setup. The Wife is not .LOL.
    We're thinking along the same lines. I have a fire place but its at the wrong end of the house to the thermostat. I'm installing a wood burning stove in the room with the tstat to help curb the propane cost. This is just insane to pay these propane prices. They can kiss my a$$ !
    Yet we pay it for diesel. Go figure.

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    Senior Member Nige's Avatar
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    No idea what sort of technology you have in the States but in Europe the technology advance on wodburners appears to have been nothing short of staggering in the last decade or so. Have you looked at that option..?
    I'd love to see things from your perspective but unfortunately....... I find it impossible to get my head that far up my a$$.

  10. #10
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    I use a wood pellet stove to heat the whole house. It does entail a fair amount of maintenance, mostly cleaning the soot and ash off the glass and heat transfer tubes and cleaning out the exhaust. Pellets run about $250 a ton and I get them in 40 pound plastic sacks. Normal run takes about one sack a day. When the outside gets down in the mid twenties we turn the thing to the next setting which runs about 18 to 20 hours per bag. We usually get to run the thing from the end of October to mid April and then just sometimes then on. This unit is a Breckwell and parts take a bit to get if something goes bad. I've replaced both blower motors at least once and the auger once. I've got a generator to run the stove when the power goes out so the house still has heat. When the power goes out and the exhaust blower quits the smoke comes out in the house. We got real quick about getting the genset running when that happens.

    I wonder if burning corn would be cleaner. We clean out the ash about every third day. Do a major clean at every ton. There is a huge difference in quality of wood pellets and you know very quickly when you have some bad ones. Running all the electric heaters in the house would cost around $300 a month. I don't mind the clean up but won't be keen on throwing bags when my arms and shoulders creek and crack. This unit is about twelve years old. I'd look real close at all the option before considering another unit.

  11. #11
    Senior Member powerjoke's Avatar
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    great guys thanks, im thinking of the pelpro insert, its a 10-40,000 btu consumes 40lbs in 10hrs at max is what they claim but from what i've read theres 8500btu per pound, and at 40k btu that doesnt quite add up to 10hrs, i'm sure actual run time will have many input variables, but from what everyone is saying a bag a day is a safe bet, im thinking it will cut my elec bill in half at a cost of $125-150 per month, with the initial cost of 2k it wouldnt take long to pay for itself, we have had -9 lastnight and -4 tonight it would sure be nice to take some stress off the heat pump

    pj

  12. #12
    Senior Member joispoi's Avatar
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    Heat pumps aren't that efficient under 20 degrees F. The pellet insert should help. As far as btu's per bag, that depends on the pellets. Hardwood pellets will have higher btu's per pound than softwood pellets.
    "You can't have 'no' in your heart." - Joe Dirt

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    I have a wood furnace in my basement that is hooked into the duct work. I got it used and put it in my self. It is alot cleaner to have it in the basement but i think you use more wood because if the fan isnt on you dont get any heat. I was given a pellet stove and i gave it to a buddy. I would like to see a real world test on what it cost to run one. evey time i meet some one that has one i ask about it but no one is useing one in a way to prove if it is worth haveing or not. I would like a test done where some one used gas or something else for at least 2 years and switched to a pellet stove.

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