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Thread: OT- Wood Stove vs Pellet Stove

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    SE Michigan
    Posts
    135

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    My up north place was built as an option while I was still working. By option, I mean that it has 6" walls and 12' roof rafters and is super insulated. in case all else fails, I can live there, cheaply, whether utilities are operational or not. I'm on a well, and there is the big lake out front. My choice of secondary heat source was based on the possibility of power loss, either from storms or from the power company's inability to provide, be they short term or long term (That is another story).

    I looked at both pellet and plain "reburn" not catalyst type wood stoves. Yes, cutting wood, transporting and splitting is harder than running to the TSC for a pallet of pellets, but the electric splitter works fine for even most of the tough stuff. It will run on a small generator if power is off. If all else fails, I can still manage the maul with a little stretching and warm up first.

    Here was my thinking right or wrong: Pellets are a manufactured product subject to availability and prices. The stoves are a little more complicated, but convenient to use. (I worry about breakdowns just when needed the most such as in a power out situation). The wood stove, I can fuel from existing area resources, and as my place is in a rural area, there are wood cutters everywhere if I absolutely can't cut my own. Further, my stove is a secondary heat source, for pleasure and emergency. If the emergency is long term, I'm still good for heat. Basically, I can become "off grid" with some effort, but it's nice on grid too. The wood stove is a basic thing, requires no moving parts for basic heat, and only the chimney cleaning to keep it in top operating condition. I don't have to over fire it due to the insulation, so I don't think I'm going to burn anything out, and the fire brick is 100% replaceable.

    I guess in the end, you need to figure out what your circumstances are and do some good research. Something is going to pop out that fits your needs better than the other. In any case, there is just something about a good fire that can't be duplicated by gas, electric, or heat pumps.

    Good luck with your venture.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    West Michigan
    Posts
    3,029

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    Quote Originally Posted by J Tiers View Post
    My FIL has used a pellet stove for many years now.

    The advantages over straight wood stove are:

    The "exhaust" is not a big issue, there is no chimney, his blows out a pipe in the side of the shop.
    The pellet stove will keep a temperature for as long as the pellets in the hopper hold out, it has a thermostat function, and a hopper of pellets lasts a goodly time. Wood stoves need regular attention while they are going.
    The amount of stuff to handle is less, and the pellets are easy to work with and load into the hopper. FIL is 81, and can deal with it himself.
    Most will also burn corn, if you do not think that is as stupid as I do.

    Disadvantages:
    Pellets can be expensive, although they can be had in bulk, as opposed to in bags.
    There is more "tech" involved than a plain wood stove, and it needs electric power (what does not, these days?).
    Aside from corn, there is nothing else it can burn other than pellets which are a somewhat "specialized" product.
    Up here in Michigan where we grow a lot of cherries they also burn cherry pits in pellet stoves.
    OPEN EYES, OPEN EARS, OPEN MIND

    THINK HARDER

    BETTER TO HAVE TOOLS YOU DON'T NEED THAN TO NEED TOOLS YOU DON'T HAVE

    MY NAME IS BRIAN AND I AM A TOOLOHOLIC

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    West Michigan
    Posts
    3,029

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    Our Arizona neighbors have a guest apartment above their garage that has a pellet stove. We sometimes stay in it when we fly out there and have used the pellet stove many times. The fan does make a little noise but nothing that loud. I doubt that your generator will notice the electric draw of a pellet stove. I like the fact that you can control the heat so easily and feed a days worth of pellets in it and it will maintain a fairly constant temperature.

    If your motive is to heat cheaply I would also recommend that you look into mini split heat and A/C units. They wont work when your power is out but when it is working they heat pretty cheaply. I put one in our cottage last year and love it. So quiet that the refrigerator is louder than the mini split.

    Brian
    OPEN EYES, OPEN EARS, OPEN MIND

    THINK HARDER

    BETTER TO HAVE TOOLS YOU DON'T NEED THAN TO NEED TOOLS YOU DON'T HAVE

    MY NAME IS BRIAN AND I AM A TOOLOHOLIC

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Posts
    227

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    Quote Originally Posted by bborr01 View Post

    If your motive is to heat cheaply I would also recommend that you look into mini split heat and A/C units. They wont work when your power is out but when it is working they heat pretty cheaply. I put one in our cottage last year and love it. So quiet that the refrigerator is louder than the mini split.

    Brian
    it would be more efficient to run a minisplit off a generator and pipe the exhaust right into the outdoor coil than it would be to run your pellet stove off a generator.

    typical generator will suck up a third of a gallon an hour at idle, which is 12 kw of waste heat just to spin the generator head, which may be wasting 600 watts of waste heat just to excite the rotor.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    663

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuttings View Post
    The authorities are talking about banning some of the older wood stoves that kick out a heavy creosote pollution when dampened down. I know around here on a cool evening when there isn't much wind you don't want to open a window or go outside because of the smell in the air from these older wood stoves. Some of the newer design wood stoves burn very clean and are quit efficient. My brother in law has one that when stoked up properly and dampened down will burn all night with a blue flame. Lots of heat and almost no smoke out the chimney.
    The law here in New Zealand is that if you live on less than 2 hectares of land (about 5 acres) your wood-burner must be of the "clean air" persuasion, which cannot be closed right down to stay alight all night.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Springfield Mo
    Posts
    616

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    Quote Originally Posted by Corbettprime View Post
    Try to locate a source of damaged pallets. Mostly oak, usually free. Use a chainsaw to rip down the sides of the 2X4's, then cut the 2X4's into thirds, allowing you to avoid the nails. Only downside is the nails in the ashes, but a magnet solves this. Heat output is high.
    Cant comment on the stove debate, but i can recommend not using pallets as burnable material. Same thing crops up in woodworking with pallets, you never know exactly what theyve been used for, so anything that releases the dust/ash/whatever from them could potentially end up spitting out some toxic stuff. Pesticides that have soaked into it, chemicals it was transported in, random crap Not saying itll happen with every pallet, mind, just that theres some inherent risk thats enough to say you should avoid them

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