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Old 09-16-2018, 09:32 AM   #1
skisox24
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Default Wood Stove Options

We have a 35 year old Nashua cast iron wood stove that still seems to work well, but is so dusty and as we age we wonder if there is a better option that lugging firewood up a flight of stairs throughout the winter.

I read varying reports of Propane vs. Pellet stoves in terms of heating efficiency and ease of use. We don't presently have propane but could install, but with its cycle on and off fire, the ambiance doesn't seem appealing. How cumbersome are pellet stoves vs. firewood stoves?

Thanks for any input.
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Old 09-16-2018, 10:07 AM   #2
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We had a long history of burning 5 cord of wood a year. About 10 years ago we switched to a pellet stove and wondered why we had not done that sooner. Right now we have 2 ton (100 bags) stacked neatly in the garage. Much easier to deal with than wood. In the heating season we burn on average one 40 lb bag a day. With the Green Supreme blend that we burn it takes about 22 bags to fill the ash pan on our Harman P43. At that time I do a cleaning, about a 15 min job.

The Harman is a very efficient micro processor controlled stove. Set the temp and fill with pellets. Our first stove was an Enviro brand which is now in the basement for occasion use. The Harman is far superior and sits on our FP hearth in the living room.
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Old 09-16-2018, 11:11 AM   #3
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We have both and there are pros and cons with each. You dont have to tend a pellet stove like you do a wood stove. You never get free pellets but you can get free firewood sometimes...with some labor. The pellet stove requires much more maintenance like weekly cleaning. Pellet stoves require electricity. Pellets can become sort of scarce sometimes. Pellets are cleaner in the house and easy to carry...40 lb bags. Hope that helps
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Old 09-16-2018, 01:50 PM   #4
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I have a wood stove, my brother has a pellet stove. I don't like the sound of his fan, that everything weighs 40 lbs., that he has to pay for all his fuel, has to clean it a fair amount, or that it doesn't work without power.

He doesn't like that my wood stove takes longer to heat further areas, that wood is messy, that I have/choose to scrounge or don't have a reliable source, or that it takes adjustment to burn properly.

There are definitely pros and cons with no clear winner.

I will say this, though, if you're doing research: make sure to look at the latest of both. My guess is that the newest pellet stoves are quieter and the newest wood stoves have both increased efficiency and automation.

Godspeed!

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Old 09-16-2018, 07:54 PM   #5
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I have a Jøtul fireplace insert that runs on propane. Our tank holds 100 gallons of propane that costs roughly 240-250 dollars to fill. (Amerigas)

We use our fireplace to heat our 30 x 15 living/dining/kitchen area. The fireplace heats up quickly and looks great with the fake wood logs and amber colored crackle things on the bottom of the insert. We leave it on for a couple of hours at a time and the room is very warm. Too warm at times. There is also a light inside the insert that creates a bright, dim, or no extra light for ambiance. Also, there is a fan that blows the warm air around if you want. We never use it. The heat travels well by itself.

We love it because you control it with a remote and turn it on or off when need be. It even works when the power goes out (minus the light & fan). Last year when the power was out for a bit, we kept the house warm with the fireplace.

Considering we use it a bunch, we probably spend about 300-400 a year in propane. We rarely use our baseboard heaters much on the zone for the first floor. The baseboards run only at night and are set at 65°.

For what it’s worth, that’s my 2¢.
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Old 09-16-2018, 08:53 PM   #6
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I've had a pellet stove for 15 years in my Rowley home and an insert in my Tuftonboro home. Plusses and minuses. You have to price search for pellets and they all are not the same. I find that to be a pita. You have to have storage room for the pellets. Aside from that my biggest pet peave is the noise. I recommend not installing it in your tv watching room. To noisy. Both of mine are Harmon.Biggest plus is you toss a bag in it and basically forget about it for a good 12 hours on the coldest of days. You do need to clean them fairly frequently but it's not a big chore. I constantly spill the pellets when filling which drives the wife crazy. Overall they work great with pellets at $270 or better a ton not sure there is a lot of a savings there.
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Old Yesterday, 09:24 AM   #7
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I'm old school when it comes to wood stoves. Love to watch a lazy fire in the glass window of my Harmon on a cold fall or winter day. We leave our thermostat at 62 and it feels really nice to start a fire to take the chill off when we get home from work each day.
I cut a little wood when I feel like some exercise and enjoy seeing how different woods burn.
It's a nice feeling having a shed full of wood all ready for winter.
Don't think I'd ever consider a pellet stove......if I reach the point when I can't do my own wood I'll just turn the propane furnace up a little
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Old Yesterday, 09:33 AM   #8
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A buddy of mine has a pellet stove and although it works great he loses one bay of his 2 car garage to pellets because he buys in bulk to get a better price. My garage space is too valuable to me to fill it with pellets.

I vote wood! If you lose electricity you still have a heat source.

Most of the new stoves are very efficient and can burn all night when loaded up. My old Vigilant will only go about 5 hours. When it was new it would go all night. It's not as air tight as it use to be.
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Old Yesterday, 10:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biggd View Post
A buddy of mine has a pellet stove and although it works great he loses one bay of his 2 car garage to pellets because he buys in bulk to get a better price. My garage space is too valuable to me to fill it with pellets.

I vote wood! If you lose electricity you still have a heat source.

Most of the new stoves are very efficient and can burn all night when loaded up. My old Vigilant will only go about 5 hours. When it was new it would go all night. It's not as air tight as it use to be.
Probably just needs a new set of gaskets? Easy to do yourself as well!
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Old Yesterday, 11:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hillcountry View Post
Probably just needs a new set of gaskets? Easy to do yourself as well!
I've done all the door gaskets a few times but it would really need to be taken all apart and completely resealed for it to be air tight like it was when new. I would buy a new one before I go that far. It still works fine the way it is, it just doesn't last as long as it use to. Kinda like me!
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Old Yesterday, 12:15 PM   #11
skisox24
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Default Wood Stove Options

Thanks all for your excellent experiences. Now I am more confused since many of you contend that a wood stove might be the best choice, albeit I would likely need a new one. No one seemed to endorse a propane, and regarding storage space for pellets, I have scarce space to store, but do have a space to pile firewood with a tarp cover.
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Old Yesterday, 12:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skisox24 View Post
Thanks all for your excellent experiences. Now I am more confused since many of you contend that a wood stove might be the best choice, albeit I would likely need a new one. No one seemed to endorse a propane, and regarding storage space for pellets, I have scarce space to store, but do have a space to pile firewood with a tarp cover.
That's what I do. Get some old pallets to keep it off the ground. Spray it in the fall for bugs and cover it with a good tarp.
I only bring in what I need for a weekend. I fill up an old claw foot tub, that I removed from a bathroom in the house, in my garage before I leave on Sunday and it's ready to burn when I get there on Friday night. I can usually get enough in the tub to get through even a long 3 day weekend.

I think I'm going to upgrade to the heavy duty brown tarps this year. The blue ones are kind of unsightly.
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Old Yesterday, 12:57 PM   #13
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There is definitely something to be said for the ambiance of a fireplace or stove burning wood. In past houses, we have had both a good fireplace and a Vermont Castings wood stove. We decided that the plusses of either a fireplace or woodstove were outweighed by the dirt, cleaning, storing of wood and other things like not being comfortable leaving the fireplace burning when we left. Never had a pellet stove. However, we love our propane fireplace – not an insert, rather a built in. The logs and embers look very realistic and even without the blower on the adjustable flame will warm up a large room quickly. On and off with the remote and that is it. True, no whiffs of wood smoke or crackling of the fire (that I do miss). Works in a power outage, without the blower, of course. Clean the glass in front of the fire box once or twice a year and that is it.

P. S. On ours, you can disable the cycle on and off by turning the temperature control off, which is what we do when we just want to enjoy the fireplace.

Last edited by winni83; Yesterday at 01:00 PM. Reason: Added P. S.
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