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Old 09-16-2018, 08:32 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, 09:07 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, 10:11 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, 12:50 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, 06:54 PM   #5
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I have a JÝtul 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 65į.

For what itís worth, thatís my 2Ę.
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Old 09-16-2018, 07:53 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 09-19-2018, 08:24 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 09-19-2018, 08:33 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 09-19-2018, 09:01 AM   #9
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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.
Probably just needs a new set of gaskets? Easy to do yourself as well!
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Old 09-19-2018, 10:02 AM   #10
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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 09-19-2018, 11:15 AM   #11
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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 09-19-2018, 11:31 AM   #12
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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 09-19-2018, 11:57 AM   #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; 09-19-2018 at 12:00 PM. Reason: Added P. S.
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Old 09-20-2018, 04:11 PM   #14
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I have both which works out great. The pellet stove works well to quickly take off the chill in the mornings - and then I am gone all day. The wood stove is great as a heat source, especially when I am around to keep it going. I buy pellets about 10 bags at a time rather than save a few dollars and store a pallet. Wood is usually free (as long as I don't factor in my own labor costs!).
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Old 09-20-2018, 06:08 PM   #15
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We have a beautiful soapstone wood stove (with the house when we bought it)
Itís a great stove and it heats the house (log home) well. Most times it throws too much heat but at 69 years old itís not hard to get used to.
Wood itself is expensive to buy and way to much work to do ourselves anymore.
Weíll be using our propane a bit more but will light a fire after supper to sit and enjoy the stove. Once itís out itís out and the thermostat will be set on 68 or so but will only kick on when the house cools. No more getting up in the middle of the night to feed the stove. Have toyed with the idea of a pellet stove too.
Weíll see what the future brings.
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Old 09-20-2018, 06:19 PM   #16
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We have a beautiful soapstone wood stove (with the house when we bought it)
Itís a great stove and it heats the house (log home) well. Most times it throws too much heat but at 69 years old itís not hard to get used to.
Wood itself is expensive to buy and way to much work to do ourselves anymore.
Weíll be using our propane a bit more but will light a fire after supper to sit and enjoy the stove. Once itís out itís out and the thermostat will be set on 68 or so but will only kick on when the house cools. No more getting up in the middle of the night to feed the stove. Have toyed with the idea of a pellet stove too.
Weíll see what the future brings.
We also have a soapstone stove--much more even heating than steel or cast iron.

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Old 09-20-2018, 09:01 PM   #17
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We also have a soapstone stove--much more even heating than steel or cast iron.

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Ours is a Woodstock Soapstone Co. Stove out of Lebanon, NH (thatís my wife in the picture!)
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Old 09-21-2018, 04:35 AM   #18
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Cool Hemlock at Night...

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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.
You don't have to "load it up". A big piece of unsplit Hemlock (even fresh-cut) will smolder all night. It's not toasty-warm in the morning, but a "refresh" of wood, and with the draft re-opened, it'll restore a warm living room temperature in short order.

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Probably just needs a new set of gaskets? Easy to do yourself as well!
What do you use to keep the new gaskets from falling out?
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Last edited by ApS; 09-25-2018 at 02:41 AM. Reason: add un-split, (even fresh-cut)
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Old 09-21-2018, 06:08 AM   #19
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Ours is a Woodstock Soapstone Co. Stove out of Lebanon, NH (thatís my wife in the picture!)
We're married to the same women?
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Old 09-21-2018, 06:14 AM   #20
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Last year around New Years when it was brutally cold I would have froze to death if I didn't have my wood stove going. The boiler struggled to keep up.

I let the stove run down one night and it was down to 60 degrees by morning.
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Old 09-21-2018, 09:47 AM   #21
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You don't have to "load it up". A big piece of Hemlock will smolder all night. It's not toasty-warm in the morning, but a "refresh" of wood, and with the draft re-opened, it'll restore a warm living room temperature in short order.

What do you use to keep the new gaskets from falling out?
Something called ďhigh temp gasket cementĒ itís black and gooey!
I suppose go to a hardware store and ask for stove gasket cement!
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Old 09-21-2018, 09:52 AM   #22
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We're married to the same women?
Damn...Our secret is out!
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Old 09-21-2018, 09:54 AM   #23
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Last year around New Years when it was brutally cold I would have froze to death if I didn't have my wood stove going. The boiler struggled to keep up.

I let the stove run down one night and it was down to 60 degrees by morning.
Doesnít your wife go down at 3 am to stoke the stove like mine?
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Old 09-21-2018, 10:05 AM   #24
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Doesnít your wife go down at 3 am to stoke the stove like mine?
My wife doesn't stoke anything anymore. I get up enough in the middle of the night just to go pee, esp if I've had a few beers, so it's not usually an issue.
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Old 09-21-2018, 10:11 AM   #25
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My wife doesn't stoke anything anymore. I get up enough in the middle of the night just to go pee, esp if I've had a few beers, so it's not usually an issue.
Lol! Weíre definitly not married to the same women then!
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Old 09-21-2018, 10:26 AM   #26
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We replaced our metal insert fireplace with a pellet stove and would never go back. The pellet stove is programmable just like our furnace. It comes on in the morning before we get up and shuts down when we leave for work etc.
What ever you do don't buy cheap or you'll regret it.
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Old 09-21-2018, 10:43 AM   #27
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Default Rutland gaskets

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What do you use to keep the new gaskets from falling out?
I believe the gasket I buy for my woodstove is by Rutland, and I thought out came with gasket cement. In any case, make sure you clean out that channel the gasket sits in. I use a screwdriver blade and then follow up with a wire brush. I replace the baskets every 2-3 years.

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Old 09-21-2018, 10:49 AM   #28
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Lol! We’re definitly not married to the same women then!
About 35 years ago, when I had my first stove, I left her home alone with three little kids and the stove going with the doors open and screen in place because she wanted to watch the fire.
Well she loaded up the stove and the pipe caught on fire. She called the fire department, they came and just closed the doors and vent to suffocated the fire. It was my fault because I didn't school her on what to do if that happened.
She hasn't touched a piece of hardwood since! That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
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