Survivalist Forum banner
1 - 20 of 36 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,724 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been thinking about getting a pellet stove for an alternative heat source. A supply of pellets, corn, or soybeans aren't that difficult to come by locally, some of which I could grow myself.

I have thought about a couple of things that made me wonder if it might not even be a better arrangement than my old wood burning stove. #1, fire insurance... would the pellet stove be considered "safer" and cause less of a panic with insurance companies? #2, would a pellet stove put out less smoke and be less of a signal that we have heat in the house when other neighboring houses may not? (More of a "nothing to see here" thing.)

I do realize that the pellet stoves usually take some electricity to keep running. So do my freezers and they, too, are important to me. I believe there may actually be a pellet stove that does not require electricity but haven't explored that one as thoroughly.

Anyway, I thought I might run it past the group here and see whether it might be something good to add to the collection of "just in case" stuff. I do have a standard wood stove already. But in my particular spot, firewood isn't quite as easy to access as one might think and I don't own wooded acreage. Plus, I can see how in an emergency, locals that have it might think they'll be getting rich selling it to people like me who don't have it.

Whatcha think?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
190 Posts
I have one of these Classic Bay 1200 Pellet Stove in my basement ... It puts out a lot of heat, and very little smoke ... Has a thermostat and blower for both heat distribution and exhaust ...

It came with the house I bought last December, the chimney was clean, and still is!

If you gotta buy wood, pellets in a bag are much cleaner, and easier to stack/store inside!

I figure wood pellets are about half the price of heating with propane for me, propane at $2.50, and pellets at $5.10 a 40 lb bag ...

Yes, there is a gravity feed
no electricity needed pellet stove, but I can't see how it would be as efficient as one that has a blower in it, means more smoke and cleaning, in my opinion, but I've never run one either ...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
648 Posts
A modern woodstove does not smoke like the stoves from the past. they burn the smoke with a secondary burner or a catalytic after burner. the price you pay for pellets may not stay stable as everything is going up.. and corn is really high where I live . wood can be obtained for free but tools and equipment to make trees into firewood cost a lot of money as well .I'm not sure the insurance would be any lower with the pellet , I pay $ 45 extra per year for the woodstove on my homeowners policy. I've heated exclusively with wood since 1980 and enjoy the security of having heat no matter what happens around me. I really love my time in the woods cutting firewood and look forward to the first fire of the year in the coming weeks. The main thing is , you'll never find free pellets on the side of the road , craigslist or marketplace.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,724 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You can burn them to provide heat?
Yes. Have also heard of using cherry pits but they aren't in abundance here. There may be some other things, too, not sure. Some stoves burn just wood pellets but some will also burn other small pellet sized objects that burn... like corn or soybeans or cherry pits, that kind of thing. Some of the stoves also may require a blend of wood pellets and those other things to burn well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,879 Posts
I've been thinking about getting a pellet stove for an alternative heat source. A supply of pellets, corn, or soybeans aren't that difficult to come by locally, some of which I could grow myself.

I have thought about a couple of things that made me wonder if it might not even be a better arrangement than my old wood burning stove. #1, fire insurance... would the pellet stove be considered "safer" and cause less of a panic with insurance companies? #2, would a pellet stove put out less smoke and be less of a signal that we have heat in the house when other neighboring houses may not? (More of a "nothing to see here" thing.)

I do realize that the pellet stoves usually take some electricity to keep running. So do my freezers and they, too, are important to me. I believe there may actually be a pellet stove that does not require electricity but haven't explored that one as thoroughly.

Anyway, I thought I might run it past the group here and see whether it might be something good to add to the collection of "just in case" stuff. I do have a standard wood stove already. But in my particular spot, firewood isn't quite as easy to access as one might think and I don't own wooded acreage. Plus, I can see how in an emergency, locals that have it might think they'll be getting rich selling it to people like me who don't have it.

Whatcha think?
You got the woodstove try enviro blocks, buying a pellet stove will set you back more than several years of blocks and you’ll still be able to burn wood also.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Hank Hill in Lingerie
Joined
·
1,502 Posts
This may have changed since I last heard/read about it, but IIRC the gravity fed stoves were prone to back drafting from the fire box, resulting in hopper fires. Hopper fires are a big deal. I haven't look at it for a long time though so the design may have improved.

Electricity powers three major components in a pellet stove:
1. It turns the auger to push pellets to the chute, to drop them into the burn pot.
2. It draws in room air and pushes it through the convection tubes to heat it, and further pushes the heated air into the room. (Convection fan.)
3. It pulls outdoor air into the stove (you do want an outside air kit, or OAK) through the burn pot to keep the fire going, and then pushes that combustion air outside through the vent. (Combustion fan.)

The combustion fan is critical for proper operation. Most pellet stoves are not designed nor installed in such a manner to facilitate a natural chimney draw. Gravity fed non-electric stoves do vary in this regard.

Because air is being forced through the burn pot and then out of the vent, possibly taking hot sparks with it (I've seen sparks exiting vents, very common in shorter horizontal direct vents through exterior walls) there are approximately three hundred billion gazillion installation codes. One must keep the ground and area under and around a direct vent completely clear of debris, vegetation, leaves, dry grass, plants, anything flammable.

Pellet stoves are picky prima donnas that much prefer to be meticulously clean to feed, burn and heat properly.

We fed our hopper once or twice a day and cleaned the fire box, burn pot, convection tubes, baffles and glass every other day with an ash vacuum. We shut down to completely cold and vacuumed the direct vent from the outside with a shop vac once a week.

After all that, the pellet stove didn't heat as well as our wood stove does.

Not all pellets are the same.

Some are hard wood, some are soft wood, some burn clean and some burn so dirty that it's hard to get through a day without having to shut the stove down to scrape out the burn pot.

Different brands have different characteristics and different bags of the same brand burn differently.

Different brands have different BTU ratings.

Back when we were running our pellet stove, Somersets and Turmans were highly desirable.

You have to be careful where and how you store pellets. They gas off, and the gas and dust are highly combustible. Where ever you store them it must be well ventilated.

It's all over but the crying (and the trip to the landfill) if they get even the least bit damp, though, never mind wet. Wet pellets disintegrate into damp sawdust like magic. Damp pellets might hold enough structural integrity to allow you to pour them into the hopper, but they will disintegrate while being pushed to the chute by the auger and cause the mother of all auger jams.

Once a year at least you need to take the sides off of the stove, pull the combustion motor, vacuum out the combustion side/direct vent from the fire box to the exterior egress, replace the motor mount gasket, vacuum the dust bunnies out of the combustion fan and general stove innards. If you have a chimney you have to sweep it from above or carefully blast it up and out from below with a leaf blower.

We replaced the door/glass gasket about every three years.

Keep extra combustion motor mount gaskets and door gaskets on hand.

The folks at Mountain View Hearth Products are a great resource.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,413 Posts
Yes. Have also heard of using cherry pits but they aren't in abundance here. There may be some other things, too, not sure. Some stoves burn just wood pellets but some will also burn other small pellet sized objects that burn... like corn or soybeans or cherry pits, that kind of thing. Some of the stoves also may require a blend of wood pellets and those other things to burn well.
Unless you have a HUGE garden I can't see burning corn or soybeans. Seems to me that burning food is going in the opposite direction that you need to go.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
718 Posts
My house had a pellet stove in it when I bought it 22 years ago. Used it for a few years until the pellets got above $240.00 a ton. Pain to keep clean, not that much heat for the expense. Removed it and went back to all electric heating and have less costs believe it or not. Expense of the pellets are not the only thing to think about. Getting them if buying a ton at a time takes a truck. Then you have to hand carry them most of the time. They need dry storage close to where they will be used. Far as i know your wood stove will affect your insurance but the pellet stove will not.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,724 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hopper fires are a big deal.
VERY big deal.

I won't poke quotes in but thank you very much for the detailed reply!! Sincerely, you've given me a lot to think about, some of it doubting whether I really want one after all. The things you speak of aren't the kinds of things that tend to be showcased in sales literature.

Thanks very much for taking the time to write that all out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Unless you have a HUGE garden I can't see burning corn or soybeans. Seems to me that burning food is going in the opposite direction that you need to go.
this...plus when SHTF we aren't concerned with insurance rates either. Having said that, pellet stoves are great while everything is functioning. For survival, an actual woodstove is life.
 

·
Hank Hill in Lingerie
Joined
·
1,502 Posts
You're welcomed!

We had ours in the previous house. We acquired it when the municipal gas utility raised gas prices by 25% in one year. Still to this day not certain that we saved money with it while we were using it. Probably a little but we didn't save a huge amount.

Our realtor had us remove the pellet stove and custom hearth pad (it was a corner intallation) and patch the exterior wall when we decided to sell that house and move here full time. We'd converted a bedroom in a small three bedroom home into a den to accommodate the stove. The house was worth more money as a three bedroom house than it was worth with the stove installed. We posted it and a couple of tons or so of pellets we had stored in the garage (we also needed to clear out that garage) for much less than we paid, stipulation being 'you haul.' I went into this process thinking that I had a real boondoggle on our hands.

Imagine my surprise when all of it got scooped up for our asking price and removed within 48 hours. A guy, his grown son and several of their friends, relatives and neighbors showed up with trucks and made incredibly short and light work of it.

The father didn't go into a lot of detail and I certainly didn't ask but he thanked us profusely. He explained that his adult daughter suddenly found herself alone as a single mother with small children and money was tight. He was buying the stove and the pellets for her. From the looks on everybody's faces and the notable absence of further information we inferred that she and the kids had been left under dubious circumstances not of her making. (I'm glad I'm not that dude.) The father said that the pellet stove and pellets would make a huge difference to her in the coming winter.

Whatever money we'd saved with the stove we probably gave back between the loss we took on it and the pellets and in paying to have the exterior wall professionally patched.

Honestly, we were good with it.

If all our days with that stove and whatever we did or didn't save by using it ultimately led to getting heat to a single mom, we think that's a good deal.

We already had the stove, pipes and hearth pad out in the garage with the pellets but it was still a whole lot to move. I swear a small army showed up to move it. What I thought was going to be an albatross around our necks was resolved in less than 48 hours on Craigslist and out of our garage as neat as you please in about twenty minutes.

A good ending. 😊😊

Pellet stoves have their places and applications, my cousin in the high desert in California uses one, it definitely saves them money there and there are no trees, but we much more enjoy our CAT wood stove.

This house is in a remote rural location and we are required to purchase a wind rider on our homeowners insurance, and as such our homeowners insurance is much more expensive here than it was in town or in suburbia. Our insurance didn't increase by a single penny because of the wood stove, however, so surprisingly that's not a given. The insurance company required us to have a professional installation, which we would have done anyway, since the house had no fireplace and we needed a stainless steel chimney installed. Our stove shop installed the stove, chimney and hearth pad in a single afternoon, the county building inspector signed off on it on the same day, and we sent copies of those documents to our insurance agent who forwarded them to the insurance company. Our rates didn't go up and we've not heard a peep about it.

It may have helped that we already had/have a monitored security system with a smoke alarm incorporated in it, not sure. We'd have that put here, regardless.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
380 Posts
I've been thinking about getting a pellet stove for an alternative heat source. A supply of pellets, corn, or soybeans aren't that difficult to come by locally, some of which I could grow myself.

I have thought about a couple of things that made me wonder if it might not even be a better arrangement than my old wood burning stove. #1, fire insurance... would the pellet stove be considered "safer" and cause less of a panic with insurance companies? #2, would a pellet stove put out less smoke and be less of a signal that we have heat in the house when other neighboring houses may not? (More of a "nothing to see here" thing.)

I do realize that the pellet stoves usually take some electricity to keep running. So do my freezers and they, too, are important to me. I believe there may actually be a pellet stove that does not require electricity but haven't explored that one as thoroughly.

Anyway, I thought I might run it past the group here and see whether it might be something good to add to the collection of "just in case" stuff. I do have a standard wood stove already. But in my particular spot, firewood isn't quite as easy to access as one might think and I don't own wooded acreage. Plus, I can see how in an emergency, locals that have it might think they'll be getting rich selling it to people like me who don't have it.

Whatcha think?
I have a pellet grill and "fireplace". My biggest issue is that you have to store the pellets out of the elements and out of humidity. You are regulated to pellets.

A bag of pellets, takes up a 1/4 of the space of corded wood, to heat my house for 24 hours(I live near NOLA), but requires electricity to operate and are more expensive than corded oak in my AO.

Our country property, 120 miles north of NOLA has a ceramic lined, wood burning fireplace. It is considerably colder there in the winter. So, I do have some experience with the real stuff and the wood pellets.

I prefer the wood fireplace because of its ability to burn anything wooden. I prefer the ridiculous efficiency of the pellet fireplace and dropping in a bag of pellets and not worrying about anything for 12-24 hours...no run outside in the cold for a couple of chunks, no splitting, no worrying about the fire going out and a steady stream of heat, is pretty awesome.

Both have their place, but I dont have one at my BOH.
 

·
Hank Hill in Lingerie
Joined
·
1,502 Posts
If I was 'thinking outside the box,' I'd seriously consider a masonry heater fireplace. I was so impressed the first time I saw one I darned near stopped on that dime and changed course.

The idea is still lodged in my brain.
I kinda love it.
No, I really love it.
It gives gentle continuous heat with a very small amount of wood.

 
1 - 20 of 36 Posts
Top