tell me about pellet stoves and wood stoves?

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by BeardedChick, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. We'd like to put an insert stove into our old fireplace for supplemental heat in an emergency. It will not be our main heat source, just a backup. I live near Denver and it gets cold! Today the heat was off, and we nearly f-f-froze.

    The main issue is that my mom, who lives in the house with us, has lung disease and cannot tolerate a lot of smoke.

    Can anyone tell me how smokey modern pellet or wood stoves are in their practical use? Are they safe for people who are on oxygen to be around? She is not going to be opening or putting fuel in it.

    Any recommendations on whether to go with pellets or cord wood? We have property and tons of dead pinon and juniper wood available. But pellets sound pretty convenient as I'd likely be the one putting up the firewood.

    Your thoughts?
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2008
  2. jmeeter88

    jmeeter88 Songster

    Aug 18, 2008
    New Hartford, NY
    Pellet stoves are nice because they are the easiest to use. You pour in the pellets, and the stove does the rest. The only 'drawback' is that you don't have the beautiful fire like you do from a traditional wood stoves.

    Modern pellet stoves also come with digital thermostats, so you can more easily maintain a specific temperature in your house.
  3. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

    Jul 8, 2007
    Woodville, MS
    We just had a new pellet stove (fireplace insert) installed in our 100 year old farm house we bought last winter in which we froze as well as went through $2,000 a month in heating ($350 a week in propane per unit). We love the new pellet stove. Bought a ton of pellets (50 bags) for only $300 which is less than we were paying for one week's propane on one unit - the other two units were burning electricity just as bad. This old home has no insulation or energy efficiency and I literally froze - just couldn't do anything but shiver.

    The new pellet stove is great - load it with a bag of pellets - set the thermostat or use the remote control from sitting on the sofa and you have a nice beautiful flaming fire (we bought the fake logs) and then the blowers kick on and blow that nice warm air right on you.....I know where I will be this winter - can't wait. We have 9 fireplaces in this old house and when we tried to light one last winter, the smoke and ashes blew all over the room and it didn't produce any heat, in fact the heat the a/c/heat units were producing was just blowing UP the flues. I told DH I would have a better heater by this winter.

    We went with the pellet stove because even though we have lots of woods surrounding us, thousands of acres actually, I didn't want to have to cut and haul wood, and clean out ashes. The pellets are great, easy to use, it holds a whole bag and I keep extra pellets in a beautiful old carved wood coal bin inside that is used as a end table. When I need a scoop of pellets I can just scoop them out and add to hopper. Don't have to worry with gathering wood or having it inside and bugs crawling out of it.

    Edited to add: Here's the one we bought and who we bought it from. Wonderful Christian couple. They came and installed it and stayed for dinner and we talked till midnight.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2008
  4. sdshoars

    sdshoars Songster

    May 12, 2008
    we are going to get a pellet stove next year, there isnt enough time this year before it gets cold. wood stoves are awful IMO, the wood brings in so many bugs, and dust and the occasional mouse. this year we bought our house, and it has a deisel heater, which will be outrageously expensive, thus the reason we will put in a pellet next year.
  5. kinnip

    kinnip Songster

    Feb 24, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
    I just bought my first wood stove. I haven't used it yet, but I had friend with one. That little stove heated a two story duplex all on its own. There was no smoke or odor, other than the smell of the wood sitting next to it. I like the smell of the wood and we have sooooo much of it. I can't wait to fire this baby up, but right now I'm breaking into a sweat just thinking about it.
  6. Rosalind

    Rosalind Songster

    Mar 25, 2007
    We have a Vermont Castings woodstove. It works pretty well, the house is old and drafty though.

    It's not smoky at all. In fact my friends who imagine open fireplaces complain that there isn't that good fireplace smell. Safe for oxygen...well, I wouldn't want to be running a pressurized oxygen system in the same room as an open flame, but otherwise yes, provided your mom isn't in the room when you're opening and closing the stove, should be fine.

    Pellet stoves and pellets are cheaper, but if you've got lots of wood laying around for free...The bad part for you is, pine and juniper are fairly soft woods. They burn real quick, you will be feeding that thing every 2 hours. At night, you will start getting cold at midnight when the stove dies. You need hardwood logs to keep a stove going through the night. We had a bunch of pine that the last owner cut up, for last winter, and it was a giant pain in the butt. Now we've got some ash, hickory and cherry, and one of those logs will last till morning. If you've got mesquite, I think that lasts longer though.

    Also bear in mind that the actual cost of the stove itself is only about half the cost. The final cost can be over double that, depending on how far your house is from local building codes--you will have to bring your fireplace up to the code for stoves before they will install it, and that can be spendy. And it is a chore and a half, I don't think I would recommend it for a DIY project. You've got to re-do the chimney cap and everything, it's a real project. We paid $2000 for the stove and then another $1700 getting it installed and up to code.
  7. mtnhomechick

    mtnhomechick Songster

    Jun 27, 2008
    Mountain Home, AR
    How does Oak burn. We have tons of dead oak on our land.


  8. So - are there ashes to dispose of? My grandparents in northeastern PA had a coal furnace until the 70's and I vividly recall how messy and bulky the ashes were.

    Last edited: Oct 13, 2008
  9. Rosalind

    Rosalind Songster

    Mar 25, 2007
    Oak burns pretty slow. Not quite as good as ash, but still slow.

    Yes, there are ashes to sweep out, but not as much as you'd think. The modern stoves are very efficient, burn nearly all the carbon out of the log. Nothing like the coal furnace mess--arrrrrgh, I remember those! We had one in the house we rented when I was in college. And mice and RATS used to get in through the coal chute! Nasty.
  10. CrowinKing

    CrowinKing Songster

    Nov 29, 2007
    I have a wood stove in the basement of my house I love it my electric bill in the winter is awsome like $50 I have a hot water jacket runnin through the thing it heats the water so the electric one doesn't have to run. And its big enough I only have to fill it twice a day! A wheel barrel in the morning and right before I go to bed!

    As far as oak goes it burns alright its a slow burning wood but it doesn't throw as much heat as some of the others!

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