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Author Topic: Anyone heat with wood pellets?  (Read 15348 times)

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Offline Coon

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Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« on: November 02, 2007, 12:03:33 AM »
Just thought I would ask around and see if anyone around here uses a wood pellet heater to heat their home or garage etc.  We have just purchased one about a month or so ago.  The heater brand is called Country Stoves and throws a very beautiful heat.  Although the heat it throws is very nice we do have a few concerns with how many pellets it burns.  I am running it on the manual setting as I do not have the special thermostat for it yet.  Controling the heat temperature is the largest drawback at this point in time but will be easily overcome with a little more money invested. 

I will take some pics and share them in the morning.  Getting late and I have to install my kodak program.
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2007, 08:12:26 AM »
There is always a learning curve with something new.Probaly next year you will use less pellets.
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Offline Coon

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2007, 11:07:58 AM »
I already know where my learning curve is going to be.  That would be with the thermostat.  The thermostat is only a couple hundred bucks and will be bought soon enough.  There is one more major hurdle that I realize will affect us too.  That is in the cost of the pellets.  Right now I am buying them by the pallet of 40 pound bags @ 50 bags/pallet.  The pellets are at a cost of $275/pallet.  Had I had a large hopperized bin to store pellets in I could buy the pellets in bulk a bit cheaper.  Thus there is the cost of pellets in bulk versus the cost to set up a bin etc.  We also live in town with limited space.  We may run into problems with the town if we set up a large bin......

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Offline jrokusek

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2007, 01:01:42 AM »
Maybe you can make your own pellets:  http://www.pelletpros.com/

These guys even used grass clipping to make some pellets.  Wish I had room for a pellet stove....I think I'd probably use one to heat my house.

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2007, 07:31:33 AM »
Those guys have really put the price of their units up.  Their portable unit costs $4000. That is equivalent to 14 pallets at $275/ton just for the payback.  But, if you have time and resource, it could be a good deal.

We had a discussion on pellet mills some time back.  I think it was when there was a huge shortage.  Anyways, a lot of guys said they weren't interested in something they had to depend on others for fuel.  With a normal wood stove, you can go out and cut your own fuel.
Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

Offline Coon

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2007, 11:55:38 AM »
We got a demo unit.  Saved a bit of money but still had to buy the piping kit separate.  All said and done we paid just over $3000 for our unit. 

P.S.  Still having virus probs on the computer so.... once we get it solved I can reinstall my kodak program and show the heater we purchased.
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2007, 06:43:34 PM »
I think pellets are a good idea, but still a bit pricey. A regular wood furnace is half the price. But, I'm thinking of the wood products that can be used to make the pellets and we have a lot of crap wood in our forests that could go into the pellet industry. If I knew something like this was being backed by woodlot owner coops and not corporate giants I would be more willing to go with it. Otherwise at $275/tonne I'm reminded that firewood is only $80 a tonne (bucked, split and delivered). ;)

As far as depending on others for fuel, most of us are in that ball park already.  ::)
Move'n on.

Offline WH_Conley

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2007, 08:48:21 PM »
I thought about pellets for a while, til I saw the price of the pellet machines, ran like the dickens.

A small operation, bandmill, swingmill or stick mill, possibly with an edger, selling slabs for wood. A pellet machine would really fit good, if the price were right.
Bill

Offline Coon

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2007, 10:07:15 PM »
This heater will burn more than just pellets.  Corn, rye, barley, wheat, and oats can be burnt as well.  From what I understand with burning these grains the moisture count me be way down and the grain must be cleaned of all debris to burn efficiently.
 
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Offline cantcutter

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2007, 07:09:35 AM »
My wife has family who uses pellets. I didn't like that by spring there are pellets all over the house to be stepped on (ouch).
Puts out good heat and when ever the pellets get too exspensive the switch to shell corn.....they burn the bagged stuff you get at the feed store.

Offline Tom

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2007, 11:05:30 AM »
I wonder....
could you Mash corn, cook it and still use the residue for fuel?

That would make for an interesting winter.  ;D
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Offline tsodak

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2007, 11:29:02 AM »
Sure can Tom,

A couple of the large ethanol plants up here are putting in gasification furnaces to burn the residues left over after fermentation. They arereplacing the natural gas for heat which is one of the most unattractive parts of ethanol production.  The way I hear they burn about 40% of there biproduct stream.

Also seeing where they are making the residue into pellets on that pelletpro video. Seems like it would make a good binding agent to me.

Offline Furby

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2007, 06:37:57 PM »
Well since corn is hard to digest..............
 ;D

Offline Coon

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2007, 11:42:57 AM »
I can digest the liquid corn very well but...... as for the solids...... Maybe I can just burn em up in the heater. :D :o :D :D :D
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Offline Furby

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2007, 01:14:15 PM »
Might as well curb your appetite first. ;)

Offline Coon

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2007, 10:41:10 PM »
Yup even if I get a lil sidetracked along the way.

 :D :D :D :D :D :D
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Offline Nate Surveyor

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2007, 12:48:57 PM »
can you burn sawdust / circle saw shavings in those things?


Is there any type of sawdust burner out there, that can feed sawdust, or wood chips, that will allow a private miller to burn his waste?

Thanks,

N
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Offline Timburr

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2007, 01:45:43 PM »
N, there's a whole THREAD dedicated to your second query, if you have a spare hour or so!!   :P
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Offline Furby

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2007, 09:28:28 PM »
Yeah, you've been gone too long Nate!  :)

Offline Nate Surveyor

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2007, 09:19:41 AM »
Thanks Furby,

I stay a busy as a 20 lb bass, on the day of the fishing tournament!

(so many lures, so little time...!)

N
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Offline Coon

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2007, 01:09:19 PM »
Nate

  I can not burn sawdust or shavings as they will jam up the auger that feeds the burner.  Gonna hopefully get some pics I took a while ago posted on this thread later today.
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Offline Nate Surveyor

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #21 on: November 19, 2007, 10:23:23 AM »
OK, do you think that there is a way to MODIFY the infeed auger, so that it can burn sawdust, and chips?

Somehow, I find it hard to believe that there is NO way to do this.

Maybe a PLUNGE feed system, that has enough strength to push a GOB through...


Nate
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Offline Tom

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #22 on: November 19, 2007, 02:50:27 PM »
Nate, I'm no engineer, but if you are thinking of burning sawdust, don't think in "gobs".  Think in "puffs".   Gobs of sawdust insulate themselves so good that the centers don't burn.  If you Puff it into the burning area, it will have air all around and will burn.  It will burn fast.  That's why the boiler crews at the pulp mills called it White Dynamite.
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Offline Nate Surveyor

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #23 on: November 19, 2007, 05:15:35 PM »
I mean for pushing the clogs through it.

One thing that does bother me:

As simple as burning sawdust/chips sounds, somehow it seems it is not all that simple.

With the EPA, and the need to standardize the material fed, and the desire to reduce maintenance... Ah! Wish it were easy.

N
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Offline Coon

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #24 on: November 19, 2007, 11:43:50 PM »
Truthfully I do burn sawdust..... Just in pellet form.....  :D :D :D  The problems I can see with burning sawdust in a pellet heater of this kind would be plenty.  First off sawdust would simply not be heavy enough to land into the burning pot for the sole fact there is a fan on the air intake... the air is forced in. 
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Offline D._Frederick

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #25 on: November 25, 2007, 07:24:09 PM »
When No.2 diesel hit $2.00 gallon, I started to look at the pellet stove and planned on using corn for fuel. Then the corn to alcohol doubled the price of corn, so I am glad that I didn't spend the 3 to 5 K for a stove.

I hate to think about going back to wood heat at the age of 72, was glad we finally to leave the wood heat after WWII.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #26 on: November 25, 2007, 07:38:13 PM »
I seen a pellet stove with 40 lb hopper for $1200 at Lowes. I don't know the BTU output. Those $3000 dollar units must be a lot bigger , eh? I guess one has to put size versus price into perspective when buying. I think pellet stoves will take off eventually. We don't have cheep coal up here, plus it would be taxed so high anyway that the consumer would see no relief. I think even the early trains around here ran on wood, it was everywhere along the railways and they got 1000 acres per mile of track from the government.  ;)

Mom's uncle burnt wood in the kitchen stove all his life and he told mom's aunt that the stove wasn't moving from the kitchen when she wanted an electric stove. She got her electric, but the wood stove stayed put. He used wood all his life and he died at age 90. He had an oil furnace to heat the main house, but most everyone in the family has an oil furnace for backup heat. I'll always use wood here, but I have oil as backup. I'd have do get pretty crippled to abandon wood.
Move'n on.

Offline D._Frederick

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #27 on: November 26, 2007, 12:38:55 PM »
What I was looking for was a pellet burning closed system boiler, I now have an oil fired boiler and wanted one to use pellets. I found only one company making a boiler, but it was an open system. I wouldn't get enough heat transfer with an open system, since my system is designed to run at 180 to 220 degrees F. and they wanted over 7 K for there system.

Offline Coon

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #28 on: November 26, 2007, 10:05:54 PM »
From what I am seeing here with this pellet heater it's not all it's cracked up to be.... 

#1.  It's about -25 Celcius here right now before the wind chill and its cold in the house with the heater on no.3 setting out of 5.

#2.  The fan simply does not blow enough warm air for sufficient heating.  We have to use other household fans for this purpose.

#3.  There is great variance to the brand of pellets available on the market.  Differences include heat output/bag and amount of ash/bag.

#4.  In our area we have but only 5 choices for pellet sources within a hundred miles or so.

#5.  We are burning $10 worth of pellets/day presently @-25 Celcius with an outlook of $20/day range in -40 Celcius. 

All in all by the end of an average winter season I will have been able to cut and haul 2 seasons worth of wood cheaper than what its going to cost me this year. >:( >:( :'( :'(
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Offline Furby

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #29 on: November 26, 2007, 10:08:46 PM »
Sorry to hear that Coon! :-\

Offline Coon

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #30 on: November 27, 2007, 01:50:16 AM »
Ya I am sure glad that I didn't buy the pellet heater.  We are renting the house from my wifes brother.  He put the heater in because it was going to be cheaper than to put the gas in.  We would have to get a completely new gas line put in from the street right on into the house along with a new furnace.  It was going to cost $10,000 plus so....  Going to have to break the news to him and it ain't gonna be pretty because we may have to find another place.  The wife and I have been doing some number crunching and it may be cheaper to rent elseewhere.  It's expensive enough with the pellets alone but with electricity too....

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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #31 on: November 27, 2007, 06:40:51 AM »
You never paid attention to the $275/ton pellet versus $80/ton firewood debate. ;D

Coon did you compare BTU output between the stove and a wood furnace?
Move'n on.

Offline Coon

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #32 on: November 27, 2007, 12:32:20 PM »
Like I said Swamp  I did not buy the pellet heater.  My bro-in-law bought it without even so much as talking to us first.  I would have simply bought a wood stove of some sort.  Being in town we can not have an outdoor boiler here because of bylaws.  I have access to as much dry firewood as I'd ever need.  I'm sure I could find nearly as much green firewood as well and all at the low price of free...  Of course I'd have to cut it myself but love doing it anyways...
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Offline Frickman

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #33 on: December 08, 2007, 05:18:22 PM »
I've been thinking about pellet stoves the past few days. Most people involved in the forest products business can easily get all the firewood they want for cheap or free, It's all around us every day, so why not take a load home at night. But what about folks in the suburbs or city? They may have no easy access to wood, or even a place to store it if they did. A pellet stove would work great for them. They can use it for suplemental and emergency backup heat, and the pellets are easy to haul home in the trunk or SUV. They can even store them in a hall closet if they want.
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Offline Furby

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #34 on: December 08, 2007, 06:20:02 PM »
That depends on how fast they are going through pellets.
It would be a waste of time and money to have to buy a bag each day.
If you are going through a bag a day, you would need a larger storage area that could handle the weight.
I think the concept is there and good, but more efficient stoves and/or cheaper pellets are what is needed.

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #35 on: December 08, 2007, 07:52:36 PM »
One of our members, Ken is involved in setting up a pellet plant with his marketing board area and the president of another marketing board area just announced they will be breaking ground in mid January to set up a plant in Miramichi City. All private investments. The Miramichi group said the government is behind the times and they weren't about to wait for them to get their finger out of their seats to provide financing. I believe they even have investment from Europe.
Move'n on.

Offline Coon

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #36 on: January 22, 2008, 12:01:47 AM »
Well I finally got some pics uploaded today.  Figured I would put the pics I had promised some time ago, on here.

The first pic is with the stove off. 

 

These next wo pics were taken just after start up.  The flames calm down once the heater gets up to operating temperature.  At that point the pellets explode when they drop into the burn pot.

I will try to get some more pics tomorrow of the insides.  I have to shut it down and clean it again anyways. :(  Only takes about 5 minutes to do so once everything is cooled down.


Seems we have the heating capabilities figured out with this thing now.  We have it figured out to an average of  2lbs. of pellets/ hour for -20 C weather.  When we get -10 C weather we consume about 1 1/4 lbs/hr. 
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Offline Hoss

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #37 on: January 28, 2008, 12:19:37 AM »
Coon, I used that exact model and brand of pellet stove for three years. It heated our large two story house fine but the price of pellets kept going up every year. Last spring there was about a two month period that pellets were not available at any price. Pellet manufacturers used to get the sawdust to make the pellets for free or next to free and now they are paying dearly for the material. They also must pay for fuel to dry the material before they make the pellets. A pound of pellets (depending on the species they are made from) generate about 8000 BTUs. That stove on high burns about 5 pounds an hour putting out about 40000 BTUs in an hour.  It met our heating needs fine but I finally concluded it was too expensive. We still have our big wood stove in the basement for when the power goes out, but we took the pellet stove out and spent alot of money for a heat pump. Where we live in Washington State electricity is expensive---but a heck of a lot cheaper than most anyplace else in the country. Hoss

Offline Qweaver

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #38 on: January 28, 2008, 02:06:54 PM »
Coon, here in WVa pellets are running $184 (plus tax)per 50 bag pallet at the local feed store.   That works out to $3.91 per bag.  So if we burn a bag a day on average that works out to $117 per month for heat. Plus whatever electricity the fans and auger use.  Perhaps $130 a month total.  Not cheap really...especially if we average more than a bad a day.  We do have several pellet makers in the area and it might be possible to buy in bulk and get them even cheaper.  I think I'd have to buy @ 40 ton to get that price break tho'.
With 4 people in our family using these stoves and selling them out of our small business, I may try it next year.  I can hook up to a gas well thats on our family property and buy gas at wellhead price and that may be what I do later on.
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #39 on: January 28, 2008, 04:40:07 PM »
Your lucky on the gas price. Here the utility wants to inflate the price to subsidize their construction for the export market. We have a very short history with gas in this region. But, I said from the start that the people who sign onto it will soon be faced with price hikes. When your used to taking it the hard way, it's not hard to see it coming down the road.
Move'n on.

Offline Coon

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #40 on: January 28, 2008, 06:56:08 PM »
The stove is not as bad as I had thought earlier on.  It is however costing us way too much of our income. 

I biggest concern I have is the quality of the pellets.  Some brands burn very efficiently and produce lots of heat while the other brands just plug up the holes in the burn pot.  Once the holes are plugged you get very little heat.  The best pellets we have found seem to be the ones made closest to home.  Never had a single problem with the burn pot with them.

Got some more pics of it to upload later too.
Norwood Lumbermate 2000 w/Kohler,
Husqvarna, Stihl and, Jonsereds Saws

Offline Dana

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #41 on: January 28, 2008, 08:41:03 PM »
Pellets are 156 for higher ash residue and 180 for low ash residue here. My brother-in-law bought a stove last week and likes it a lot. He figures he is spending $4.00 a day to heat a average sized house.
Grass-fed beef farmer, part time sawyer

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #42 on: January 28, 2008, 08:50:03 PM »
Do they have any with forced air like a furnace? A stove alone wouldn't heat this place to my comfort level.
Move'n on.

Offline Hoss

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #43 on: January 28, 2008, 08:50:55 PM »
Coon, When I was using that pellet stove I tried to burn pellets made from soft woods like Douglas Fir. The hard wood pellets create more ash. I cleaned the burn pot and ash drawer about once every ton of pellets I burned. You can tell when the burn pot's holes are getting pluged up because the pellets don't burn as clean and the flame goes from red to a deeper orange. It's then time to get out the screw driver and clean the burn pot. I'm convinced the cheapest heat is a wood stove if you can get the wood for free and cut it yourself. All other types of heat seem to cost alot.
Hoss

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #44 on: January 28, 2008, 09:12:51 PM »
From what I've read, and this is by no means the official word, but the difference in ash content between the standard pellet and premium is 3% vs 1% ash content. They said the premium pellet is made of the core wood only and the standard includes the bark, they also suggested that pellets made from farm produce makes more heat. Probably means straw and corn stalks and maybe even corn. I was always told that the bark has more heat value than the core wood.  ;D :D :D So maybe both is true.
Move'n on.

Offline HOOF-ER

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #45 on: January 28, 2008, 10:30:08 PM »
Coon, I have a pellet stove insert that I have been using free standing. Temporary turned semi -perm :D (Only paid $200 for a St Crouix) It is strictly for wood pellets, but...... I mix about half corn with the wood pellets. Burns hotter with the grain. I have burned pelleted cottonseed hulls also. They were ok. Same problem you have I burn more than they say. I will use about 60-70# per 24hrs. Ash content is higher with the grains. They also produce clinkers so I empty the pot 2x per day. Become very effecient at that. Use a leather glove and take less than a couple minutes to empty. Very easy to start a fire up while the stove is still hot. With high grain prices would like to find something cheap to burn!!!
Home built swing mill, 27hp Kawasaki

Offline Coon

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #46 on: January 29, 2008, 01:33:13 AM »
The pellets we are burning right now must be higher ash content.  These are called Firemaster and are made in Burnaby, British Columbia. They are made from softwood also. We tend to have to empty the ash pan and clean the burn pot after about 240 lbs or so.  The other brand we've used we can burn about 400 lbs.

Swamp.  This heater has built in fans in it but they don't push enough air.  From the way it looks they should have use bigger ones that push more cfm.  There is enough room in there for em but wood probably make it run too cold and creosote things up.

Norwood Lumbermate 2000 w/Kohler,
Husqvarna, Stihl and, Jonsereds Saws

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #47 on: January 29, 2008, 06:34:24 AM »
I also read that the fans on the average pellet stove consume 100 kwh per month, that's not too bad when your rate is 0.098 cents per kwh. My furnace probably uses 150 kwh in the coldest months. In this mild weather the fan uses only running about 14 hours in a 24 hr period. It hasn't been on since 4:30 am this morning and still isn't on now at 7:30 and I don't plan on stoke the fire before 9 am.  ;D
Move'n on.

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #48 on: February 22, 2008, 09:45:12 AM »
We got one last year to take the chill off the basement. Does a good job. Heats about 1400 sq. ft. It's an American Harvest brand. Have about $1400 in the stove and the vent. My pellets are a lot cheaper than what your paying tho. MIne only cost about $175 per 50 , 40Lb. bags. I'll burn 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 bags a day.

Russ
Russ

Offline boulderridge

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #49 on: February 23, 2008, 06:16:04 AM »
I have a Harmen pellet stove. I used to burn wood. In South Central PA, I pay $170/ton. I heat 2000 sf, empty the ash pan 3 times a winter and burn 3 -3 1/2 tons a winter.

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #50 on: February 23, 2008, 10:40:42 AM »
boulderidge
How long have you been heating with pellets? More than this winter?
south central Wisconsin
 It may be that my sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #51 on: February 23, 2008, 11:28:57 AM »
I couldn't heat this place without forced air. We had a gravity/convection furnace 35 years ago and about froze. I think some pellet furnaces are appearing on the market now. I figure it would take at least 6 pallets of pellets here to keep me warm mid September to mid May.  ;D
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Offline boulderridge

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #52 on: February 25, 2008, 12:24:09 PM »
boulderidge
How long have you been heating with pellets? More than this winter?

Beenthere,

I've been burning pellets for about 6 years.

Boulderridge

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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #53 on: February 25, 2008, 01:14:24 PM »
Beenthere,

I've been burning pellets for about 6 years.

Boulderridge

Then you have a lot of experience and should be a good resource of knowledge. I take it that you are satisfied with your investment and the prospect of continuing to burn pellets. 
south central Wisconsin
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Re: Anyone heat with wood pellets?
« Reply #54 on: February 29, 2008, 12:52:37 AM »
  We have given up heating with the pellets due to the availabilty of them.  Most places around here are having a hard time stocking them. I totally refuse to burn the one brand we were using due to the last batch of pellets being junk.  We were having to empty the ash pan atleast once a day and had to burn over twice as many pellets to get any heat.  At $5.99/ bag it was getting very costly.  Would rather pay a power bill then burn them.  We will be moving once the snow is gone so....
Norwood Lumbermate 2000 w/Kohler,
Husqvarna, Stihl and, Jonsereds Saws


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