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Old 03-16-2008, 08:47 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
21,465 posts, read 26,848,139 times
Reputation: 8572
Quote:
Originally Posted by cordoba11 View Post
forest keeper, that was my next question, if i can find a place where i can cut some wood cheaper than i can get it delivered that would make me lean toward using the stove i have now. I guess i will wait and see what others have to say about it.
Land, covered in woodlot sells for $300 per acre.

In 'treegrowth' it's taxes would be $1.05 per acre [assuming the highest taxed county in Maine, which is Penobscot county].

So ten acres, cost $3,000, plus $30 per year, and you might well be able to harvest half of your annual firewood from that one woodlot, in a sustainable manner, forever.

You could produce more wood, if you completely violated the Maine methodology, and re-planted trees on your land, each year.

Last edited by Submariner; 03-16-2008 at 09:00 PM..
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Old 03-16-2008, 08:48 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
21,465 posts, read 26,848,139 times
Reputation: 8572
Quote:
Originally Posted by cordoba11 View Post
Well i would be putting it in my house so i would have to use the stainless if i go with the regular wood/coal stove.
I did not realize that we were speaking of structures other than houses.

My bad.

What kind of structure, other than a house were your talking about?
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Old 03-16-2008, 09:05 PM
 
Location: Sacramento, CA/Dover-Foxcroft, ME
1,782 posts, read 1,839,908 times
Reputation: 2708
Quote:
Originally Posted by forest beekeeper View Post
Pellet stoves?

I do not know. We have looked at them.

I manage 150 acres of woodlot.

Assuming that I only cut down dead or sick trees, and I drag out the logs just to clean-up the ground. While my goats eat the brush [only in my dreams can I focus their eating like that]. I can not burn enough wood in a winter to make any real dent in how much wood I have available to me.

I think that burning wood all winter, my woodlot is still generating more dead trees and blow-downs that I can consume.

And we burn a lot of peat. It is easy to harvest, just pitch-fork it up and into gunny-sack, kayak it back to the house and let it dry. It burns for a seriously long time. Btu wise peat is right in the middle between coal and hard wood.

We do not have a pellet stove. Just too darn much wood in every direction to bother with buying fuel.

Hey, does anybody want to cut up some fire-wood? Free for the taking? I do have just a few downed trees available.
That sounds exactly right. My brother has a wood burning stove in a log cabin with with over 80 acres to get wood. He also has a propane backup heater which works great. My nephew who lives in town with only one acre has a pellet stove in a 2 story 80 year old house. It does a great job. He loves it and doesn't miss the wood stove at all. It gets really hot when I visit. Way too hot for me. I tell my family out in Maine that I am a lot colder in my house out here than they are. I wear sweaters here and t-shirts around their houses. Although my sister who lives in the old family farmhouse has the usual oil heat with two huge tanks. She closes the 4 bedrooms upstairs in the winter and only uses the downstairs 1 bedroom and 1 bath and it works great for her although her house is usually colder than the others with the wood or pellets stoves.
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Old 03-16-2008, 09:26 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
21,465 posts, read 26,848,139 times
Reputation: 8572
Quote:
Originally Posted by RMoore007 View Post
That sounds exactly right. My brother has a wood burning stove in a log cabin with with over 80 acres to get wood. He also has a propane backup heater which works great. My nephew who lives in town with only one acre has a pellet stove in a 2 story 80 year old house. It does a great job. He loves it and doesn't miss the wood stove at all. It gets really hot when I visit. Way too hot for me. I tell my family out in Maine that I am a lot colder in my house out here than they are. I wear sweaters here and t-shirts around their houses. Although my sister who lives in the old family farmhouse has the usual oil heat with two huge tanks. She closes the 4 bedrooms upstairs in the winter and only uses the downstairs 1 bedroom and 1 bath and it works great for her although her house is usually colder than the others with the wood or pellets stoves.
A lot depends on the type of house, and how the heat is getting out into the house.

We have radiant heating floors.

Our woodstove is in the center of a big room, in the center of the house, with a ceiling fan directly over it. The stove throws out a lot of heat. The ceiling fan pushes that heat down and out to every corner of the house.

Then it also heats the water, which circs through PEX tubing and heats our floors [and our towel rack, and the seats of our living room couches].

Once you burn a fuel, to make heat, you need a good method [or three good methods] of moving that heat to everywhere you might be. [I have been a career submariner, so I do like redundant systems with back-ups, and tertiary back-up systems]

It may work to sustainably produce all of your own fuel. But it does not work if that heat does not make your home comfortable.

There should be a 'balance'
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Old 03-17-2008, 05:36 AM
 
Location: South Portland, Maine
2,341 posts, read 3,350,290 times
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Hey guys, do not want to stir anything away from the topic of the forum, but..What are the safty issues with burning perioid, or, for this thread, are pellet stoves a cleaner burn than wood.

Is there any issues with burning dead wood and and such.

I have a fire place with a wood stove. The wood stove vents into the cavity of the fire place...and then there is a chimney liner (looks like simple piece of duct work). I have never bought wood and burned for any consistent period of time. When I do burn, usually some (crap) wood I got from sombody( I currently have rotted birch), my house stinks. And When I am not burning..that whole area of the house has an awlfull draft.

So I don't much about it...but I would like to adress it either way this summer.
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Old 03-17-2008, 07:27 AM
 
2,133 posts, read 3,672,307 times
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I would also like to hear more from owners of pellet stoves. There is no way we would ever be out cutting our own wood, and the idea of a pellet stove is very appealing.

There must be someone around here that owns one...anyone??
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Old 03-17-2008, 08:25 AM
 
Location: Log "cabin" west of Bangor
2,972 posts, read 3,252,498 times
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Cordoba- I use a pellet stove, and wood stoves. I like to have fire. There is a whole lot less messing around with a pellet stove than a wood stove.

My pellet stove is one of the smallest- an England Stove Works Model 25-PDVC. The hopper claims a 40lb capacity but it doesn't really hold that much, somewhere between 20-30 actual. The maximum I have used is about 40lbs per day.

I paid $600 for the stove 3 or 4 years ago, it was the last one in the store (Lowes), the display model. I got it for less than 1/2 price because it had no instruction manual (which I downloaded off the company website).

It also had a problem in that the room air blower wasn't coming on, but I didn't figure that out for about two years (I just thought it was super quiet) because even at the lowest setting most of the time it was still keeping the house too warm except when the weather was exceptionally cold. (This was a smaller house, about 1100 sq. ft. with a loft.)

I decided to hook up a digital thermostat for better control and when I had it apart to get at the control board I noticed that room air blower was jammed, probably during shipping or at the store. The auto igniter burned out this season but it doesn't bother me enough (yet) that I feel like replacing it.

There are a number of brands, and many different models to choose from. Harmon is one of the best and also more expensive than the cheap brand I have (even though this "cheap" one now retails for about $1700). The largest Harmon has an 80lb capacity hopper and an available hopper extension kit that will increase capacity to about 140(?)lbs (I think, but I'm not going to look it up right now). Depending on the size of the area you are heating, this could last for a number of days between fills. (The biggest Harmon, with all the frills, will probably set you back a tad over $3,000. I couple of weeks ago I heard a guy saying he paid over $6,000 including installation for a stove but I'm betting he got ripped-off big time. An exaust kit should only cost about $250 total and installation is so simple that there is no way it should cost nearly 3 grand.)

Different brands/models have different features, such as auto-igniters, feed systems, cleaning ease, removeable ash pans, computer controls, decorative log sets, etc. Some stoves can even burn a variety of fuels, pellets/corn/walnut shells but the multi-fuels cost more. My stove is one of the least expensive and has the fewest "convenience" features (I was surprised to discover that it had an auto-igniter).

I have to clean out the burn pot daily, and the ash collection area several times per season (no removeable ash pan) but, even so, it is still a lot less "work" than a wood stove. I have historically used about 2 tons of pellets per year which is cheaper than 1 tank of oil. I don't know how much I'll be using in the new house (which is almost double the size of the old one) but I'll probably be buying a new Harmon, the England is still heating the old house.

Installation is fairly easy if you are not completely incompetent in the use of power tools. You need a 2 1/2" air inlet hole and a 6" hole for the exhaust which uses 3" double-wall pellet vent through a thimble (do NOT use the "B" vent pipe commonly used for nat gas appliances). You don't need a big chimney set-up, a short run of pipe coming a few inches out of the wall with a vent-cap is sufficient, depending on what the outside wall is made of and your tolerance for it getting dirty. I have a "tee" with a cleanout cap and a 3' vertical pipe with a vent cap. The exhaust is not supposed to be within 2' of a window or other opening which could allow fumes to enter the house.

Bottom line- the pellet stove is %(^(&^%*&^ marvelous. It provides nearly the same ambience as a wood stove with a whole lot less trouble, and you can still use the wood stove too, either to supplement it or just because you like to. I like options, and I like to be warm (though the other half likes it cool at night, so sometimes the stoves get shut down at night and cranked in the morning).

You can go out for the day (or several days, if you have a big hopper) and come back to a house that is still warm. With a digital thermostat connected you can set it to go to low burn at night and let the house cool some, and then go to a higher burn before you wake up so you get up to a warm house instead of freezing your tail off waiting for the wood stove to bring the house up to temp. You don't have to keep throwing logs into it every few hours and futzing with the draft and shaking down the ashes. They have hi-temp sensors and vacuum sensors so, in the unlikely event that anything goes wrong, it will shut itself down. No fear of chimney fires either.

Make sure you put a GOOD battery back-up unit on there (even if you have a generator), don't "cheap-out" here. Most of the pellet stoves have computer controls and the BBU will condition the line power, protecting it from surges as well as under-voltage conditions and, depending on battery capacity, keep it running for a good while. (Just don't get rid of the wood stove if there may be the potential for extended power failures and you don't have a generator.)

England Stove Works even makes a honking big (but ugly) pellet furnace that will hold enough fuel to run for about a week.

Between cutting and splitting my own firewood and buying pellets I can stay toasty warm for about $500 a year...and I like WARM (80 degrees is nice).

If you like having a live fire but want less hassle than wood, or to supplement your wood heat at a cost much cheaper than oil or gas, get a pellet stove, you won't be sorry (unless you don't lay in an adequate supply of pellets and have trouble finding them towards the end of the heating season).

I love having one. Can you tell?
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Old 03-17-2008, 08:31 AM
 
Location: Maine
5,054 posts, read 7,799,117 times
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Can I butt in here and ask - what are the pellets made of? I'm wondering if they lack the nice wood smell that I love. And do you buy them in bags, or something?
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Old 03-17-2008, 09:14 AM
 
Location: Log "cabin" west of Bangor
2,972 posts, read 3,252,498 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elcarim View Post
Can I butt in here and ask - what are the pellets made of? I'm wondering if they lack the nice wood smell that I love. And do you buy them in bags, or something?
Pellets are made of wood bits- actually, the sawdust and bark and scraps that occur in the course of usual sawmill operations. They get soaked with water, then compressed and extruded into a shape not unlike the feed for rabbits, not quite as thick as a pencil and anywhere from about 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches long. (And if the bags have been mis-handled, some might be 1/4" long or less.)

They come in 20lb and 40lb bags (but I've never seen a 20lb bag). Do not let them get wet, or they will become uncompressed and useless.

You do not get that nice wood-smoke smell from them, unfortunately, but it's a lot more convenient and a lot less mess.
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Old 03-17-2008, 10:03 AM
 
2,133 posts, read 3,672,307 times
Reputation: 1365
Great information Zymer, thank you!
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