Harman P38 Pellet stove vs natural gas furnance

jims56February 6, 2007

This thread is to anyone that has contimplated switching from a forced air gas furnance to a free standing Pellet stove. I have approx a 1700 sq.ft house (fairly new 1992)My question is this. My floor plan in my house is very open. Where I want to install the pellet stove (which in fact is a Harman p38) is in my Grt room area. The room size is 16 x 24ft but has vaulted ceilings. My foyer area is next to the grt room and is very large and open to the 2nd floor area. Currently I have a vent free gas log set up in my fireplace which is located in the center of the grt room. I do have a large ceiling fan in the grt room as well ,but cannot run it in reverse mode due to one of the side walls that is close to my from foyer is all open to the 2nd floor. Hense the very first area to heat up is the foyer and 2nd floor landing area. In this 2nd floor landing area I keep all doors closed and run a small floor fan to move the warm air around and try and force it back downstairs. My concern is this with vaulted ceilings in this grt room will I be able to heat this room with a 38,000 BTU stove(I understand that this stove has a turbo mode setting which will increase my BTU from 38K to 43K when in this mode) but how many bags does anyone figure I will burn if I need to leave the stove in the turbo mode for a good portion of the day? and also force air out to the kitchen area and other downstairs rooms? I plan on installing one of those "muffin" style fans in between the door way of the grt room and kitchen to help draw the warmer air into this area. I live in Rochester ,NY and my Natural Gas bills are outrageous! I predict me gas bill alone this month will top $350 due to the cold snap we are experencing here. I bought a Harman P38 from a friend that bought it new and has never installed it and got it for a pretty good price including all chimney pipe and floor protector. Hope I made the right decision because I'm semi retied after being downsized by a large yellow box here in Rochester. I'm home most of the time during the day and feel I can certainly feed a hopper with a 40 lb bag of pellets than to sit and listen to the gas furnance switch on every 10 minutes in this extrememe cold weather were having right now!

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I was told by my installer not to bother with one of those fans. He said they were more trouble than they were worth.

Since you have a forced hot air furnace, is it possible to run the furnace in "summer mode"? I don't know much about forced hot air systems because I've always had hot water baseboard heating, but I've read several posts on other sites about using the duct system in a forced air system to circulate air generated from a stove.

This may not be necessary to get the heat to your other rooms, but would probably be the best option if possible.

FYI, you'll get a much more help on the Hearth.com forums.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2007 at 12:12PM
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Thank you for your reply. I will give the Hearth.com forum a try. have a great day! jim

    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 3:18PM
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I've got a p61 that supplements my forced air oil furnace. While I like my stove, I will say that there is a learning curve to using it effectively and I have had a few bugs that I've had to work out. As you run into them post your questions- the internet has been a great resource (check out iburncorn.com).

I say that I supplement my furnace with it, but really, I supplement my pellet stove with my furnace. Most of the time, the stove will heat my 2000 sf uninsulated farmhouse pretty well. Now that it's down in single/negative digits, the furnace is kicking on from time to time.

Air circulation is key for me- I had to cut a vent in the ceiling of the room the stove is in to allow the warm air upstairs- my downstairs floor plans is pretty open. The ceiling fan in the room the stove is in helps a lot.

Also, I rarely run the stove at the highest pellet burn settings. Now my stove is running at a feed rate of 3-4. In the spring and fall it was around 1-2. I run the distribution blower at full tilt.

When I'm running the stove at the higher settings 2-3 bags a day is pretty normal (it gets pretty cold where I'm located). In the spring and fall 1-2 is the norm. I've burned some pellet/corn mixes with pretty good results, but right now there's not much of a price incentive to do so.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 10:00PM
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