Gas or Pellet Stove?

ktutakMarch 8, 2006

Hi, I am new to your forum. My husband and I are looking into putting a freestanding stove in our home. We are looking at a direct vent gas or combination wood pellet/corn. We are totally lost as to which to get.

We have a 3000 sq foot rambler built in 1999. We would be installing the stove in our basement level. Ideally we would like the stove to be a main heat source of our home, with our furnace used only on very cold nights. First off, is this unrealistic?

We like the idea of the corn/pellet stove, but get confused when trying to figure out how much wood or corn we would go through. Whether that would be cost efficient. Also there is the storage of the corn or pellets to consider. Then there is gas. With the cost of natural gas right now, are we going to increase our utility bill rather than decrease or maintain it?

Our concern is that we will put in a stove (either gas or pellet) and end up spending more than we do on our heating costs. Does any one have any advice?

Thank you in advance!

Kelly

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maryland_irisman

The pellet stove is your best bet and will heat great.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2006 at 12:49AM
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ktutak

Thanks! Any reasons why? (I only ask for reasons cuz my hubby will ask)

    Bookmark   March 8, 2006 at 8:43AM
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twocats_wy

In case this helps, here's a link to a cost-of-heating calculator. It's from a manufacturer website. There are probably other calculators out there, too.

One thought: There are gas furnaces that are something like 95 percent efficient. I don't **think** gas stoves or fireplaces are that high (I could be wrong). So, an efficient gas furnace should cost less to run if you're looking at heating an entire house. There are also US IRS tax credits available on certain energy-efficient gas furnace installations in 2006-2007 (check out the Energy Star website for more info).

Another thought on gas vs. pellets. What's more important to you, cost or convenience?

Pellets may turn out to be cheaper to purchase than gas, but you have to buy/have delivered/store pellets & occasionally clean & dump ash & clean the unit & chimney. Also, a pellet stove needs electricity to operate, so if you want to run it during a power outage, you'll need a back-up power source. With gas, you turn it on when you need it & off when you're done. You can get units that will operate as a radiant heater during a power outage (although if you want the fan to run you'll still need a back-up power source). There are gas fireplaces that have power-ducting options to move air to adjacent rooms -- not sure if a freestanding gas or pellet stove has that feature.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cost of heating calculator

    Bookmark   March 8, 2006 at 9:50AM
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ktutak

Thanks for your responce....we do have a fairly efficient furnace. However our house is only one zone. So our basement is fairly chilly in the colder months. In order to keep that warm our upstairs is hot. Putting in another zone for our furnace would actually cost about the same as getting a pellet stove. Since a stove ads a bit of value to our home (plus I enjoy a fireplace) we thought adding a stove would solve the problem of a cold basement. We also hoped that that heat would also move into the upstairs lessening our need for our furnace and the use of Natural Gas.

A Gas stove has the convinience, but will it end up cosing us more in gas bills? That is the question. We don't mind the extra upkeep of the pellet stove....just wanted to make sure it would succeed in lowering the need for our furnace. Does that make sense?

    Bookmark   March 8, 2006 at 10:20AM
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brad_brown2

You're talking about two totally different animals here. Pellet stoves require daily maintenance (or at least every 2 days) to clean out the ashes and clinkers from the burnpot, vacuum the ashes from the stove, and clean the glass. I spend 5 minutes a day or less on maintenance.

I have a unvented gas fireplace in my basement family room - it requires absolutely no maintenance at all. Simply turn on the thermostat whenever you want heat. The downside is that propane is more expensive, and you get just a tiny bit of smell with an unvented gas stove. You would not get that with a vented gas stove.

There is no way I want to be lugging pellets downstairs to my basement, so gas is the only way to go down there. The pellet stove is on the first floor, and I keep the pellets in my garage, so that's no problem at all. I do really like our pellet stove. It's a Quadra Fire Santa Fe, and it was about $1700 new. I spent about $500 for professional installation, which included the pipe.

I think the question really comes down to this: are you willing to do a bit of daily maintenance in exchange for cheaper operating cost. Or do you want completely hands-off (and more expensive) gas heat?

    Bookmark   March 8, 2006 at 12:02PM
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ktutak

That is the question isn't it? The work. I have heard that Harmon stoves don't require as much maintenance. Like once a month? Is that true?

    Bookmark   March 8, 2006 at 12:16PM
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woodinvirginia

I have heard that only one model of the Harman stoves will burn corn & it is not the Accentra model . Think it is P-45?

All of Quadrafire pellet stoves will burn corn/pellet mixture.They are made of cast iron also.

There are many other viewpoints regarding these units. Do a search on Qudrafire Pellets or Harman Pellet . I think you mispelled it as Harmon.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 1:06PM
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ronnatlanta

Can you someone tell me which is better Quadrafire or harmon? Or, is there a third pellet insert I should research? I live in Atlanta. I am heating 2500 sq ft. I plan to buy one this summer if I can get good information on these stoves.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2006 at 6:17PM
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