Yesterday we had 4 tons of wood pellets delivered.
That’s four huge pallets full of wood pellet bags. We had two stacked into the old coal bin in the basement–they brought a cool roller track thing that made it a cinch to slide the bags down the stairs:
I posted a picture of the pellets being downloaded on the Frugal Upstate Facebook Page and got a few questions:
Why did you choose a pellet stove?
When we moved into our home it had a fuel oil furnace with a 275 gallon tank for heat. There was/is some supplemental electric baseboard heat in the bedrooms. In the winter keeping the thermostat at a fairly chilly 68 during the day and nudged up to 72 in the mornings and evenings we were running through lets say 3 full tanks of oil.
I just had a friend fill her oil tank for $3.55 a gallon. So at today’s prices, assuming 3 tanks of oil (or 825 gallons which is right in the average range) that would be $2928.75. That’s a lot of money to pay to keep a house on the very cool side!
We knew we wanted to change our method of heating in order to save money.
I preferred a wood stove–I grew up with wood heat and like the fact that it runs when the power is out (the pellet stove has a mechanical feed system to drop the pellets down into the stove that requires electricity) , that you can cut your own wood if necessary (you have to buy pellets) and that you can cook on top of it if you need to (again in power outages–can you tell I grew up in Maine where we had blizzards?).
Yankee Bill preferred a pellet stove as the pellets come in nice neat bags, can be ordered by the pallet, are easier to stack then cord wood, don’t require splitting or seasoning, and it all (including the firebox) stays cleaner with a heck of a lot less ash & residue.
Since Yankee Bill was the one who would have to do 90% of the work related to the stove*, and since marriage is a series of compromises, we purchased the pellet stove. Actually, I purchased it, and 3 tons of pellets, with money I made from this blog. Gotta say, I was pretty proud of that.
(*note-not being sexist or anything, my back & neck have issues and I really shouldn’t be doing things like chopping or hauling wood for long periods)
Since last year we wound up purchasing another ton of pellets in the late spring/early winter (part of which is left) we went ahead and purchased 4 tons of pellets for this years heat. At $215 a ton plus delivery and taxes, that works out to a total winter heating cost of $920
$2928.75 vs $920.
I’d say that was worth it.
We do supplement with the furnace–but our fuel oil company hated us last year. I think we used maybe 100 gallons the entire year.
Four tons? Really? For one winter?
Yes. Really. Heating things takes a lot of stored energy. Energy stored in wood, in oil, in pellets, in natural gas. It’s just that unless you are stacking wood or staring at pallets full of pellets you really don’t get the true sense of how much mass it takes to make that heat. When you have fuel oil you just turn up that thermostat when you want more and monthly (usually when you aren’t even home) a truck pulls up and tops off your tank. You don’t SEE all the gallons you are using.
4 tons keeps about 2/3 of the bottom floor of my 3000 sq foot house cool (instead of freezing).
Where do you get your pellets?
I buy my pellets from a local business. Very local-he’s only about 1/2 a mile up the street from me! The brand that he sells are New England Wood Pellets.
There is variation in the quality of pellets. What they are made of can effect how clean they burn and how much heat you get from the volume. These pellets cost a bit more than what you can buy at a few other places near us-but they are made with hardwood so they burn hotter and with less residue than some of the real “bargain” pellets.
Why are you ordering your pellets now? It’s only September!
It may be a while before we start using the stove for the winter, but the price of pellets changes with the season. We wanted to get the lower “summer” price before the increase at the beginning of October. Also it’s better to get the pellets when the weather is nice since you will have to move them around a bit.
Also its just one less thing to worry about. It’s ordered, delivered and paid for–so it’s here and ready.
What if the power goes out?
Well, if the power goes out we can either run our generator, or using our 800watt inverter attached to the battery of the car we can run the mechanical portion of the stove so that it will continue to provide heat.
Do any of you use pellet stoves?