7 posts / 0 new
Last post
wood vs pellet stove

I live in a 1925 wood-framed colonial with plaster walls/ no insulation. This year I am considering installing a wood burning stove insert for my fireplace but I am curious to know what advantages a wood-pellet stove offers. I've been told wood is more of a hassel, smoke stains paint, heat may damage interior walls/paint.Is this true?

A. Spruce
Re: wood vs pellet stove

Both have their pro's and con's. Wood generally will produce heat, with or without electricity - something that pellets cannot. Wood is cheaper than pellets and doesn't get ruined with a little moisture.

Pellets are more efficient, but requires electricity to turn the auto feed auger and circulator fan. Without electricity, you have no heat. On a positive note, it's only 110, so it could be powered from any small generator if need be.

Because of emissions, municipalities are cracking down on the use of raw wood heat sources, making electric, gas, and pellet alternatives more attractive. Check your local codes and restrictions before choosing any type of alternative heat source.

Re: wood vs pellet stove

Here's my take on it...

Pellets - you're forced to purchase from a vendor for any price they set. And who's to say pellets will still be available in 20 years?

Wood - you can go out in the back yard and cut down a tree.

Re: wood vs pellet stove

One of the advantages of a pellet stove is that you can get thermostatic controlled ones that will automatically regulate the amount of heat better than a wood stove.

From the studies I've seen the cost of operation of a pellets stove is very close to the cost of gas heat, and what happens when your supplier is unable to re stock pellets, which has happened. All pellet stoves that I know of require an electric motor for an auger so it doesn't supply heat when the power is off.

As stated above wood burners are not permitted in some areas and it can even negate your insurance policy. Cost of wood is going to depend on whether or not you have your own supply and are capable of cutting a splitting the wood.

Re: wood vs pellet stove

Can only speak from personal experience, but I've been more than pleased the last 8 heating seasons in NE, to have a pellet stove
insert. Its extremely "clean" heat - no smoke or odor. I've paid anywhere from $180 to $230 for a ton of pellets. Thus far, haven't had any problem with getting pellets - I see even Home Depot is selling them these days. I understand there are even pellet furnaces these days.

I don't have enough trees on my property to "support" a wood burning stove. Nor do I have a wood splitter, or space to store the cords of wood. So I'd be forced to buy wood, same way I buy pellets. Pellets are made from sawdust. Pellets come in 40 lbs plastic bags that I can store on the porch (or outdoors). A ton = 50 bags.

My "biggest" suggestion. Buy from a reputable dealer who can also
service. Check with your local building inspectors. Keep the
stove clean (I have mine cleaned annually, in addition to my weekly
vacuuming of the ash). Good luck:)

Re: wood vs pellet stove

Thanks for all the feedback!:D

Re: wood vs pellet stove

After having used both for many years, I have loved the cleanliness of the pellets and the convenience of having to dump only 1 bag or slightly more each day, as opposed to carrying wood several times each day, cleaning up the bark, bugs, etc. It is also nice to wake up to a warm room, rather than having to rebuild the fire.
I went through almost 4 tons of pellets/winter, and am going back to wood this year, planning on using 4 cords. I probably would have stayed with pellets, but the pellet stove started needing too many repairs. Also, the pellet stove cleaning routine is fussier than that of a wood stove, (at least my Breckwell has been) but the chimney stays much cleaner.

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.